Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Our move to Texas in 2000 was prompted by my acceptance into the History Ph.D. program at UT. Despite the best of intentions, I never started the program, spurred by my awareness of certain realities in the Ph.D. job market, some of which are outlined in this article in Slate. While working on my Master's degree at Duke, one short-term job I held was entering applicants into a database for a single teaching position at the public policy school. There were thousands, many from desperate professors trapped at East Bumfuck University (EBU!) with degrees from fine state schools like UT. UT's History program was one of the best in the nation when I came here. Even so, most of its graduates who found work (and some didn't) were going to EBU, usually as adjunct faculty (who make slightly less than your average Dairy Queen cashier). The sad truth about my database entry job was that Duke wasn't even going to think about any applicants without a degree from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or (on the outside) Chicago. This state of affairs was far too similar to the economics of making a living as a musician, only without the glory. I sometimes wish that I'd pursued it more, but it's for the best that I didn't.


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Cary, NC, United States
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