Monday, August 30, 2010

I Hate Myself so You Will Love Me

I am going through the academic hazing ritualright-of-passage writing my materials for the academic job market. For those who have never seen this process, it consists of boiling down all of your research into as few paragraphs as possible in such a way as to seem interesting to someone who might have no knowledge of what you study. In other words, describing an article in no more than two sentences, a book in a few paragraphs, and your future research in something akin to a tweet. Needless to say, it's not fun boiling down my life in the past six years to, ideally, nothing more than a paragraph each (though, I am unlikely to succeed at this goal).

All this is to say that I am really sick of thinking about myself. I don't know what it is like to be on the Bachelorette, but I imagine it to be akin to this experience. I spend days agonizing over and polishing my image so that some member of a hiring committee will like me and, if she doesn't, I'm tossed to the side.

At the same time, I am very fortunate to have a job and to have prospects for one in the future. I cannot imagine what it is like to be one of the thousands of people in the United States who have been writing similar letters for over two years with no employment prospects in sight. I guess, in that perspective, there's not much I should be complaining about


E. said...

I am sure the academic market will love you as much as your readers do. Go get that rose!

Jay said...

[I would have e-mailed this but couldn't find an address for you. Feel free to delete it.]

"right-of-passage" We had a provost who nixed a candidate because of a minor error like this in his letter -- a candidate our department wanted to interview.

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