roasting marshmellows in phd hell

Archive for August 2012

Teaching in the Basement of the Ivory Tower

with 5 comments

So I am gearing up for a semester at the College That Shall Not Be Named (not very

The Childlike Empress does not often descend to the basement, where the liberal arts dwell.

catchy, is it).  There have been a number of great posts lately about the perils of adjuncting as opposed to temp work and similar jobs, like this one and this one.  But I will be teaching part time while I finish my phd and formulate my plan to get the hell out of academia.  I have mixed feelings on the topic, but here’s my thinking:

1. I was offered a job.  Praise allah, this gig kind of fell into my lap.  And since there’s no other fellas/ladies lined up outside my door waiting to take me to the barn raising, I’m going to go with the date that showed up.

2. The pay is ok.  Especially since my last paying job was seasons ago.  In Game of Thrones time.

3. The time requirement is minimal.  It’s only a few days a week, leaving me plenty of time to finish my own work.  I have a lot of freedom with the courses I’ll be teaching, so I can use some material I’ve done before.

While I’m grateful to have this part time gig, I do worry a bit that I’ll turn into Al Bundy.  (For those of you needing a refresher, Al Bundy, who once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game of football, worked in a women’s shoe store.  It was a high school job that turned into his entire life.  And of course, only fat ugly ladies came in to have their feet touched up by him.)  I keep reminding myself that I’ve never played high school football, but I still worry a bit about waking up one day and being 50 years old, still working at the shoe store.  This will probably never happen though, as I can’t imagine that school being around for so long.

I should also add that I applied for about five million other jobs (some in academia, some in related fields) and received a grand total of zero interviews.  So if this job hadn’t come along, I would have taken the first other opportunity that came along, teaching or not.
Will I continue to teach after I get my phd?  Depends on who wants to square dance, I guess.


Career Ideas for Those Stuck in the Academic Wasteland

with 15 comments

This WAS my list of My Career Ideas:

1. Professor at FancyPants Institute

2. Professor at Community College. 

3. Lord High Chancellor Czar of the Northern Hemisphere

4. Stripper

Thankfully, this  list has recently changed as I had a mini epiphany the other day.  (Thank you, T.S. Eliot.)
I’d been searching the far reaches of my tiny brain, searching for another ‘career’ option that I could apply to‘s ebook ‘how to get a fucking awesome job that you love and grow beautiful luxurious hair’ and kept coming up short.  He does provide the disclaimer that he can’t tell you what job would suit you best, which, of course, I found supremely disappointing because I just want to be told what to do, like that personality-less drone in that Fifty Shades of Gray book.  (cue loads of disappointed women finding my blog.  haay ladies!)

(James does provide an interesting list of off the beaten track jobs as a starting point and I did google them in order of biggest average salary..but I got bored reading the descriptions.   Increasing salary seemed to correlate with my personal distaste for particular tasks.)
Anyways.  I had been taking some time ‘away’ from the ebook to sort out my

Steven Soderbergh had to pay this dude in cold hard dollah bills.

brain (also some time away from my thesis to nurse my ego, much needed) when I had an idea, hallelujah!  I hadn’t realized it, but I have kinda been working on an ‘alternate’ career for awhile.  Over the course of the last few years, I’ve edited documents and written stuff for family, friends, and friends of friends.  Always for free, of course.  (Why, I have no idea.  I would not work as a cook for free or dance for money for no money.)  I guess I never thought to charge people cause I liked doing it and it never took too long.  Crazy, right?  But after my most recent foray into ‘business writing’ or whatever the hell you call it, I decided that I would like to do this Fo Real.   Like with sweet business cards on beautiful thick paper.

So the first thing I did was google ‘business writing’, as you do, and found some really poorly designed websites that looked like 1990s aol jobbies, or the more recent variety usually run by elderly conspiracy theorists.  Ya know, grey background, a lot of cramped writing in a tiny font, no aesthetic appeal whatsoever?  One even had a full length photo of a woman in full shoulder padded regalia.. I will not link here because she may very well be a nice person and a good writer.  But the site looked fucking terrible.  If I had a business and needed written material, I would NOT trust someone who can’t put together (or pay someone else to put together) a professional and visually pleasing website.  If their own advertising is so chaotic and unappealing, what kind of stuff can they generate for other people?

I will do some more research into the whole thing.. but I do wonder if (and how much) people are willing to pay for good writing, for someone to help them portray their business/product/whatevs in the best possible way, for whatever demographic they want to reach.  I feel like a lot of people don’t give a flaming shite about good writing or its power to reach people.  I hope this is wrong on my part, but I guess I’ll have to find out soon.
So I have an idea.. it ain’t much, but it’s a start.

Pre Post Meta Academic?

with 2 comments

I have no idea what that title means, but it’s appropriate because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

So some random events have happened, like me needing money and the stars aligning and all, and I will be teaching a few classes this fall.  At the place I used to teach.  The one I enrolled in a phd program in order to escape.  Oh Irony!

I hope it won’t be too bad though.  And I don’t exactly have any other more

I might prefer teaching at a center for ants.

attractive options at the minute.  Although I’m kind of working on one.. I’ve been reading the dude’s ebook, and it’s good so far.  I’ll post a full review once I get off my ass and actually start doing what he says to do.

In the meantime, anybody have any ideas for teaching english to kids who wanna learn to read good and who wanna learn to do other stuff good too?

Written by universityoflies

August 7, 2012 at 15:19