Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Wonder They Don't Have Jobs

The following exchange occurred on "Poli Sci Jobs Rumors," the blog for people with much too much time on their hands. (And, yes, I read it once a week, just like I read the Sunday comics, and in fact for the same reason).

Here is the exchange, "Over qualified for work outside the Ivory Tower ", with a few posts deleted for length. ("OP" is original poster, btw)

Anon-ABD-2009 .edu verified member
Has anyone run into a brick wall when applying for jobs outside of academia? I have an MPA and one semester from a PhD, but over the last year I have been looking for work outside of academia to pay the bills and to see if I really will miss teaching. There have been over thirty jobs which I was a perfect fit, except that they wanted someone with just an MPA. I have had four interviews and they always ask “If you are getting a PhD, why are you applying for a city government job?” I explain that my focus is city government and how I have several years as a HR manager for a small Midwestern city. I never get a call back after the interview. Has anyone else run into this problem?

Anonymous Unregistered
one semester of a phd can easily be left off your resume. that's nothing compared to the six years/12 semesters the rest of us have done.

Anon-ABD-2009 .edu verified member
"one semester of a phd can easily be left off your resume. that's nothing compared to the six years/12 semesters the rest of us have done."
One semester? I believe I said I'm one semester from a PhD not one semester into a PhD program. And it is difficult to lie as several of the jobs are with the feds and I think they may do a through background check. Maybe not, who knows.

Anonymous Unregistered
No. You actually wrote: "I have an MPA and one semester from a PhD." I'd venture that most people would interpret that to mean you had completed one semester in a PhD program. That's how I read it, and apparently that's how the person 3 posts above read it too.

Anonymous Unregistered
Do you really have that much emotional investment in proving that the OP's ambiguity led to your misinterpretation? Don't you have a dissertation to write or something?

Anonymous Unregistered
If you've just been in your PhD program for one term, why not just leave it off your resume?

Anonymous Unregistered
Get it through your heads - this person is one semester AWAY from a Ph.D.

Anonymous Unregistered
It's laughable that this person would be unemployable after ONE SEMESTER in a Ph.D. program. Perhaps there are other reasons why s/he can't get a job.

Anonymous Unregistered
^ Yes probably s/he isn't a competent reader and is unable to assimilate basic information when it is presented clearly.

Anonymous Unregistered
The OP is unemployable because s/he can't write clearly. "One semester? I believe I said I'm one semester from a PhD not one semester into a PhD program."

Anonymous Unregistered
I think all the grading this week is making someone cranky! Geeeez!

Anonymous Unregistered
I am laughing, imagining the person who first misunderstood the OP going back and posting as other people misunderstanding the OP, to prove his/her point

Anonymous Unregistered
^^ Yes, but this is undoubtedly much more true for the poster with all but 1 semester remaining than for the poster who just completed his 1st semester of grad school.

Anonymous Unregistered
It's a bit arrogant to think you're over-qualified for a position after half a year of grad school.

Anonymous Unregistered
I don't see what the point is, if you've only had one semester from a Ph.D. program. Just drop out now. At least you haven't spent more than one in there.

Anonymous Unregistered
What's the big deal if you have only spent one semester in the PhD program?

My own view:

1. I read it as being "one semester from a PhD program," meaning the OP had finished one semester, not all but one. It is implausible for someone to have meant, "I am one semester from a PhD," since PhD are measured in completed theses (>=1 is the cutoff), not semesters.

2. Criticizing someone else's writing a blog post is a little silly. This is not formal writing, not by a long shot.

I am reminded of Bruce Springsteen's song when I read the above passage. Here is the money part of the lyric.

Seen a man standin' over a dead dog lyin' in a ditch
Lookin' down kinda puzzled pokin' that dog with a stick
Got his car door flung open down on Highway 31
As if he stood there long enough the dog'd get up and run
Struck me kinda funny, funny anyway
At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

I guess the PSJR folks need a reason to believe, and that is apparently feeling good about themselves by making fun of others. And, since I am posting about it being silly, I must need that, too. So that makes me no different from these poke-a-dog-with-stick posters, now that I think on it. Maybe if we stand here long enough, that dog'd get up and run.


Paul said...

If he's only one semester into a PhD he shouldn't be looking for a job anyway, right? Doesn't he have to finish his PhD?

Anonymous said...

Good one.

Very, very good one.

A different Paul (Gowder) said...

Someone needs to reference Kissinger's comment about small stakes here.

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