Re: Grad Students and Jobs, among other thin

Michael Forstadt (forstadt@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU)
Thu, 9 Jun 1994 07:37:03 -0400

>No one at all mentioned how difficult it was to get work
>when I was an Undergrad. I have found out through meeting various people
>here and there. They don't prepare us for this at all in school or inform
>us of possibilities in the business world for Anthro PhDs either.

Regarding Read's questions and the answers of others, I would like to
point out that there is a diversity of opinion and knowledge on the part
of new graduate students. Sure, as an undergraduate in the mid-1980s I
was told that positions may be opening up as the 60s generation of PhDs
retire. But most of the professors I talked to then were very
discouraging about job prospects, and everyone seemed to know that
newly-vacated positions would often be allowed to freeze due to lack of

I entered my current PhD program with no illusions about job prospects.
Of course I applied to a number of programs and picked the one that I
thought would give me the best training in my particular sub-field. But I
recognized that my chances for getting a job at the end were not enhanced
by my choice of graduate schools. I must say, however, that I WAS TRULY
SHOCKED to find out that many entering students simply assumed that they
could get a job and were in fact angry when they discovered that this was
not the case. They have no one to blame except themselves. I find it hard
to understand who can make such a tremendous commitment without doing
their homework first and realizing exactly what they are getting into.

As an archaeologist, I feel luckier than others. I have made sure to
build up extensive experience in CRM (contract archaeology), and I feel
confident that I can secure a CRM position in the likely event that I
can't get an academic appointment. We all have to do what it takes to
make ourselves marketable (and not every hopeful grad student I know is
willing to make this effort), and there is nothing wrong with being
confident of success at the end. When confidence dies, so does our chance
of success.
Mike Forstadt
Department of Anthropology
Harvard University