Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yeah, I AM a sore loser!!

Yeah, my degree is "stale" (I prefer "classic"); yeah, I'm not "energetic!!", but I'd be perfectly capable of filling one of the 700 jobs that the Cal State system will open.

But I ain't gonna do it.

Just heard that a surfing buddy of the dept chair got the job at a local community college. There were 130 applicants.

And then this bit of bragging from the article:
"Still, the university [Cal Poly San Luis Obispo] didn't do poorly: The newcomers (who will make between $65,000 and $70,000 to start) include a microbiologist with a PhD and a medical degree from Cornell, a postdoctoral biochemist from Stanford and Derik Frantz, who earned a PhD from the University of Zurich and currently is a postdoctoral scholar at MIT."

I don't surf, haven't been to Zurich, and I'm busy finding another career.

-- Krabby Kathy


  1. Hey Krabby, thanks for sending this in. I hope your next post has better news.

    Hiring a bunch of TT faculty is a man-bites-dog story these days. Hope they find one for you next time.

  2. Are they, in fact, hiring a bunch of TT faculty? I couldn't tell for sure, since there seemed to be an unacknowledged slippage between "full time" and "tenure track" in the article. As a member of the growing ranks of full-time but non-tenure-track faculty (which might or might not be a bad thing if we were paid more than TT faculty, to make up for the lesser degree of job security, but of course we aren't; we're paid less), I found myself wondering. My guess: the jobs are tenure-track in the fields where they need to be as a "sweetener" (i.e. those fields where Ph.D.s do, indeed, move easily and often between academia and closely related industry jobs), and non-tenure-track (and undoubtedly lower-paid) in the areas where they don't need to be (i.e. the humanities and the more people-oriented social sciences). And I suspect they'll still have trouble holding on to some of their more impressively-credentialed hires in the long run (CA is, indeed, nice, but it's also expensive, and the economy has got to improve on of these days). However, given the fact that most unis are still merrily pumping out Ph.D.s as if this sort of hiring binge happened every year, looking for alternatives sounds wise to me.

  3. If it's any consolation, all three of the rising stars you mention are in for some nasty culture shock. The average Cal State graduate writes at what was 9th-grade level a generation ago: virtually none can pull their weight in a science lab. Oh, there are rare good students who attend Cal State universities out of economic necessity: what REALLY hurts is to watch them learn dysfunctional behaviors from the vast majority. As I advised Bison (who I believe may be a chemist): getting a TT job these days increasingly feels like winning the booby prize. Often, I wonder whether Meg Whitman was right.

  4. Some wag once said it's not what you know but who you know. Getting a half-decent job, especially nowadays, is largely dependent on one's connections. Time and again over the years, I've seen people who were inept, untalented, or even outright lazy get the prime positions, the best projects, and, often, the highest raises. They accomplished that because they knew the "right" managers, successfully cozied up to them, or somehow managed to dazzle the interviewers.

    Why should academe be any different?