brief nostalgic aside

I’m Leechblocked from the Scatterplot archives here at work, so I can’t link to old posts, but: does anyone remember those halcyon early days of the financial crisis, when a person could wonder about whether the economy would have adverse effects for sociology’s assistant professor job market? Who knew a few months later one would hear about tenure-track assistant professors worrying about whether they are going to be laid off?

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

5 thoughts on “brief nostalgic aside”

  1. Despite being completely optimistic about my future career as recently as Christmas, I now have near daily panic attacks about getting laid off instead of getting renewed at the end of this year.


  2. So far the powers that be have assured me that no tenure-track faculty will be laid off (just lots of our staff, making our jobs a lot harder. Awesome). But here are things my department head has recently told me (see if you can spot the contradiction): (1) Our teaching loads may go up, because adjuncts are being laid off; (2) When I go up for tenure, teaching really only counts for 20% or less (even though it is officially 40% of my position and, let’s face it, already takes significantly more of my time).

    Along these same lines, the president and provost are telling us: (1) We should not be so mad at the administration because they are doing an amazing job getting our faculty:student ratio down; and (2) We may have to take on more teaching responsibilities just like professors did during the Great Depression. I don’t even know if that last statement is true, but that’s the line we got.

    I swear, for an engineering school, this place is surprisingly lacking in the logic department.


  3. Dudes…at least you all GOT jobs before the market crashed, which is more than I can say for myself.

    Also, Obama just announced he’s throwing 150 billion toward education….the biggest investment since WWII. Usually universities are counter-cyclical, because when the market is bad people stampede back into undergrad and post-undergrad ed. Hopefully that trend, plus this big new stimulus package, plus extra aid to shore up the state governments, plus a stabilizing stock market (well, let’s hope it stabilizes) will help the higher education job market recover.

    Anyway, everyone needs to stop freaking out about this because you all are freaking me out and I don’t need to freak out any worse right now. I will have a heart attack. I will.


  4. I think Violet Vulgara makes an important and serious point. I just listened to the great and powerful R. Jay Turner explain how powerfully negative the impact of major stress can be on our health.

    I have suggested to students on the market (or in the ’09 cycle) that they ask senior members of their sub-discipline/s for advice on how to manage this situation (since there have been “weak” markets in the last 20 years, even if not in the last 4). Especially those students staying on in their graduate departments for extra (and unexpected) time and/or those who will graduate but live off piecework until next year’s market starts up…what should they do? What work habits will work in this situation? How do they compensate for the resources they lose by (1) teaching more than is otherwise wise, or (2) having no institutional affiliation for a year or more? Can I make a respectful call for another Ask A Scatterbrain, topic: Surviving and thriving until the next market cycle?


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