The tipping point came for yours truly last summer. As I faced yet another season of the academic job search – applying for anything that fit my qualifications, perhaps scrambling for an adjunct position near where I live – I simply said that’s enough. I’m on my own. We all know the near hopeless status of the academic job market: zillions of qualified candidates (and more getting pumped through the system every year) for a mere handful of tenure-track positions, the dismal and poverty-stricken life of the adjunct, and the overall suckiness of rejection. So there is really no point in rehashing what prospective professors have been complaining about for years. These are simply the facts. And we all know it. The system has failed.
So I call for a revolutionary measure. Reject the academic job market. Do NOT apply. Do NOT accept an adjunct position (unless of course, you enjoy earning 24K a year). And most important, do NOT try to be the catalyst of change within the existing institution. There comes a time when we must admit that trying to “fix” a broken system is along the lines of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. So don’t bother.
Here is my advice: become an independent scholar and do what you love. Do you need to pay the bills? Then funnel that energy, creativity, and skill toward a position outside of the conventional job track. Think about making your own way. For God’s sake – you have a freakin’ Ph.D., which should indicate that you are a reasonably intelligent person. Do it. And don’t stop.
This is my micro-manifesto. To convention I offer the proverbial middle finger and ask that others rally to my banner. I know that I am not alone – and that many of you have experienced my frustrations and are tired of the associated bitterness. I am happily over it. And I hope that you will be too. Join the revolution.
With compliments and hasta la victoria siempre!