roasting marshmellows in phd hell

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.

5 Responses

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  1. That picture also reminds me of the Eye of Mordor, which in turn reminds me of this: (apologies if you were never a Lord of the Rings fan). Good luck preparing for the new semester/finishing the PhD/planning a dramatic exit!


    August 21, 2012 at 20:18

  2. Hang in there with the job applications. I know several people who left academia before me, and they have intimated that the job market in most fields is really rough. It takes a while to hear anything back, but you will eventually. Keep refining your materials and you will get an interview.

    Post Medievalist

    August 21, 2012 at 20:34

    • thanks for the kind words. its easy to get frustrated but you’re right.. perseverance is the only answer.


      August 21, 2012 at 23:19

      • On a random note, I just noticed your tagline (roasting marshmallows in PhD hell) and was, for some reason, reminded of the Marx Bros. story about stripping down naked and roasting potatoes using their producer’s office furniture because he left them waiting for him for about 3 hours. He never did that again.

        Post Medievalist

        August 27, 2012 at 10:06

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