The daily trip to the post office found me opening an envelope. It was from a university, a local one that had recently announced an opening for an assistant professorship in the art department.
I knew before I opened the envelope that it was a rejection letter. One doesn’t receive a letter if the job is offered, or at least it seems that would be the way it goes, for I have only received letters. Yet, this one was different than all of the other thank-you-but correspondence; it was addressed to someone with a different first name than mine.
I must admit that for a brief moment I thought that maybe, just maybe this clerical error might be a ray of hope, meaning that I was still in contention for the position. Ah, I knew better. Some poor student worker had been given a list of names and addresses to merge letters and mailing labels, and the poor sap whose name came before or after mine is named ‘Brian.’
“Given the talented pool of over four hundred applicants for the position…” Sheesh! Another reality set in. I am going to have to be very lucky to snag one of theses jobs.
As if I already didn’t know this fact, because it’s been this way for a long, long time, but apparently the situation is getting worse. Over the course of the last eighteen years I have, from time to time, made a concerted effort to land a college teaching position. In 1992 there were two hundred applicants for one position.
Art programs have been busy, with no shortage, it seems, of applicants. Of course there are not enough jobs to go around, and this might be the reason many art departments are now offering PhDs.