I am a PhD candidate in literature, finishing my degree in August. Due to a combination of factors, I did not line anything (academic) up for the coming academic year. However, I will be spending that year on the job market. I had planned to simply teach a couple of courses if possible, and to work on getting some publications out, and attending conferences where possible. This would make me a bit of a drifter for one academic year, and I am wondering how that would reflect upon my qualifications while applying and (hopefully) interviewing for academic jobs. Essentially, I want to stay active in my research, but I won't have the banner of a university name under my own...
The reason I'm crowdsourcing this is because I'm getting conflicting information. One of my committee members tells me that it's better to have the PhD in hand while applying, so I should finish up ASAP. He also assures me that a PhD still looks "fresh" up to two years after completion, so I shouldn't have a problem. Another member, however (who is perhaps more familiar with the current job market climate) has informed me that a gap year will ruin all chances of employment, and that any period of wandering institutionless - no post-doc, no fellowship, no teaching - would be fatal. He suggests that I hold off graduation, so that I have no in-between time.
Do any of you out there have any thoughts? Or similar experiences?
Thanks for any responses you have.