Networking Tips For the Shy student

PostProjectIf the most important thing about college is networking, and talking to strangers is something you would maybe want to do if the only alternative was a root canal, then you may feel defeated and upset. But don’t despair! There are plenty of ways to network, even if you consider yourself awkward and shy (and, protip: most people think they are awkward and shy).

  1. Network online. LinkedIn is the most obvious choice, but student message boards, Facebook groups, subreddits, and other online communities can allow you to think about what you say. You may think online networking isn’t as useful, but connecting with people in your major on an online community, or answering incoming freshmen’s questions on Facebook is really valuable and can help you connect to people who share your interests. Just because you start talking to people online doesn’t mean it has to stay online, and if you already have something in common, it’s easier to get started in real life.
  2. Talk to your professors during office hours, especially if you are hesitant about asking a question in front of an entire lecture hall. This doesn’t mean you should bug them with inane questions whose answers are on the syllabus (cough), but go and introduce yourself to professors you respect or who are in fields you want to work in. Read their work (articles, books) first if possible, and be ready to have a professional conversation about the field. Professors love this, so you will make a positive impression. This is obviously easier to do if you are actually excited about the topic and field. If you find yourself zoning out when it’s about your own major, maybe you should consider switching.
  3. Make small social goals. On Monday, you might make it a goal to make eye contact and smile at three new people. On Tuesday, decide you will strike up a conversation with someone in the cafeteria or student union. You might never become best friends with these people, but the practice in getting to know people and start conversations will be invaluable. It gets easier every time.
  4. Consider it your conversational goal to find things in common with people. Ask questions about others, and think about ways they are like you. Good questions to start conversations with peers include where they’re from, what they do for fun, etc. As a project, think about how many questions you have to ask in order to be able to say “Wow, me too!” to someone.
  5. Throw a party. This is a great way to play social experimenter and get a bunch of people together for casual interaction, and if there are a ton of people, the pressure’s off you to carry all the conversations.
  6. Work hard on being an empathetic listener. If you’re shy, don’t tell yourself that. Work on telling others – with your actions – that you’re a great listener. People love that, and it is a very positive quality in this day and age.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you with your next term paper.

How to nail your first Job Interview after graduating college

header.jpgNobody likes job interviews. They are a weird combination of everything that sucks about a first date, without even the distant possibility of hooking up at the end (if you are the type of person who hooks up at the end of job interviews, you probably don’t need this article). Adding to the stress are the facts that you need to do well at an interview to get a job and you need a job to pay for food. Here are some tips to reduce the stress:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Oh, yeah, everyone has told you to have a practice job interview. It’s boring as hell, but actually pretty good advice. Try it at your school’s career center, try it with your friends, or ask a professor (or all of the above).
  2. Just like you Google-stalk your dates before going out (come on, you totally do), you should find out a little about the person who will be interviewing you; if you don’t know the exact name of your interviewer, you should look up the company. Don’t just look at their website, look up what other people are saying about them. Have a few comments and suggestions for them. For example, if you’re interviewing for a restaurant, consider the negative Yelp reviews they inevitably have and be ready to propose a few concrete action steps for them to remedy the issue.
  3. If you have anxiety, manage it. I don’t mean to drug yourself into a stupor, but I mean think carefully about what makes you anxious and how you can soothe yourself. If you take medications that do not impair your judgment, take them well ahead of time.
  4. Do the usual things. Dress professionally for the context, and if you happen to know the office is extra casual or extra conservative, dress accordingly. Be polite and follow cues from the interviewer and others in the office (if they say it’s okay, use first names).
  5. Think before you speak, and try not to psych yourself out. At the end of the day, the job interview is just a conversation in a professional setting. You don’t have to ace your first job interview, and you only have to ace one to get a job. Sometimes you botch an interview, and that’s okay. Sometimes you botch an interview and still get the job. As long as you came out of the interview with some insight as to what you did and how to do better next time, then you’ve already aced it.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you with your next term paper.

How to Throw a Killer Spring Break Party

partypaperEveryone dreams of throwing a killer spring break party. But there is so much work that goes into party planning. Here are some tips to help make sure your party is a success:

  1. Plan early and plan strategically. Plan your party for a night when everyone will be in town, but not when they are cramming for midterms. Spring break parties can be tough because you want to get people after midterms, but before they go away for the break or before dorms close.
  2. Get decorations for cheap without getting gouged on seasonal things. Oriental Trading, Goodwill (or any used goods store), Michael’s / JoAnn’s and the Dollar Store are all great options for cheap party decorations, and you could even re-use them for future parties.
  3. Come up with a theme and go all out. Themed parties are more fun and give people more to anticipate, which is half the fun of a party. Consider deciding on the theme AFTER you go shopping for decorations, since you don’t want to be locked into anything if another theme is cheaper! A North Pole Spring Break could mean cheap clearance decorations and an interesting twist for decorations and activities– think Sexy Santa and Mrs. Claus or Naughty Elves in a Hot Tub. Be creative!
  4. Organize the space you will have the party. You will want to have water stations, multiple bathrooms, and places for people to crash if they get too drunk to drive. For real, if you aren’t prepared to let guests sleep it off on your couch, don’t throw a party. You can even appointment someone the “key guardian” and have people check in their car keys when they get there. Be sure you have “puke points” aplenty, and trash / recycling stations for empties. Bonus points if you live in an area where you can get the bottle deposits back: it’s like a small party refund!
  5. Consider the weather and be flexible. Spring break, in some areas, is Spring Break in Name Only, and pool parties in March may not actually be fun. Similarly, unseasonably warm weather might make people wishing they were outside, instead of at an indoor dance party. Be ready to move the party inside or outside, or put up a tent, if the weather might change.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you with your next writing project.

Extracurricular College Activities That Will Get You a Job

ReferalSmallOf course, the best extracurricular activity to improve your chances at a job is an actual job, but when you can’t, or when you want to stay on campus, it’s important to pick extracurricular activities that will pay off in terms of fun, resume building, or network building. But when you’re walking the cafeteria tables at the activity fair, and everyone is earnestly making eye contact for you for clubs ranging from African Dance to Zoophilia (it’s for volunteering at the zoo, you sicko), how can you decide?

Nothing is guaranteed to get you a job, and ultimately, the activities you choose aren’t as important as the roles you take on within them and the ways that you can demonstrate leadership and skill building. Passively attending the Vagina Monologues for Feminist Club is great, but becoming treasurer of the acapella singing group or writing a successful travel grant to help your group compete is even better.

Ultimately, you should sit down and think about what story you want to tell about your skills on your resume or C.V.. Then you should pursue activities that, first and foremost, you value and find fun. Next, infiltrate those organizations and become leader (I mean, join them and become proactive). The important thing is not which activities you choose, but the roles you take on within them, and the . Quirky activities may get you eyeballs, but being able to demonstrate or quantify your achievements will get you further than being able to say you were a warm body in a room: “I started a tutoring program for inner-city youths. By the end of the first year, we matched 10 middle schoolers to tutors and on average, the students’ GPAs improved by half a letter grade.” “After I became treasurer of horseback riding club, I implemented a service program to provide grants to autistic children, and we got a state-level grant for $500 that let us provide 20 hours of lessons to autistic children. I also improved my teaching and speaking abilities while doing this.” See? Even “fun” activities can help you on the job market or at an interview – if you can prove that you developed or honed important skills while doing them. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but demonstrated success and leadership in a few extracurricular activities is far better than simply checking off a list – and in many cases, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond (i.e., leader of a more obscure club) than just another face in the crowd of a bigger one.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you tame the essay writing monster.

Are you a student with writers block? Five Tips to Boost Your Creativity

Unemployed Professors Student Writing ServicesIf you have writer’s block, you might feel like you have nothing to say. You might barely be able to get your fingers to move on the keyboard. All you can think about is the deadline and the clock ticking ever forward. What should you do in such situations?

  1. Just keep writing. Tape the delete key down if you have to (hey, that’s why God or Bill Gates or whoever invented spell check, right?). Just like time only goes forward, make yourself write. Write even if all you are writing is “Shit. Fuck. My deadline is in 4 hours and I haven’t got anything to say.” Brainstorm and brain dump anything and everything – you’ll be surprised at what you come up with, and once ideas are in text, they are much harder to throw away. Don’t let yourself delete anything, and don’t let yourself take your hands off the keyboard (or page).
  2. Another strategy is to write with two documents open. One is the one that will become your final product: your term paper, grant proposal, fan fiction, whatever. The other is your “text pasture.” Here is where you will put everything and anything you can think of, even if it makes no sense, even if it’s profanity or a grocery list or a profanity-laden grocery list.
  3. You can nip writer’s block in the bud by getting in the habit of writing every day. is a great way to start this. If you make writing a part of your daily life, you can train yourself to write more easily, even when you’re “not feeling it.”
  4. Take a walk. Some of the greatest writers took walks. Some of the greatest scientists have found there is a connection between physical activity and creativity. Let yourself take a 10 or 15-minute break for a quick walk, then revisit your blank page. If you’re not into walking, try some yoga or even just stretching.
  5. If you are using a word processor, try the ‘Focus’ view or even try a new word processor that eliminates distractions (such as Ommwriter) and makes the page the full screen with no other visible windows. If you can’t Facebook or Google or whatever, you will get more done.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you with your next writing project.

The Top 5 Money Moves to Make After Graduating from University

imagesK2RQ71JLSo, you’ve graduated. Congratulations! You have a diploma, at least three copies of Oh the Places You’ll Go, and a wrenching hangover. How do you become a financial grown-up when you couldn’t even keep enough money in your meal plan to get a pizza at the end of the semester? These five money moves are a good start.

  1. The first thing you should do is look at your credit report (not just the score). Make sure you know anything that’s on there, and begin the process to dispute anything that you did not initiate. This is just good financial housekeeping and you should get in the habit of doing it quarterly. You should be 100% certain of exactly where you stand with student loans, credit cards, and so on. Get started with your free credit report.
  2. Next, make a budget or spending plan. Consider what your priorities are and if possible, use numbers from your first salary – then plan for living off of less than you earn. Be realistic and know yourself a little bit. If you love going out to restaurants, budget for it. If you would rather drive a nice car, then accept that – and consider living in a cheaper apartment or getting a roommate. If you absolutely cannot function without a morning latte, accept that and get store brand groceries or drink soda when you go out with friends. It’s perfectly OK to leave yourself a few luxuries, with the key words being a few. It is way better to accept you love clothes and plan for it than to deprive yourself, get frustrated, give up and spend too much. Include in your budget a plan to pay off debt. If you don’t want to use a spreadsheet or com, you can try You Need a Budget.
  3. If you are in the USA, start an IRA and begin to contribute to it. Even if it’s just $25 a month, you will begin to set up your financial future – and possibly get a tax break. Quick guide: A traditional IRA will reduce your tax bill in the year you contribute, while a Roth IRA is not taxed on gains. If you’re not making a lot right now, contribute to a Roth since it could mean tax-free growth later; if you’re trying to reduce your tax bill, contribute to a traditional. YMMV, consult a tax pro, etc.
  4. Set goals and save no matter what. Think about what you really want. Do you want to go on a vacation next year with your bros? Do you want to buy a car or a house? Do you want to go to grad school? Have a destination wedding? Don’t let your post-graduation let down get in the way. Make a plan and start to make it happen. Even if you don’t have any specific spending goals, set savings and investment benchmarks for yourself. It may feel boring and abstract now, but you WILL thank yourself when you get an unexpected medical bill or have to buy a new set of tires. Try using an online savings account, such as SmartyPig, which is designed to help you save to reach goals.
  5. Develop a plan for money and get in the habit of doing it. About once a week, look over your spending from the past week and making sure there are no fraudulent purchases. Every month, look for patterns, trends, and things you can do better. Every quarter, check your credit report and score. Every year (or more often if you are thinking of buying a house or car in the near future), check your credit score.

That’s it! These aren’t magical money moves to get you rich, but rather, they are habits you should get into for a less stressful post-graduate life.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you tame the essay writing monster.

UP Sucks

“Unemployed Professors Sucks”

imagesK2RQ71JLA lot of people talk smack about Unemployed Professors. A lot of people think we suck. Of course, it’s important to defend yourself against such attacks. People hate that this site exists and, hey, haters gonna hate. Unemployed Professors is disrupting the educational paradigm, and everyone hates disrupters.

People who say that we suck are locked into the traditional thinking about education. They believe that a faceless committee should prescribe what classes someone should take, and that if, for example, someone just can’t pass an 8 AM section of English 201 no matter how hard they try, because their professor automatically flunks anyone whose APA headings aren’t perfect, they should be denied their degree and doomed to a life of toil. Believing that education is a gatekeeper for the middle class is the source of belief that Unemployed Professors sucks. Yeah, we suck – we suck at adhering to the mainstream ideas about education and who it is for. For every 10 people who claim that our site is somehow evil, we help 100 people stay in the middle class by ensuring that they can get that last credential needed. We help overworked teachers finish up busywork continuing education requirements. We help dyslexic engineers finish required English classes. We help working moms finish the last history paper they need so they can graduate with their nursing degrees. We help cancer patients stay in school. We help veterans who have put their lives on the line for their country finish editing their capstone projects. Behind every paper here, there’s a story. That story is usually of someone who has been failed by the system, whose time and money are being wasted on irrelevant required classes. We are proud of the work we do here, and we are proud of the papers we write, just as we were proud of the work we put our own names on in our own educational and professional careers.


People say Unemployed Professors sucks, but they fail to see that in addition to helping students, the site also helps professors. It is a well-known fact that most people who finish PhD’s never get a tenure-track job. It is well-established that adjuncts are overworked and underpaid and graduate students often live off starvation wages. The fields these people are in may be undervalued by the capitalist system, but they are nonetheless valuable. However, these people still have to eat. If partially-employing an Unemployed Professor takes someone off food stamps, can we really say that the site sucks?

So, yeah, as you can see our site really sucks. We suck at maintaining the paradigm. We suck at helping rich people stay rich. We suck at helping universities continue to enrol people in classes they don’t really need so they can keep vacuuming up their money. We suck at maintaining the gatekeeper identity of the university, which is the idea that it can cripple working-class students with debt for degrees they can’t finish while ensuring that the wealthy students maintain their position in the upper class.

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you tame the paper monster.



Unemployed professors review – an insiders opinion

Professors_01A couple of years ago, my company rewrote the unemployed professors website in return for an equity position in the company. Writing a website for equity is a common request in my industry, but not one that I often entertain. After all, I have enough ideas of my own that I do not have time for. I made an exception for unemployed professors because they had a revenue stream and management was very very impressive.

Some of the questions that I get from friends and family are: “Are you worried that your existing clients will look unfavorably on the fact that you created a website that enables students to cheat?” “Don’t you feel that it is morally irresponsible to be part of unemployed professors?”

If you can imagine the look of disbelief on John McEnroe’s face when a ball is called out, I can only answer these questions with: you cannot be serious!

First of all, I am in business to make money and don’t have time for all the kumbaya bullshit that our overpaid Hollywood starlets engage in.

On a serious note, our customers come in many flavors. There is a small minority that literally buys their entire degree. I can only surmise that these people are sent to school by their rich daddies and have no desire to be there. Is this a problem created by unemployed professors? No, it is a problem created by nepotism. These people will probably end up taking a cushy, high paying, no-work job with one of daddy’s affiliates and live happy ever after. It’s good to be lucky; I don’t have a problem with that.

Another reason students use our service is to complete writing assignments for non-core forced elective courses. These students are making the practical choice of spending more time on their core studies in order to elevate their GPA as well as their expertise in their chosen field. These are highly motivated students coping with an enormous workload in a practical manner. In the end, these students will usually graduate with honors and with a deeper understanding of their major. The argument can be made that these non-core courses help broaden your education. A load of crap; life itself is good enough for that, you are in school to get a solid foundation in your chosen field, use every minute wisely.

The most interesting subset of our clientele is the student who has already written an assignment and is asking for advice before submitting it or asking help with a re-write after it was rejected. Truly remarkable; obviously a very dedicated student, but why come to us? If you are a student like I was many years ago, you can understand the frustration of professors not respecting their office hours or caring more about their own research projects when you happen to find them. The fact of the matter is that the professionals at unemployed professors are here for you and care that you get the help and the mark that you deserve and also to learn from the experience.

.… And during the process I truly believe that you will become a better student. – Shadow

One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you tame the paper monster.

Steven Covey’s time management quadrant

Are you constantly scrambling to get stuff done at the last minute? Maybe the problem isn’t what you do or not do, but how you prioritize it. The scrawled list of things “to do” may work well if you only have a few simple tasks to accomplish, as one of the best Kids in the Hall sketches demonstrates. I used to put things on my to-do list like “drink coffee” and “drink more coffee.” This made me feel productive, but it didn’t get my important tasks done.


(Source: Kids in the Hall, “Things to Do,” via

When you have to do important, complex tasks, and figure out how to best implement the Pareto Principle, it is best to implement a system. Steven Covey’s time management quadrant is an easy way to prioritize things. You don’t even actually need to fill in all the quadrants. For the purposes of this blog, we’re considering a to do list that only contains academic things.

Quadrant I is important, urgent items. Your house is on fire? Quick, write it into the quadrant (actually, don’t) and get out. Gotta pee? Quadrant I. That 14 page paper you have been putting off for 2 months and that’s now due tomorrow? That’s important and urgent, now. Quadrant II is important, but not urgent. That’s where you put stuff like calculus homework due next week, a paper due in a month, and so on.urgency


Quadrant III is where you have to make some choices: these are not important, but urgent things are ones you can’t get out of. They might be homework assignments for classes you hate, or conversations with that roommate who never shuts up. It might be scheduling an appointment with your advisor because you know you have to do it this term. They might include eating before you pass out.

Quadrant IV is for not important, not urgent stuff. Just thinking about what might go here can help you focus your energies. Tragically, reading hilarious Wikipedia articles is not going to get your important, urgent tasks done. Neither will re-watching every episode of your favorite childhood cartoon on YouTube. Someday these things may ec=-

The trick with this system is doing things before they become important and urgent, because most things eventually become urgent if you do not attend to them. Not important and not urgent – those might be things you want to do, like Facebook, or things that otherwise do not improve your life. I used to put “Return library books” on there because even though it was not important (at least before they were overdue), and not even really urgent, it made me feel productive. Don’t do that.

I used this system for years and it helped me become a top student in high school, college, and graduate school. Here are my tips:

  1. Break down big tasks into smaller tasks. “Dissertation” was important, but putting it on my to do list was, obviously, useless. “Add suggested sources to dissertation prospectus” was not, and it was both important and urgent.
  2. Appointments are important and urgent, because flaking out is shady, and having an appointment in your day affects how much of your time is left to do other things.
  3. Put categories of unimportant, not-urgent stuff in Quadrant IV. Don’t write in specific timewasters, but keep your eye on it and ask yourself if you are getting distracted or if what you are doing is contributing to the big picture.
  4. Consider each item in Quadrant II to be a ticking time bomb. If you don’t deal with it, after a while it will become urgent. And urgent, important tasks are no fun.
  5. Only you get to decide what is important. Sometimes, school gets so intense you have to make tough decisions, and this might mean that a worksheet for art history isn’t as important as, say, a business exam. This might mean that you need to outsource or ask for help.

Have you let an important task become urgent? Are you trying to delegate your work flow so that you can work smarter, not harder? Try letting an Unemployed Professor tackle the task so you can focus on other important things.

The Pareto Principle

ParetoYou’ve probably heard the saying that 80% of the work gets done in 20% of the time. But what does that even mean, especially for the less mathematically inclined? Simply put, this mantra means that 80% of people’s work time is spent on trivial tasks. It is only in 20% of the time that the real work gets done. Why? Just think of all the distractions that compete for your time.

There are 5 workdays in a week. 4 of them are totally wasted on busywork. Think about this in terms of school: Maybe 1 day a week you have classes for your major. The rest of your time might be lectures, worksheets, web post discussions, quizzes, reaction papers about your feelings, dioramas, group projects, and so on, needlessly, sucking at your time like a vampire.

The Pareto Principle was named after Vilfredo Principle. Just kidding, his real name was Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). An early 20th century Italian economist, he observed both that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population and that in his own garden, 80% of the peas were on 20% of the plants (it remains unclear as to whether his garden was located in the 80% or 20% of his own research), he also observed that The principle applies to a great deal of life today, and is at the center of a great deal of management theory, business research, and even psychology. However, you can use it, too, in your everyday life. (Source:

He looks a bit like an Unemployed Professor, which means you should totally listen to his advice about time management. In other words, the Pareto Principle tells us that we need to work smarter, not harder. That might mean turning off your phone when you study, or deleting Facebook. It might mean managing your time ever more effectively: for example, do whatever you can to ensure that you shore up important tasks before they become both important and urgent (use a Covey time management graph, the subject of a forthcoming blog post).

Or it might mean looking at your list of dismal, mediocre assignments designed to fluff the ego of your Employed Professor, and outsourcing the job to an Unemployed Professor while you spend your time focusing on what matters to you.