I will be back to the victimizations tomorrow, but today I’d like to continue on the same topic I was on yesterday. A question I am often asked is what a former college instructor can do outside of a university setting. The other question is what on earth I would want to do outside of a university setting. The first question has an easy answer: a former college instructor (who was good at his job) has demonstrated excellence in writing, research, teaching (management), oral presentation, oral sex, and whatever skills and knowledge come with the subject the instructor taught. In theory, someone with these capabilities should be snapped up almost immediately by employers. However, as I indicated in my last post, it does not turn out that way because so many people have negative views of people with a Ph.D. Or maybe the lowly resume readers in HR were never forced to read a word with more than one syllable in it while they were in college. Same difference.
And that brings me to the second question: what I would want to do. A lot of businesses assume that a Ph.D. means that I don’t want to be working for them, that a Ph.D. would only be happy in the university. As you know about me by now, that’s not true. I’ve been amazed at how much there is outside of the university and I’ve seen quite a few things (that are legal in at least 25 states) that would make me very happy. I don’t much feel like going through a complete list, so I’ll offer up a take on my dream job… if it exists anywhere. And to get things started, I have a pretty little picture for you:
Okay, so it’s a cheap PowerPoint slide, but this picture symbolizes the kind of job I would like to have. To protect their jobs, educators spend a lot of time inflating students’ self-esteem and the kids often become arrogant and a little lazy. And then businesses hire them and have to figure out a way to make them productive. These kids need pretty little pictures if they are to pay attention to reading material and, like with the picture, they have a hard time deciphering anything that hints at their lack of unique awesomeness. It is my hope that a business will hire me as an educational deprogrammer who will
put these kids in their place explain to these kids what was done to them when they were students. Because I’ve worked in college teaching, I understand the psychological complexes that the universities are sowing in their students and I can speak with authority when I tell the kids that it’s not their fault that they need to change. (And let’s be honest: “it’s not your fault” is the only message the kids will listen to. Fortunately, it’s the truth.)
I’ve never heard of a job like this… but if your business needs help straightening out its recent hires, I would be happy to victimize them. And I even promise to be nice about it! I’ll be my usual happy-go-lucky self.
Many of my regular readers are probably familiar with three basic facts about me:
1. I have a Ph.D.
2. I am unemployed.
3. I blog anonymously.
The anonymous blogging thing may seem like a no-brainer to many of you. You probably think that a lot of my humor would turn off potential employers who are looking for someone a little less cruel, vicious, and outlandish. Of course, you’d be wrong… as usual.
Now that I have left the university, I am often confronted by people who believe that Ph.D.-holders are incapable of interacting with “normal” people or being an enjoyable colleague to have around. The education is supposed to turn you into a lifeless walking brain. Hooray for stereotypes, and all that other stuff!
But that situation is also liberating when I sit down to blog. If a company is ever able to attach my real name to this blog, what could they possibly say against me? No matter how brutal or grotesque I become around here, I will always be more wonderful on this blog than they think I’d be in the office. Despite that, I have no intention of going public with my true identity any time soon. That also means I won’t be posting any nude photos of myself; I apologize for the disappointment.
And there’s one more interesting fact to consider. After less than five weeks in existence, this blog is already inching towards Alexa’s top million websites for the past month. So… yeah. Stupid Ph.D. person can’t connect with other people. Right…
PS: If you would like me to post nude photos of you, please send them to me and I will consider putting them on my test blog. If you don’t want me to post nude photos of you, please send them to me anyway and I promise not to post them. It’s almost wonderful to live in a world where asking people for nude photos is less likely to get me in trouble than writing intellectual posts about philosophy or history. On the other hand, a world where nude photos are valued more than knowledge is a world where Sarah Palin can become president.
I’ve been here a couple of weeks now and have been surprised by the response this blog has received so far. However, I’ve been even more surprised by how many people have clicked on my “About Me” page. It has been a lot of people…
And so I have decided to put out something fuller than the non-statement I had on the blog and I hope it will correct some of the misconceptions I’ve run into during my short time here.
The first thing you need to know about me is that I am under 45. (Therefore: not retired.) I left teaching mostly because I could not stand inflicting the things I describe on my students. Let there be no mistake about it: I write about things that are often required of college teachers if they want to keep their jobs. If you are put off by my regular mocking of students, please remember that I view students’ negative qualities as a direct result of the educational system they have been put through. I don’t hate them and I don’t blame them, but I worry that they will grow up to do the same things to their children as was done to them. I feel bad for them and I have come to see the consequences of what is happening to them.
The other detail you didn’t know about me is that I have been looking for a job for a few months now. The lack of skills among college graduates has appalled me; I wish I could post some of the grammatical atrocities I’ve seen in form letters and official correspondence from businesses. I’ve also had the opportunity to see that businesses recognize how little many college students are learning in school. And don’t get me started on the anti-intellectualism and stereotypes that make it nearly impossible for someone with a Ph.D. to find a job. Eventually, I’ll start posting thoughts on the challenges of looking for a job with a Ph.D. if unemployment lasts much longer.
But I am still thankful not to be teaching. I enjoyed teaching when the goal was to impart knowledge, but those days are long past. Although you could get a basic idea of academe’s problems from visiting the Chronicle of Higher Education, I blog here to reach people who would not know to look for this kind of information. As long as it does not last forever, unemployment is a small price to pay for what I was able to escape. Believe it or not, it’s less stressful.
In closing, please know that I intend to remain anonymous because I don’t want my former educational institution to be singled out unfairly. (Caveat: If you want to offer me a job, we may be able to work something out.) I’m not writing about one institution’s problems; I write about what happens at many institutions. And: I remain anonymous to protect my former students. I don’t publish anything about any individual student I taught, but quite a few of my former students could look at my blog and think I’m writing specifically about them. In turn, businesses could look at my blog and say that they won’t hire grads from Dr. Tafisk’s university.
And please tell me that you didn’t really think my name is Lou Tafisk (lutefisk). Something should have smelled fishy.
This post is being copied to my “About Me” page as the official replacement.