Let’s Give Friendly Advice to a Young Astrophysicist

The following letter was published in Inside Higher Ed:

I’ve been doing research on how to become a professor, and I’ve stumbled across your blog. I’m almost done with a B.S. in Astrophysics, and I know I essentially need a PhD in order to have a real chance to be hired at any college/university. My main concern is that when I finish my PhD in a few years, there won’t be any jobs at a community college (currently my goal, as I love my tutoring job more than I believe I will ever love research) that will hire a white male physicist with no post-doc, and a degree from a school barely in the top 50. And if I do land a job, how much ‘playing the game’, as my IT major roommate put it, do I have to do? Is it purely based on how well I teach, or is there a degree of sucking up to the boss and being ‘overtly sophisticated at a luncheon’, as an example of how my roommate explained he would have to play the game is his field. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not asking if I can be a jerk and expect to keep my job. I just want to know how to get a job as a CC professor and keep it.

My friendly advice: just grow the fuck up, you little fool.  Any other suggestions are welcome.