Category Archives: the job fairy is smiling

December 31, 2011, 1:51 pm

Living In The Middle; Or, What I Learned At My First Job

Today is the day I go off the payroll of Zenith University, the institution that gave me my first job. Tomorrow I officially go on the payroll of another university in Metropolis, the city where I went to graduate school.  If all goes well, we will move in mid-summer.

OK, so Zenith wasn’t actually my first job.  I had a fair amount of work experience before I began my twenty years there in July 1991. Prior employment included: aluminum can recycling; substitute receptionist at Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate; popcorn stand attendant at a neighborhood movie house (the summer Jaws was released, no less); stringer for the Hartford Courant; administrative assistant and general dogsbody at a boutique public relations firm; writer/editor at an advertising agency; bicycle messenger; teaching assistant, research assistant, assistant to the Dean of the College; proofreader at the SoHo

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November 27, 2011, 11:29 am

Even More Annals of the Great Depression: A Job Market Carnival

It’s the last day of Thanksgiving break, which means the job season (for what it is worth) is about to go into high gear. Longtime Readers of the Radical will recall that one of my early posting categories was the job market (tag lines also include “the job fairy,” “the job fairy is not smiling” and “the job fairy is smiling.”) When I began this blog, it is quite possible that I had served on and/or chaired more searches than almost anyone my age. (more…)

September 10, 2010, 11:56 am

Ask the Radical: A Young Historian Seeks Advice On Overcoming Obstacles

A SLAC graduate in the midst of a prestigious PhD program in history asks us for advice, dear readers:

I write to you today with a very elderly cat sleeping next to me (she’s 18, it’s kind of ridiculous) and thoughts of the job market and my ability to provide food for the very elderly cat foremost in my mind. What I’ve been wondering, lately, is what I’m supposed to do with the knowledge BOTH that the job market is very bad AND that, as it happens, a graduate program is probably the best place for me right now.

(Brief aside: I say this not because I’m Special and Being A Historian Is What I Was Meant To Do, but because, in practical terms, it’s true. It’s sort of weird to tell a stranger this, but the flexibility inherent in graduate school–the ability to disappear for months at a
time and still have money to pay [most] bills has been vital. My parents are both dead and I am solely…

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August 3, 2010, 2:01 pm

The Seductions Of Sedan Delivery; Or, Writing Your Own Academic Job Description


It’s difficult to think about it while we still have three to four precious weeks of summer left. But on behalf of all the people who will begin full time teaching in the fall, I ask you to conjure — for a second — a week in mid-semester. Feel the pain as you stay up half the night to grade your papers! Experience the fear as you go into class half prepared! Recall being fatally short of sleep as you sit, dazed, through yet another search committee meeting, having driven yourself unsparingly through 100 applicant files the day before! Conjure the self-righteousness and hypocrisy, as you lecture yet another student that s/he could get hir work in on time if only s/he would get organized!

Yeah, baby. The problem is, there is almost no one I know in academia who has a job description that would give them a reasonable sense of where a professor’s job begins and ends. Couple this …

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April 25, 2010, 8:43 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: White Men Do The Right Thing, California Dreamin’ and Asian American Studies Fun

Department of Southern Discomfort: Think what fraternities could accomplish if they wanted to. The Kappa Alpha Order (“inspired by Robert E. Lee,” says the Associated Press) has recently banned its members from wearing Confederate uniforms to “Old South” parties. Such parties are a tradition that has ended on many campuses already because of protests about the uniforms. KA acknowledges that Confederate dress may be a “tradition” but that it’s a tradition that is hurtful to those students who perceive it as a celebration of slavery.

“The decision, announced in an internal memo posted on the group’s website, followed a flap last year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where a black sorority complained after a KA parade stopped in front of its house on campus. KA members were dressed in the gray uniforms of Confederate officers, and young women wore hoop skirts,” writes the AP’s …

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