For those of you who thought I was being a little cranky (or not) with my last post, I’d thought I’d share a little post with you from the site The Professor is In. This piece by Dr. Karen Cordoso, who holds a Ph.D. in English/American Studies from U Mass Amherst and an M.Ed. from Harvard (such a slouch), after some explanation of her personal experience, cuts right to the chase:
Here’s the thing, adjuncts: your chances of “converting” to a secure academic job decrease with every semester—they almost NEVER hire the devil they know. As a woman of color (diversity hire potential!) with exceptional teaching evaluations on five elite campuses, respectable publications, prior administrative experience, an admiring network of students and colleagues as well as a proven commitment to the geographic area, I had the tantalizing delusion that I would be an exception to this grim rule. NOPE. Way later than I should have, I decided to seek work that promised advancement or at least a longer shelf life. If you need stronger medicine here, try Rebecca Schuman’s Thesis Hatement.
For many if not most, being an adjunct is the professional equivalent of domestic abuse, PTSD and Stockholm syndrome rolled into a single despairing plight that has only one feasible resolution: as with any dysfunctional relationship, at some point you must first DECIDE to go, then GO. The terrible thing is that we lack the professional equivalent of transition shelters. However, The Professor is providing one kind of safe space with the Alt/Post-Ac Initiative, and I mention others below.
I was better treated than most working off the tenure track and had a safety net in my partner; I know that I cannot imagine the worst of what some of my adjunct colleagues are experiencing. Yet anyone who is untenured (including TT faculty) ultimately confronts the same dynamic: at some point we have to decide whether our circumstances are worth hanging on to, or else pursue a change. To achieve the latter, we cannot identify as helpless victims, engage in crippling rationalizations, or indulge in wishful thinking. You can’t control what others do, but you CAN decide what YOU will do.
Dr. Cordoso ultimately ended up choosing a different career path. Not all of us have or want that option, but like her, we CAN decide what WE will do.
You can read the rest of her post here:
A Good adjunct who has decided what he CAN do, and is DOING it.