Your Go-To Source to Get Really Depressed about Jobs in Academia

Yesterday I wrote a post that linked to Sarah Kendzior’s recent online article “The Closing of American Academia.” In that article, Kendzior lays out the rather unsettling realities of academic jobs in the humanities.

Today she follows up with a post, “The Conversation Continues,” that outlines the various conversations that have spun off of her article, including mine. She also provides a link to the daily online publication Inside Higher Ed, which has a comprehensive report on the working conditions of adjunct faculty (which, as you recall, makes up about 2/3 of all college and university faculty).

Don’t expect a pick-me-up from this report. It functions more as a “how to be depressed” manual for those on the job market.

The links Kendzior provides are good resources looking further in to this very big problem. You also might want to look at an earlier post by Kendzior, that followed immediately form her article.

Budding and seasoned academics alike owe it to themselves to be on the cutting edge of this discussion.

For my own take on how aspiring Christian academics can look at all this, see here.



  • toddh

    Well, it all is depressing, but it’s stuff I wish I had realized before I pursued a Ph.D. I don’t regret it, but I wish that I had had a realistic view of the way things would be afterwards. So, thanks for posting this stuff for those about to head down that path.

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  • Nathan

    As a current grad student, this is very depressing, but here is my perspective. If I can’t get a decent job or well-paid post-doc after graduating, then I will simply move on to something else. Hopeful academics need to just refuse to fall into the adjunct trap and be willing to kiss academia goodbye if they fail to land a job soon after graduation.

  • Jason Riley

    Over the past several months, I have read several blog posts and articles (a good many of them linked from this blog) which lament the harsh and dismal conditions of those in academia, and provide a caveat to those who desire to enter the field. All of this rhetoric probably has a good deal of truth to it, and people should consider long and hard if professional teaching and researching is what they truly want to do. But what I think should be considered is that teaching has never been a profitable career choice, and those who have dedicated their lives to biblical studies have rarely “had it made” when it comes to getting a job. I just recently read Cyrus Gordon’s short autobiography. Gordon was a phenomenal scholar who had the training, experience, and publications to, one would assume, land any job he wanted. The fact is that it took a good ten years (or so) for Gordon to even get a full-time, tenured position. He floated from fellowship to fellowship, from school to school, from archaeological dig to archaeological dig, and even spent time serving on active duty in the military through all of this. If Cyrus Gordon didn’t have it easy, then none of us will. And we should take comfort in this, because it means that all of this lamenting and bemoaning the harsh conditions is exactly how its always been, and exactly how it should be. As a Marine officer, and a current ANE focused Phd student, I’ve never had it easy and probably never will. Those of us who have made it through the rigorous training to become Marines only went on to continue more rigorous training to make us into infantry officers (or whatever other jobs individuals went into), only to go on and endure even more rigorous training in preparation to deploy, only to endure the harsh conditions of deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Certainly there have been some very blissful moments as a Marine, moments bordering on the sublime. And sure, there are certainly scholars who easily received endowed chairs immediately after taking their PhD. But the rest should take to heart that this is no easy field to succeed in; it never has been, and it shouldn’t be. Those who fear, should consider whether this is really for them.