I want to work for SpaceX

[SpaceX](http://www.spacex.com/index.php) has a November flight to the International Space Station scheduled. This is totally cool. I don’t think I was alone in worrying that in ending the shuttle fleet, the USA would be in the dangerous position of handing over its LEO operations to the Russians or others.

It’s not that I am narrowly nationalistic, but I am also a lover of space, in particular the human exploration of space, and I didn’t want to see that opportunity slip so far away that I couldn’t dream a little dream.

So then I read this morning about the SpaceX scheduled flight, and I realized that I want to work for someone like that. Unfortunately, the only job opening they have available right now, for someone with my skills and experience, is copywriter. *Hmmm.* Not very appealing right now.

And so my plan is to get _Genius Loci_ out, and get _The Makers of Things_ underway and send Elon Musk a copy and suggest that what he needs is an official documentarian, an organizational ethographer, for SpaceX. Someone who can write about the company and its mission, as well as for it.

And, Mr. Musk, if you ever read this: I mean it.

Exploring Non-academic Options for Humanities PhDs

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has embarked upon a program to place individuals with PhDs in the humanities in various NGO and GO positions:

The council’s effort, the Public Fellows program, will place eight recent Ph.D. recipients in staff positions at nonprofit groups and government agencies for two years. The program, which will be financed by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will pay fellows an amount equivalent to what someone with similar experience and education would make as a new employee of the same agency or nonprofit group. Those amounts will probably be comparable to the wages a new doctoral graduate would earn in an academic job, about $50,000 to $78,000, said Nicole A. Stahlmann, director of fellowship programs at the council, a private, nonprofit federation of 70 national scholarly organizations.

This is a great first step, but I really think if we are to re-think the way we do things not only in the academy but also in the corporate world, we really need to see some humanities PhDs in the private sector. What that would look like, I’m not quite sure, but I think that’s where we should set the bar.

I think this target is too low, and, in all honesty, isn’t there already an informal path to NGO directorships and staff positions for folks with humanities PhDs? That’s been my experience, and, I want to be clear, I think it’s a fine option, and I think this program somehow diminishes the work of folks who have already blazed this trail, suggesting as it does that they did it on the fly while somehow this program is going to formalize things, make it official, and *then* it will be okay to pursue this path.

Given the intense scrutiny and funding pressures facing NGOs and governmental agencies, it strikes me that a truly ambitious program would look to the private sector for interesting possibilities. Especially in the American context, growth almost always occurs in the private sector long before it finds its way into the public sector.