robotnik2004: (Default)

Tags: The best disinfectant, Kremlinology, Sour Grapes 2.0, ignoring Ralph’s pleas.

Hello, world. I’m still in the thick of grading, and so I’ve been studiously ignoring Ralph’s pleas to post to a certain “group blog,” on which I am ostensibly a “contributor.” Even more studiously than usual, I mean.

But this just came across the transom, and it seems like the sort of thing that everybody is about to know about very soon (where “everybody” means “that weird and tiny subset of people who knows and cares about the academic job market”) . Or maybe those of you on the job market know about it already, but it was news to me: the Academic Careers Wiki. Who is interviewing, who is hiring, who has sent out rejection letters, who got rejected by their candidates, and who got the job you didn’t get. This is not H-Net. This is not where you go to find out what jobs you ought to apply for. It is where you go after you’ve applied, in order to vent, fret, dig up dirt, preen, spill beans, share gossip, and find out why oh why they didn’t choose you.

This strikes me as possibly frightening to some and addictive to others. You might have to dig around the wiki a bit to get a feel for why. Here’s the list of current U.S. History searches. Scroll down to the University of Chicago’s 19th Century search to see how much detail some of these entries go into. Here’s a page linking to all the current History searches. All in the fluid, caveat lector, “nobody’s in charge here” state that is essential to the Wiki format.

What happens when you harness the collective gossip power / angst / desperation of thousands of job-hungry PhDs? When you take the kind of post-rejection Kremlinology and sour grapes that we all engage(d) in during our job hunts and wiki-fy it? It is, potentially, a lot more powerful than wistful First Person columns in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. There’s room for all sorts of hurt feelings here, not to mention breaches of confidentiality and professional conduct. But there’s also potential to shine some badly-needed light on a process often conducted in conditions of extreme ignorance and fear. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” said Louis Brandeis. Let the sun shine in.

Cross-posted from Old is the New New. Comments welcome.
robotnik2004: (Default)
I am not getting enough sleep.


Feb. 11th, 2004 08:35 am
robotnik2004: (Default)
Thanks for all the chatter yesterday, team. Happiness is a big pile of LJ comments (well, within reason). It's almost like actual human interaction! Almost, but not quite, so the advice on actually getting to see one's spouse and the pleas for other social interaction were well received. Those of you in the area: we absolutely should do some more social stuff soon, whether in a big pod or smaller groups. Those of you farther afield: well, I hope I get to see some of you before too long. Talk to whatever university is nearest you and get them to invite me for some interviews.

Lots to be stressed about today, I'm afraid. Stiff upper lip, wot? See you on the other side.
robotnik2004: (Default)
"And down the stretch they come!" [/david letterman]
All extremities are crossed and ESPs of encouragement are beaming out to [ profile] peaseblossom, [ profile] jeregenest, and [ profile] dreamsanon, all of whom are expecting babies! babies! babies! in the next few days. Well, just two babies between the three of them, but it's still a big deal.

Names Pregnant Friends of Mine Have Given Their Unborn Babies:
  • The Lump
  • The Belly
  • The Wombat
  • Feetla
  • Mbobo
  • Rob Schneider
  • Seabiscuit
  • Mysterio
Pregnant people are weird.

"The waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!"
I'm playing a waiting game of my own after umpteen job interviews, from whom I could be hearing yay or nay any day. In the past I often didn't answer the phone when I was working, but now I leap up and bound across the room like Pavlov's dog every time it rings—I've talked to more damn telemarketers this month than over the previous year. I also leap up when the mailman comes, but letters are usually bad news. I've been getting a rejection letter pretty much every day since December. The American ones have mostly dried up now, but the Canadian rejection letters are starting to trickle in. It's no big deal, you send out a lot of CVs, you get a lot of rejections. But they do wear you down after a while, just a little blow to the ego in the middle of each afternoon.
robotnik2004: (Default)
[ profile] wordwolf reports that the Ivory Tower has lost another gentleman and scholar to the Hosts of Mordor. I sympathize. In fact, my very own words have in the past pushed people out of academia and into law school. "The academic life rules; academic jobs are a dead end," WW writes. Very true, on both counts. Best wishes to Phil, and to the guy I helped talk into taking the Blue Pill. He seems to be bored in his classes but otherwise doing well. Read more... )
robotnik2004: (Default)
I've been virtually silent the last few weeks, on email, LJ, and all the usual time-wasting suspects. All summer I've been a hermit, terrible at keeping in touch with my family and friends, even many local ones. (One exception: that @#%! Unknown USA Wiki. Like the Pinkertons, our geeky obsession-addictions never sleep.) Thank you for your patience and my apologies to all. There are two related reasons for this hermitude. One is that I've been working like crazy, the other is that since late July I've been suffering from pretty gnarly RSI.

Ah. But. Come close now. Whisper it...

Today I finished writing a draft of my dissertation.

Now, a lot of it is a mess, and I have a ton of revising to do, and I don't have an introduction or a conclusion yet, and how come it took me this long anyway, and, and, and, all the typical weaselly disclaimers. Nevertheless! This is a milestone and a very nice birthday present to myself. Saying "I'm revising my dissertation" puts me in a very different headspace than "I'm writing my dissertation."

I'm probably going to take off in the next couple of days to Canada for a week or so, both Wolf Lake and Toronto. More details soon.

Happy Birthday to me!
robotnik2004: (Default)
Strange weekend: I had boss fun stuff to do each evening—Fountains of Wayne show last night, dinner with my buddy Sean (visiting from the west coast for all of about four hours) the night before, also a dinner party tonight—but each day, all day, was spent writing fellowship applications, a task I find absolutely excruciating. I've now rewritten an eight-page application, no lie, about thirty times. I think iteration 7 or so might have been pretty good. Iterations 23 and up are, not surprisingly, incomprehensible grue.


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