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Things That Might Hinder Your Career, Part Eleventy

January 10, 2014, 9:25 am

One of the standard questions for candidates at the end of a conference interview is: “Do you have any questions for us?” Which of the following do you think job candidates ask most rarely?

  • Will you tie me up?
  • Do you spank in your department before tenure?
  • Is that the PMLA in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
  • All of the above.

From today’s Vitae, we see that some a$$hat put an ad on Craig’s List for power exchange interview sex at the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago this weekend. Now he is sorry because, shockingly, people thought it was inappropriate. Indeed, one wonders if college presidents will withdraw their support for the MLA until their members go back to hooking up in the Milton cash bar like they used to do. To excerpt:

50 Shades of MLA: The Scholar Who Sought Role Play on Craigslist Is Really Sorry

“MLA interviews, fraught with tension, can also be thick with eroticism,” he writes. [Yes, we have all read Jane Gallop, but we can't all be Jane Gallop, can we?] “As a veteran of many (and a current job candidate), I’d like to indulge in a little stress-relief fantasy role-play at this year’s conference. I propose to play interviewee to your interviewer.” [Because there's nothing that says "I'm ready for new intellectual and professional challenges" than rehearsing how you will have sex with your senior colleagues.]

The author, who identifies himself as a 37-year-old assistant professor, then helpfully goes on to detail exactly how this scenario should play out. (Yes, his tenure status was noted. Because if you’re looking on Craigslist for a booty call, you’ll want someone with job security.) [And a good lawyer.]

“I will arrive at your MLA hotel room, in my interview suit, ready to discuss my research, my place in my field, my theoretical approaches, my teaching methods, etc.,” he writes. [While you are at it, offer me a light caning.] “You ask me the appropriate questions and listen, interrupt, challenge, acting as a typical faculty member of a hiring committee. [Who is also an irresponsible, sexist horndoggy.] You explain that your colleagues are respectively ill in bed and unable to attend because of personal obligations, but, yes, you are authorized to advance my candidacy.” [The condoms are in a bowl in the bathroom.]

So one of the things I wonder about this is how it feels, as a job candidate in a bad market, to see a really fraught process being trivialized on Craig’s List as a conference sex scene. I also wonder, for those of you who are actually interviewing people at MLA: when guys who fit the description walk into the room, do you ask yourself: OMG, is that him?

Commenters: how does a sexual harassment fantasy as an interview power exchange scene, played out at an actual conference where interviews are taking place, strike you? Does f^cking your way into a job seem different for women than for men – and does it matter that the sex candidate fictional job applicant is offering to top or bottom? If you are one of this man’s colleagues, would you suggest that he take the sexual harassment training again? The anonymous poster has offered an online apology: is that enough? Should we just drop it? I am particularly interested in hearing from those of you who have been sexually or racially harassed in a conference or campus interview.

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