Baker Academic

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Happens After the PhD? - Le Donne

This is my once a month discouragement to all those who are considering PhDs. A few highlights:

Fact: "76 percent of teachers in colleges and universities are what the organization calls “contingent,” meaning full-time faculty members who are off the secure and relatively well-paid tenure track or part-timers (often known as adjuncts) and graduate students."

Truth: “There are PhD's working as adjuncts and living in poverty, on food stamps, etc.,”

My reaction: "That sounds about right."

-anthony

11 comments:

  1. This is a sad statistic but I completely believe it. I was a long-term adjunct (five full academic years) and was in the job cycle for three full calendar years after completing the Ph.D. I have many more friends who still don't have a job. It's a stark reality that the intoxicating years of hope and anticipation during doctoral study are often followed by long stretches in the wilderness of despair.

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  2. Just in time for the April 15th deadline to accept or decline PhD offers. Nice. ;)

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  3. The real shame of some of these situations is when someone has a solid job, does what his or her employer asks him or her to do, and then gets fired for delivering.

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  4. I'm not sure I can say what "the" one real shame is, but I would add that many of these people have graduated with crushing student debt. Big loans to get a degree, then that degree doesn't get you the job you had hoped for (at least, not right away). Plus, many of these people have a spouse and/or children who would like, I dunno . . . food. Or shelter. I always tell people, Do NOT go into debt for an advanced degree in Bible, religion, theology, history . . . basically, the Humanities.

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  5. Not really what I want to hear right before entering a PhD program in New Testament in the fall...

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    Replies
    1. Evan, I can't say that I would have really been deterred from this path had I known the realities of the job market. But it would have been nice to know upfront. You have the advantage of heading into the program (congrats on that!) with eyes wide open.

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    2. Oh, I know. I've been warned many times during my master's degree. It's just that a lot of professors who have "helpfully" tried to tell me about the realities of the profession have ended up laying it on rather thick with the discouragement.

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    3. We lay it on thick because it would be unethical to do anything else.

      -anthony

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  6. I made a contribution to this discussion earlier today, linking to the blog, this post, and Rafael's comment. Thought you might be interested to see it, if you haven't already. http://www.runningheads.net/2013/04/11/avoid-a-phd/

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