Friday, March 12, 2010

I am Beige

Got a lot of different types of emails in my in-box today: a rejection from one of the fall tt jobs (not news to me: delete), a rejection from one of the admin jobs I've applied to, a month or so ago (hmm, sigh), an email from a friend who does admin type stuff with some advice (more on that later) and potential times it would be good to confab with her (yay!), and a rejection email from one of the private-high-school recruiters, telling me that while my cv was lovely, no one was going to be hiring along my specialties this spring. Hmm.

And then I walked over to get coffee, and ran into the financial administrator for the dept, who buttonholed me on my way.

"Hey, let us know if you are interested in teaching [current course] next year, same quarter, same time!"

"Uhh, ok," I said. "I don't really know what I'm doing next year; I'm trying to get that all settled out."

"Well just send me an email and let me know if you're interested. ... Oh, and also check with [name]; there's a new regulation that the department needs to schedule 50% of its classes during "prime time" and 50% on "off hours." But lots of the profs like the early morning classes, so they may not want your slot. Just let [name] know and she will slot you in wherever works best."

"Uhh, ok," I said again.

Hmm. If I thought I could scrape up a full load of adjuncting here, this would be great. Clearly, I am beige. Or, more positively, I have my foot in the door, and they'd like to just continue with the status quo because it all runs smoothly and I do fine in my job.

I just wish I could get my foot in some other doors. Either in addition to this or instead of it. Or if I had a more solid, better-paying job to be a supplement to this one. Right now, I'm back where I was last year, with one class for the middle of the year and a gaping hole and lots of expenses on either side.

I'd move away if I had my foot in some doors somewhere else. But right now all my part time jobs are here, and I don't want to move away from those little dribbles of money for the great unknown of trying to break in somewhere else. So, I don't know.

This post is also coming from the email from an admin friend, and my preliminary research on the chronicle admin boards. I may have to start out by volunteering somewhere, which means no money, in order to get my foot in that door. Either that or take courses on the topic, which I am not interested in paying for or living through at the moment.

Gah --- it's like my academic research interests all over again: I am all over the place and not focused. I have all these tentative possibilities in all sorts of different job fields, and it looks like it will take a long time and opportunity cost to transition over into any of them. So what do I do? I have no idea. I keep knocking on random doors and other ones open, just a crack, and then I worry that this door will slam shut and prevent me from doing something else.

Edited to add: When I reread this I thought I wasn't quite clear; not everything in my head is on here. I've heard from people that "recalibrating" one's resume to fit various other jobs takes about a year of little to no income, whether it be adjuncting a lot at different levels of community college classes, to volunteering at a high school while getting some classes in to look good for the private places, to "interning" in some admin department to prove that you really want to be there and don't just need a job somewhere. I can't even pick what direction I want/need to be going in, so how can I recalibrate in multiple directions in a year?

I wish I had understood this more clearly a year ago, when I planned to do a final year on the academic market. I wish this last run on the market had gone even worse, ironically, so that I had put more time and energy into recalibrating back when I had my multiple part time jobs. I wish I had grabbed these or other part-time jobs in addition to TAing much earlier than I did. I wish my rent wasn't so damn high. Oh I wish a whole damn lot of things.


Bardiac said...

I don't think you're beige; it's not that close to the next term (even on the quarter system), so you're not their last hope for a warm body.

I know that's not super comforting, but...

I have to say, I really appreciate learning about the difficulties in reworking your resume. I really did think you'd find a job outside academia more easily (and posted as much). But I'm sorry to learn through your difficulties.

heu mihi said...

For what it's worth, beige is the last color you make me think of.

Good luck, Sis--I'm so sorry that things aren't working out better--I wish that there was something I could do. (And if there *is*, somehow, do let me know.)

Dr. Crazy said...

I'm so sorry things are sucking so hard, Sis. Big hugs to you, and I know that you will figure it all out. And no, you are not at all beige.

Dr. Koshary said...

Now that I went back to Dean Dad's post and read it, it's very clear to me as well that you are not Beige! You perform at far too high a level for that. That, of course, is part of the frustration: basically, the job market is serving you worse than you deserve. If you really were Beige, you'd be happy with your lot.

At the risk of asking a foolish or unintentionally insulting question, have you ever considered writing cheap crap for money? I gather that bad genre novels -- romances, sci-fi, etc. -- need to be churned out as constant and consistent product for the masses. (Cf. Adorno, Adorno & Horkheimer, Benjamin, Radway, etc.) I have no idea at all how one gets into such a business, but I suspect that someone with your level of literary knowledge could pretty much throw a few characters and tropes into a blender and crank out something saleable. You might need to take a hot shower after writing drek, but there are worse ways to get a buck.

Courage, comrade.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

You're not beige in the sense that you're a crummy teacher, I'm sure. But I get that you feel like you're that go-to adjunct who will do just about anything for a job. (Raising hand -- yeah, me too.) I get it.

I, too, am all over the place trying to figure out what I should do (could do) next. Of course, there's always the outside hope that I could possibly still get a job this year, but I'm definitely not holding my breath. I am just waiting out the inevitable rejection and then, come summer, I will regroup and make some kind of decision.

So anyway - with you!

Phul Devi said...

Just chiming in to say, with everyone else, that I'm so sorry that everything sucks so bad. You don't deserve this.

And I think of you as quite vibrant, actually.

Susan said...

I'm so sorry this is so hard. And actually, I would think of things that use your writing skills... I hadn't thought of mass market genre fiction, but I bet you could do it :)

yolio said...

I really feel you. An awful lot of us are in the same boat right now. I don't think you should blame yourself quite so much. You have done what you could, and the job market, economy and academia have failed you. Be mad at them, not yourself.

As for what happens next, well there are two distinct concerns: subsisting for the short term and there is laying the groundwork for the future life that you want. This groundwork piece takes as long as it takes, nothing to be done about it. Try to enjoy the ride, avoid delaying satisfaction whenever possible.

If you think you need to relocate for your long term happiness, maybe you should take the risk. Yes, in the short term you might be licking envelopes for a temp agency in order to pay rent, but you will survive. And it could be worth it. I've done it, more than once. I survived.

I would recommend the book "what color is your parachute." It is the standard job hunting reference for a reason, you don't really need another one.

And I wouldn't recommend writing fiction as an easy way to make cash. Publishing fiction is one of those business in more of a tailspin than academia.

Sisyphus said...

Yeah, I actually have some friends who looked in to writing romance fiction --- in fact, I've had several at different stages of my life! Basically, the days where you would get enough money from writing two novels per year is long gone, as is the freedom of it ---- most imprints mail out plot arcs and outlines and you have to write them to spec, and I think it's around 8 or 9 of them per year to actually put you in livable salary range.

In short, I am not the type of personality who will be able to get along in any sort of freelancing job!

P said...

somewhat late to this, but please believe me, sis, you are so far from beige it's not even funny. i read that post in which beige is first referenced: it's a stereotype that you do not fit.

so there!