Monday, January 24, 2005


Well, it is Monday and I had to laugh this morning, I was reading Jane at the breakfast table, and got to the horoscope section. It said something like "the 24th is your day to stop being a failure."


We are at least halfway through the day and so far, I'm not feeling any earthshaking changes.

Was particularly amused that this month's issue of Jane has an article that is *semi* relevant to us- it's about grad school. Granted, as per usual, they picked women in non-science disciplines, in this case Philosophy students at the University of Washington. Who have major drinking problems. Who are 36 years old and taking Ritalin to stay awake and party.

I'm sorry, but it seemed like they deliberately picked people who must be major losers with no direction, no work ethic, and very little self-respect to continue in a job like that for $13,000 or less per year - and with very little sign of ambition to finish and get out. Many of them quit in the middle of writing their dissertation. I mean, if you're going to quit, why quit then?? You just leave empty-handed. At least if you finish your degree and have no job, you can say "Hey, that's Dr. Failure to you!"

Anyway, typical of Jane to sort of miss the point that people going into PhD programs in the humanities are either totally obsessed with their topic, totally naive, or both. They either don't notice or don't care that there are not going to be many job opportunities for a professional philosopher.

Whereas, I would argue that most people going into PhD programs in the sciences are actually duped into thinking it's going to improve their chances of getting a job. The programs are marketed that way, they deliberately use false advertising to draw in new recruits. And everyone participates: the undergraduate institutions the students are coming from, and the graduate schools that are trying to recruit them. I've actually participated in career seminar panels where I sat with deans and professors, who were trying to convince a crowd of clueless undergrads that going to grad school would somehow solve all their problems.


Not to mention the NSF, which is only now starting to realize that all their own reports on the 'shortage' of scientists were completely outdated by the time the data were ready to be released.

Catch up, people! The Biotech boom is over! And Jane, I really do hope you plan to do a story on female scientists one of these days. You like to talk big about women's issues, etc. but you seem more concerned with women in other countries, you know, starving and getting raped and stuff. I mean, sure, that's important and heartbreaking and it's good for us to learn about it so we can feel guilty about our pampered, sheltered lives. But at the same time, why not do some good at home, in the U.S.? You've got the right demographics...

Got a reasonably nice and thoughtful email from the guy I ragged on in my last post, although now I'm afraid to go to the site and read his 'public' reply since I'm not sure what to expect. It made me feel better to hear from some of you that you had similar experiences on some of these discussion groups.

I should get back to looking busy, or something. Plenty of stuff to do, but yesterday was my 'day off' and it ended up being a major chore day: laundry, Costco , and other annoying errands. But hey, won't have to buy toilet paper again for a while.

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