Thursday, September 27, 2012

Random Miscellany About My Life Now ... My Job

I've been reading with some interest what other postacademics have been writing about their nonacademic jobs of late - in particular, Currer's problems at SAP and her concerns over being an introvert in an extrovert's job, and WTF's recent frustrations with her job ... not to mention recentPhD's posts about her new job and Lauren's thoughts about working as an advisor.

All of these recent posts got me thinking - I've written a lot about academia and about my previous jobhunting (and ultimate decision to take a promotion at my current job rather than finding something new) ... but I've never really written about what my job and my postacademic life is actually like, on a daily basis.

So I think that "what my life looks like now" will be the theme of the next few posts. I'll write a bit today about what life in my office and at this workplace is like, and follow up with some other posts - perhaps a rundown of how I spend a typical week, or a description of the people I work with and encounter on a daily basis in my postacademic life in Grad U City. Maybe a description of my partner's very different work environment (since nonacademic jobs come in different forms).

My experiences seem to be a bit different than what other bloggers have been describing at their jobs, and I think that it's important for readers to see that there are different work environments out there. And more generally, I think it's probably good for unhappy academics who read here to get a sense that "a postacademic life" can take many different forms - some great, some good, some not-so-good. I know that it can be hard to envision what your life "could" be like if you left academia, and it's easy to buy into the fiction that your life will be all business suits and TPS reports and snotty colleagues ... or alternately, that it will be all rainbows and butterflies and happiness.

Reality's a little more complex than that. And I've sort of dropped the ball thus far on talking about what my day-to-day life is like these days, so I think it's time to do that.

My current life is pretty great, but my job is only "meh." I don't looooooove it, but I certainly don't hate it. I don't dread coming in in the morning. It's reasonably challenging and keeps me busy enough that I'm not bored and don't feel like I'm not using my brains. But at the same time, it's not so challenging or busy that I never have downtime. (Obviously, since I'm blogging at work...ha)

At this point in my life, this is All Good with me. All I want is a decent job that I can tolerate, that pays a living wage and leaves me with free time to think and live and pursue hobbies. Maybe in the future I will want more than this, but for now it's enough.

So for the first post in this "What JC's life is actually like now," let's talk about what this "meh but perfectly okay job" looks like.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Blog!!

Guys, I'm sorry for neglecting you, but I've been so busy this week ... I just haven't had the time or motivation to sit down and finish any of the posts I've had half-written for a few weeks.

So instead of looking for a new post in this space, go check out the latest postacademic blog ... Chronicles of a Recovering Academic.

Written by a social science Ph.D. candidate in the Midwest, there are only a few posts so far, but what's there is good. Zie has some interesting posts about the reactions of hir advisor and colleagues to hir decision to leave (hint: they're about what you'd expect), and an introductory post about why zie entered grad school in the first place (a post I've meant to write about myself for the last, oh, year or so...)

So until I'm back in the saddle with new content, go check out the new blog and leave a comment!

And remember - always remember - you are not alone in this. :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The New Normal In Academic Hiring

Colorado State University has now updated their job posting, so that now it only indicates that they are looking for an "entry-level" tenure-track assistant professor, with no further specifications listed about year of degree or anything else.

It's a nice gesture, I suppose ... but I'd still love to see how many long-term adjuncts they bring to campus for interviews. I'm thinking that the "best qualified candidates" will still mysteriously be the folks who are newly graduated, not those who've been already working as (non-tenured) faculty for five or more years.

I mean, I have a different definition of who your "qualified candidates" would be, but what the hell do I know, right? I'm not a professor, so clearly I know nothing.

So that's encouraging, I suppose. (Although I'm also open to the argument that it's better to see this kind of thing out in the open in job ads, to work against the myth that long-term adjuncting is the path to a tenure track job. It's a valid point, but it doesn't alleviate my anger...)

But if you're in the latter category - the ones who think that universities being blatant about this is a good thing? You'll be happy to hear (via a commenter on yesterday's post) that there is another job posting for a tenure-track assistant professor of Comparative Literature position at Harvard, which specifies that the Ph.D. must have been received since 2009. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Update on Colorado State's "No Olds Need Apply" Ad

The chair of the English department at Colorado State has responded to questions about their discriminatory highly controversial job ad, which I posted about earlier this week:
By specifying 'between 2010 and time of appointment' we indicated that we are interested in applicants with up to three years in a tenure-track position as well as those who are just beginning their careers. In examining the pool of applicants, we have actually given the true 'entry-level' applicant an advantage in that such applicants will not have to compete with others who have as much as six years' more experience.
Now, this sounds reasonable, if you are looking from the outside and have absolutely no idea what the academic job market looks like - especially in the humanities.

But from the inside of the academic job market - you know, the exact position that the chair of the English department should be looking from - this is still just as clueless and problematic of a statement as the original job ad was.

First, the chair is naively identifying "true 'entry level'" applicants as only those who are new Ph.D. graduates - or those who have jumped out of grad school directly into a tenure-track job. Wow, is that a blindfolded look at the academic job market! It's kind of staggering.

In a robust academic job market, this might be true. Every graduate will get a job, and then after a year or two young professors will reshuffle into different positions. That might make sense in a perfect-world academic job market ... but in the actual academic job market we have today? It doesn't. At all. And everyone in academia should understand that. No exceptions.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Posted Without (Much) Comment

So, Colorado State University has posted an ad for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English position, to start in the fall of 2012.

Great news, huh? A tenure-track position in English!!!! An opportunity for one of those English Ph.D.s who've been toiling in crappy adjunct positions for the past five years to finally break through and get the kind of job they've been working towar ......

.... Wait a minute.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm Back! (Sort of...)

Hey everyone, I'm back!!

Apologies for never setting anything to auto-post last week. It's been so long since I took a vacation that I forgot how long it would take me to, you know, pack and prepare for one. So the week before we left was full of laundry and shopping and packing and car maintenance and house maintenance and errand-running and various other tasks that always become Immediate Pressing Needs when you're preparing to leave town for a week. And now, the post-vacation week has been full of work and catching up on sleep and restocking the groceries and otherwise adjusting to being back home.

Vacations are stressful!!

But it was all worth it. Vacation was awesome, and much needed. I left town a total crab, tired of work and stressed and aggravated and bored. I came back rested and relaxed and refreshed. Partner and I drove to a favorite beach location and spent four awesome nights sightseeing, eating great food and drinking great booze on sun-filled patios, swimming in large bodies of water, and wandering through adorable touristy shops while spending way too much money.

We then drove back through our hometown to pick up our dog (who was being doted on by very loving doggie grandparents) and spent the night visiting family, friends, and our friend's brand new baby. It was a great trip ... even worth the exhaustion, empty bank account and giant work to-do list that was waiting for me at home.

Anyway, my brain is still not "back from vacation" enough to think through and write a coherent post, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I survived vacation, I'm back, and I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging soon ... probably later this week. I do have ideas for posts ... just need to find the time and motivation to sit down and finish them!

Tonight, though, I have to finish our post-vacation laundry and run a couple of errands and do some cleaning. I'll be back soon! In the meantime, read the great stuff that my fellow bloggers have been putting out - check the blogroll on the right. Talk to you all soon!