A Joke About the Academic Job Market

Members of an academic search committee are staring at a huge pile of job applications. The committee chair grabs half of the applications and tosses them into the trash can.

“What did you do that for?” asks one of the members.

“Well, we don’t need any unlucky folks at our department, do we?” explains the chair.


A Lousy Script

In a new twist that shocks exactly nobody, CNN reports that the MAGA attack on Jussie Smollett was a hoax:

Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that Chicago Police believe actor Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month. . . Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. . . One of the men has appeared on “Empire,” Guglielmi said. A police source also told CNN on Friday night that the men had a previous affiliation with Smollett, but did not provide additional details.

The story was ridiculous from the start. Smollett might be an actor but as a scriptwriter he’s no good.

Smartphone Strategy

I mentioned to a group of colleagues that I’m addicted to my phone. One colleague (who never met me before and didn’t know any better) immediately got didactic and said I should do it the way she does: turn the phone off the second I get to work and only turn it back on when I get back home.

I said that protecting my work life at the expense of my home life is not what I want to do. My strategy is the exact opposite. The phone is a way to compensate for the unpleasant realities of my work day. My family, however, is barely conscious I have the blasted thing.

It was the strangest suggestion I could have imagined in this situation, especially since we control our own time in our jobs.

Practicalities of Minimum Wage

Somebody at work asked an important question about minimum wage. Here it is.

The minimum wage goes up to $15 per hour. This means the yearly salary of a minimum wage worker at our school is $31,200. Our office managers, all of whom have college degrees and pass the civil service exam, make $25,000 per year. Which will be significantly less than what an uneducated minimum wage worker at the same school makes.

Moreover, our professors – actual professors with PhDs – start with the salary of $42,000.

Given that we are a university, how can we convince our prospective students that college makes sense if we are paying our minimum-wage workers (98% of whom are our own students) a lot more money before they get a degree than we would pay them after they get a degree?

Yet another question is what vile evildoer comes up with all these idiotic innovations that make us pay bumbling 18-year-olds more money for updating their Instagram feed while “working” at the lab than people with Master’s degrees who make entire departments function? (Obviously nobody will pay this money to the 18-year-olds. They will be fired and the MA holders who get the same old $25,000 per year will mind the lab on top of their other duties. Thank you, Governor Rauner who saddled us with the preposterous minimum wage increase).

P.S. Anybody who mentions that the $25,000 workers and professors get benefits which compensate for lower pay will be banned from the blog immediately for not keeping track of how the same Mr Rauner who saddled us with the stupid minimum wage increase destroyed our benefits. It’s an extremely sore point with me and I can’t deal with any whataboutism on this subject. I literally flow off my handle and start spouting abuse when people mention benefits in the context of my job.

The Saddest FB Post

This is a real post somebody really left on an FB parenting page. For real. Pay attention to the last sentence:

I’m looking for some phrasing to use to say to any parents during play dates that we don’t have my son play fort nite. I want it to come across in a non-judgemental way, quick and move on and not have it damage any new friendship or impact any current friendship. We actually don’t play any video games.
Thanks for your help. My son is 5 1/2.

It makes my blood run cold in terror that this should be an issue at five.

The post is followed by an enormous number of comments where parents say they have the same problem.


How often do we find ourselves in this position? You’ve worked incredibly hard on something, only to discover that it leaves you feeling empty. You compensate by working even harder. Why does this happen?

It doesn’t happen to me. I don’t always work all that hard but I do know exactly what I want. I don’t put that much effort into things I want (I’m heavily into resting and unwinding) but if I do make an effort, it’s definitely going to be something that I know I need and will enjoy.

People lack in self-awareness to an extreme degree.

Over Nothing

When Obama broke all the campaign promises and more and more troops were sent to the Middle East, when nobody was punished for the ridiculous financial shenanigans that got us the Recession, when Obama kept sending drones to kill people, including US citizens – when all of this took place, the wailing from the media was absolutely nothing like we are seeing right now over a construction project that, at worst, won’t change much and will leave things as they are. Or what we have been seeing over every silly tweet or every smirking boy.

This isn’t about Obama specifically. Our former Governor Rauner did horrible things that actually hurt people and were definitely a lot worse than the smirking boy. But the story wasn’t even remotely covered by the media. Journalists will cover absolutely any ridiculousness, any inanity, any non-issue and wail and rend their clothes over nothing whatsoever to express, for the billionth time, that a president who, objectively, hasn’t done one hundredth of really bad shit Obama and Bush did, is evil incarnate.

Have you considered why they are so hot and bothered over the wall or the smirk or the tweets and cared nothing about punishing those who caused Recession or any of these other much more important things? These are people who are consciously trying to rile us up and get us to hate each other over nothing. Nothing.

Have you wondered who benefits from all this?