1. Steal an office. Any office. When people ask why you are there, tell them it has always been your office. Treat yourself to a Very Impressive Job Title. Post it prominently on your new office door.
2. Attend faculty meetings and events when you’re not technically on staff. Binge on the free food and drinks provided.
3. Complain loudly, often, and in public about your job insecurity and terrible working conditions. Steer all conversation toward such matters. Those in positions of power will appreciate your honesty and reward you handsomely. Friends, family members, and romantic interests will be both delighted and intrigued by your incessant, impotent rage.
4. When writing job, fellowship, or grant applications, be sure to articulate your delusions of grandeur and/or maniacal obsession with your research topic. If you’re interested in post-breakup behavior and you once online-stalked a friend’s ex-boyfriend for “research” purposes, tell the selection committee!
5. If you have no such delusions or obsessions, be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your most deep-seated fears. For instance, draw attention to your social ineptitude or life-long phobia of sunlight. Cite your desire to spend your remaining days alone in a darkened, subterranean office as the key (let’s face it, the only) reason for your academic ambitions.
6. Dress distinctively, especially at conferences and meetings. Anything to get you recognized and remembered. On chilly days, an old graduation robe can be repurposed into a grim reaper costume. Just be sure to remember your scythe. Bonus tip: shorten the handle of your scythe to refashion it into a sickle. These can be good conversation starters for those wishing to engage in debate about the impending international communist revolution, as well as encouraging older gentlemen to inform you of the many important differences between scythes and sickles.
7. Teach well and often, regardless of pay. Endeavour to get your hourly pay rate into the single digits. Teaching professional writing skills to swathes of bored, middle-class undergrads is a privilege, not a right.
8. Select research projects based on the latest academic trends. Sit back and watch countless others engage in near-identical work. Cultivate a sense of paranoia about others stealing your ideas.
9. Say yes to everything. Has the Journal of International Thought and Behavior emailed you to kindly request that you publish a piece with them (for the low cost of $699)? Has your Dean recently learned of your interest in amateur veterinary science and asked you to check his dog for worms? Say yes!
10. Work constantly, become burnt out, and quit in a spectacular fashion.