Monday, February 20, 2006

Search Committee of the Dolls

As someone who's been on both sides of the hiring process (as have most academics), I've rarely seen anything as brutally raw and funny as this commentary on search committees over at Slaves of Academe.

When the author writes:
But here again is another interesting and disgusting differential that plays
into committees and their candidate selection: being well-networked. Remember
all the ass-kissing you never did in grad school? Well, you better, because it
means you run less of a chance at a prestigious post. Remember all your horrible
grad student colleagues who were, let's face it, stupid, but certainly had a way
with brown-nosing? Well, those people end up with fellowships and good jobs.

... she's right on target. There are too many academic superstars who are intellectual zeros (some of whom are worshipped as unto Baal and Dagon by grad students in the blogosphere). I'm not recommending aspiring academics kiss-up to get ahead, but I do recommend that they understand how much of the market works.

Incidentally, I found (quite by accident) that refusing to kiss-up can get an ironically positive reaction from a lot of people ... mostly because when you know someone influential and you're not a suck-up, they perceive that you must be talking to them because you find them interesting. Don't count on that reaction, though, because just as many are insulted if you are merely cordial instead of fawning.

h/t Inside Higher Ed

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