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04/25/2018

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Amanda

Hi Marcus,

There are some other issues that might be relevant to this idea - for instance, should candidates have a webpage and what should be one it? Most do, for what its worth I didn't, other than my academia page, which wasn't that interesting. My guess is having a page can help you a bit, but not having one usually doesn't hurt. Search committee members don't get around to looking at webpages until AFTER a candidate already made an impression.

As for online presence, I agree that having a reputation can lead search committee members to take a closer look. If I saw a name I recognized, I would look closer, and have more memory, merely because I am curious. What I am not sure of is whether the time it takes to do (3) is a better bet than spending that time working on publications, teaching, networking at conferences, etc. I suppose if one is already inclinded to online activity, than it might be a reason to go ahead.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: Thanks for weighing in.

I think it's absolutely a good idea to have a personal webpage, provided it's put together well. Search committee members may indeed look up candidates' pages to learn more about them.

Although you did well with only an academia.edu page, I wouldn't advise that for candidates. To my mind, it looks a bit lazy, especially if other candidates have really well put-together web-pages.

I would also add that it can be important for the webpage to be well-done and hit the right tone. Some webpages look really sloppy and thrown together. One might wonder whether a person sloppy with their own webpage might do other things sloppily (and indeed, some dossiers seem sloppily put together too - something I'll talk about in my next post). Further, although this hasn't happened to me while doing a search, I have come across websites before that strike the wrong tone, making the person come across as arrogant, etc. I expect that would be a real turnoff to a search committee member visiting the site.

You're right that (3) can take some time. But I am not sure that simply working on publications, teaching, and conferences are a better use of one'e time (one can do them too!). There are a lot of candidates out there who apparently have very good research records, etc., but aren't getting interviews or jobs. I honestly think part of the problem may be that they are still a "faceless name in a pile." Networking (at conferences, etc.) is indeed a good idea, but it's hard to reach many people that way. We live in a digital age now. If candidates don't want to be faceless names in a pile, the easiest way for them to do it may be to increase their presence online.

Jeff

I am a graduate student who has spent some time curating my online presence. For example, I have a personal website that has had some work put into it, I have a twitter account that is steeped in philosophy.

I also have a Facebook account which I have attempted to curate somewhat. But, as you might imagine, it's a bit harder to do so than other platforms. I have many old friends on there who post on my materials, and I cannot always vouch for their PG-rated character. I should add that I really don't think my FB is 'that bad'. I don't have people writing obviously unethical stuff on my wall, but I wouldn't always call it a professional place either.

I have thought about a few options:

1) change my name on that account and keep that as my personal FB, and create another FB for professional purposes that search committees can more easily discover.

2) make my FB private, and hope that my other online presences suffice to help me stand out to search committees

I am not a fan of option 1 simply because I'd rather not have to create a 'sanitized' Facebook if I can help it. I am already averse to having too much social media cluttering my life. Managing two Facebooks sounds nightmarishly annoying.

I am not a fan of option 2 because I worry that if a committee cannot find any FB account of mine then it will look like I am hiding something.

Any advice?

Marcus Arvan

Jeff: I wouldn't worry about curating what other people say on your Twitter or facebook feeds. Unless you're friends with people saying really horrible things (e.g. neo-Nazis, etc.), I don't think anyone is going to hold things other people say against you.

Indeed, I don't think search committee members are going to search and go through your facebook or Twitter feed unless they have some antecedent reason to think there may be red flags. The thing to avoid is having a public presence on fb or Twitter where *you* have a habit of saying things that reflect poorly on you, and which people in the profession may be aware of just by being online.

Victim

Marcus and Jeff,
I had a trolling colleague who would search around for people's profiles on line when we were doing searches. Once something is uncovered there is nothing one can do. There really are idiots in the profession.

Elizabeth

My own personal worry about online presence is that it gives search committees too much information. If you have a picture on your website, the committee can now make guesses about your race and gender. Many people put information about spouses and kids up on their personal website -- which always seemed to me like throwing their peers who don't have the stereotypical marriage/kids lifestyle under the bus. For these reasons (and more) when I was recently on a search committee, I refused to look the candidates up online. I wonder if others share these worries.

Marcus Arvan

Victim: wow - people never cease to surprise me (in the worst kinds of ways). I honestly thought no one would have so much time on their hands to spend their time doing that. Good to know, and thanks for sharing.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Elizabeth: Those are fair worries, and I've noticed that an increasing number of people appear to not put pictures on their websites. I also think it's probably not a great idea to put personal stuff on one's site.

Still, I suspect unless you are able to scrub the entire internet of any pictures relating to you, someone interested in discovering your race, gender, race, ethnicity, etc., is going to be able to figure it out with a simple web search (and, as 'Victim' notes, there will be those who are probably willing to go that far).

Amanda

I recently looked at a website of someone who only used their initials. Honestly I just think it looked weird, and made me assume they are a woman. I think not having a pic of you on your website looks weird. But there are a few other things, where someone has a giant pick of themselves in a model pose, that is even worse. Basically there are a lot of ways to go wrong. And Marcus is right, philosophy is a small profession, if someone wants to find out your gender (usually given away by name) sexual orientation, marriage and family status: it is simply not hard at all. I suspect it would be very hard to hide these things. So not having an online presence for these reasons seems a bad move.

I disagree that having personal information on your website is bad. I think it helps people see you as a person - you can come across as likable - I mean who doesn't like cute kids? (And I say this as someone single and childless). And, as said above, people will likely know if you have kids or not anyway. That being so, one can obviously go too far in this direction.

Amanda

And Marcus, so if someone doesn't have a webpage you think it makes them look lazy? I mean, couldn't that be overcome if there CV shows the opposite: someone who taught the number of classes I did probably isn't lazy. As for academia - I have that not as an easy way to have a webpage, but because I find it very usual for sharing work.

Trevor Hedberg

One thing that should be acknowledged is that you're likely to have an online presence even if you do everything in your power not to. Publishing papers, presenting at conferences, being interviewed, having students review your teaching, etc., will all leave an online footprint of some sort. If you don't do anything to cultivate your online presence, then you're at the mercy of Google algorithms regarding what people are likely to find. This could be problematic if, say, the first result is a not-so-flattering RateMyProfessors page.

If you take the time to maintain a PhilPapers profile, develop a personal website, or otherwise manage your online presence, then your managed pages and profiles are more likely to appear at the top of the search results, and thus, prying eyes will be more likely to find accurate information about who you are and what you do.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: Sorry, I should have been clearer. No, I wouldn't consider not having a website lazy if the candidate otherwise had a really well put together dossier. I was more thinking of the case where it seems like someone didn't put much time into their dossier *and* they only have an academia page.

UK reader

Amanda, why does it look weird to have a website without having a picture? Genuinely curious... I'm pretty uncomfortable with putting up pictures of myself. Why is a picture important? Is it just so people can recognise you at conferences?

Amanda

UK reader my response is probably more of an emotional one than a rational one. But if I tried to put it in words, I would say because when I got to someone's website I am expecting to see their picture. I am often curious (for God knows what reason why) what someone looks like, and so when I go to their website and their is no pic I wonder why not. And then I find myself thinking, "Oh maybe they are one of those people especially concerned about bias." And then I think, "they should just relax..."

To be clear, I am not proud of any of the above. But since you asked, I thought I would try to explain my thought process. And while I wasn't thinking of this, being recognized at conferences probably will help you. When people can put a face to a name, it helps them stand out in your mind, and as Marcus has said standing out is generally a good thing.

Marcus I am curious if sloppy CVs include things like naivety - when looking over the dossiers of some friends that is what struck me most, just unprofessionalism and giving away that the person clearly doesn't "get it."

Marcus Arvan

“Marcus I am curious if sloppy CVs include things like naivety - when looking over the dossiers of some friends that is what struck me most, just unprofessionalism and giving away that the person clearly doesn't "get it”.’

*Yes.* A big part of my reason for doing this series is I think a lot of people are naive about the market and what looks good in a dossier. I’ve tried to detail how in a variety of posts. Look at my post on teaching experience. There is a reason Leiter-unranked UVA has a 70% placement rate and a dozen or so unranked programs have better placement rates than many of the highest-ranked programs in the discipline. I’ve mentored a handful of people over the years and in almost every case I was shocked at how much work their dossiers—their cover letters, research statements, teaching statements, and teaching portfolios—needed. Every time I come across a blog comment—and there are a lot of them—where people focus on how many publications a new hire has (or doesn’t have), I want to reach through my computer and shake them. They just don’t get it. It’s not about how many articles you’ve published in Mind, or Phil Studies, or whatever. Sure, pub lists mean something for *some* jobs: jobs at Harvard. But if you want to be competitive for jobs at teaching institutions that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about the whole picture of you as a teacher, researcher, and member of the community: it is about showing that you are a well-rounded, original *professional*. And it’s very clear that many people just don’t get that. It’s very clear whether a person spends 95% of their time on research and sees teaching and service as an afterthought. That’s their right of course: they just shouldn’t be shocked when they’re less competitive on the market than they think their publication list warrants. They’re trying to win playing the wrong game. I want to help people understand that so that they don’t spend the better part of a decade in grad school only to wonder why they have a ton of publications but no interviews.

Amanda

For those who don't get it - I've spent some time thinking about whether to blame them or the faculty at so many institutions who equally don't get it. I have concluded both are to blame. And if you look at the CVs of people hired at places like Harvard - often they are not hiring on a long list of publications either. I think they hire more often based on PhD prestige, letters of famous people, being at the top of a subfield, and/or having something especially interesting or compelling about their research. Yet in spite of these truths about what gets people hired both at teaching and research schools, grad departments often still teach their students it is only about a long list of publications. Odd.

elisa freschi

UK reader and Marcus, I also don't publish any photograph of myself online (try goggling me and let me know if you can prove me wrong:-), for the reasons Elisabeth mentioned and also because I want to keep my private life private. I hope my colleagues and academic friends will be able to interact with me as a fellow historians of philosophy although they don't know what I had for breakfast or how my nails look like.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: You are exactly right. That's a big part of the reason I chose to do this series (and similar earlier series). I firmly believe--on the basis of quite a bit of experience now--that many grad programs and students coming out of them are deeply naive about the job-market.

Take a look at my recent post on teaching experience. There is a reason why Leiter-unranked UVA has a 70% placement rate and nearly a dozen other unranked programs have better overall placement rates than some of the very highest-ranked departments in the discipline. From what I can tell, the culture in some highly-ranked schools is all about research. So their students come out thinking getting a job is all about publishing. Maybe it is at R1's (where ranked schools have better placement rates). But at other schools (institutions like mine) publishing is only one small part of what we are looking for.

Consequently, whenever I come across online discussions of which hires had how many publications (and which hires don't)--and there are many of these discussions--I want to reach through my computer and shake the nonsense out of them. Never once have I seen a discussion of how much *teaching* experience a hire had or what their teaching dossier is like.

My overall feeling is this: many people are playing the wrong game, and being prepared to play the wrong game by their programs. It's very clear if someone spends 95% of their time on research and 5% on teaching. That's fine - it's their right. Indeed, my sense (from experience) is that grad faculty at ranked programs want their graduates to get research jobs, not teaching ones. That's fine too. It's just that people should stop being surprised when they have a bunch of publications but few interviews. You can have all the publications you want - but if the rest of your dossier is underdeveloped, you are going to have a bitterly hard time getting a job at a teaching school.

I've also mentored a number of people over the years, and I've been shocked at just how much work I thought their dossiers needed--their cover letter, research statement, teaching statement, teaching portfolio, and so on. I've discussed this at length before, in the Job-Market Boot Camp, and I'll return to some of it again soon.

anon

I agree with Amanda that not posting a picture is a negative. I would say that it is even worse to use some kind of symbol in place of an image. As a search committee member, this would be a red flag for me. It just gives the impression that there is something to hide, or it runs the risk that (fairly or not) this potential colleague will be difficult to work with. My sense is that the importance of an image is greater at teaching schools than at research programs. Insofar as teaching schools are looking for a colleague who will happily consent to being photographed for department pages, alumni magazines, etc, (and in general, be asked to do lots of different things without complaint) a desire not to be photographed presents as a concern. This is especially so in a market where committees are forced to make fine distinctions and weigh all potential risks. I disagree that it has to be about prying into someone's personal life, but rather it is about the presentation of a professional public persona. Being a professor seems to entail, at least in some limited way, such a presentation.

Amanda

Elisa - for the record, I would not recommend someone posting a pic of their nails or what they ate for breakfast! As for you - you have a very strong online presence, far more than most. So if someone like you spends a ton of time developing this online presence, the other things will be less important. Now would it help you to add some pics and a few personal things (and by personal I do not mean anything deeply personal - but like the stuff Helen writes on, for instance) I think it would. By how much I don't know. Again, I am not saying that is fair. I don't even have a webpage so clearly I don't follow my own advice. Just saying my what I've noticed....

Pendaran Roberts

Marcus' option 3 is clearly the best option in terms of increasing your odds of landing a job. However, I suspect many will be morally opposed to it. Let me explain. Marcus' use of the word "positive," although I think I know what he means, obscures the fact that option 3 is, in fact, a morally questionable option. What it means to have a "positive" online presence is to have an online presence that offends no one, or at least no one who is likely to be a constituent of a search committee. This may entail not speaking out about things you feel strongly about, pretending to believe or endorse positions you do not endorse, and so on. So, a "positive" online presence may in fact be negatively valanced, morally speaking. I think many who feel that their beliefs and positions will not be looked kindly on by search committees would rather have no online presence than a fake one.

There is another aspect of "positive" that I think is lurking in Marcus' use of the term and that is something like being a positive person. I call it the happiness culture. We are expected to be cheerful about life and the world, about our jobs, about the future. However, this is a kind of self-delusion. The doomsday clock is 2 minutes from midnight. As Chomsky says, we're racing to the precipice of global warming and nuclear war. There is a very high chance that organized human existence will not continue for much longer. There are many other problems and issues to be negative about too: the vast and growing wealth disparity in particular, not to mention starvation, disease, discrimination, stupidity, and greed! Maintaining an online presence that's positive means what exactly? I guess it means use your facebook account to post cat pictures and silly video clips? I don't think we can afford to act like this as a species if we're going to survive another decade.

So, in sum, I certainly don't think we can afford to be positive over realistic. We need to use our online presences to discuss and debate the problems that face the world, not to post cat pictures. The politicians are not going to save us. We need to save ourselves. Now regarding the other and first discussed aspect of "positive," it should be clear that it's related to the second. If everyone is afraid to speak their minds, because they are trying to maintain a "positive" online presence, they aren't going to engage in a whole host of contentious issues. So who is? Trump? Congress? Mad Dog Mattis? LOL! The reality is that the people need to engage in debates about contentious issues, civilly, if we are to improve our lot.


Marcus Arvan

Pendaran: Thanks for weighing in. I'll be frank: I think you're attacking straw. Let me explain why.

I probably could have been clearer about this, but since I wasn't let me clarify what I have in mind by option (3). By having a "positive" online presence, I don't mean being totally "inoffensive" or "vanilla", or unlikely to offend anyone. In my experience, no one much likes people like that. They come across as "dead fish", quite honestly. People like--and in my experience want to hire--people with some real character, individuality, and willingness to speak their mind. What they *don't* want is toxic, unprofessional people likely to make their department or university a miserable and difficult place to get their work done.

My experience is that one can speak one's mind aplenty online and still do well on the market. The key is to do so in a way that makes one look like a kind, decent, reasonable person who is willing to listen to others, not respond routinely with biting sarcasm, or by bullying, etc.--and not everyone does this.

Expecting people to obey basic interpersonal moral and professional norms is not an injustice. Take any part of human life you like--including any job-market on the planet--and you will find there are some basic norms of commonsense and professionalism that people are expected to follow: norms that people think exist for good reasons (among other things, in the workplace, to ensure that people can get their work done effectively). Part of becoming an adult and living as one in the world is learning to adapt to these basic norms.

That is all I meant by (3): taking care to ensure that one comes across well online, even when one stands up for what one believes in.

Pendaran Roberts

"Their controversial-ness may have even worked to their advantage, as I've heard some say it's better to be controversial and known than not to be known at all. However, that being said, (2) is a very risky strategy, and may only pay off if one is controversial in a way some people like (see e.g. this Daily Nous post). "Just being yourself" online may be especially risky if you behave in ways that rub people the wrong way.

Which leaves option (3): having a robust online presence, while working to ensure that it is a positive one."

As you can see, in your original post you clearly contrasted 'positive' with 'controversial.' You are now trying to say that you can be positive and controversial. However, I think many will agree with your original post that to do this is quite risky, especially if you are controversial in non-popular ways.

I guess this is my position: If you can speak your mind, civilly, and not have to worry about this affecting your chances of maintaining a job, then speak your mind civilly. However, if, as many suspect, you cannot speak your mind, even civilly, without risking your chances of attaining a job, then I think you just have to take that risk. I don't think the human species can survive if we refuse to discuss controversial topics.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Pendaran: Let me clarify.

I wrote, "I have seen more than a few people with really controversial online personas get hired for tenure-track jobs." What I primarily had in mind here is people's *personas*: people who got hired despite routinely engaging in very public forms of sarcasm, charged language, etc.

I agree there is some risk to defending controversial *views* publicly, but suspect it is probably advantageous all-things-considered if one does so in a way that conforms to option (3).

I don't want to single people out, but there are people I know who have gotten jobs despite publicly defending unpopular views--and I suspect a lot of it has had to do with how professionally they've done so.

For my part, while there is of course some real risk to defending unpopular views, I'm inclined to think it may actually be *better*, all things considered, to be someone who does so with decency, a willingness to listen, etc., than to pursue option (1). There are some individuals I can think of who defend very (politically) unpopular views publicly online who I would be willing to bet my bottom dollar will end up getting jobs due to how professionally they've done so.

But I could be wrong about this.

Pendaran Roberts

Originally options 2 and 3 were supposed to exclude one another, or so I thought. I’m not trying to be difficult but I think it’s important to actually understand what the advice is. Can we be ourselves online or not? Or do we need to be positive? And what exactly does it mean to have a positive online presence? If all it means is be civil, then I’m not sure it’s good advice for those looking for a job. If it means more than this, then I’m not sure it’s morally acceptable or in the interest of the species. Anyway, if option 3 is really just be yourself but civilly, a kind of option 2, then I think that it’s perfectly fine for people to follow. It strikes me as risky for one’s short-term career interests though, depending on how close to the mainstream your views are.

AnonX

I was on a search committee this year and will be next year. Here's my highly subjective take (as someone with an online presence):

1. Have a professional website that looks professional. Use something modern like Wix or Weebly.
2. Keep tabs on Facebook privacy settings just in case.
3. If you have Twitter, don't write anything you would be embarrassed about a search committee knowing (or, if you don't have good embarrassment triggers, use some guidelines - no swearing, no ridiculous images of yourself, no trashing students or philosophy or your dissertation committee or anyone ever - I HATE this on twitter, and related nos.)
4. I don't mind personal photos or sentences about one's personal life on a professional website, just don't overdo it. It won't help much and it could hurt.
5. Make your Instagram private if you have one, and not just for the job market - do you really want your students seeing what you post?
6. Definitely don't use your real full name posting here or other blogs. This has not happened yet, but if I see an application from B and I recognize B because B is always posting/complaining on blogs, that behavior will inevitably and regrettably influence my judgment about B's application.

Not everyone will agree with 1-6, of course, but the only thing candidates really have on the market is biased advice anyway :)

Good luck!

Amanda

AnonX - will simply recognizing someone's name always be negative for you? Or is it recognizing the name along with a pattern of being whiney, a jerk, etc.

And Marcus as I understand you, you agree with AnonX, right?

Amanda

Ugh I meant disagree!

Marcus Arvan

Amanda: I’d like to hear more from AnonX too. I would in no way hold it against someone for simply commenting on blogs under their own name, As I note in my post, I think it depends entirely on how they do it, and it could even be beneficial if they come across as smart, thoughtful, interesting, etc. Also, fwiw blogging under my own name didn’t seem to hurt me on the market. Quite the contrary, although i didn’t start the blog with this in mind, it only seemed to help.

Lauren

I guess I just assumed I was being Googled when I went on the job market, at least by some people. If you spent enough time, you could probably guess my marital status, for instance (though there was nothing obvious like a name change and I didn't put any personal information on my website or have any personal pictures except for one of me). To Elizabeth's point about spouses/kids: as a married female philosopher, I am not at all certain my status would have been beneficial to me, and I deliberately did not ever mention my spouse, even when search committees talked about theirs (which they did a lot on the campus visits I went on), and I even considered leaving my wedding ring off on campus visits. Maybe for male candidates this is an advantage, but I was worried I would be taken less seriously.

Pendaran Roberts

"Definitely don't use your real full name posting here or other blogs. This has not happened yet, but if I see an application from B and I recognize B because B is always posting/complaining on blogs, that behavior will inevitably and regrettably influence my judgment about B's application."

This is the 'be positive' sense of having a positive online presence. I'd be interested to hear whether Marcus thinks our online presences have to be positive in this way? Now, Marcus is not always positive with his blog, which I appreciate. I appreciate the critiques of philosophy, the job market, and the peer review system. I suspect Marcus might say that it's fine to complain as long as you do so civilly and respectfully. However, I can certainly see why many would think that they shouldn't complain under their own name. I think as a profession we can't afford this attitude. We have too many serious problems (overproduction of PhDs, adjunctification of teachers, broken peer review system, and so on) to simply remain silent.

In the past, I have for moral reasons sometimes spoken my mind when I feel it would have been better for my career to remain silent. Maybe this hurt me, maybe it didn't. I did always try my best to remain civil. However, the impression I got from others is that under no circumstances should you complain or voice concerns, not under your own name. I did this, and I don't have a job. So, well, that's just anecdotal, but might be worth considering. I know some others who did the same, and they had a lot of trouble with the market. I have no proof it's due to their complaining. I'm no longer trying to find a job, having given up, so though I always try to be civil, I also don't hide what I think. That's why I feel comfortable using my own name.

cw

I've been on four searches at a regional state university. I've never looked online for information about candidates. However, I know at least one of my colleagues does do this.

I have looked people up when they've written something interesting and I want to see what else they've written. I've never done this in the context of a search. I do not think it odd or unprofessional for a person's website to lack a picture. It seems none of my business.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Pendaran: I wasn’t intending to present the options as having well-defined boundaries, such that they are entirely mutually exclusive. I meant them as crude categories with vague boundaries, such that gradations between them are possible. As you note, I’ve tried to have a positive presence online—but I’ve also tried to be myself, criticizing a variety of things in the profession. Being myself in that regard had/has attendant risks (qua option 2), but I consciously decided to put my faith in the idea that people of good will may forgive my faults and errors so long as I make it clear that I’m trying to do good (qua option 3). So, I don’t think 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive. One can blend them.

Marcus Arvan

Pendaran: I agree with you that we should not be silent or anonymous. I think this is a terrible feature of the profession—the fact that people are afraid of speaking publicly under their own names. While there may be search committee members who automatically downgrade people who raise concerns about the profession online, if my experience is any indication there are others out there (I know I’m not alone) who actually *admire* people who have the courage to publicly stand up for their sincere beliefs, provided they do so in a professional manner. I would urge people to remember: your task as a job candidate is not to please every search committee member. That’s impossible. Your task is to be a candidate whom *one* search committee wants to hire—one where you impress one or more people such that they want to fight for their committee to hire you. What might turn Anon X off might impress the heck out of me. This is why i think some blend of approaches (2) and (3) might be advantageous: I know more than a few people who appreciate professional courage and a desire to improve the profession. Still, I think unprofessional behavior will impress approximately no one.

Pendaran Roberts

Thanks Marcus. Regarding acting professionally, I sometimes get the impression that people think it's unprofessional to complain. You can certainly complain in a more or less mature way, but no matter how 'professional' you try to make your complaint some will still see it as whining. So, I think at least for some there is no way to professionally criticize the profession. Moreover, it is a real skill to be able to complain while not sounding as if you're merely whining. When I had a facebook account I would sometimes complain about some horrible journal experience (not mentioning journals specifically), and some people would give me a hard time for being immature or whining. However, from my perspective I was trying to point out ridiculous behavior and problems. So, I think you walk a hard road and you do it well, but it's a scary one to walk. I think many would rather play it safe and keep their opinions to themselves. I agree that it's a terrible feature of the profession that people are afraid to speak publicly. But it's not just terrible for the individuals in the profession; it's terrible for the profession.

Thanks for the discussion.

Asst Prof

Thanks to everyone for some helpful comments. In regards to pictures, I can add a very random point...

I often teach online courses without a picture of my students, but what I find (to be honest) is that I still associate a face with a name, usually the face of someone I have known in the past with the same first name!

It is really weird, but I always seem to need a face to go with a name. So, if I am teaching Charles ______, then I will imagine him looking like another Charles I have known. Insofar as unconscious biases are at work, they also carry over (if the previous Charles was well-spoken, good-looking, of a certain ethnicity, etc.).

For grading, I can blind out the names to remove this bias. But for other interactions like email, I still envision a certain face and appearance. I suppose if I were on a search committe, something similar would occur up to the point I meet a person or see them in something like a Skype interview.

AnonX

Sorry for the delay in my reply! I think my overall thought is this: you want to be remembered for something impressive. "B is that philosopher who published that interesting paper on X in Phil Studies" is a much better impression than "B is that philosopher who is always commenting on Daily Nous."

I also agree that complaining about the profession is justified, but I think the safest thing job candidates can do is not post complaints online under their own names. Refraining from complaining using one's real name can never hurt, while complaining using one's real name might hurt.

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