After you finish a PhD, you enter the teaching wilderness. Statistically, you're unlikely to have secured a tenure-track job, either at a four-year university or a community college / junior college. The plan, then, is to try to do all of the following:
  1. Teach classes as an adjunct instructor at any institution that will take you, a class here and a class there.
  2. If necessary, teach those classes at several different places at once. This involves driving back and forth in the city / region you live in, teaching a class in the morning at College A, one in the early afternoon at College B, and a third in the evening at College C.
  3. You have no health insurance, you have no job security, you earn about 600 bucks/class you teach, per month.
  4. Keep up your "real" academic work: write papers and present them at academic conferences. Pay out of pocket to get to and stay at said conferences, somehow.
  5. Each year, spin the wheel again. Apply for as many tenure-track jobs as you can all over the country. Hope and pray that you get an interview for one of them. Pay out of pocket to to go the big national conference at which all of the first-round interviews are held.
  6. Eventually, you either beat the odds and get a "real" job or you give up and do something else (just don't be an idiot and go to law school in your late 30s, okay?)
I was talking to B about it last night after we put Plan C to bed (and before Plan C woke up again and nearly drove B crazy.) All I've felt since I threw in the towel and contented myself with teaching and doing computer stuff, knowing that I'll probably end up being a full-time IT again at some point, is relief. Life is tough, trying to bring up this kid, working two part-time jobs and making ends meet, etc., but it's nowhere near as tough as trying to pull off steps 1 through 6 as defined above. In a phrase: fuck that.

This post brought to you by the use of the second-person voice.

1 comment:

clear screen said...

holy shit -- all weekend i've been thinking how i need to go to law school cause i'd be so much smarter than all the weiners there. but also so old. so old.