Thursday, November 3, 2011

Job of the Year

Minorities and women are encouraged to apply. Brown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
From a typical postdoc ad


  1. I must have applied to around 5000 Physics Equal Opportunity employers by now. I am fairly certain that 100% of those jobs went to men, since I don't actually know of any other women in my field (women from other disciplines don't count).

    For many years, I gave seminars on twistors and category theory, when it was extremely unpopular, in a number of countries. I was almost certainly the first person to understand the dimension raising structure of polytope scattering computations (some years before my thesis). I was one of the first people to get a pure category theory PhD through a Physics department. These topics are now at the heart of Physics, and I was not considered seriously for any single one of these jobs. Now whole communities of people work on these subjects without acknowledging me (and I'm talking about people who know me, and were influenced by my work and ideas, spanning around 20 years).

    I just want a postdoc. I have earned it.

  2. I cannot properly apply for postdoc jobs, because no academic physicist will write me a reference letter, and one usually needs three letters. For some time now, I have been unable to write grant proposals, which require institutional support. Physics academics from leading research institutions have been reading my online comments since I started interacting online (around 2004) but to my knowledge not one of them has ever, once, publicly acknowledged my existence. Some of them have even been my colleagues. I emailed one of them the other day (a world famous person) and he had the audacity, after ignoring me for many years to my extreme detriment, to ask me how I was doing, as if we had met in the park by the duck pond.

    I decided to be a theorist at the age of 15, in 1983. I was very gifted and dedicated. After all this, I believe it is safe to conclude that women are only given PhDs so that they will shut up and leave. It's all about money for the department, I suppose.

  3. I share your frustration. There is a lot of hypocrisy between the "=opportunity" statement and reality. It is a hard time to find work worldwide, through no fault od our own.

  4. P.S. Your letter is on the way. I have often wondered lately if universities are overselling the value of a PhD to get that tuition money. The education bubble, like the housing bubble, may have popped.

  5. Thanks, Louise! Certainly, there has been a greed generated education bubble, at least in the antipodes. But my path has been unusual, and I have vastly more experience and knowledge than the average 25 yr old graduate. It does get frustrating being told constantly that 'it's just the job situation' when there are so, so many jobs in my field at present.


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