Monday, February 06, 2006

Suckers' Game?

Don't read this article [via] in spite of its wicked intro
In the worldwide suckers' market, gamblers are the only people who are slower to learn than young adults with master's degrees
It contains a whole host of errors including
  • Almost every grad student entering the market in the last fifteen years has known full well how competitive the hiring situation is
  • every student entering graduate school has been told at least once "do it because you want to, not for the money"; many of them have actually given up "better" careers to study
  • "failing" to get tenure (which appears to be the only metric of success for the author) in academia often results in higher-paying careers elsewhere because, contrary to the author's dumb stereotype, most humanities Ph.D.s have significant transferable skills
  • entering faculty are often paid, relative to their experience, better than their tenured colleagues -- this is called "salary compression" and comes from annual raises that have not kept pace with entry-level salaries
  • community colleges can be excellent places to have a rewarding teaching career; so can secondary schools, etc.
  • there's more to life than tenure and high salaries; some of us are more curious than acquisitive
  • There's a highly segmented market, even in "the humanities" with most hires yielding between 25 and 200 applications (not "2000")
That's just the first read-through. I don't have the inclination to read it again. You've been warned.

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