Monday, 25 September 2017
circular argument - "We'd love to hire a woman. It's too bad there aren't any."
Posted September 10, 2017 The below is a lightly modified version of a real conversation. "We'd love to hire a woman" "We'd love to hire a woman. It's too bad there aren't any." How many times have I heard that? This time, it's from the chair of the math department at a large state university. I look at him in amazement. "What about A, B, C, D, and E? They were all on the job market last year. Why didn't you hire any of them?" "We made an offer to X." "But he turned it down, didn't he?" "Yes. Isn't that a shame? It would have been great if he had accepted." "But when X turned you down, you could have hired A. She's great. Why didn't you make her an offer?" "We didn't have a job for her husband." "Did she say she'd only accept an offer if you made an offer to her husband too?" "No. She didn't mention him in her application." "Do you know if they're still married?" "Well, no. But that's what people tell me, so I'm sure she wouldn't have taken the job if we'd offered it to her." "She ended up accepting an offer at a place where her husband didn't get an offer, and I think she would have preferred a job at your university." This doesn't seem to faze him. "What about B? She's also great." "Her husband is a lawyer, and there aren't any jobs for lawyers around here." "No jobs for lawyers? Near [the mid-sized city his university is in, which is close to a major urban area]? I'm surprised." "What about C? She'd be a great hire." "She's not in the right field. We were looking for someone who works on Z theory." "But X doesn't work on Z theory, and you made him an offer." "Yes, isn't it a shame that he didn't come? It would have been great if he had." "What about D?" "She wasn't good enough." "That's interesting. A lot of people think she's better than X, and you offered X a job." Again, he's unperturbed. But at least the excuse was a valid reason to turn someone down. He can't possibly use that excuse with someone as good as E. "E is truly exceptional. Why didn't you hire her?" "She didn't send in a job application. We can't make her an offer if she doesn't apply." I can't let that slip by. "That makes sense. But X didn't apply, and you made him an offer." "Yes, isn't it a shame that he didn't accept it? It would have been great if he had." We seem to be going in circles. Has he been listening to me at all? Let's give it one more try. "Next time I hope you'll consider hiring a woman." "We'd love to. It's too bad there aren't any." https://www.math.uci.edu/~asilverb/Adventures.html?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjc18y&refsrc=email&iid=9fa7930939bd4364b72c2c8985f63bf9&uid=261515028&nid=244+272699400