Friday, May 16, 2008

Jerry the Job Seeker Checks In and He's Pissed.

Rate my students? I'd LOVE to rate my students. But the way this job season has gone I'm thinking I won't HAVE any students.

I'm a freshly minted Ph.D. from the top southeastern R1. My advisors and mentors smiled and pushed me through the programs happily, taking my money, taking my loans. And then they set me loose on a job market where even shit jobs get hundreds of applications for one position. I applied to a 4/4 teaching load job at a school in about the worst location in the US, and got a rejection note saying they had over 300 applicants. Who'd go there? Me, I guess. But not now because I wasn't even good enough.

I've beaten down doors of local junior colleges and they have part-timers who've been there for 20 do I get in? Wait for someone to die? And anyway, I didn't get in this profession to be a scrambling adjunct anyway. That life is too hard. Driving around, teaching everywhere. No home, no office, no respect. I studied for YEARS so that I could research and teach in my field. I want in. I want to do it. I have great credentials and am ready to join the adults at the big table.

But there's no room, and I suspect that my university knew it when they let me in. I suspect everyone knows about it except those currently in grad school.

Is it a racket? Should grad school programs be taken to court in some kind of class action suit? It's about that bad. There's nothing that makes sense to me about this job search season. I have great grades, publications, research with a well known scientist in my field. I interview well. And after almost 9 months of dedicated job searching, I'm not even close to ANY kind of teaching gig.

How do people do this year in and year out?

I think it's a shell game. I think my grad school program, and others, know that the market is flooded. But ramping down their admissions would just cost them money, and anyway, they have their jobs.

And now what. I can't really just blow off all this work, can I? I can't simply say: "I wanted to be a cowboy, but now I'll be a ballerina instead." If I'm going to do something besides work in a movie theater or a factory or a Kinko's, I have to get on it. But does that mean I've wasted my grad school years? If I hang on and stay on the market, how do I pay for, uh, for FOOD! AN APARTMENT! CLOTHING! GAS!?!?!?!?!

There's something rotten with the system and every year a new crop of Ph.D.s is going to get screwed.