I've twice had conversations about work it was probably not best for me to have in the past week. Both concerned job prospects. Neither made me feel any better about them; not, in either case, because they were critical of me as such - although Lord knows there are enough things to be said in that regard - but because they reminded me of how unforgiving and fickle the academic job market can be. One involved someone first urging me to cultivate a colleague I have less than nothing to do with so as to exploit them for favours while the other dealt with exactly why one should not complain about people getting academic jobs on the basis of being able to exploit people for favours (because how on earth else are you supposed to get one, roughly). Being able to do the academic job market in a certain sense relies on being able to ignore the things that these conversations brought up, at least if you're not in receipt of said favours; if you thought of the numbers of people, well-qualified people, you were competing against for each job, you'd not apply for anything. I have four papers under review: one needs to go from being under review to being forthcoming soon, or this year may be done for me and, after all, there's only so many years of this you can do. It's hard for this sort of thing not to turn into a bittnerness about not only the discipline but academia as a whole; it's not just the bastards, holy fools, and assorted fellow-travellers in your own field, and there are always enough of them, but everyone who has a disciplinary axe to grind that is against you - or something like that anyway. Doubtless I'm having another one of my self-exculpation through persecution complex moments. Either way, this is not exactly cheering; sign, and save people who'd probably think of my work as a total waste of time from being unjustifiably sacked.