7 Months Left: Get the Rundkvist While He’s Hot!

Dear potential academic employers,

I know you are all secretely competing for who will have the pleasure of giving me a forskarassistent assistant professor’s position, to see me fire the imaginations of a new generation of students, to see me produce awesome research in great quantities and present a charming face for your department toward the media and the public.

I know you’ve just been joking with me for the past four years, receiving my job applications and saying, with a merry twinkle in your little eyes, “Oh no, the loveable little rascal may have 115 published pieces of work and the world’s biggest archaeology blog, but let’s make him wait just a few months more!”.

Haha! I’ve got you all sussed out, you pranksters!

But let me just amicably point one thing out to make things easier for you guys. Today’s date marks seven months before my PhD diploma turns five years old. On 27th September I move out of the post-doctoral five-year window within which I may apply for forskarassistent positions. After that date, you will have to employ me as an associate professor. I know you all want to do that, but it will be a little harder for you to explain why you’re giving that kind of job to me instead of to one of the fifteen highly qualified 45-year-olds who are also lining up for it.

I look forward to hearing from you when this humorous little game of yours comes to an end. Preferably before September.

Yours very truly,

Martin Rundkvist, PhD

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14 thoughts on “7 Months Left: Get the Rundkvist While He’s Hot!

  1. Dr. Rundkvist,

    Thank you for your latest letter appraising us of your situation. We would like to commend you for correctly perceiving the nature of our actions. However there are some minor points of which you are apparently unaware:
    a. Seven months is considered to still be ample time. Generally, our entertainment only really starts when the victim is in a desperate panic. As you are still able to form whole sentences, you are clearly some way from that state.
    b. It has been agreed that your CV is adequate, although the claim to have worked for 3 years as a “Systembolaget stock-flow manager” fools nobody.
    c. You have only understood half of the game. We are not a monolithic whole, and there is internal competition over who has the strongest nerve. The looser is the one who blinks first and hires the candidate. We feel that in many cases “looser” is an appropriate epithet, for several reasons. Some of these you will be able to work out for yourself.
    I would therefore, once again, like to thank you for your letter, and wish you enjoy your stay in the Carl von Linne Home for the Academically Insane, when you (inevitably) arrive there. You are pre-booked into Room 624.


  2. I understand the pre-historical bodice-ripper fiction market is very popular (or would that be “bear-pelt ripper”?). You might want to start giving it your consideration. Me, I’m still unclear on when I will transfer from the stodgy world of robotics research to the exciting, fast-paced world of the Ramen-restaurant service business.


  3. You think you’re having a hard time finding an academic job as an archaeologist in Sweden? Try finding one as a PhD Soil Scientist in Brazil, you’d go nuts. And it completely doesn´t matter if you are the most read soil science blogger (perhaps even the only soil science blogger) in the portuguese language: the guys hiring academis don´t even know what a blog is. Good luck for you and me.


  4. It’s the blog. We would employ you, but we can’t risk being “blogged back to the stone age” when we try to claim your research as our own. Tough break kid, but with the greatest Archaeology blog in the universe we’re all just a little scared and intimidated.


  5. Your thoughts and situation sound dreadfully familiar.
    You chose a humorous and creative way to communicate them. Well done.
    Otherwise you’ll certainly have a future as a commercial text writer.
    That’s one of the options I’ve been considering.
    And you even seem to outrule me in creative thinking + writing – chances should be pretty good.
    But then again.
    You’re not writing this blog to collect suggestions to alternative occupations. Keep it up just a few years more. They’re growing old (you know who “they”)and even though they still haven’t realized it, archaeology will NOT die with them. There will be a need for replacement. And development.
    Good luck there.


  6. Thanks for those kind words! A friend of mine actually worked as a copywriter for a few years, the most well-paid ones of his life so far. But he returned to archaeology and is now a freelance science writer, barely scraping by.


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