North Texas Daily

Job hunt exhausts

Job hunt exhausts

February 27
23:30 2013

I have a piece of advice for May graduates, especially looking to go into academia: Start the job hunt now if you haven’t already.

It’s an uphill battle that will exhaust and demoralize you as the hunt, state after state, turns up nothing.

In the past two weeks, I have examined the human resources page of every public college and university in 42 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and our insular possessions in the Pacific.

I have found less than a score of openings for my discipline.  With the exception of certain technical fields, like nursing and engineering, the jobs just aren’t there.

I kept a tally for friends in other disciplines as I looked and the pattern held true for almost all of them.

It’s not that there is a dearth of jobs.  Not even close.  It’s that there’s a market glut and even community colleges are in a position now that lets them demand a full doctorate in hand for first year, part-time adjunct positions.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last summer that about 70 percent of faculty members are in adjunct positions.

This means low pay, chancy course loads, no control of your schedule, and no health insurance.

Despite the American myth that college is the way to prosperity, many of these people earn so little that they qualify for Welfare, Food Stamps, or other assistance programs.

Part of the problem is “the systematic defunding of public education.” Texas is among the worst offenders in this field.

Another part of the problem is the credentialist fallacy: that anyone without a degree is unhireable or can’t do anything worthwhile. This has been an ongoing and worsening trend since 2007.

The situation is worsened when respected magazines like Forbes erroneously list being a professor as “the least stressful job of 2013.”

First we’re cheated and lied to, and then we’re lied about. It’s a lose-lose situation for people trying to go into academia and needing to pay back student loans that can top $100,000.

I don’t have an easy solution to recommend.  Refunding education is just a first step.

As a society we need to revalue education. The long trend of anti-intellectualism is slowing us down as a nation in every field and impoverishing our teachers.

Educators are on the front lines here, but we’re given all of the responsibility with none of the authority or pay that ought to go with it.

To fellow educators: Ours is a noble calling, but don’t expect to be respected for it.

J. Holder Bennett is a history Ph.D. student. He can be reached at JasonBennett2@my.unt.edu.

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