Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life choices indeed

So I just got yet another French-grad-student list email about whether one of us would like to be the babysitter of I'm not exactly sure whose baby, and if so, could we please send along our CV. I always find these a touch depressing - unlike the tutoring emails, which at least make reference to our alleged marketable skills (but which all too often demand "native speakers"), this is basically saying, sure, you're pushing 30 and have been in school since forever, sure, you've long since had an MA, but you're probably looking for the same work as are 12-year-olds. While I think it's most reasonable to work extra if you can find the time and if your fellowship doesn't get cut off if you do so, even if the work isn't specifically related to academia, there's something not so encouraging about the fact that these emails come from a list specifically intended for our dept. I mean, why stop at babysitting jobs? Some grad students work retail on the side, maybe we want to know if Uniqlo's hiring?

Shortly after that, I got another list email about a teaching postdoc that requires that you pay a fee to even apply. The above anecdote is just to give a sense of my mindset upon opening that second email. My question, for any humanities-types who may be reading this is, is that normal? I know it was for grad school apps, and that's also a paid student-teaching sort of thing, but is there a point at which the fees stop? I have yet to go through all the materials about everything I plan to apply for, so if anyone wants to warn me ahead of time that I should be budgeting for job applications, that would be much appreciated.


Nicholas said...

Not exactly normal, no, though a common practice to weed out applicants when too many would apply otherwise (Michigan's Society of Fellows charges a fee and still gets 800+ applications anyway). Also always a source of long and argumentative discussion on the humanities and social science postdocs wiki each of the three years I've been reading it, this year being no exception:

Phoebe said...

Ah, thanks. I knew I'd seen people complaining about this somewhere, and now I know where. Conveniently enough, on the site where it's explained which if these things do and don't charge. Still strikes me as bizarre, given that hundreds of people apply for all kinds of jobs, esp. these days. I almost think requiring a fee would increase applications, because it makes something sound more prestigious. You figure that if they can ask this, they must be offering something kind of amazing.