I’m an academic aspiring for a tenure-track job, so I’ve done a lot of reading about the subject. A LOT. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a lot of doomy things to say about academia in general, as does almost every other internet site. And for good reason. The adjunctification of the academic job market in the humanities has been slowly unveiled to reveal a horrific system of exploitation that is eliminating faculty jobs and relying on highly educated adjuncts for a fraction of worthy pay. As a result, you have great facilities for students, higher-education administrators making terrific salaries, beleaguered tenured faculty completing an increasingly heavier load with fewer resources and recourse, and PhDs in “part-time” jobs making wages below the poverty level—all in the hopes of using their degrees and attaining a tenure-track job. Is it possible to even get a job?
That’s where Karen Kelsky comes in. A former tenured academic, Dr. Kelsky started a business, The Professor Is In, and made herself a resource to aspiring academics seeking to succeed in a cutthroat system. This book is drawn from her blog and her years of advising graduate students, adjuncts and tenured faculty. In it, she details the process of the academic job market, from the writing of the job ad all the way to the negotiation of the offer. She also helps with various documents and even considering how to market yourself if you decide to leave academia.
Kelsky’s clear advice and no-nonsense tone are an absolute must for every academic. While you or I might not find every single piece of advice relevant or helpful, her overall tone is one that will maximize your effectiveness on the job market and as an academic. I have already begun revising my letter of application and will work on my other documents for this job cycle. I already feel much more prepared for this year’s job market.