Joel and Jeremy, but especially Cliff) in all their wide-eyed idealism, basking in their fledgling exposure to academia, dreaming that one day they, too, will be respected scholars and tenured professors. I imagine they are the ones keeping the booksellers in business, too.
Perhaps I should have a booth in the exhibit hall where I could dispense free career advice to the master's students daydreaming over their future careers where "work" involves reading by the fireplace in an overstuffed leather chair. Ah, greenhorns, publishers need your purchases and schools need your enrollment and tuition, but they've run out of places for you to teach and make a living once you finish.
Most of my advice would be variations on what they can read for themselves at the following links:
- Ph.D. Attrition
- The Ten Commandments of Graduate School
- The Long Odds of the Tenure-Track Job Search (subscribers-only)
- Need Advice on a Non-Academic Career? Don't Ask Me.
If they think things might be different in Bible or Theology, I would point them to these 2012 posts from Peter Enns' blog:
- Some Unasked for Advice on Whether an Evangelical Should Get a PhD in Biblical Studies
- Documented Evidence from SBL: The Job Market for Professors is, How We Say in Academia, Majorly Horribly Bad
- God and Your PhD (More Unasked for Advice about Your Future Plans)
If they insist on going forward with their plans (and the ones I talk to are unswayed by my cynicism), I'll recommend they head over to Wipf & Stock and buy Nijay's book: Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond.