October 14, 2005
The new academic year will reliably bring with it nationwide observance of what is possibly the least rewarding and reliable of all academic rituals — the job talk. If you have not received the typical invitation yourself, you will know someone who has: "Make it short. Make it informal. It's just a way for us to get to know you." I tell graduate students and colleagues not to believe a word of that. Instead of the promised casual reception, your job talk will be parsed ferociously.