I am adorable. Academia is not.

A collection of recent- and not-so-recent links about academic ridiculousness and miseries that I’ve been saving up. Have at them!

Too Many Snakes, Too Few Ladders – an editorial by the Times Higher Education supplement (nearest thing that the UK has to the Chronicle), finally waking up to the fact that there are tons of PhDs being churned out and very few places for them to go to; and how, by framing non-academic jobs as shameful and ‘loser’, universities are part of the problem.

Making Other Plans – an article in the same issue of the THE by a young postdoc (not me!) arguing that all PhD’s and postdocs should have a Plan B for if/when the magic dream permanent job fails to materialise.

How a Mathematician Found a New Career – US maths prof is denied tenure (for being rubbish at teaching, it seems), carves out a new life as a science writer. Parts of this rub me up the wrong way – the author is in a hugely privileged position when he leaves academia, and I don’t know how much the career he has now would work so well in the current climate viz, the death of paid journalism. But – it’s brutally honest about the shock of leaving, and is also one of the rarer pieces written by someone who left after several years in the system rather than after the doctorate or adjuncting so speaks more closely to me.

A farewell to academia – Astronomy assistant prof runs for the bright lights of Linden Labs; also really interesting discussion in the comments about the bitter funding battles in the hard sciences. I hope he is doing well; I don’t think it gives too much away to say that I can’t code but my God, I wish I could – seems like lots more options are open to those who can, see also Matt Welsh who left comp.sci. at Harvard for Google.

What you should know before starting a doctorate – This, by Tom Coates, doesn’t seem to be doing the rounds as much as it should. I love this rant about the cult of graduate school and the business models of universities. He’s talking  about the humanities, but I think a lot of it still applies across disciplines.

 

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