Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Adjunct Hell Expands Its Boundaries, Again

I had a good conversation again with one of my department heads. I'm well-liked, the students love me, BUT... the school has hired two tenure-track Ph.D.s for the fall, and my services will not be needed.

One of them is younger than I am and has taught precisely one year.

This is, ultimately, my own fault for dropping out after my M.A. (and not doing more to find a Ph.D. program when my first choices for re-entry didn't pan out). Still, I'm sitting here eating sushi at the on-campus cafe and growing steadily darker in mood. If I don't get a full-time position somewhere soon, I may either have to return to public school teaching or actually become a grad student again.

The first is a non-starter, unless it's a question of Mrs. losing her job and me being the only means of support for the family. The second is going to be very difficult. I know what I want to do (poker, local history), but I also know that I have to find someone who's willing to chair a committee for me. That's going to be problematic. And then there' s the hassle of applying. Applications. Recommendations. (I've been out more than a decade; do they really matter?) I may even have to retake the GRE because the old scores may not even exist anymore. I'm a former National Merit Scholar who already has an advanced degree, for the love o' Mike; do you really need to know if I can do well on a standardized test?

There is also the very real possibility that I will have to kiss the hindquarters of some snot-nosed newly-tenured hot-shot who's younger than me. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Ugh.

Wisdom comes at a very high price. Looks like I'll be sending out employment apps to the other local area colleges all over again.

Matt Groening had it right years ago in one of his Life In Hell panels: the bitterest person in the world is a grad school drop-out.

(AFTER-THOUGHT: I was told that I would most likely be needed again if available the year after this next one, since enrollment is going to go up even more --but that doesn't solve the short-term problem.)

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