Step One: The Job Search

Keep an eye out for job postings in the usual places: the Chronicle of Higher Education, faculty listservs, and esoteric manuscripts hidden in the Vatican library. Pay particular attention to jobs located near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Fertile Crescent region. Job ads written in Sumerian cuneiform should go in the “definitely apply” pile. Same goes for any job that offers to pay you in livestock, grain, or small golden trinkets. If you’re not sure if a job is right for you, try staring into a broken mirror and saying the name of the school 666 times. If the mirror starts to bleed, you’re definitely on the right track.

Step Two: Formatting Your C.V.

Some basics:

  • 8.5”x11” paper
  • 1” margins
  • single-spaced
  • 12-point font (ideally Sumerian cuneiform)
  • outline major scholastic achievements, in reverse chronological order, recorded in the blood of a newly-slaughtered ram
  • place the finished document in an envelope, and then place the envelope in a 3,000-year-old Babylonian urn, which you should bury under the search committee chair’s office
  • be sure to include graduate transcripts, an academic writing sample, and a mummified goat fetus to make your application really stand out

Step Three: The Cover Letter

List all of the worldly goods (grain reserves, coin hoards, first-born children) you would be willing to sacrifice in order to get this job. Two pages, single-spaced, maximum. Address the letter “To whom it may concern,” throw it into the Dead Sea, and get ready to play the waiting game.

Step Four: The Waiting Game

Wake up every morning and check the Academic Jobs Wiki. Then check to see if your bathtub is filled with blood. If it is, congratulations! This means the Mesopotamian demon Pazuzu has accepted your offer. Using the Babylonian urn you buried under the chair’s office as a portal from the netherworld to this plane of existence, he has infiltrated the campus, and possessed the search committee chair. Later that day, you will watch seven crows fall from the sky and land in a perfect circle, which is a sign that you have been offered a job interview (you will also receive an email about this). Okay, it’s time to get excited! Pack your bags! (With a large crucifix and several copper daggers!)

Step Five: The Interview

Sit down with the search committee. Remember: they’re nervous too. The search chair seems especially distressed — head rotating 360°, vomiting bile, cursing in an unknown dialect. This could be the result of either demonic possession or a rejected sabbatical application. You need to be sure. Show the chair the large crucifix and copper daggers you brought with you. If he takes one of the daggers and carves the words “Publish Or Perish” into his torso, you’ll know that Pazuzu is going to force the rest of the committee to hire you. If he tries to stab you with the dagger, he may need more persuading. Try brandishing the crucifix and yelling, “The power of Christ compels you!” (NOTE: if it’s a secular school try yelling something about the power of innovation instead). At this point, Pazuzu will either help you get the job or disappear forever in a cloud of sulfurous black smoke. Regardless, you should thank the committee for their time, go home, and wait for the job offer/writ of excommunication to arrive in your inbox.

Step Six: Getting Tenure

You’ll have five years to publish a book, a dozen journal articles, teach four classes per semester, and sit on an endless procession of committees, all while trying to pay off your student loans and maintain the illusion of a personal life. Sorry, but even an ancient demon like Pazuzu has limits to his powers. We suggest seeking out a truly malevolent source of evil instead, like Baphomet, Beelzebub, or — if things get really desperate — the university president’s office.