Re: Grad Students and Jobs, among other thin

wilkr (wilkr@INDIANA.EDU)
Thu, 9 Jun 1994 10:52:21 -0600

It is possible to be misled about employment in the other direction. As
a graduate student, one of my advisers took me aside for a "fatherly"
talk. He said that while the most talented students might be able to get
jobs in large research-oriented anthropology departments, I was not in
this group, and I should start looking towards teaching in a community
college, or maybe some of those top high schools that hire PhDs. Later,
when I was on the job market and I stupidly still listed him as a
referee, I found out that he had been writing letters of recommendation
for me with the same message, for four years of my job search!

Today I do teach in such a department, and smile when I think of his
"advice" - especially since even as a graduate student I was publishing
more than him!

But we have been talking job quantity here, when quality is an important
issue too. The QUALITY of academic life has diminished perceptably, just
in my short time in a tenure-track/tenured position. In my opinion, the
life that my teachers lived is gone. Having been in both applied and
academic worlds I think that the difference in actual job quality
between the two is narrowing - quality measured in terms of autonomy,
intellectual stimulation, lintellectual life. The MONETARY quality has
never been close - after tenure and promotion, I STILL do not make as
much money as I did as an applied anthropologist ten years ago!

Rick Wilk

PS Our department is starting a "professionalization" seminar this fall
for graduate students to cover many of these issues - jobs, grants,
funding, etc.. Our students asked for it. I encourage other departments
to look at this option.