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05/03/2021

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Getting out while its good

I'd like to hear from people who left academia for personal reasons when the going was good. My partner & I have an international two-body problem that has resisted solutions for years. They are a couple of years from tenure while I am up for tenure soon. My publishing profile is excellent, theirs is good but not stellar due to a range of reasons, some beyond their control. An international relationship is not feasible in perpetuity. But leaving a promising career for unknown waters (in the midst of a pandemic, at a certain age) is terrifying--and I am the one considering leaving for personal reasons (their close-knit family is in their country, my country is not friendly to my identity & medical needs, I have had other jobs before academia).

I'd like to know how people knew when to make the leap and how they managed to survive financially. I have been exploring alt-ac for a while (coding, editing work) but I enjoy my research too much to want to just leave academia. And I have a slight worry about what might happen if my partner don't get tenure, and we are both out of work.

Leena

I'm a 3rd year PhD student (I've passed my comps. and started my proposal) and here's my query: How are y'all working, publishing, editing, applying, defending during covid pandemic? Though I see philosophy might be even more present those times, I only feel useless, and on top, not having in-person seminars, presentations etc completely blurred the exciting part of pursuing this path. I've definetly not adapted to online courses, even though I've TAed and runned tutorials in both fall and winter. Something I used to be excited doing it is now just too painfull. I've been thinking and feeling more and more that it is senseless to try to be "out-there-soon-to-be-employabe" (i.e., publishing, networking or whatever), and that I should rather have a plan B at this point (I'm 30yo). Am I done with philosophy after 12 years stringing along with it? (p.s.: I know I'm the one who might be able to answer this question, but since there are eventually people here who gave up the career etc, I'd like to hear if someone could relate and/or see this as the first indices of my leaving the field; p.s.2.: I do not consider not defending, just not being "out-there-soon-to-be-employabe"). Thanks a lot.

Non-Ac Job Offers

I am a junior person on the tenure-track at a large-teaching-focused-state school. This school is an area of the US which has very high cost of living and the pay at my institution has not kept pace with inflation.

My question is:

Can I use a non-academic job offer to try to get my current institution to give me a raise in salary?

Before I got into philosophy, I had a 10+ year career in a specific business or industry. So, I could get a non-academic job offer.

My worry is how my department, dean or administration will receive this. On one line of thought, if they want to keep me, they will make an offer.

On another line of thinking, they may not treat this kind of job offer like they would an academic TT job offer.

But I am completely unsure about this.

anxious first-year lol

Hi! I will be a first-year Ph.D. student at a mid-ranked program in the fall, and I am already beginning to worry about job placement, publishing, etc. Are there any steps folks would recommend taking now in order to start strengthening one's C.V.? Would it be too early to start publishing in one's first year, for example? Or more generally, anything one would have done differently in their early years as a PhD student? Thanks so much.

Postdoc

I just want to know of people have tried transfer services for rejected papers at Wiley/Springer. There was a post on this a couple of months ago and no one replied. Just checking if people have tried it since then and can tell us what happens when you choose this option.

If you used a transfer service:
- Were the referee reports sent to the new journal?
- Did the editors start the process from scratch, or did they consider the reports you previously got?
- etc.

Thanks!

3rd year PhD student

What are salaries like for tenure track positions? Full time non-TT positions? It occurred to me that in many cases, people might get super lucky to land a TT job and then get stuck with a mid range salary with nowhere to go. This thought makes it much easier for me to want to leave sooner than later.

Timmy J

Lots of my philosophriends report that they're embarrassed about having not read X. Sometimes X is something that philosophers generally are supposed to have read. Sometimes it's just something that philosophers of one sort or another are supposed to have read.

I also feel this way. But rationally, I think we should all get over these feelings. So here's my proposal: let's have a confessional thread. It should be used exclusively for confession (no shaming!). Anyone who wants to can write in with philosophical work(s) they think they're supposed to have read but haven't. Hopefully this helps us all realize that we're ok.

Tommy Two-Body

What options are there for navigating the two-body problem for junior academics? Suppose the couple in question are both junior academics (less than 5 years out of PhD), both in analytic philosophy, but different areas of specialisation.

The most relevant job markets in my case are the UK and European ones. I've heard some rumours about things like joint hires, or job shares being a possibility, but I am unclear about the logistics of this. For example, would one apply for a single post, and then try to negotiate? If so, would this negotiation occur at interview or offer stage? Or would one be strictly limited to applying to job searches where there were at least two positions available? Thank you!

Assoc Prof

What are the best options for freelancing as a professional philosopher? For example, say someone is a FT philosophy instructor looking to pick up summer work or earn extra money during breaks or the school year. What are the best types of freelance work, and where are the places to find them?

I’m thinking there may be options for tutoring, editing, etc., but I’m not sure where to start or if this is a fruitful path...

Anonymous

Question about mental health and disability:

I am a PhD candidate who is about one year away from defending and entering the job market. I wanted to know how open I should be about belonging to a protected mental health and disability category (both in my application materials, and on my social media which is under a pseudonym, but could be linked to me with some effort). I have bipolar disorder one, and I know that there is a lot of stigma surrounding mental health in general (and even more acute stigma surrounding mental illness that can involve psychosis). In my personal life I am quite open about this - I think that telling stories about what it is like to live with this disorder is important for destigmatizing it. It is also important to me to be open about it because I think I stand as a good example of how it is possible to live a very happy and productive life despite having this kind of disorder. However, I do not want my condition to count against me when I go on the market! This question was raised for me most focally this month because I wanted to tell a few stories of my experience on a social media platform for Mental Health Awareness Month, but I am quite nervous about the kind of impact that might have on my job prospects down the line. Any thoughts you all have would be very much appreciated.

Pre-tenure and in need of catharsis

Maybe we could have a thread on 'types of referee reports'. I am working on a particularly frustrating R&R right now, and could use the entertainment. It maybe could also be instructive (?) on what not to do when writing a referee report?

Here, I'll start:

“You have not cited my book. No one else will tell you to cite my book, but I wrote it, someone published it, it’s on a glancingly related topic, so this lack of engagement with my work is a severe deficiency of your paper. Reject.”

“You have cited my book, but apparently you disagree with me. This means that you have not read my book carefully enough. Read it again. Reject.”

“You have talked about how X is related to Y, but have you considered that perhaps Z is related to Y? I do not know if it is, but neither do you, apparently, since you do not write about it, so … reject.”

“You are here writing about X. But have you considered mildly related issues Y and Z? Apparently you are ignorant of them. I would not consider publishing any paper on X that does not address Y and Z. Revise and resubmit […] This paper is too disjointed. What you write about Y and Z is nuanced and insightful, I am not sure why you discuss Y and Z in a paper on X. Reject.”

“I am just not convinced by this. Reject.”

“This is a great paper, unfortunately it’s on a topic I’m not super interested in. Have you considered rewriting the paper on a different topic, that is more related to my specific areas of interest and expertise? Thanks in advance. Revise and resubmit.”

Amy

Hello! I have a situation that I would like some advice. I submitted a paper to a special issue called for by a journal. The paper was rejected by the editor. However, the two reviews seem to both recommend a "revise and resubmit". I understand that the editor made the decision due to the fact that there is time pressure for the special issue. My question is, once I have the revised version ready, can I send it to the same journal (but obviously not for the special issue)? If so, should I make a note explaining all these, hoping that the editors reach out to the same two reviewers? Or should I just submit it somewhere else? Thank you!

reader

The recent discussions here about mid-career moves are very helpful. It is obvious that pre-tenure moves are way easier than after-tenure moves. I am wondering for those who moved before tenure, how much research at the previous institution was counted toward tenure at the new institution?

I am especially curious about the kind of case in which one has already met the tenure standard at the new institution, and wondering how much more one is expected to do. But knowing about other cases, such as moving from R2 or SLAC to R1, would definitely be helpful too! Thank you!

Alone in the Room

I recently attended a Zoom lecture in which all of the participants (except myself) were white. Having been mostly at home over the past year, I was reminded of how isolating the philosophy world can feel for someone in my skin.

I recognize that this is not an issue for all. I also recognize that there are ways in which philosophy as a field is diverse. That said, for me (and not just me), there's a physicality to being in a room with all white people that is hard to feel great about.

My question is this: are there ways that people of color in the profession have found to make all-white spaces more comfortable? These could both be personal strategies and structural ones: that is, things that you yourself do, or things that you ask that organizers of spaces do in order to make it more comfortable for you. Both kinds of strategies are welcome, as I'm sure that many who organize spaces want to make them welcoming for as many people as possible, as far as that is possible.

Javier

There have been many posts about isolation, anxiety and mental health issues, and professional instability, all due to covid or not, and mostly between graduate students.

Does anyone know of online social initiatives that are created to bring people together and have a conversation on this issues? Or of initiatives for people in academia who wish to just have a conversation with each other and might not have peers to do so at their uni?

Reviewer 1

I refereed a journal submission a few months ago. I thought it was ok, but could use some revisions. I just looked at the submission and saw the other reviewer's comments. Basically, the reviewer is complaining that one paper, which was cited, wasn't engaged with enough, and that another paper that wasn't cited, which is somewhat relevant, should have been cited. That's it. On the basis of that they deem this submission as not sufficiently engaged with the literature. Since this is a niche topic I write about, I can confidently say that this is false. The submission does a decent job of engaging with the literature. My question is this: should I write to the editor to voice my disagreement with the other reviewer?

Valentine

This might not seem like a philosophy question. But I am a philosopher that needs help, and philosophers might understand my situation better than others.

So the short story: I am broken hearted for the very first time. I have a TT position, but I can't focus on anything. It has been sometime, and it has not gotten better.

Any advice? How do you move on from this and care about philosophy again? To make matters much worse, I have no living family, and philosophy has my friends both very busy and randomly placed across the country - or the world even.

Although I have put 150% into this my work the last 10 years, and have secured what many of you dream of, it all seems so unimportant - professional philosophy is not anything like what I hoped. Most of it seems a game. This is where I feel the need to qualify things with, "Oh, but I have a nice career and published a lot in such and such fancy places, blah blah," as philosophers always seem to do. It makes me sad and tired -the never-ending game. I just want my person back. But it seems I can't have that. Besides therapy, what can I do?

To all of you suffering on the market but sleeping next to someone who loves you - trust me, you are the lucky one. Please don't forget it.

Anonymous

Hi, I'm an early career academic (in my first job post PhD). I've recently finished a couple of drafts based on PhD chapters and sent them to journals, and now I don't really know what to do next! This is the first time since my PhD began where I have had to effectively start from scratch. I'd love to know how academics navigate this - when faced with a blank page, how do you decide what to start working on next? What criteria do you use? My job is only temporary, so there is also the pressure of producing enough publications to make me a good candidate for jobs in a few years time.

Unusual Applicant

I am wondering whether it is worth applying to top-10 PhD programs given my somewhat unusual situation.

I finished my undergraduate degree in philosophy and a related field four years ago. At that time, I was not interested in pursuing professional philosophy, having been advised to wait and see if a safer, non-academic career might work.

Since then, I have continued to do philosophical research on my own time and have published one paper in a top specialist journal, and am working on an R&R for a top-20 generalist journal (assume for the sake of this post that the R&R makes it to publication as well). In both cases the referees have been enthusiastic and positive about the papers' arguments and contributions. So I assume that if I apply for graduate school, I will have a strong writing sample.

My undergraduate transcripts, however, are generally inconsistent and would be a major concern to an admissions committee. Despite a general upward trend (culminating in all A+'s in my final semester), my grades fall all the way across the spectrum (A+'s, F's, B's, etc), including philosophy and non-philosophy classes. Much of that was due to an untreated mental health condition. I did have good relationships with certain professors and can reliably assume that my letters will be strong but not exceptional.

I think my situation is unique because you would not generally expect someone with poor undergraduate transcripts and no graduate training to publish good papers. I am not saying my papers are outstanding (they aren't), I am just saying that they were deemed publishable and potentially publishable by referees and editors at good journals.

So here is my question: Based on what I've described, would my application be the kind that gets tossed by an R1 because my transcripts are much worse than those of top applicants, or would I be given a fair shot and actual, close consideration given the research I've done? Note that I'll only apply to programs whose faculty strengths match my research interests.

I understand that these 'what if' application questions come off as insecure and validation-seeking. But as you all know, applying is a substantial time and energy commitment, and I would really appreciate any thoughts and advice you might have. Thank you!

Kian Mintz-Woo

I have been asked for the first time to evaluate a manuscript. The editor mentioned a 'small fee' or the equivalent in books. I am interested in the topic of the manuscript, know and like the (similarly junior) author, and believe I would be well-placed to comment on it. However, I know it is a massive time commitment and I am sure the 'small fee' is nowhere close to the value of that time.

What is a normal timeline for reviewing a manuscript (this is not very long--the author expects <100k words)? It is worth noting that the editor has mentioned that they can be very flexible abut the reviewing time. Are there other things I should keep in mind? (Should I basically just say no to manuscript reviews until I'm a mid-career academic?) Is there a reasonable range to expect the 'small fee' to be? (I am sure it's not worth haggling or anything like that, but even if I wanted to I don't know enough to do it.)

Is it relevant that I like the press and might pursue them in the future, as I think it is with journals (although, because of subject area, not this particular editor)?

Do I basically review the book like I would articles, just on a larger scale--i.e., track the argument as it unfolds over chapters? Or should I also be thinking about things like audience and sales (!) I would also add some copy-editing in, because I like to do that as well.

I searched through Phil Cocoon for advice on this and--while you have lots of discussions about preparing proposals--you don't (appear!) to have anything about evaluating them. Thanks for any thoughts or advice!

Amma

What’s the deal with the “Oxford Studies in X”? How does one publish in these volumes and what is the perception within the field generally, or of various Xs?

Reader

I am wondering when one should start considering changing a long paper manuscript into a book project.

I am a junior faculty member working in a traditional area of analytic philosophy. Publishing a book is something that had never occurred to me. Recently, I am working on two interrelated papers, each of which becomes longer than what most journals recommend. While I know that the recommended length is not a requirement, I started considering whether it would be a good idea to develop a book project that includes these two papers (and more, of course). I know that some people's books were developed from paper manuscripts, so I am curious to hear others' suggestions, especially things that I should consider in order to make the decision.

Feeling Discouraged

I'll begin with some context: Recently I submitted a paper to a journal. This paper was a response to another paper published in that journal; the paper being responded to, in turn, was itself a response to an earlier paper of mine (also published in that same journal). Earlier today, unfortunately, I received an email from the editor letting me know that my new paper had been rejected. In explanation, the editor left the following comment: "I can't publish this, because it cites our own articles too much. Hopefully, another venue might be interested."

I now have a few questions:

(1) What might be the prospects for publishing the paper elsewhere? If I remember correctly, I've heard that most journals won't be willing to consider publishing a response to a paper that was not itself published in their own journal. If that's right, then there'd appear to be little hope of publishing the paper elsewhere. But I was wondering if anyone had any relevant thoughts or experiences here.

(2) To the extent that publishing the paper elsewhere does appear hopeless, what's left? Perhaps simply putting a copy of the paper on my PhilPeople profile? Though it'd of course be disappointing not to have the paper published in an actual journal, this is a paper that means a great deal to me personally, and I suppose I'd rather have it be available in some form than not at all. Has anyone else here had experiences of being deeply invested in a paper, yet not being able to find a publisher for it? If so, what "last resort" options have you found?

Postdoc

I've recently moved to the UK for a postdoc. They have lots of grants here, and I gather that it's a good idea for me to start building a track record of getting them (is that right?). If so: what sorts of things do younger folks usually do with a grant, and what sorts of grants are we competitive for?

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