Satire Jobs Tumblr Cuts Ivory Tower Hiring Down to Size

Posted by Liz Dwyer

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Having a tough time finding a job? So are all your friends who saddled themselves with mountains of debt and maxed out their credit cards so that they could earn a doctoral degree—only to discover that today's Ph.D. job market, especially in the humanities, isn't exactly rosy. Now MLA Jobs, a new Tumblr blog from the Modern Language Association—the professional organization for language and literature academics—expertly satirizes the job descriptions universities post.

The blog, which has "putting the AACK! back in the tenure track" as its slogan, started on September 18 with a pithy post poking fun at the Ivory Tower's unrealistic desire for young faculty members with significant expertise: "Yale is hiring an Asst. Prof. of English with specialization in early modern. Must have completed PhD no later than 2015."

Two weeks and nearly 60 posts later, the Tumblr features some seriously laugh-out-loud fake job ads. Gems like, "UCLA is hiring an assistant professor in Latina culture and literature who will also be a part of our interdisciplinary seminar on Kant. Secondary specialization must include colonial American literature, 1990s cyberpunk, graphic novels, and the history of the Jew's harp in Thailand," mock the unrealistic qualifications colleges and universities expect from applicants.

Massively Open Online Courses like Coursera and EdX aren't spared the satire either. A fake ad for the University of Virginia "seeks Professor of English with specialty in 'educational' technology for setting up MOOCs. Position will be responsible for attracting national attention with bombastic, unproven claims about the future of education; ideal candidate will be heavily read in David Brooks."

While actually landing a faculty job would make the unemployed Ph.D. in your life happiest, this is a Tumblr that's sure to make them smile. MLA Jobs is seeking submissions from job hunters on the frontlines, so if you've come across a particularly satire-worthy posting, send it their way.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons