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
    unshakeable frustration.
  • 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.


  1. Some colleagues and I were just talking about our own feelings of impostor syndrome, and now here is some information about a handy toolkit to address such fears. Thanks, DM!

    (Tongue in cheek — for most of this comment anyway.)

  2. Wow, it really does say ‘disseration’ three times. I was thinking that was the actual URL, but no such luck.

  3. I’m tempted to order a kit (under a pseudonym, of course).

    And I wonder whether there is a pre-imposter syndrome (preimposterous syndrome?): the self-doubt one feels about whether or not the case of imposter’s syndrome is, indeed, authentic and deserved.

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