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May 25, 2011

GIVING GRADUATE STUDENTS the sad truth about the job market. “Depression and anxiety at the prospect of not finding work, feelings of scholarly worthlessness, and, perhaps most pernicious of all, the ominous realization that now, Ph.D. in hand, you have become an obscure subaltern, fated to roam the university landscape from one adjunct appointment to another. . . . Just how bad is it? It used to be that graduate students in their final year, if they did not find a tenure-track position in the fall or winter before they graduated, at least were able to nail down a postdoc that would give them a decent salary and time to publish a few articles or a book. This system, as far as I can tell, has completely collapsed. . . . In the meantime, what should graduate directors tell their graduate students? It’s actually very simple. There are no jobs. This simple formula, repeated often, can actually serve as a palliative for anxiety. . . . If you do decide to pursue graduate studies, remember that you are playing a numbers game. Like British soldiers sent to Gallipoli in 1915, only a few of you will make it out alive. . . . Know your enemies. They are everyone. You and your ‘graduate student colleagues’ are a smelly pack of famished mongrels tearing at each other’s throats for paltry scraps; your professors are the bourgeois slave drivers and elites that they themselves warned you about in that class on ‘Critical Theory.’ Begin to suspect that the leftist virtue of the university conceals a system of privilege and good‐ole‐boyism every bit as sordid as the Corporate America you went to graduate school to avoid.”

Plus, advice to join the Army.

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