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02/27/2017

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Amanda

Funny I didn't put my position on last year, and no one else did either. I know some PhD schools have a placement director that does that, but some schools like mine never bother. (my school is mid leiter ranked) As to why I didn't do it, it just sort of seemed to be almost like bragging for no reason. I dislike the "Look at Me" nature of philosophy a lot, and I guess I thought it was a bit presumptions to think people would care where I was working. Now as someone who is interested in data on phil-jobs, that may not been the best reasoning.

anonymous

I did put my position on when I got my job, but I felt really weird about doing so, and almost didn't for similar reasons to those Amanda gives for her hesitation. (I also felt weird about the fact that philjobs asks the hiring department to verify the hire--of course, I think this is the right practice, but I felt nervous that my new department would think I was vain, or cared about the wrong things, or something like that. This was an irrational worry, but I report it anyway in the case that anyone else thought anything similar.)

I think that there's also a lot of variation not just between how proactive different schools are at reporting their data (as Amanda points out), but also in different placement directors in the same school reporting data.

Also, I have talked to multiple people who were afraid of backlash/being attacked online. (I have talked to two women and one man who mentioned this; all were afraid of being attacked for getting jobs out of Leiter top ten schools without publications (I believe one of the women had one publication, but was still worried).)

Also, personally, I felt really fed up by the whole discussion about placement and jobs that was going on in the blogosphere the last couple years, and frustrated that people were using data from either phil jobs or Leiter (when Leiter used to report hires) as representative when we have no idea whether it is. That frustration almost caused me not to self-report. I felt that the data that was being run to evaluate placement and various issues surrounding it was probably deeply skewed; I didn't really want to be a part of all that. (In part why I did it was because I realized that this was a self-defeating attitude; we should probably just try to make the data less skewed. I'm still hesitant though, and hesitant about adding to a database which is great and useful on its own, but in my view should not be used to run analyses on and make sweeping claims about.)


Axel Gelfert

Listings of new hires on PhilJobs have never really been that comprehensive, unlike when Leiter used to put up his annual 'new hires' blog post. I wonder whether perhaps search chairs were keener to submit that data to Leiter's blog, in the hope that new appointments would more quickly be reflected in the PGR? Pure speculation, obviously.

However, I've also noticed that a bunch of listings that were up on PhilJobs for this round of appointments (2016/17) suddently went missing a couple of months or so ago. Not sure what happened there. For a while I thought it was a database bug, but the loss of data seems to be permanent. (Unless I'm imagining it -- but I'm quite sure that some data got deleted.)

Anonymously

@anonymous

How is the database "useful" if not "to run analyses on"?

anonymous

Anonymously: Oh--well, I mean, maybe it's not? I'm open to that. I guess it's useful to people on the market to see at least some info about who is getting the jobs they applied to, and possibly interviewed for, because when people do report their info, it is usually before that gets posted on department websites of the hiring institution, and it is "all" in one place, etc.? (I'm not sure that really is useful though.) I'm open to the idea that it is not useful at all as it stands. I'm not sure we're in any sense better off with it than without it. Also, this is one of the few things that I think Leiter was better at. I agree with Axel that there might be (what I take to be) sort of silly reasons for this, but still, it seems that the Leiter listings were way more comprehensive (and that placement directors were way more on top of posting there).

Al

Maybe this came up on the other thread but I think it is worth keeping in mind how potentially important this data is. Knowing how many people actually got a job, whether some searches failed, how many jobs are TT vs temporary, and so on gives us all a look not only at our own prospects but the health and trajectory of our discipline. It's not just a brag board or a gossip opportunity. It seems obvious to me that we should want this data as a profession. It's not actually that important that we include names of the people hired I don't think. Does the APA keep track of this? In one way or another I think we should be supportive of this information being collected rigorously but I confess I can't now see how to boost participation short of the APA adding it to something like their hiring guidelines (which I think need serious revision just as an aside).

Anonymous

I didn't report, and would not for a number of reasons. 1) It feeds the pathological status-pedigree fetish of the profession, and in my tiny way I wish not to contribute to this disease. 2) Privacy: my whereabouts, my success or lack thereof, my decisions about my career, are none of your business, and I am not comfortable with having them be the subject of speculation about my intelligence, motivations, "commitment", "potential", "worthiness" etc. 3) More personally, it's an invisible middle finger to my graduate department which deserves no credit whatsoever for helping me find a job.

I recognize that more representative hiring data might be useful, but I am sceptical about any conclusions one could draw from a better data set. Perhaps I am too jaded, but the whole job market process is just too irrational, subject to so many strange whims and just blind luck, to draw meaningful lessons about what works on the job market.

Pendaran Roberts

"Maybe this came up on the other thread but I think it is worth keeping in mind how potentially important this data is. Knowing how many people actually got a job, whether some searches failed, how many jobs are TT vs temporary, and so on gives us all a look not only at our own prospects but the health and trajectory of our discipline. It's not just a brag board or a gossip opportunity. It seems obvious to me that we should want this data as a profession."

Agreed!

nick

"I recognize that more representative hiring data might be useful, but I am sceptical about any conclusions one could draw from a better data set. Perhaps I am too jaded, but the whole job market process is just too irrational, subject to so many strange whims and just blind luck, to draw meaningful lessons about what works on the job market."

Almost everyone would benefit from the whole process being more transparent, and that includes indirectly incentivizing schools to not hire egregiously unfit candidates. The philjobs hires page, combined with the wiki and other repositories, is a great way to do this. I don't think faculty can refuse to have their name listed on their department's website, so all you're doing by not posting is making it more of a hassle for those who'd like to find out. Seriously, it's invaluable to know which kinds of philosophers get hired in which kinds of places, if only for future applicants. It's not about bragging or allowing gossip; it's about sharing interesting information with your peers. If you don't want anyone to know how you fare on the market, don't go on the market.

Marcus Arvan

Al, nick, and Pendaran: Well, perhaps it *shouldn't* be about gossip, but unfortunately the past several years there has been a good deal of online gossip about new hires. In my view, this is just one reason why online gossip is so harmful. As the above comments suggest, it clearly deters some people from reporting their hires, making it all the more difficult for anyone to compile good data. Yes, of course, one can still track down the information later on--by scouring every website of hiring departments several months after the hiring season ends. Yet this makes it very difficult for anyone to gather the relevant data. What's the lesson, then? I suppose some would say the lesson is that people should simply report their hires. To which I would say, if we want them to, people need to cut out the online gossip and "CV vetting."

Amanda

Well, I admit it would be nice to have the public list mostly because I find it interesting. On the other hand, good data generally isn't gathered via some voluntary online public listing. If we want data, I think we should have someone (and some have in the past have done this, to a degree) do a complete search where they go out of their way to find the data most of us do not have time for. A serious data analysis would involve going as far as calling departments to confirm information, talking to candidates etc. They can then do an analysis which is released to the public, no names involved.

nick

Again, let me ask what in the world is wrong with having names made publicly available in one single place given that they will be de facto publicly available in many places. Gossip is an unfortunate side-effect that should not matter. Either it is justified, but then don't complain, be qualified, or it is not, and then just let it go. Either way it is likely to go on regardless of where the information is available. If folks are stupid and mean enough to think unqualified candidates can get a job in this context, they're stupid and mean enough to go find the information where it is. Also they should get a life.

Marcus Arvan

nick: unfortunately, I think both of our "should" claims are likely to be pointless in situations like this. People *will* gossip, and consequently, people will almost certainly not report publicly if that happens. So we are both probably yelling at the proverbial wind. (Side-note: As Daniel Batson reports in his book, "What's wrong with morality", across a wide variety of studies people only act with moral integrity about 10-15% of the time when the moral principles they endorse conflict with their perceived self-interest. So, our moralizing here--on both sides of the issue--is likely to be pointless. People have an interest in gossiping publicly about people, and those gossiped about have self-interested reasons to prevent it. I also think the gossip is less likely to occur if the information is not centralized, as would-be gossipers must hunt all the information down, which is not easy. This, incidentally, is also just one of many reasons why I think it is a mistake to understand morality--as so many philosophers do nowadays--in terms of 'moral reasons'. We would all be much better served focusing on the things we can expect moral discourse to actually motivate people to do, and empirically speaking 'moral reasons' appear to have very little motivational efficacy).

KC

I got a job this past August and I didn't report. 1) I am shy and don't feel comfortable putting myself out there in any meaningful way including telling people that I got a job. I neither need nor want the attention. 2) Also, I see no advantage to myself of putting this information out there. It satisfies some people's need for such gossip, but does not help me. It provides data that is in some vague way useful for "the profession," but only that part of the profession that has political agendas that I neither understand nor want to (eg, are we hiring enough/too many women, minorities, pedigreed types, MME specialists, etc). "The profession" whatever that is, does not really help me. It helps people who come after me in a way that I was never helped, and frankly, it helps people who may be competing with me soon. There is frankly little incentive, for me to do something that is even slightly outside my comfort zone. 3) I am also sympathetic with 9:15's finger to his or her dept. I did not tell my department either, so I am not on their "successful hires" site either. They didn't do much to help me, and I feel only the most minimal allegiance to them. I'm not sure what they were supposed to do for me, and I think that is the problem.

All the information is public, if someone in the profession was so desperate for it, they can get without me.

The other postdoc

This might be a slight tangent from the current discussion, but I think worth mentioning here.

Some seem to think the appointments page on Philjobs is moving slowly this year, which is at least part of the reason for questioning why people aren't posting their appointments. However, I don't think there's much evidence that the Philjobs appointments page is moving slowly this year.

If you do a search for appointments posted Jan. 1st to March 1st, 2016, vs. appointments posted Jan. 1st to March 1st, 2017, you'll find 142 appointments and 34 appointments, respectively. However, in the first instance, 132 of these are actually universities bulk posting old appointments. And in the second instance, 30 of these seem to be old appointments. So, the actual difference is 6 appointments between the two years, not 100. The bulk of appointment postings don't start until March, so I think we just don't have any reasonable data to go on.

That being said, it's clear from these discussions that people aren't posting to PhilJobs, and have a variety of reasons for not posting. I just wanted to point out that—at least so far—there isn't any evidence that this is a new problem arising this year.

(Of course, this all hinges on whether or not I'm correctly using the PhilJobs search function.)

anon

I can't remember if I posted or not, but I remember feeling weird about it. I have so many friends struggling to find jobs, and it seemed like a bit of a 'brag board' as others have pointed out. I don't believe I'm unqualified for the job I got, but many, many qualified people don't have jobs, and so I know I got lucky. And displaying pride in such an "accomplishment" feels gross.

In addition, there has always been quite a bit of gossip regarding that particular page. No one goes around looking for the eventual hires months after job season is over, but people DO go onto the philjobs site and do a quick analysis of whether all the women/people doing phil race/people from such-and-such ranked programs etc. deserve their jobs, using whatever metric they find appropriate. And usually the answer is (who could have guessed it?) no.

Third, I don't know what such a sampling could capture about the market that would be useful to anyone. Hiring someone is a highly particular endeavor. I'm not sure "data" on quantitative predictors, especially from a self-selecting group, is going to be of much use to anyone.

Anonymous job watcher

For what it is worth, I know only about a few jobs this hiring season. For some of them, the information is incomplete. For one of them, the information is complete and accurate. For another, the information posted is false.

I avoided the wiki and the job postings when I was looking for work, looking only once I was past the relevant hurdles. Now that I'm aware of how inaccurate the data is--both unrepresentative and false--I'm glad I did.

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