Thursday, August 12, 2004

Academic Follies

I have now been done with my dissertation for five months. It will be at least another two months before my viva. In the meantime I have been applying for jobs and flogging my dissertation to publishers. The first front has not been very productive. I am still waiting to hear for four jobs in North America that start in September. I have the distinct feeling they are not even going to send me courtesy rejections. The book front is a lot more promising. I just sent the ms to a publisher in Reading. Of course a small publisher can put out 70 titles a year where as a big university is only going to hire one historian dealing with the Soviet Orient at the most. Which explains why I guy like me whose employment experience is confined mostly to serving coffee has two academic books out and a third on the way. Universities say they want faculty who publish, but from my standpoint I see no evidence that this is the case. I have a lot of publications. In fact most lecturers I know have far fewer. In truth I am told by insiders that lots of publications can hurt you. Nobody wants to hire somebody more proficient than themselves. At least if I go back to serving coffee they will have to call me Dr.

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