Friday, September 21, 2012

In Which Being Right Doesn't Feel Very Good

Many of you may remember C's spouse and his magical PhD.  (Like too many other people of my acquaintance, I like them, but I don't respect them.)  They have been there for about three years now.  He still has not finished some of those damn papers.  At least one is more than a year overdue.

His program has just told him to pursue opportunities elsewhere.  In other words, take your master's degree and run away before we kick you out.*  I'm kind of worried about them** - three small children, one of them a newborn, and between them, a bachelor's and two MAs in Lost Atlantis and a bachelors and one MA in History of Michelangelo.  These are not the most employable people in the world.

Somehow, I'm regretting that "I told you so". 

* When they first went to this university I did, on request, utter a few cautionary words, which were brushed away with "But they have an excellent placement rate!"  Yes, I'm sure they do. And Snooty U has an excellent tenure rate because they force people to quit rather than going up for tenure.  Also I have a friend who was 'placed' into a highschool teaching job with his fancy PhD (where he is very happy, but it's not what these people were envisioning by 'placed'.)  Lies, damn lies...

** My second piece of advice to grad students is 'Hedge your bets', i.e. acquire other marketable skills than the Thing that brought you to grad school.  


  1. I'm sorry your friends are having troubles, no one likes to see old friends in trouble. It's even worse, because you saw it happening from 3 years away. At least your cautionary words were on request, so I doubt your friends hold it against you.
    But! You are not responsible for their choice of education, procreation, or lack of communication. Even with a run-of-the-mill bachelors they're more employable than most people with zero college education. They will find something because they have to. Maybe they'll even grow up and become responsible adults once they've left the bubble of academia. (Not that everyone in academia is irresponsible, but it is a very different world from, say, Bicycle Company.)
    Let go of guilt, it not your fault, and it's not healthy for you. Easier said than done, of course.

    1. It's not even guilt so much as... I don't know... that sinking feeling when bad things happen to people you like. And yes! Perhaps they will both grow up! That would be good for them in the long term. For sure.

  2. Thank GOODNESS his program finally got the balls to cut him loose. 'Cause it was complicit in this whole thing, and that just drives me nuts. And yes, it's awful to see friends go through something like this. However, sure seems like the current situation was never going to result in a secure, easy life, and while this is certainly precarious, it's at least go the potential to turn things around for them. Fingers crossed.


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