Based on casual observation of the tenure track job market, one might say things are improving slightly. Last season appeared to have more available jobs than the year before, and I'm already hearing rumblings about quite a few jobs poised for the fall. Hiring freezes, as far as I can tell, have been lifted pretty much everywhere and the faucet is starting to trickle again. We are nowhere near out of the woods, but there is seemingly more action every year.
But what does that mean for the average postdoc applying this season.
One disturbing trend (from the postdoc perspective) I am hearing about from both colleagues who are in hiring departments and a few on the job market relates to who is getting the desirable jobs right now. Repeatedly, I'm seeing instances where Assistant Professors or early Associate Profs are grabbing up the "better"* jobs on the market. Now one could argue that their vacated position would then open up for a more junior person, but departments aren't reliably getting those positions back, let alone in the same field. Whereas postdocs are getting interviews, they appear (again, anecdotally) to be landing jobs at a lower rate.
One counter to this is that tight funds are forcing some departments to hire only at the junior assistant level, rather than make a push to get someone more senior. I'm not sure how systemic this is, however.
What are others seeing on the job market? Is my low N representative or a skewed sample?
*Defined by the desirability of the institution and location.
So CERN announced early this morning that they have identified the Higgs Boson - the last missing particle of modern physics, which has remained only theoretical in the 50+ years since its description. The world has been anticipating this news for some time and the anticipation around the announcement was significant. The scientists presenting the data knew that they had to put their best foot forward and convince the community that they had done what so many wanted to accomplish.
What do YOU do when the pressure is on? That's right, break out motherfuckin Comic Sans!
BOOM! Now people know that you not only solved one of the critical questions in physics, but you have a playful side too. You don't take the data too seriously, it's just confirmed at 5 sigma. Whatevs!
Maybe everyone else uses Comic Sans to announce the office beach party or the frat Luau, but not CERN. Oh no. They announce the Fuckin HIGGS with that shit.
If you need me I'll be changing all of my lectures and presentations to Comic Sans.
Two kids, one hot weekend:
"If you keep trying to bite the cat, you're gonna get hurt."
"Please don't let her eat another crayon."
"See? Sand tastes yucky. I tried to tell you."
"Please don't sit on the couch naked, go get some clothes."
"I'm sorry, I don't speak whinese. When you can get ahold of yourself we can talk."
"It's not nice to fart on someone while they are reading to you."
"Did you really think it would be a good idea to put a box over your sister? Really?"
"When this kid starts walking it's gonna go all Lord of the Flies in here."
"Why does her head smell like a sourdough starter?"
"This child is like a magnet for danger. I'm convinced she would crawl right into a wood chipper without a second thought."
"We need to start covering the dinning room like one of Dexter's murder rooms before each meal. The clean up is roughly the same."
"Once you put sunscreen on her we'll never be able to grab her. It'll be like the greased pig at the country fair."
"Is it too early for a beer?"