The Job Market: What People Are Saying

So I’ve been checking out the PhD support boards, of which you are hopefully a member … if not, join already at www.phinished.org, and connect with people on our journey.  I was curious about the post with the greatest number of views and replies.

By far, and I mean, by tenfold in many cases, it was about the job market.  The post is up and is titled, “Has the market changed so much, or did I have the wrong idea in the first place?”  My gut reaction to this title is that the author had the wrong idea in the first place if what she would like to do is teach college students.  Before I clicked on the post, I did not know if that was her plan, but my impression is that many people working on this degree are looking to teach college students.

The reason I believe this is that, while there may be many positions in faculty teaching, when I look closely, the degree or background required can be rather specialized.  For example, there is a posting now in my city’s major university for an instructor in nanomaterials.  If you have a more general degree, there may be more demand, but also much more supply.  In addition, a large percentage of teaching positions in post-secondary schools are awarded to adjunct instructors who often hold a Master’s degree only.

However, the thread of the discussion turned out to be the hiring practices of universities and failure to conduct a nationwide search for many positions.  People are working hard to be the top candidate, but in several cases a Dean’s favorite or someone’s spouse has the open position.  So there is a pool of resentment and disgruntled, temporary lecturers.  If you are in that boat, you have company.

Either way, feel free to share your story here.  Of course, anonymously!  I have been in this situation personally, but it was at a private university, so the same rules are not in place.  For me, the best thing is to have support in the teaching role itself because I tend toward optimism in future opportunities, wherever they may fall.

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