Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Job outlook

A friend asked me the other day if I couldn't get a job here in Nashville, and I said, "Well, not unless I want to work at Starbucks." Which wasn't really very funny, because it's tough to get hired anywhere at the moment, and I don't have experience as a barista.

All of you know the economy is tough. It's tough in higher ed too. At least two jobs I applied for canceled their job searches because of hiring freezes. I saw a posting for a faculty job at a public university here in Tennessee (not one I qualify for), and it bore the note "contingent upon state funding." Well, you can pretty much write that one off: Tennessee colleges are getting cuts in appropriations of over 20%.

But more specifically in Nashville, that means we can count out TSU, and Vandy doesn't hire its own grads as faculty. That's all the programs that have higher ed programs around here. And Vandy has a staff hiring freeze, so it's unlikely I could get a postdoc or a staff position. Quite a few of our grads have gone on to work at the state board of higher education or the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in the past, but those agencies are already frozen and are facing cuts.

Then envision this across not just Nashville, but the entire country ...

I'm not trying to elicit sympathy. I have another year of funding guaranteed, so I won't be out on the streets. Most people aren't so fortunate, even many students on the job market. It's just that the kind of job I thought I'd get used to be narrow because the kind of job I wanted was rare. Now the kind of job I think I'll get is narrow because jobs are rare.

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