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I'm on the job market this fall. I'm wondering what my prospects are like if I strike out this round. My plan would be to just stick around my alma mater and do sessional instructing. Would this hurt me when I apply to jobs again next year?

Starting to think about dissertation

I am currently starting to think about my dissertation committee and, as an extension of that, job market letter writers.

I'm not sure how much I should care about the prestige of the philosophers on my committee, who will end up being most of my letter writers (except, perhaps, for a teaching letter). For example, I can ask a recently retired and very-famous professor to be on the committee, but they have been pretty flaky lately and enjoying their retirement a lot, so I'm not sure how committed they would be and how closely I could work with them. On the other hand, there is a junior faculty member in my department who is only a few years out of grad school, but is already very well-respected and has a lot of connections in my AOS (and an extraordinary publishing record). I am leaning toward the junior faculty member because I think the dissertation would probably be better with their help, but perhaps some people might advise me to find a famous person and just do what you need to do to get a good letter from them? Or perhaps having someone well-connected is better, regardless of their seniority in the field?

I could also try and find a famous person outside of my department, but of course most of these people are extremely busy and might not be able to write me a great letter in the end, either.

I'm not sure what the best thing to do here is!

From politics to metaphysics?

For a PhD writing sample, how close should the subject of the writing sample be to what you say (in your statement of purpose) are the research questions that most excite you for a dissertation? Specifically, I want to do early modern, and, at present, my strongest paper attempts to solve an interpretive problem in the political philosophy of the main figure I want to work on. However, my main long-term research interests in this figure are actually in their metaphysics. Would an 'X on political philosophy paper' count against me when applying to do 'X on metaphysics'?

philosopher wannabe

I am an undergraduate student planning to apply to philosophy grad programs. I found a prominent philosopher (perhaps almost everyone here knows) at a middle-ranked uni ( about #100-150 in QS ranking in philosophy). It would be great if I could be supervised by him/her. My concern is about job hunting: if I get a "Ph.D. from [middle-ranked uni] supervised by [prominent philosopher]", how does that work in the philosophy job market? I'd appreciate your honest opinion!


Suppose that you are exempt from trying to get a job and all that (you win the lottery, you decide to stay in the parental basement, etc.). How would you maximize your engagement in philosophy? e.g., if you faced no need to publish articles/ get peer approval, would you work on one big book, or write in a dialogue format, or abandon text and start doing street epistemology, go full Diogenes? etc. Put another way; stripping out all the trappings/context in which we are constrained to philosophize, how would you do it, ideally?


This is not a situation I have encountered yet, but one which I am wondering about nevertheless. I have a position at a university in a different city than that of my partner (another academic). I am still planning to be on the market in the coming years, but selectively: I'm only applying to jobs that are close to where my partner has their position. If I were to get an on-campus interview, I was wondering what to do about mentioning my two-body problem to faculty members at the interviewing institution. On the one hand, I'd be reticent to do this because I try not to talk too much about my personal life and don't want to give off the impression that I'm only applying to the job to solve this problem. On the other hand, I figure it might be helpful for the department to know that I am not as much of a "flight risk" once hired. Not sure how to think through this - I'd appreciate any thoughts.

One Hundred Semesters of Solitude

Here's a question with a bit of a different tack.

I'd like to initiate a conversation about the unexpected and honestly often quite difficult loneliness of having chosen an academic career. Note that I'm NOT looking for some Cocoon-style "what are *your* thoughts" on how to DEAL with this loneliness. That's partially what therapy is for, and the solutions to loneliness and solitude are pretty well-known regardless of what profession you choose (find hobbies, volunteer, put yourself out there, etc.).

What I'd like to ask is just how many people, like me, have kind of been surprised by how much less of a social network we have than other friends and non-academics at similar career stages. Here's the factors that affect my life, and I'm wondering how common these are. Again, I'm NOT looking for advice.

1) Lack of social connections from past stages of life -- Some people are able to build social circles out of their college or childhood friends and their mutual connections. However, because I chose to pursue a PhD in my 20s and partially because my program was far away from where friends from my BA ended up, I fell out of contact with many if not most of my college connections. None of my friends from college are nearby geographically. So that makes this source of social interaction slim pickins'. How many others have this experience?

2) Lack of social connections from work -- I'm in my mid-30s and I have a TT position in a major city! So I pretty much hit the lottery. However, I've learned that folks in other industries (tech, law, finance, etc.) often find a majority of their friends from their workplace. This is because these other workplaces are largely populated by people in a (1) similar age bracket who (2) are also looking for new social connections.

However, in academia, it's possible that neither of these factors applies. I am the youngest member of my department by a good 10 years and (nearly) everyone else lives in the suburbs with a family. Nobody is really looking for a buddy to go check out bars with on weekends.

Also, my institution (somewhat anecdotally) seems to do a really bad job of connecting its junior faculty with each other. Previously, when I worked at a much smaller institution, there were TT faculty orientations, meet-and-greets, and so on. At my current institution, there's been none of that.

Anyway, these factors have also made this source of social interactions very hard. How many others have experienced this?

3) The inherent social isolation of academic work -- The other obvious factor that makes it hard to develop meaningful social connections at work is that, unlike say tech or law or finance, academic work in the humanities is almost entirely solo. Most of us aren't running labs, with grad students and postdocs filing in and out and so on. And barring the odd committee assignment where people aren't rushing to leave the Zoom room, literally all of my work is conducted by myself.

I write by myself. I lesson prep by myself. Teaching isn't technically "by yourself," but you all know that it practically is, since undergrads are basically automata a little less able than ChatGPT (only barely joking). It's possible to work an entire semester quite productively without an actual interaction with another person, and I think I actually have had more than one such semester.

I think these are the biggest couple of factors, but other additional factors might include whether someone is romantically paired or single, the fact that academics work a unique kind of schedule, and so on.

Again, I'm NOT looking for advice on how to make friends, etc. I'm just curious as to how many other Cocooners have noticed and perhaps been surprised by the loneliness that comes with academic life.


I'd be interested to hear views about reply-piece conventions, such as typical length, citation practices, time limits, etc., as well as any noteworthy experiences, good and bad, that people have had writing them.


Simple question: Does a postdoc cover letter go on letter head if you are currently in a VAP position?

lost in convocation

I'm having trouble adjusting to TT life post-grad school. I started as an assistant professor at a SLAC this fall with a 3/4 load. I feel like I'm drowning in email, grading, and class preps. I don't know how to manage my Outlook inbox. I'm going to have to pick up some service activities soon on top of everything else.

Any tips for a first-semester TT prof trying to figure out how stay afloat?

anon postdoc

How much do small grammatical mistakes cost you in your job application materials? I ask because when I tweak my materials for particular jobs, I'm prone to making small mistakes. Are these forgivable in the eyes of a committee, or do they provide reason for tossing an app? I want to know how much attention I need to give to proofing and re-proofing each and every document prior to sending them off!


I would like to echo what "One hundred years of solitude" wrote bit by bit with the added burden of being a foreigner in academia. The major city I live in is in fact a place where people come to get some good starting job, but they eventually move somewhere else for family or job reasons. I do not know if this is more an American/cultural pattern than an academic one (perhaps it wouldn't happen in other major cities in the world, like Berlin, London, or Tokyo), but I do wonder how people cope with this situation.


Is first authorship, second authorship, etc. important in philosophy? I'm working on some coauthored papers and haven't discussed these issues. Not sure whether this is something I should worry about. For context, I'm on the job market.


I’d be interested to hear what others think AOSs and AOCs require in terms of creation and maintenance. That is, not what those on job committees think are acceptable on CVs (e.g., no more than three AOCs), but what philosophers should do in order to legitimately claim AOSs and AOCs. Does an AOC require, for example, graduate teaching competence, or that one regularly reads new work in the area (if so, how much and how broadly?), or that one has taught a minimum number of courses in the area.

LGBTQ+ person

The consensus on the 10/4 post seemed to be that sharing personal information that would reduce appearing to be a flight risk is a good thing, at least wrt a partner living near the job.

Would such disclosure be helpful to do even when the fact is something different like "I really love the area" or "I am LGBTQ+ and this university is in an area with a large LGBTQ+ community?"

My worry is that sharing this kind of information might lead someone to worry you aren't as serious about working at the SCHOOL itself, meaning they might worry that you won't be an engaged department member, etc.

Of course, I could see it only being a good idea to make both the case that the location is ideal AND the job/department is ideal, which I'm sure I will do, but I just want to make sure people seem to agree that including discussions of location wouldn't hurt and could only help one's chances (provided that the case is also made that the job itself is a good fit)

academic migrant

For foreign academics working in the UK, has anyone had any luck in getting some assistance with visa application fee or IHS or the application for permanent leave? It's really expensive for people with family, and I'm not sure I can save enough (given the living cost crisis) as the single source of income to pay for the application fee for permanent leave.


I've noticed that in recent papers, philosophers are starting to include more diverse (non-Anglophone) names for people in their examples and thought experiments. This seems reasonable but also challenging (how to choose when writing? how to pronounce when discussing?). What's the normative status of this practice? Would it hurt one's chances for publishing or send a negative message if one were to stick with Alice and Bob?

Struggling dissenter

Hi! I am a junior faculty member. Concerning departmental affairs (or any affairs) I tend to have a different opinion than many others. I also tend to get misunderstood. I wonder if there are advice and experience on how to survive departmental meetings and similar decision making scenarios. E.g. Should I be more quiet?

Insanely Introverted

I'm wondering if the introverts out there can provide some advice on being an introvert in academia. In the earlier years of my PhD, when I could mostly stay sequestered in my office alone doing research, I felt like I was thriving. This term, I'm teaching two courses as I wrap things up. And sometimes I find it overwhelming. I love teaching. I am energized while doing it. And I have no trouble staying on top of my workload. But I find the act of teaching itself absolutely draining. And god forbid I get stuck in the department talking to folks on days that I have to teach. I love what I do. But I wish I was less introverted. To be clear, introverted people are not shy. Introverted people feel emotionally and mentally drained by social interaction with others.

Does anyone have tips for coping and/or thriving as an introvert in academia?

An early career academic wanting to work with others

How do people go about coauthoring papers? It seems everyone is working on different topics, yet it looks like more and more people are working together on papers. It is unclear to me how to initiate projects with other people. I also feel too socially awkward/inept to ask to work with other people and also have some self-doubt that I may not be good enough to work on projects that are slightly outside of my research focus. Any tips?

Trying to have any savings as an adult

Do you know of cases where people take other jobs (non-TA jobs) outside of the university while finishing a dissertation? I can make more outside of the academy in fewer hours than if I were TAing because of a particular skill set I have, and I want to be able to live with my partner who is in another state. I've only heard about this in other fields, but not philosophy. For context, I feel 50/50 about going into academia or into industry. Have people seen successful or unsuccessful examples of this in philosophy?

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