Here is a piece of mail that arrived today: a postcard from a thoughtful, support-for-when-you-really-need-it company
called Academic Ladder. The absence of a bona fide postage stamp makes me think this
came to me via
bulk mailing, but in case it was sent to me alone, I share it here for posterity’s sake.
Also, these are some of the design elements that might powerfully reach out to
other late-stage dissertators:
- "STRUGGLING", all caps and in a blood-curdling font you probably don’t
have installed on your home computer (my guess: TrueType Chainsaw
Massacre Smear Italics 48).
- Why don’t you have the font installed on your home computer?
Apparently, you are writing the dissertation using a steno notebook and No. 2
pencil. Getting started involves tearing off and crumpling whole
sheets of paper that you keep on the desk as you work–the origami of
- The offer: A "free" toolkit with everything a late-stage dissertator
needs to know about "How Academia Messes with your Mind (and what to do
about it)" and "Find out if you have Ph.D. Imposter Syndrome!"
What’s that? No, in fact, it’s nobody’s business whether I
ordered a toolkit. That’s not what this entry is about. Anyway, it’s my CCCC
presentation I’m struggling to complete today.
We held our first job-seekers meeting yesterday afternoon, spent a couple of
hours going over each other’s CV and talking through how we rank criteria for
the jobs we will soon pursue. I use pursue loosely and with a
string of asterisks, of course, since this year I am only something like
one-tenth on the market and nine-tenths not. I mean that I am going
through the material preparations processes as if I am on the market and
will only apply for positions too sweet to resist, provided, also, that I’m
making progress on the diss. Why? Well, it would take an offer somewhere
in the ball park of a
five-year contract and 27.5 million a year for us to relocate before Ph.’s
senior year of high school. Make that 30 mil. On top of that, it’s not
especially ethical or wise (in terms of reputation-building) for me to court
jobs I have no genuine interest in filling from the outset. While I would
like to dangle a toe in the waters of interviewing and giving job talks, I won’t
be pitching jobs for that reason alone. The process is too grueling for
candidates and committees to tie up everyone’s time and resources on my
desire for full-on play-acting the year before I go on the market in earnest.
Better to spend those energies building bridges (i.e., writing, conferencing,
etc.) rather than dismantling them.
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