Precious few people, even in times of plenty, are offered jobs they really want, at least not straight out of graduate school. This means they’ll have to move to a place they don’t want to move. Or they’ll have to work at an institution that bears little resemblance to the temple of knowledge they associate with higher education. Because, after all, few people get jobs at schools like the ones where they received their BAs or PhDs. The conditions of employment, in other words, aren’t great in most instances: perhaps too much teaching, sometimes in fields distant from one’s area of expertise; perhaps low pay, sometimes not enough to buy a house or cover the cost of living in one’s new hometown; perhaps a grim work environment, sometimes peopled by unruly colleagues, hostile administrators, and intellectually indifferent students. And finally, the realization that this is it, that thisis what all the fuss was about.It's a rather bleak post, but one nonetheless worth reading. Personally, I'd direct these comments more at those considering going to graduate school in the first place. Academia is a wonderful line of work, but it really isn't for everyone. I really don't recommend graduate school for those who aren't really sure what they want to do but just know they want a few more letters at the end of their names. There's much to like about graduate school -- you get to spend your days learning interesting things and talking and arguing with folks about issues that matter to you, and you can do a lot of it while drinking either beer or coffee -- but you subsist on very little money and your future, as Ari notes, is profoundly uncertain. It can be tough on marriages, too, as spouses often like to know where they're going to be living and when the money will start coming in. Finally, years spent in graduate school are years that could be spent actually earning money or learning skills or establishing oneself in a field.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Courtesy of Ari:
Posted by Seth Masket at 4/17/2009 04:44:00 PM