The much-lauded "flexibility" involved in a postdoc or adjunct position, of course, is all on the institution's side. My flexibility --- or more precisely, my stability, as I think pretty much every adjunct would take the guarantee of a certain number of future classes as a tradeoff over the flexibility --- has to come into play about now.
Sigh. I don't know what to do. Basically, my Intro to Fruit Studies class is actually a huge, much-coveted reward for the adjuncts here, who really like teaching it. I didn't even know this when I mentioned, at my arrival, that I would like some teaching experience in it --- another invisible privilege of being higher in the hierarchy than the adjuncts. My teaching it means that the course gets covered by someone with a grad certificate and 18 grad level credit hours (which is important to accrediting bodies, in case you didn't know) instead of someone who has previously taught it but has only a HS credential or is currently getting an English MA. --- Most of our adjuncts are former HS teachers or current students.
Anyway, the Fruit Studies coordinator needs to know, and needs to know now, whether I would like an intro class for fall, to try out the second level course (so 201 instead of 101), or no Fruit Studies, and she needs to know which time slot. I get (all the postdocs get) scheduled before the adjuncts, but the adjuncts are all chomping at the bit and harassing her for a chance at something more fun than intro comp.
Basically, I have to commit to my classes and schedule right now, or tell them that I'm not coming back in the fall.
Here's the thing. I've basically decided that I need to not come back in the fall.
But I don't want to tell them that yet and I can't even quite bring myself to make the decision for sure, because it means giving up on an academic job and that makes me sad.
But I have been looking at my monthly expenses and budgeting, and while I admit I am pretty bad at holding myself to a budget, my pay is only barely covering my necessary expenses and it comes out to less than a basic office or retail job by my parents' house, where you can't fill a position for less than 9 bucks an hour. I think I need to move home, back in with my parents, and begin a nonacademic job search. Siiiiiiiiiigh.
And I think it's hugely important for me to tell my department chair that they aren't paying me enough to make it physically possible for me to stay. Especially since half of the postdocs are going to leave at the end of their first year, because of money and workload, despite the fact that they have no job to move to. And they are having a hell of a time getting anyone new to sign on to this postdoc once they tell them the salary. So I really need to outright tell the chair this rather than just not show up come fall or accept and then back out. That kind of confrontational act, that kind of decision-making where I definitely close an avenue off, really doesn't come easy for me.
But I have four unanswered emails from the temporary Fruit Studies coordinator and I need to respond. Damn that Fruit Studies course! So much more fun than comp! It's making it hard to give up this crappy temporary job! Argh.
By the way, if you look at the google doc of adjunct salaries currently being compiled, my postdoc wages are about the middle of the road, and certainly better than many peoples'. And I have health care and benefits. But I also have a $246-per-month student loan payment to make, and I can't afford to pay that but let the groceries or the vet bill pile up on the credit card.
Of course, postdoc city school, if you wanted to hire me as a permanent lecturer and have me teach 4-4 for about 40k, or even 35k, I would happily stick around permanently. But I bet that's what you're paying the tenure-track faculty --- I know you pay the full-timers here about 27k and the adjuncts much less than that, and I just can't stick around for those numbers.