Post Academic


Choose your own adventure: Your summer is slipping away!

Posted in Absurdities,Surviving Grad School by Arnold Pan on July 2, 2010
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You are probably not at a computer reading this post, since you’re probably stuck in traffic or on a plane or on a staycation to already where you’re headed for July 4th weekend.  But if none of the above apply and you’re sweating it (figuratively) over every day that slips away that was supposed to be productive–and wasn’t.  For any of you in that situation, we’re here for you.  So take stock of your summer, “Choose your own adventure”-like…

"Dinner Fork in the Road" by ONUnicorn (Creative Commons license)

Step 1: Do you have enough money to make it through summer?

Unless you live somewhere where you can live 12 months on 9 months of salary/stipend, you probably need a summer job.  Maybe that gig might be one of those half-the-time, double-the-work summer school jobs where you give up part of your summer, but preserve the rest of it for whatever you need to do, whether that’s work or R&R or some combo of both.  If you’re working almost full-time at the SAT study center (like Caroline and I have), you might be too fried right now to think about researching on your downtime, but you probably want to get your act together at least a little bit soon.  If these situations describe you, proceed to Step 2.

If not, get off the computer and find a classmate who needs a sub for that SAT class while s/he is on vacation.

Continue to choose your own adventure, after the jump…

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Challenges for Beginning Scholars: Those Summer Blues

Posted in Housekeeping by doctoreclair on June 8, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionIn holiday conversations about my work as a tenure-track professor, my family and nonacademic friends love to run a tired old witticism by me: “What are the three best reasons to be a teacher?” I’ve heard the answer many times before, but I play along. “June, July, and August,” they say.

In the case of higher education, though, a more accurate reply might be “Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” if you’ve been fortunate enough to have a Tuesday/Thursday teaching schedule. Summer, by contrast, isn’t the glorious season of freedom that my family and friends imagine. My deliberately confusing allusions to ongoing publication and service projects may keep those family members satisfied that I have real work to do, but their jokes strike a nerve because they make me recognize that I may not, in fact, have much of a summer plan. Indeed, I’ve found that summers have been exceptionally full of periods of anxiety and depression.

More from Dr. E. Clair after the jump! Image of summer sangria by Paul Irish from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
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What I shoulda-woulda-coulda been doing for the next academic job cycle

"Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster in a hamster wheel" by Doenertier82 (Creative Commons)

I’ve been recounting my experiences on the job market this past year, to commemorate receiving my final few rejection letters over the last week.  Now let’s hypothetically imagine what I should be/would be/could be doing to get ready for the 2010-11 academic job cycle/hamster wheel, since part of the academic life is always feeling like you’re behind even if you might be trying to plan ahead.  Considering that my interview yield rate was pretty bad this year, these musings are likely to remain hypothetical no matter if my odds would be any better next year or if the job market bounces back from being the worst ever.  Still, there’s no harm in daydreaming and, who knows, maybe it might help someone else who’s still planning on trying her/his luck on the market again.

1. Beg, beg, beg for an adjuncting position: It can’t help my job search prospects when I haven’t taught in over a calendar year and not at all during the 2009-10 academic year.  I’ve tried to teach at least one quarter a calendar year so that I can at least fudge it on my CV, but I struck out this year, in part due to not being asked to teach by the depts I’ve worked for because of the crappy UC budget and in part because I’m not really motivated to beg to work at a pay rate that’s little better than what I was getting as a TA.  The latter wasn’t so bad when it seemed worthwhile for professional development because I got the chance to teach my own syllabi, but those experiences haven’t exactly panned out.  Like when I applied for an adjunct position at another local school to teach a course that I’ve taught before with a real, class-tested syllabus, only to be used as hiring compliance fodder so that the dept could hire its own student it probably planned to hire in the first place.  But hey, I’m not bitter and, anyway, I was probably that guy when my own home dept hired me.

More stuff I could be doing instead of complaining and blogging, below the fold…

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