Monday, December 8, 2008

Prof. Claus Makes His Yearly Stop To Let Search Committees Know That They're Always Naughty, Never Nice.

Ho, ho, ho, Search Committees! It’s been nearly a year since I last dropped you a line, so I thought now was as good a time as any to update you on the mail that’s been filling up my jolly old mailbag.

If I’m being honest—and why wouldn’t good old Professor Claus be honest?—this year’s correspondence has been a bit boring. Most job seekers have written to me about the same old problems. No response to applications, no firm commitments about interviews (even though conference time is right around the corner), rejection letters sent for positions job seekers didn’t even apply for, rejection letters not personally addressed. Really, it’s the same old story year after year, it seems. Any idea why that might be the case, search committees?

That said, I did receive one poignant letter that I feel obligated to share with you. Here it is:

Dear Professor Claus,

Please pass my words on to all the search committees you converse with at the end of the year. This year, more than any other year, I have realized that the knuckleheads on those committees—from both the academic and administrative sides of the street—are completely disorganized.

Here’s what I mean: I have applied for countless positions this year, and, as usual, those applications required me to perform an unfathomable amount of acrobatic just to get my materials to said committees. I can’t count the amount of times I put together an enormous doorstop of an application packet (that cost several, several dollars to send), was also forced to send an official transcript right up front (that cost some more coin), and then had to contact my electronic filing service to send out copies of my letters of recommendation (that also cost some more dough).

For the moment, let’s forget about the fact that no sane, ethical search committee asks for this much shit up front and just cut right to the chase: After spending all of that time, energy, and money just to dive into a pool of hundreds of other applicants for a position that, let’s be honest, was pretty shitty to begin with, the fuckheads closed the search because of “funding issues.”

Seriously, where the hell have all of these people been since September? It’s no surprise to anyone that we’ve been in an enormous economic slump for MONTHS! Couldn’t they have gotten the funding situation squared away before posting the position? I mean, that’s what logical people (perhaps even, say, people smart enough to earn Ph.D.s) would do. Please, Professor Claus, please get the word out to these people that this shit just ain’t right.

Well, there you go, committee members. Your shit just ain’t right. Perhaps if you get your shit together, young newly minted Ph.D.s might not resent your disorganized asses so much. At the very least, if you got your shit together, you wouldn’t have to hear from me every year!

Merry Conferencing!