Presentation on theme: " Later I’ll advise you to find mentors The advice I’m giving today is not just my own It also comes from some of my mentors and role-models, especially."— Presentation transcript:
Later I’ll advise you to find mentors The advice I’m giving today is not just my own It also comes from some of my mentors and role-models, especially David Schmidtz and Matt Zwolinski
Suppose a person plans to win gold in the Olympics in 3 years She says, “Oh, I have plenty of time. I’ll begin training when the time comes. I work better under pressure anyway.” Does she take the Olympics seriously?
You are an academic in training In a few years, you’ll be running the Olympics There’s no silver medal The way to succeed in getting a job is to start working for it right now.
Ask: What will it take to have a highly competitive dossier when I go on the market? Then ask: What do I need to do now to make sure I have that?
Not your advisor’s job Not your committee’s job Not your placement director’s job
Senior grad students shouldn’t act like grad students ▪ They should behave like assistant professors Junior grad students shouldn’t act like grad students ▪ They should behave like what they expect senior grad students to behave like ▪ Or, better yet, like assistant professors
In most fields, bad and getting worse If you want a job, you need to spend the next five years making yourself as competitive as possible The time to start professionalizing yourself is right now. ▪ Sorry, but that’s how it is.
5 th year grad student: “Hmmm. I should really start to consider publishing some articles.” 1 st year grad student: “I should write my term papers with an eye to pleasing my professor.” WRONG!
Right now! Don’t write term papers for class. Write articles for publication. If you write to please a professor, you waste an opportunity Starting no later than your third year: Always have at least three papers under review at all times, period, no matter what.
A good journal publication matters more than almost anything else. Your professors are paid to write you a good letter. Journal editors don’t care about you. What does it say to search committees if an editor devotes space in her journal to you?
Still, publications > almost everything else Given how tight the market is, the more you do, the better
You will be better in your fifth year than in your 1 st. But, still, if you are good enough to publish in a good journal in your 1 st year, no one will hold it against you that the paper isn’t as good as what you’d write now
Single-authored peer-reviewed articles in top journals Not: Book reviews Co-authored articles with your advisor Encyclopedia entries The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies or The Review of Libertarian Heterodox Economics
Do you think publishing is the cost of being an academic? If so, quit now. (Stop watching and quit academia now, while you’re ahead.) Publishing and writing are the job. If you don’t love it, go do something else you’ll love more, or at least get paid more to do.
You can’t be afraid of rejection You need to be willing to hear “no” or you will never hear “yes”.
If you want to be a college teacher in the future, don’t let teaching college consume your time now What to do as a TA? Should you do extra teaching?
In your first year, find out who the most successful grad students are. Which get the most interviews? Which get the awards and publications? Figure out what they do, and copy their behavior. Find mentors and potential advisors right away The best advisors have standards They don’t take all comers.
1. Internal Locus of Control 2. Passion 3. Courage 4. Organization 5. Writing
Yes, there’s lots of luck in every aspect of your career But you should ignore the effect of luck Act as if it’s all in your control People who dwell on luck have bad luck People who ignore luck have good luck
You’re a volunteer, not a conscript
Don’t be a slave to an ideology or an idea You are here to seek the truth, not to defend a pre-existing belief Surefire way to burn out is to become a spokesperson for someone else’s project
“Here I stand, I can do no other.” Find a project that you feel you must do. Find a project so gripping that you feel you have no choice but to pursue it. Oddly, that feels liberating.
Earn rewards, then take them Set goals—real accomplishments, and reward yourself for them. E.g., Write for 20 hours M-F? ▪ Go to bar Friday night Get a book contract? ▪ Buy a new guitar
Do you have a significant other? Academics can easily alienate their partners Organization is key to being a good partner as an academic If you burn out your partner, you’ll probably burn out yourself
Be willing to say something! Typical grad student paper: 25 pages of summarizing field, plus 2 pages making a minor original point. Be willing to challenge status quo “Clearly” “Obviously” “Of course”
Respect your colleagues They are not at war with you Being courageous does not mean defiantly calling everyone else an ideologue If you think everyone else is too corrupt to be worth talking to, you probably aren’t worth talking to. At any rate, quit now and go do something else.
Success is all about time management You will never be caught up There is always more to do It only gets worse As a grad student, you have it easy.
The urgent vs. the important s, committees, meetings with students, administrative stuff is urgent Research and perfecting the art of teaching is important. Never sacrifice the important for the sake of the urgent
Schmidtz’s advice: Writing log 20 hours/week, no matter what Important thing: Set concrete goals: “I will write X pages per day.” “I will write one chapter per month.” Earn breaks, then take them Earn rewards, then take them If you can write 2 pages/day, you’ll have your dissertation drafted in 6 months.
If you find yourself cramming for a comp exam, show respect for your advisors and quit.
Don’t write like a graduate student Don’t write for your seminar classmates Don’t write to prove you’re a scholar who has read all the background literature
Your professors are paid to read your writing Journal readers are not Have a hook ▪ Try to write in such a way that you could convince a non- academic to read your paper Put cool ideas up front ▪ The first paragraph sells the paper Have fun! Don’t be boring. Be clear, not obscure.
Write first, revise later. A draft is a draft Common mistake/excuse: “I won’t put type a sentence unless I’m sure it’s perfect.” If you do that, you’ll never write anything. Write first, read later Common mistake/excuse: “I shouldn’t start writing until I’ve read all the background literature.”
For better or worse, the days of waiting to professionalize are over Success now is about doing what it takes to succeed in the future