Applying for Tenure Track Phd Positions- Should I?
My well-meaning parent likes to forward me job vacancy announcements for various academic positions.
I used to fill them out.
I wasted countless hours last year going nuts with those things, each one requiring you to invent some stupid login name and info for their campuswide internet system, writing letters of intent for each one, being careful to incorporate their exact bullshit phrases like “multi-ethnic,” because I was informed by some ‘insider’ who scores the applications that writing “diverse” just ain’t the same thing.
(and obvi, that highly classified info was not enough to help me.)
And due to the sheer number of applications I filled out, I did allow myself to indulge in a few daydreams about what life might be like with one of these cushy government jobs. 3/4 teaching load, good health insurance, funding to go to conferences, and a starting salary that doubled the highest wage I’ve ever earned, for what appears to be a lot less work. Less stress. Union membership and some kind of job protection. More time to bike and kayak and do other outdoorsy shit that people in herpes commercials get to do.
Maybe it was some kind of optimism bias. Or maybe since I filled out so many of the damn applications, I felt a little like Charlie Bucket when he took the shilling he found in the gutter to buy one last Wonka Bar. Not realizing, of course, that Veruca Salt’s dad employed a whole fucking factory of people to shuck candy bars in the hopes of finding that magical piece of paper.
I do realize that my analogy is seriously flawed because of this:
But I digress.
The odds are not stacked in my (or most people’s) favor. So would it really be the best use of my time today to churn off another application and raise my hopes for a life of probs decent civil servitude, when I could be working on my thesis? So I can get the fuck out of academia and just eat chocolate and read books for fun, without having to rely on those things to supply my livelihood?
There’s also this to consider. While I think it’d be great to have one of these jobs, is it really what I want out of my brief time on this mortal coil? I imagine that I’d be better equipped to laugh apathetic students off and not take it so personally if I was making a fair wage. But maybe it wouldn’t be enough for me. What do I really want out of life? Damn you, academia, and your awful penchant for making me re-evaluate shit and think.
If I had to answer that question right now, what do I want to do with my life, well the real ugly worm under the rock that is my heart answer is, I want to be david sedaris. (not in a creepy skin wearing way. I will continue to respect and admire you from a very healthy physical distance, mr sedaris!)
So maybe I should work on that today instead.