This is bad advice that old, privileged people give to younger privileged people when they believe in some sort of meritocracy.
Thankfully, I never heard either comment from anyone in my ethnomusicology department.That’s probably because no one was foolish enough to think there was a freakish abundance of jobs in my field, and because my department had a required course that needed teachers.Someone who had never taught before would have flipped out way more than I did.(Though I still didn’t feel that great about it, since it was a strong signal that the university wasn't taking my candidacy seriously.) Better advice: Teach!my list of the top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it) five worst pieces of advice you hear in grad school. Really, the list could be endless—there’s an unfortunate number of people who are spouting terrible things on this subject, all the time.
Some of the lousy advice I heard myself, and some I heard from colleagues’ horror stories. But even though that’s true, the working conditions in academia can exacerbate all kinds of mental illness.I knew students who heard this advice in other departments at my university, however, and it usually caused my face to turn into something like Macaulay Culkin on the ).Anyone who tells you that you don’t need to be able to prove you can teach is woefully out of touch.They may be more oriented toward undergraduates, but they can often help you find the right sources of help. Otherwise, you could get a “reputation” around the department. Better advice: Do not treat graduate school as a dating pool in which you are a shark and everyone else is a tasty tuna.On the other hand, it’s perfectly normal for people to meet in grad school and start dating—you may have similar interests, and dating a fellow doctoral student is an infinitely better option than dating a professor. Don’t take classes with Professor So-and-So because he/she is the mortal enemy of your adviser.In my teaching demonstrations, I had to be flexible and show all kinds of expertise.