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Just Work Harder, Adjuncts (reply to altima)

Altima posted the following retort to an adjunct explaining his/her grievance. My comments are located in the [rcb] section.

[original] “About those of us who live in studio apartments or share rentals to save money.  (Forget about mortgages.)” – [reply] choose your dwelling place wisely

[rcb] Check. Did that. Missing payment for six weeks while FT faculty colleagues were immediately put on bi-weekly.

“About those of us who take whatever schedule we can get at a number of schools, sometimes teaching till 10 at night at one school and then driving out to another at 7 the next morning to teach an 8:00 class.” – a commute is, usually, inconvenient for everybody

[rcb] The issue here wasn’t the commute — the key sentence — are you reading these posts as you’re copying them? — “those of us who take whatever schedule we can get” — those dern migrant workers in those dagnabit avocado fields shouldn’t complain about the two hour commute they should be grateful for employment.

“About those of us who don’t have time for the kind of research we need to do because we are trying to make ends meet.” – there are always nights for that; peace an quiet

[rcb] spoken by someone who’s never taught adjunct — peace and quiet to do research and smell the mahogony in the Georgian libraries or using the oh so quiet hours to do research rather than spend half your real time contact hours grading. You’re kidding, right?

“About those of us who live under the gun with every budget cut and are constantly hustling to drum up new work.” – try to avoid living under gun; manage your budget wisely.  Cancel that expensive iPod for $60 or so monthly fee, for starters.

[rcb] See first reply for “manage your budget wisely” pithy suggestion; learn to presume your colleagues are barely scraping by on Tracfones from 2004.

“About those of us who go to work sick, with a fever or flu, because we don’t get much sick leave (or any sick leave at all in some situations), and have no back-up income from a spouse or partner.” – take good care of yourself – exercise, eat vitamins –  do not get sick

[rcb] Let me guess — you’re a Provost.

“About those of us who dread any car repair or plumbing debacle because our emergency fund (if we have one) is limited and credit card debt can be a slippery slope.” – buy/lease a new car; do not put too much paper in the sink.

[rcb] You understand that you have to show paperwork indicating stable income — which is a college/university problem, not one that’s reflective of the hard work of an adjunct?

“About those of us who grit our teeth and bite our tongues  every time a student steps over the line, gives us a hard time, or is downright rude, because God forbid this student should complain to the chair or the dean, and our expendable self should not be rehired.” – be nice to students, but always maintain yourself as a professional.  For everything else your syllabus is your by-laws

[rcb] Not when said syllabus has been written by a committee. Not when students are viewed as revenue streams rather than learners. Everything becomes about customer service in the “at will” academic retail SuperMartMart. You are delusional.

“About those of us who can’t attend faculty meetings because we are teaching somewhere else at the same time, and so decisions are made without our input.”  – make your schedule flexible

[rcb] Which schedule? The one that’s written on Friday that’s changed on Monday and then changed again when someone like you gets hired behind our back ten days into a term only to find adjuncts forced to give up their classes to make way for Your Highness?

“About those of us who are given grief by department chairs or program directors for not being able to attend departmental holistic grading, curriculum discussions, or special training because we are teaching somewhere else or are committed somewhere else, or are just too damned tired and want a few hours to wind down.” – make your schedule flexible.

[rcb] Does flexibility include not getting paid for your labor? If so, then Adjuncts are the Plasticmen and Plasticwomen of the professional world.

“About those of us who are permanent outsiders wherever we go, however long we have taught at any given place, despite the fact that we often have more institutional memory than the new full time hires who are trying to tell us what to do.” – do not be an outsider.  Get involved.  Offer something that others can’t, show your uniqueness.

[rcb] You didn’t just cite the entrepreneurial spirit to an Adjunct, did you?

The bottom line – we, adjuncts, should stop complaining and start doing something.  It is our life, after all and the choices we make are ours, not CHEWith kind regards

[rcb] Reporting. Narrative. Changing the narrative. Never a complaint. Just a report.


About Dean RCB

Dean of Academics Lebanon College Philosophy and Integrated Liberal Arts Writer & Producer (theatre, television, film) Composer & Producer RCB lives in the Upper Valley with his wife and four boys.

One response to “Just Work Harder, Adjuncts (reply to altima)

  1. Well, I missed this one. I’d like to think Altima is actually the figment of someone’s sick imagination but know better. Troll bait. Cheering though to see troll hunters armed with harpoon.

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