Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Screwed with a ten tonne screwdriver

I recently found out that the last time anyone new was hired in our department was 1971 (when they hired ScaryLecturer).

This doesn't bode well for the cunning new solution to all our problems that Geekman and I had hatched: to stay here for ever and ever and ever and not let them make us leave.* Geekman might still be able to persuade his centre that he is invaluable, but I'm thinking that the odds of me of getting a job here are probably worse than, hmmm... let's say 1971:1.

Now you might think that there's always the chance that some of the current people in our department could retire (or die). Unfortunately, there are only two people I can think of who might be likely to do so, and one of them, although she has been here forever, is officially only a visiting fellow so has an office but no salary, while the other is funded entirely by her own grants. This means that even if either of them left, it wouldn't free up any funds for a new hire.

And if, by some miracle, a new position does become available anytime, well, ever, there are 35 years' worth of graduates hanging around in temporary teaching positions or admin jobs, waiting to pounce. Somehow, I don't rate my chances very highly.

I think I need a plan B.


* We're still working on the details.


Bella Sultane said...

Wow - 1971! Do most graduates end up in the area (in temp teaching & admin jobs, etc.) when they finish, or do they go elsewhere?

StyleyGeek said...

I don't know about most of the earlier ones, but all of the grad students that I have seen finish since I began the program are still around (there's about seven of them). Most are doing part-time teaching, a little bit of RA work, editing work on other people's manuscripts and/or consulting, depending on their field.

The secretaries here are also all graduates of this department, and there are plenty more working in the research office and ESL programs.

Those with a foreign language as their native language have generally ended up teaching that at local community colleges or evening classes, too.

Jana said...

Ouch. Would doing a couple of postdocs help?

StyleyGeek said...

It wouldn't help with getting a job here, if there isn't one available in the first place.

And if I do one elsewhere, then we are back to the problem of Geekman and me both needing to find something in the same place somewhere else next year.

As for doing a postdoc here, it would only be possible if I got independent funding and (1) the ARC funds approximately 13 percent of postdoc applications per year, with that percentage decreasing if you are female, non-Australian, staying at the same university you did your PhD at, or in the humanities. (2) I can't apply next year, because I won't have actually graduated before the required deadline. So I couldn't apply until March 2008, which would mean, if I was accepted, that the funding would be available in January 2009.

Considering my scholarship stops funding me in July 2007, this isn't much of a solution.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Well, I have a plan B for you, but it's kind of illegal and if any, uh, accidents should happen, this would probably be confiscated as evidence. :)

StyleyGeek said...

Yes, I've considered that plan too, Dr BH.

shrinkykitten said...

And isn't it true even that someone dying wouldn't help in that someone *did* die and their office is still unused? And I imagine their job still unfilled?

I've offered to marry you and geekman - so you can move here. Don't forget that!

turtlebella said...

oy. That's a really horrible situation. I can't believe there are SEVEN graduates hanging about, not to mention all the secretaries, etc. Hideous, hideous. Job market just as bad in the rest of Australia? I think it's time for you and Geekman to you know, move closer to my time zone. They must need some physicists and linguistic-ists (what DO you call yourself) somewhere over here... But then there would be no more parrot sightings and that would be SAD.

Marjorie said...

Well, I guess there go my plans to find a tenure-track position in Australia once I finish my doctorate!


StyleyGeek said...

I think it differs for different fields, so I wouldn't give up hope yet, Marjorie.

As for the rest of Australia, Turtlebella, there are places where it isn't so hard, but they only do Geekman's sort of physics here and in Brisbane. Brisbane might have to be our plan b.

Shrinky's marriage proposal can be plan c :)