I initially came across this terrible job posting via HigherEdJobs while researching what kinds of skills employers are looking for this season. I like to stay fashionable, ya know.
The first thing to grab my attention was the “Part-Time/Adjunct” status, which seems out of place for a position described as “responsible to develop and maintain the College Archive for Tacoma Community College… collect, process, promote, and provide access to the College’s archival resources… for reference and instructional services related to the Archive.” I know many community colleges rely upon adjunct faculty, but I haven’t encountered many job descriptions for adjunct professional staff.
The responsibilities listed in full:
- Collect and process archival material.
- Implement archives management software tool.
- Write DACS-compliant finding aids using EAD authoring software.
- Design and supervise digitization project for selected photographs, documents, and audio-visual material.
- Coordinate upload and maintenance of digital collections.
- Train and supervise work study student in work including processing, data entry, and scanning.
- Promote the Archive and develop the collections through outreach to college community, exhibit design, and social media.
- Offer information sessions to library faculty and staff on archives reference services.
- Work with faculty to develop class assignments using archival resources.
- Teach instructional sessions on archival research to students.
- Coordinate special projects or initiatives such as the College’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2015.
- Assume responsibility for Archive Advisory Committee and its activities.
Preferred skills included:
- Thorough knowledge of archival best practices for appraisal, preservation, arrangement, description, and outreach.
- Understanding of descriptive systems and principles, national standards, archival ethics, and digitization methodologies and metadata standards.
- Ability to offer instruction in archival research to faculty, staff and students.
- Ability to plan and coordinate work of volunteers, work study students, and interns.
- Ability to be innovative, creative and user-oriented in developing an academic archives program.
Minimum qualifications are a bachelor’s degree and one (1) year of archival experience, with MLS preferred but not required. This seemed odd to me since the duties outlined above (instruction, supervision, collection development, digitization, policy creation, appraisal, outreach) clearly fall into what I would consider the professional realm. And golly gee, it sure looks like a lot of responsibility for one person working part time!
Another detail which struck me is the position’s responsibility for coordinating “special projects or initiatives such as the College’s 50th anniversary celebration”. I recently assisted with a major anniversary celebration as part of a three person archives team, so I have a small understanding of the work involved (in short: never ending). The final red flag comes from the initial description, which seems to indicate that the future Archivist may be working with a relatively (or completely?) unprocessed set of collections.
I’m new to this game, so my first thought was not that I had found a terrible job posting but that I must be mistaken in my analysis. I dug deeper.
A link to the official job posting reveals the following gems:
“Part-Time/Adjunct” status is now listed as “Temporary”, a roughly equivalent but significant change, since adjunct in my state gives the impression that one’s contract may be renewed as needed. Also, adjuncts are sometimes eligible for benefits if they meet a sufficient threshold of hours. I’m not sure how this works out in Washington specifically.
Terms of Employment reads, “This is an hourly position scheduled to work varied hours up to 18 hours per week. The pay rate is $ 20.00 per hour. Some flexibility in scheduling is required to meet the needs of the department. A collective bargaining agreement exists and membership in the Washington Federation of State Employees or payment of a service fee may be required.” (Emphasis is my own, insert indignation here.)
Benefits “not applicable”.
But wait! There’s more! A June 2012 job posting for a Project Archivist at Tacoma Community College provides some telling insights into the work environment. The Project Archivist, eligible to work “varied hours up to 17 hours per week” at a rate of $16 per hour with no benefits, originally called for “archives management or library school graduate students”.
Responsibilities included “creating a college archives”, “identify materials well-suited to support the College’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2015″, deliver “a physical collection, cataloged and indexed; a digital repository of selected materials; and a set of visually-dynamic, publicly accessible webpages”, “develop a budget proposal”, and “provide guidance in design of a collection development policy”.
So to recap, the lucky employee who is hired for the November 2012 Archivist position will be inheriting a college archives which has been assembled from scratch by a lone graduate student working 17 hours per month for about three months. I don’t mean to disparage graduate students in anyway (I am one of them), but this seems like barely enough time to inventory 50 years of unprocessed institutional records much less process, digitize, and make sense of them in time for a major anniversary event. Maybe the previous incumbent accomplished amazing things in this tiny amount of time, I don’t know.
It seems to me that the 50th Anniversary is central to this whole debacle. I’ve seen it happen: a big milestone is on the horizon. Everybody starts to envision grandiose ceremonies, world-class exhibits, waterfalls of alumni donations. Suddenly, the institution realizes it has never invested any time or resources into preserving its own lofty history. At first, one might see a few over-eager volunteers (alumni, retired faculty, student workers), but eventually they will fall victim to the tedious slog of sorting through mountains of carelessly assembled papers and ephemera. In some cases, the institution might take an enlightened approach and recruit a full time archivist (more often than not, a fresh-faced MLS graduate). Or, if its particularly budget conscious, the institution might seek out the cheapest available consultant to do all the dirty work as quickly as possible.
Tacoma Community College has apparently combined the less admirable strategies of both approaches: give the candidate a pitifully inadequate time frame in which to handle a ridiculous workload, pay them next to nothing (seriously, this position would leave you eligible for about $200 a month in food stamps in Washington State), and offer no benefits. As a bonus, they can continue to undermine the professional aspirations and diminish the advanced skills of MLS graduates by seeking candidates who are barely qualified for most paraprofessional archives jobs. Yay!
On the plus side, I did realize how fortunate I am in my paraprofessional position (benefits, full-time permanent status, slightly higher annual pay, reasonable workload, and institutional support). Thoughts? Insights? Anyone moving to Tacoma?
P.S. The position closes Wednesday, November 28, so you’d better jump on it!
The title to this post comes from a tweet I sent in response to Rebecca’s post. I posed it like that, in part, because I’m still a 12 year old boy inside and think that bunghole is a pretty hilarious word. But also because I’m an early career archivist and I’m worried. I’m worried about our profession, its values and ideals. I’m worried about our institutions, their futures and the sustainability of their missions. I’m worried about the masses of graduate students coming out of archives programs, and the bleak employment prospects in front of them. But at the end of the day, as much as those things haunt the back of my mind, I’m worried for my own future. I’d love one day to buy a house, have a kid, raise a family – hell, to own a washer and dryer so I don’t have to schlep down to the lavandería down the block every week. But I’m worried those goals will be incompatible with making a go at it within the archives profession, and then what am I supposed to do?
You see, I’ve left one field already. For a number of years I was pursuing a career in archaeology. But after years of experience, and many thousands of dollars in undergraduate and graduate student loans, I started to reevaluate my prospects. What I saw was a field where it would be incredibly difficult to achieve a stable long term career, with such luxuries as a retirement savings and health insurance. So I changed gears, took those elements that I love most about archaeology (connecting people today with those of the past through the stuff they left behind) and found an alternate career path in archives. But as it turns out, just as in archaeology, lots of people are passionate about archives and want to be involved, and are willing to do so for free. Some of these people are students seeking the experience to get their foot in the door; some are retired from an unrelated career and finally have the free time to pursue their passion; some are eccentric billionaires slumming it with us common folk (who knows?), and likely a hundred other motivations. That, in and of itself, is not a problem. In most cases there is a way to match the talents and passions of everyone who wants to be involved with projects and tasks that improve archives’ mission. A problem arises when people mistake the willingness of volunteers to generously give their time with the absolute necessity to allocate adequate resources to fairly compensate professionals with the expertise to manage archives. Just because our job seems fun from the outside doesn’t mean anyone can do it. And it doesn’t mean that those with the knowledge and skills to do that job shouldn’t be well paid to perform it. It seems silly to have to say it, but let me give you another example.
Once on a tour of Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I met a guy who was a professional beer taster, a sommelier, who performed quality assurance on the various products they produced. I thought to myself, “Man, now that’s a job. Sit around and drink beer all day? I’d do that for free!” But as he explained his job, about all of the sensory aspects he evaluates, from sight, to smell, to taste, to mouth feel. And about how subtle differences in each of these could indicate one problem or another. And the distinct ranges of acceptability set by the brewery for health, quality, and consistency standards. As he explained all that, I realized this man had a developed set of skills making him uniquely qualified to perform this job. And while I shared with him the same enthusiasm for the product, I didn’t even realize you could evaluate beer so precisely in all of those ways, much less possess the knowledge or skills to do so. And that’s the reason Bells pays him, and not me. And more generally that’s why this man is a professional, not some lucky schmo who’s duped the brewery into paying him to swill beer all day.
And dear reader, perhaps you’ve already taken the bait I’ve laid out to you in that completely true anecdote, but if not, come along let’s bring this home. That set of knowledge and skills which makes M. Sommelier a professional, well we archivists have that too. That’s not news to any of us, or to the volunteers who work alongside us. Unfortunately this knowledge is not as widespread outside the reading rooms, processing tables, sub-basements and obscure corners where we spend our days. Among those who control our budgets, legislatures that appropriate our funding, the media which publicize yet another discovery in some dusty repository, and the various publics which we serve.To some of those people we look like fortunate fools who’ve managed to find a way to get paid to root around in old stuff all day. And when time comes to make hard financial choices, it’s easy for them to see a replacement of professional archivists with volunteers as a legitimate option.
But here’s the thing, this failure to see us as professionals, that’s not their fault. It’s ours. We need to be out there advocating for our profession, talking to those that hold the purse strings about the value we provide, the skills we have, and what we are uniquely positioned to provide in terms of stewardship that the lady off the street cannot. If we want our profession to thrive to meet the challenges of the future, we need to fight for it, individually, as institutions, and with our regional and national professional organizations. We are the only ones that can make our case, and until we do, this false perception will only persist. And if we as a profession fail, then we will continue to see our jobs be the first to go, as economic downturn settles into ‘the new normal’. As for me, if we can’t pull this off, then I may end up looking into bungholes. You think that’s a union gig?
Let’s play Jeopardy! Here’s an answer from a Q&A in a recent SAA publication:
“It is in the nature of archives to have backlogs—sometimes huge backlogs. And it is an unfortunate reality that archives are often understaffed. At a time when the volume of archival records created is increasing monumentally, it is common in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world for budgets to be cut and paid staff to be reduced.”
So…what’s the question? Perhaps something about the need to advocate for funding for archives? Maybe something about More Product Less Process, or efficient archival processing? Or something about prioritization when you don’t have the funding to do everything you’d like?
Well, if you guessed any of those, you’d be wrong. The right answer, for some definitions of the word right, is: “Why have volunteers in archives?”
On Wednesday, SAA released a new publication titled Resources for Volunteer Programs in Archives. I was super excited when I saw the announcement, because the line between ethical and unethical volunteer programs is a fuzzy one, and we as a profession could use some guidance in this area.
Having read the thing, I would describe it more as a set of examples than a set of guidelines. The 90-page document contains 82 pages of volunteer project descriptions and sample forms and training manuals used in real-life archives volunteer projects. NARA uses volunteers to assist with research and reference. The Shelburne Museum has a volunteer who appraises photographs. The Indiana Historical Society volunteers find new homes for deaccessioned materials. Many, many institutions train their volunteers to process collections.
Readers may notice that a lot of these projects are not all that different from the kinds of work that entry-level archivists–when they can find work–typically do.
In answering the question, “What are some of the special challenges for volunteer programs at archives?” the volunteer guide dismisses the concerns of archivists who are wary of these programs:
“Not all employees at archives are supportive of volunteers in archives. There is a feeling among some staff, including supervisors and managers, that volunteers diminish the status of the archival profession. Some staff fear that volunteers will replace them and take away their jobs.”
If volunteers are doing the work of professionals in your archives, you should absolutely fear for your job. Why should your institution pay you to process collections or answer reference questions when someone else is willing to do it for free?
And why is my professional association endorsing this devaluation of archival work? I’m honestly at a loss here. Isn’t it in the best interest of SAA, which is supported by dues paid by professional archivists, to promote paid employment in the field?
In September, SAA President Jackie Dooley wrote a letter to the governor of Georgia in protest of the closure of the Georgia Archives to the public. Exactly the kind of response I’d hope for from our professional organization. But a few days later, when SAA cited this article on the effort to keep the archives open, they failed to address some important misconceptions about the role of professional archivists:
“Although Clayton State University, which is located next to the Georgia Archives, offers a master’s degree program in archival studies, Kemp said using student interns to keep the facility open is not a viable option. It would mean the secretary of state’s office would still have to pay security and janitorial staff to work.”
Archivist Jeremy Floyd, quoted on ArchivesNext, explains it best:
“So the Georgia secretary of state says professional archivists can’t be replaced by unpaid interns, not because they lack the training or expertise necessary, or that it would be exploitative of those students, but because ‘oh yeah we’re also firing the janitors and security guards that allow the building to stay open’. Maybe they can get unpaid janitorial and security interns, problem solved. Seriously, we need to eliminate the perception that budget shortfalls can made up for with volunteers and interns performing essential functions. Its not good for the interns, its not good for the archives, and its not good for the profession.”
It’s obvious to those of us working in the archives profession that you can’t have archives without professional archivists. But that news article out of Georgia shows the the danger of assuming that people outside the profession share this view. If you advocate for archives without advocating for archivists, you’re sending a message that the value of archives comes from the stuff, rather than the services.
I expect better from my professional association, and I think you should too.
From the Justice League: This post addresses events and themes related to sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. If you find those things difficult to read about, you may not want to view the rest of this post.
Due to the nature of this post, we’re going to be more heavy-handed with the comment moderating. Feel free to post whatever you want on your own blog; here’s what can’t go here.
- The author left all the names out of this post on purpose. Any comments that attempt to “out” the people and institutions described will be deleted.
- No victim-blaming. This goes for the author and other commenters.
- No personal attacks on the author or other commenters.
- General suggestions for handling sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as sharing your own experiences with sexual harassment and reporting, are welcome. The author is not soliciting opinions on how she should have handled her own situation–it’s over and done with. Patronizing comments to this effect will be deleted.
The following is the text from my talk at the Spring 2012 MARAC meeting in Cape May, New Jersey. I look forward to your comments, unless you’re a self-identified MRA. I’m not joking.
Today I’m going to talk about things I’ve noticed about being an archives worker.
I speak from my position as an interested participant-observer. There are people who are experts in these kinds of labor issues, and while I’m conversant in them, I’m not a scholar. Like Tom mentioned, I earned my degree in 2008 and I’ve been working as an archivist since then. At the University of Michigan, I did graduate coursework on gender and labor and did a directed reading course about librarians and labor. I’m also part of the group blog called “you ought to be ashamed”. I think that some of my fellow contributors may be in the room today, which is awesome. I’ve learned a lot from all of you.
Our blog posts tend to critique exploitative job advertisements and talk about the larger labor challenges that young professionals face. In the past, contributors have talked about the casualization of professional labor, the casualization of academic labor, the pitfalls of performing beyond one’s stated job duties without the formal structures to support and reward that work, how to sniff out whether an institution’s organizational culture is broken, negotiation, supply and demand in the labor market, and gender and technology. By the way, if you’re interested in writing for the blog, everyone is welcome.
I think that for me, the real power behind the blog is not that we’re going to critique anyone into changing. It’s that we’re building solidarity. We’re helping each other create a sense of what is appropriate and reasonable in our relations with our employers. And yes, people will sometimes still be forced to take jobs where they aren’t supported and don’t have the resources to do all of the work that’s expected of them (which is a disservice to both the collections under their care and, more importantly, the researchers they serve), but at least, hopefully, they won’t think that this is the way it has to be. And when they’re in a position of power, where they can be more thoughtful about resource allocation than the people who came before them, they can make different decisions.
The list of topics that I mentioned above could keep us here all day (which would be okay with me – I would love to talk about any of these things at the reception), so I’m going to narrow my comments to the topic of gender and money. I’ll explore the data that overwhelmingly demonstrates that a pay equity problem persists, even in our profession, and that we should pause and check the data when we start congratulating ourselves for making progress. I’ll talk about some of the research that I’ve encountered that addresses what workers can do to gain leverage on this situation. I’ll also discuss what institutions can do to cease being complicit in a system that doesn’t reward workers for their labor fairly.
By the way, the research that I’ve seen and that I’m focusing on talks about women and pay equity, but there’s good reason to believe that this is a problem for all kinds of people — people who are the first in their families to graduate from college, for instance, or people of color or non-US country of origin. Read more…
So, officially this was supposed to be a Point-Counterpoint type collaboration between me and Terry—he giving the argument for alternative paths towards a professional archives position, including the kind of introductory-level training that he describes, and me arguing for the traditional value of the MLS/MLIS/MARA as a professional qualification. Unfortunately, having read Terry’s excellent post, I am having a hard time disagreeing with his vision of an alternate path to professionalism. Awkward.
Perhaps some discussion of my career trajectory thus far can serve as a jumping-off point for discussion of the value of the MLS. I came to the archives field the way a lot of archivists end up finding their way here—I had been planning to pursue a Ph.D. in History, but was fortunate enough to learn from my undergraduate advisor about the dismal prospects in History academia BEFORE I spent the 6+ years working on a dissertation which would be read by 4 people, and so decided to change course a bit. Another person might have been left adrift, but I was fortunate to be working at about the same time at an archival internship at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, and even more fortunate to discover that I enjoyed the work immensely (seeing it as “basically history without the pesky “writing about what you’re researching” bit). I applied to a few archives programs, got into the University of Maryland History/Library Science dual degree program, and 3 years later had the great fortune of getting an archives/RM job that I actually like straight out of school. So there’s me, from High School to Archivist in 7 years. Not too shabby!
Now, backing up a bit into the library school experience itself, here’s a few thoughts about the value of the MLS from my own perspective as a straight-from-undergrad archivist (which, according to A*CENSUS, is a path less than 40% of archivists take to their first professional position):
- I supplemented my formal archives education with a LOT of practical experience. Maryland’s program, at the time I attended, included a practicum component in the Intro to Archives class (there was also the option to write a paper if you didn’t have time for a 50-hour practicum), but beyond that I supplemented my income and experience with a number of jobs in archives and libraries around the DC area. Even after I got my teaching assistantship with the UMD History Department, I worked full-time during summers in archives/records management settings and tried to work at least a few hours a week in archives during the year so I would continue to develop professional experience. I am reasonably certain that the amount and quality of these opportunities was a major factor in my relatively quick employment after graduation. So there is certainly an argument to be made for positions performing more basic archives work early on.
- I learned as much or more about archives from my work as I did from my classes. (Maybe.) For a while, I held as an article of faith the idea that my practical work was more useful than my library school coursework in terms of giving me the skills I needed to do the work of a professional archivist (I learned more about implementing MARC cataloging and performing records surveys during fieldwork than I ever did in the related classes, e.g.) Even with the benefit of hindsight, I think at least a few of the courses I took in library school were wastes of my time, and probably most people could name some courses about which they felt the same way. This too would seem to argue in favor of the more practical approach towards archival training. However, my view on this has changed somewhat since I have had to supervise students of my own as a professional. Some students we get are brand new to the archives field and require a lot of hand-holding to get their work to where it needs to be; students who are further along in the program are often more sophisticated in their thinking about issues of arrangement, description, lateral thinking about reference questions, etc., and so require less supervision. To be sure, some of these students have had experience elsewhere to draw upon, but I am still less certain than I was even 4 years ago that practicum vincit omnia. (Please excuse my Dog Latin.) Particularly in light of the next thing that I’ve noticed:
- My student work, particularly my early student work, was laughably bad. There are still some finding aids I wrote as an undergraduate available for perusal online; I won’t provide the link because I’m pretty embarrassed about their quality. Yes, these were written 8 years ago, but I had no real idea what I was doing and it shows—there’s little integration with the overall description system, my appraisal of what is and is not important is just awful, and I emphasize all the wrong things in my scope/content note and other narrative description data. I wouldn’t expect any more from a fledgling archivist, and certainly a lot of these problems would fix themselves through experience, but the theoretical basis I obtained in my archives course has helped me to be more efficient and effective in a way that just dealing with the idiosyncrasies of particular institutions would not. And remember, my embarrassment is just at the relatively simple task of processing a collection; I shudder to think of the struggles I would have had had I been dropped into a situation where I had to do program or strategic planning.
So, do these ramblings have a point? Surprisingly, yes! I see my archival education experience as a sort of apprenticeship—I worked for little pay and for long hours on projects of limited scope—describing collections, say, or helping to create a database of photographs taken by campus photographic services—while at the same time getting at least some of the kind of theoretical knowledge I would need to take my skills to the next level and look holistically at an Archives program (figuring out how to set priorities, select and implement standards, develop outreach plans, etc.). At the end of said apprenticeship, I even get to call myself a Master!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: If your significant other is ABD and you try to insist upon this terminology, he/she will laugh at you. At some length. Trust me on this one.)
My guess is that a lot of the work that archives currently give to volunteers or students in MLIS programs probably could fit into the kind of graduated professional structure that Terry describes. Come to that, a lot of project archivist positions, where people are working on a particular collection or laying the groundwork for a specific program such as a CMS, would probably also fit into this niche. So I do think that Terry’s alternative plan of experience plus certification is a very viable one—provided that the experience is extensive enough, and the certification process is robust enough (though he does address both of those points).
As soon as you start to do the kind of broad-based, management-level work you find in posts like the one I wrote about last time, though, you really should have—and employers should require—an MLIS or equivalent. Sure, the degree can be, and often is, used as a gatekeeper requirement for a position, but ideally it is evidence that you have committed to the profession and to learning more about higher levels of administering that profession, and are capable of the kinds of responsibilities that you would expect to find at Master-level work. When you put someone with just a BA into a position like that, you devalue the professional degree, you run the very real risk of overwhelming your new employee, and you waste a lot of time, money, and energy on bringing said employee up to speed on the skills and theory he/she needs to not just do the job, but to do the job well.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here’s Arlene in the comments of my last post:
The reason you demand a masters degree in archival studies for an entry level position including those without a management component is so that you get pre-prepared employees who have already read the major texts in the field. So you don’t have to spend time explaining things like appraisal theory. And, if they’ve come out of a good school, they already have some hands-on experience through practicums or internships. I know of no bachelor’s degree that is offering archival education at a level that would suffice. I’d much rather spend my time training the new employee to do things my way than to have them spend three months reading Posner, Boles, Danielson, etc, just to get the concepts.
So, yeah, she just said in 100 words what took me 1400. Apparently just because I have an MLS doesn’t mean that I have a handle on the whole “Brevity” thing.
The conversation that got this started centered on a Drexel University job post for an archives technician. The announcement’s requirements looked like Drexel was trying to hire an archivist on the cheap. Whether or not that’s the case, the larger question here was articulated by Brad Houston (@herdotusjr for the twiterati): “As noted, I don’t think not having a Masters-level degree should DISQUALIFY you, but having the degree shd mean something”.
True enough. And we’ll get back to that question, kids. But first let’s imagine a different path to becoming an archivist. A path that was once available to youngsters back in the fog of history (like when yours truly was misguided youth).
Say a young, starry-eyed high school graduate gets into a nice university. We won’t name name names here — no need stirring up rivalries — but our unamed youngster wants to be a historian (and didn’t bother to read Larry Cebula’s stark “Open Letter to my students: no you cannot be a professor”).
While slogging through an undergraduate program (one that will cost an average of $60K and leave said undergrad nearly $25k in debt if they are one of the lucky 38% to finish in four years) our little history Candide gets a job or an internship or something in a local archives and gets hooked. Upon graduation, with a freshly pressed BA in hand, our aspiring archivist starts looking for a job.
This is where a little suspension of disbelief is in order, gentle readers. No one in 2011 looks for an archives job with a BA. While some might be available, the competition with MLIS’s (over 50,000 awarded from 2000-2008) and other masters degree holders is pretty steep.
But consider an alternative pathway for our 22 year old beamish graduate. Suppose that rather than taking on an additional two years of college (and another pile of debt), there was a “beginning archivist” career path. Leave the naming of such a job to human resources — just consider it a position that allows an educated person to perform basic archives functions, with training and under supervision, at a lower salary than an archivist with a graduate education.
Suppose further that the Academy of Certified Archivists revamped its requirements for certification by strengthening the exam and allowing anyone who had either five years experience at the “beginning archivist” level or had a masters degree and some short period of experience to sit for it. This would allow motivated beginning archivists to use continuing education and on the job training to become “real” archivists through a different pathway than graduate education. This would let our hypothetical high school student start an archival career at age 28, ten years after leaving high school.
Now I’m not dogging the MLIS. It’s a benefit to programs to have the deeper theoretical understanding and broader professional knowledge that a graduate degree provides. But is it really the only way for person to become an archivist? There are other issues at play here — graduate education in general, value related to debt, ratio of graduates to available jobs, diversity and economics, reduced institutional budgets and equitable compensation — but this is supposed to be a conversation between me and Brad. So I’d like to come back to his tweet as a launching space for his initial salvo: “As noted, I don’t think not having a Masters-level degree should DISQUALIFY you, but having the degree shd mean something”
OK, Brad. What does having the degree mean? What should it mean? What could it mean?