A family friend has a new boyfriend who is in his late 30s, just a few years younger than me. I’ve recently finished my Ph.D. and I’m on the job hunt. Stuck in a one-on-one conversation with this guy he proceeded to tell me:
1). That I just needed to keep putting myself out there, like he had to find his girlfriend. Then he told me a very long account of how he’d been looking for a very specific type of woman for so long, and had various partners, but had only just now finally found the right woman. As though his romantic choices and journey to find a woman were the same as my years struggling through my MA and doctorate. Or as if a tenure-track job is comparable to finding a romantic partner.
2). That if I was so interested in Asia, that I should go and teach ESL. (Which as everyone knows you can do with a BA, or in some areas, without a BA. Obviously I did not get two advanced degrees in a topic other than ESL education in order to teach ESL. Although it’s none of his business, I have done that. And that experience teaching taught me I love teaching but don’t like to teach low-level English conversation.)
3). That I should expand my search parameters. (Uhhhh, I’m applying for everything reasonable and feel rather apologetic to my letter writers as a result).
4). That something must be wrong with my application documents if I really was applying to as many reasonable jobs as existed. (700 applicants per job is bad odds, I don’t think he gets that point.)
5). That I should apply to community colleges. (I have. And museums. And research institutes. And postdocs. And visiting positions. And tenure track. And everything else that I was confident I could do.)
I could go on. Finally I had to just say “I’ve been as patient as I can be with this conversation, I cannot continue to be patient, and I don’t need your advice.”