THREE DECADES

Well, goodbye to the twenties. I feel about having lived for 30 years the way Mark Twain described a trip to the falls in "Niagara":

You can descend a staircase here a hundred and fifty feet down, and stand at the edge of the water. After you have done it, you will wonder why you did it; but you will then be too late.

Given my epic fail on the academic job market I am starting to wonder what, exactly, I have to show for the twenties. I mean, other than a profane blog.

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6 Responses to “THREE DECADES”

  1. B. Freret Says:

    Happy Birthday (again), and please know that this profane blog is a remarkable achievement for your twenties. Sure, you probably expected more, but consider how much better off we are as a result of the blog alone. So, no matter how ancient, and how much of a failure on the job market you are, we love you, Ed. And that isn't just the gin talking.

  2. Heqit Says:

    Yeah, but it's a damn good profane blog. Happy Birthday!

  3. Shane Says:

    I think it is fairly early to be too pessimistic about the job market. A few places I interviewed did not even make first contact till mid to late november.

  4. Matt Says:

    Yeah, hopefully as the boomer profs retire, there will be more positions. Don't give up, and be proud of this blog – I look forward to reading it every morning. Oh, and happy birthday!

  5. Patti Says:

    At least you have a reason for not accomplishing much in your 20s… attending grad school. It's the schmucks like me who are the real sad, pathetic losers. Please don't take this away from us. Some of us don't even have a profane blog, and have to envy yours.

  6. J. Dryden Says:

    If I may offer words of encouragement from someone who made it to the other side of the flaming moat (i.e., I got a tenure track job last year): the job market is simultaneously the cruellest goddamned thing in the world and, if not the kindest, then at least the fairest.

    It is 'fair' in the sense that a roulette wheel is fair–it bitch-slaps all comers with impassive even-handedness. All jobseekers are the same in terms of its evaluations. It does not reward brilliance, talent, achievement, or any of the qualities that make good teachers or scholars. None of them make the least little bit of difference. Mediocre asshats get great jobs because equally mediocre asshats make gut decisions that exclude smart, creative people for reasons like "he's too intense" or "she just doesn't 'click,' you know"? It's exhausting bullshit and it punishes you severely and that's that.

    But.

    Like a roulette wheel, it will eventually pay off. You gamble your time, and often lose. But your long-term odds are quite good. The market rewards perseverance, and nothing else. That is shit news, I know–I fucking *hated* hearing it, and I'm actually wincing with sympathetic pain as I see the words I'm typing right now. But what I will stress is that you *will* make it, so long as you keep at it. Not this year, maybe not next, but you *will* make it.

    Seriously.

    No, *seriously*.