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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Job Market

In today's abysmal job market, 4 out of our 6 PhD students have tenure track jobs. These are the four who have finished their dissertations, not coincidentally.

8 comments:

profacero said...

This means job market is not abysmal. For jobs that involve FL teaching people who speak decent Spanish always get employment and so do native French speakers -- ours have jobs, too, and we are a worse school and French is harder to get a job in than Spanish, and I am quite sure the native speaker factor is playing a large part in this since they will all be teaching language as part of their assignment(s). (I am constantly amazed at how poor the FL skills are of people from the East, compared to what I am used to from non native speakers.)

The job markets in Anthropology, German, and some other fields are the actually abysmal ones. What do professors mean when they say there are no jobs ... which they have always done within my memory? They used to mean, no jobs at the same place as you are studying, unlikely to get job in same state, and relatively hard to get a research job.

I remember my father one time when I was about 10, shocked because somebody got a tenure track job at Long Beach State and took it, although it "was not a job." Felt horrible that this was the best they had gotten for this person, felt like he had exploited the guy and let him down, etc. Guy went on to do well, published things (translations) you could not get tenure for at an R1 but that won him prizes and fame and even royalties, and he would run on the beach and enjoy the cultural advantages of L.A., and it all worked out. But it was "not a job."

Now it would be considered a great job, and so on. But we persist in saying the market is abysmal. What do we really mean, beyond that it is not as good a market as that in health sciences? To what extent is saying the job market is bad is a scare tactic, one more aspect of hazing?

I have no idea about these things except that I am sure the market is not abysmal in Spanish or even (quite) French.

Jonathan said...

Indeed, I know English medievalists who get jobs too, and not bad ones. I think German is problematic; I'm glad to know French still offers some possibilities.

Jonathan said...

We had another placement since I first wrote this piece, and yet another in a non-tenure track that might turn into tt later. So we're at close to 100 percent this year

profacero said...

...also, they always tell the wrong people. I was always told I would never get a job but Rebecca Schuman was never warned about her field, her choice of graduate institution, and so on. If I had known how many good interviews just having a UCB degree would get me, and how many callbacks I would get based on language skills alone, I would have taken the whole thing more seriously from the outset. But I was always told that graduation would be the end of my career, so I always figured one should just enjoy studying while one could.

profacero said...

English is the interesting, or ambiguous case. It is adjunct city but on the other hand there will always be an English department and it will always be big, and there have to be *some* tenure track people. Maybe medievalists do better because they have to know foreign languages -- which weeds people out very much, reduces competition?

profacero said...

...German: we are canceling it, not enough enrollment, professor had to become dept. chair because what else can be done with this person? Same person's only other job ended because the college closed due to financial exigency.

Jonathan said...

There is crisis with lesser taught languages that aren't strategically important. We teach 40 languages at KU, and have a new school of languages for everything but Spanish. Germans all speak English now. Traditional reasons for learning German have all but disappeared. Hell, even I had a few quarters of German. You felt you needed some to be intellectually formed. Not any more. Now I have to work on this paper on Celan en España and wish my German were stronger.

profacero said...

I want to spend a summer in Berlin studying at the Institut Goethe, watch me roar ... I am convinced that due to Scandinavian background and a couple of semesters of German I would turn out stellar, sing lieder, and read certain modern literature.