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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Self-Help, Satire, and the Meet Market (Part 2 of ?)

(This post is a continuation of the satire, which started here, discussing the relevance of self-help books to the process of seeking an academic job).

"The Rules," having nothing to do with the cathedral.

Don’t talk to a hiring chair first.  Don’t ever go dutch on a callback.  Always end phone calls first.

Scene: Marion Peach’s office at Anonymous Law Firm.

Time: Two weeks before the hiring conference.   

It’s a few weeks before the AALS meet market, and my “dance card” is nowhere near full.  I’m not certain why I’m not more popular.  Maybe I could have sacrificed sleep for six months and written two more articles.  Worse yet, I think that the partners are on to me already, so I have to make this academic option work out. 

Why do I think that they’re on to me?  Well, they know I went to more than one pro bono training last month.  And there’s nothing that says “I’m looking to keep my options open / leave the firm / become an academic” than attending too many pro bono trainings.   Those who really want to make partner are busy billing “real” clients “real” billable hours.   

Maybe if I had more of a niche, then my phone would be ringing off the hook.  Maybe if I changed my form to say that I’d love to teach some oddball subject, like, say Roman law, or secured transactions, I’d get more attention.  Better yet, the secured transactions of ancient Rome.  Hey, I could learn Italian.  Bellissimo!  Oh, they spoke Latin?  That's okay.  I already speak Latin.  Ix nay on the talian-ay.

Perhaps if I invented my own field of legal studies, and wrote a book about it, that would help me on the market.  And I still have two weeks before the hiring conference in which to do that!  Who needs sleep?  Think, Marion, think.  I don’t know, after another late night at the firm, it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open.  Oh, goodness, where does the time go?  Now I’ve lost even more billable time to daydreaming.   Let me look at my watch to see when I stopped billing.  I’m so tired it’s like everything is melting into each other. It’s like my watch is melting like in one of those Salvador Dali paintings. 

Wait!  That’s it.  It’s so crazy it just might work.  I’ll use the Dali as an extended metaphor for the fatuousness of the billable hour.  Surrealism and the Law!  It will have all of its own terms.  How about “melting schema”?  Or “transcendent time?”  I like it.  What does it mean? Who cares?  I’ll invent some definitions.  The most important thing is that I use a lot of big words to describe it.  Words like “abject,” “problematize,” and “hegemonic.” Hooray! I’ve got a real research agenda now.

Oh dear.  The rules say I can’t call anyone about this.        

Posted by Miriam Cherry on September 27, 2006 at 07:32 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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Peach, use the postmodern generator:


just keep clicking on the link "to create another essay" at the bottom of the page.

it's a veritable slot machine of aleatory academese!

Posted by: GBQ | Sep 27, 2006 7:56:39 PM

You continue to use the phrase "meet market" rather than the more commonly understood "meat market." I've never heard anyone think of it as the former, certainly not someone who has actually been through the process. It's not the official meaning since the AALS calls it a "hiring convention." Is there a segment of attendees who really think it is "meet market"? Did the phrase originate as "meet market" and get hijacked by disgruntled, picked over, candidates? I know this particular post is satire and "meet market" works better for it (unless you know anything about the singles scene), but you were using "meet market" many posts before you ended up writing these more satirical posts. In fact, a few posts ago you actually crossed out "meet" and inserted "meat" with a ? mark, suggesting someone pointed out your error. It seems quaint to imagine naive job candidates wandering around the Wardman Hotel thinking this is a "meet market" rather than the more foreboding "meat market."

Posted by: Anon | Sep 27, 2006 8:11:09 PM

I think that "meet" sounds far more genteel. I was going for the tone, of, say Jane Austen, rather than that of, say, Candace Bushnell.

Posted by: Miriam Cherry | Sep 27, 2006 8:18:07 PM

It's definitely "meat" and not "meet."

Posted by: Another anon | Sep 28, 2006 10:40:48 AM

of course if you are looking for a property person it is a mete market. Or maybe it is always a mete market, a forum to establish boundaries in the academic hierarchy.

In case it is not clear, my comment is meant as parody. Or is it satire?

Posted by: Shubha Ghosh | Sep 28, 2006 12:32:27 PM

I thought of it as Me at Market, which was no more pleasant than the alternatives, just a lot more personal. Or maybe it shows just the right touch of ego.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Sep 28, 2006 2:33:29 PM

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