Damn. I have to hope those numbers are wrong and more people are in the same position I'm in----never been anywhere near the top 20% and never thought I was, likely never will be and totally ok with that (not depressed I wasn't) , but happy to to work towards it and not in midlife crisis.
I don’t think people are angry because they overestimate themselves though. I think some of the anger might be from the lack of foresight or knowledge or poor assumptions they had before they began grad school. By the time most people understand the market they are usually finished with their PhD. Most people I know had no idea going into grad school that the institution name/department meant so much. We all knew that if you wanted to get a job at Harvard or some other top school then you’d probably need to go to Harvard or some other top school. But at the time I thought, and was not alone, that getting a job, any job (not a job at a top ten), was based to a larger degree on merit. I had no idea that on average, to just get a job at backwater state college, one would have to graduate from a school no lower ranked than UCLA. So of course this is an exaggeration, and a generalization, but on average is not too far from true. I was fortunate and landed higher than expected, and yes I worked hard and contributed original research in top locations. But all my peers in the same department and others, even those with just as good records, placed lower or not at all. Actually I think I am the only one who got a job that year and the next. And last year many fine scholars did not place at all. For my year, I believe the thought was that we’d a get a job somewhere, even if it wasn’t great. I don’t think many of us thought, we’d be lucky to get a VAP at Hillbilly Technical College. Grad students at my current institution had similar views, and I think many will be really frustrated that there is no job at the end. So I think the anger, from men and women alike, is partly due to poor assumptions. I cannot recall hearing from anyone that the odds of getting a job were 1 in 10. And it appears most schools placement records are about as honest as the US Gov’t is on unemployment. Much like how unemployment is based on the numbers requesting unemployment benefits -they don’t count those that ran out of benefits and still don’t have a job or even worse those that , underemployment, those who went from an engineering position to asst manager at McDonalds-, most schools placement records tend not count all the people who stayed a year longer or took a VAP, or post doc or went private by necessity. Tose either get the "placed" tab or get excluded. A more honest number is number of graduates to number in TT lines that year. There’ s not much of course than can be done now, but I think that regularly directing interested students before they apply to this board to get a taste of the acrimony and frustration of those who can’t get a job might be a good start. And of course then making clear to them the most honest probability of success before they start grad school.