Settlers of Catan

On an island with scarce resources, you are quickly isolated in a barren desert (the academic job market). A robber steals your laptop, the sandwich you brought from home to avoid spending money you don’t have on campus, and all of your bricks. Your attempt to exchange three sheep for a tenure-track job is unsuccessful.


Rents are skyrocketing in your city, even though adjunct salaries have been frozen at $200 since 1935. You are forced to move from St. James Place to Baltic Avenue. A surprise second-place showing in a local beauty contest provides temporary relief, but an academic conference at Marvin Gardens wipes out your savings. Your friends (a thimble, a top hat, and a Scottish Terrier) tell you that you should have invested in railroads and utilities when you had the chance. You decide that it would be easier to just wait out the rest of the game in jail.

The Game of Life

You live in a car. The car is also your office.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

You and three of the twelve people you share an office with are competing for a limited number of marbles (job interviews). You get the most interviews, but you have to put $2000 on your credit card to actually go to them. Eventually, all of the job searches are canceled. You ask your landlord if he will accept marbles for rent. He will not. You tell yourself that you will only play the game one more time, and then you’re going to law school. You play five more times.


You move to Mongolia for a postdoc, but it is suddenly invaded by Japan. Running for your life, you eventually make it to Siberia. You are told that, unfortunately, your postdoc cannot be transferred to a different territory. You discover vodka. You get a job at the Pizza Hut in Omsk. You do not notice when Quebec conquers the entire planet.


A murder has been committed and you know that your dissertation supervisor (Professor Plum) is the culprit. You can’t say anything since you still need his letters of recommendation. You let Colonel Mustard take the fall, telling yourself that it’s okay since he is part of the military industrial complex (your supervisor would like that). You never ask your supervisor why he thought it would be a good idea to bludgeon someone to death in the faculty lounge with a candlestick.


Surprise! You need to sell a kidney to pay the interest on your student loans.


You build an ivory tower out of wooden blocks. Just for fun, you start removing crucial parts of the tower’s foundation. You notice that the tower is becoming increasingly precarious. Instead of replacing the stuff you took away, you just take more and more until the whole mess comes tumbling down. Congratulations, you are now a university administrator.