Whenever university administrators talk about the need for making budget cuts, I can't help thinking of their six-figure salaries and how they have more than enough money for food, nice clothes, and country club memberships where they can get together with their rich friends and talk about how hard life is.
At the school where I teach, there's talk of budget cuts. Although I am a full-time faculty member, my untenured status means that I might not have a job next year. When I first came here, they told me my contract could be renewed for up to three years, and that many people stayed longer. But now they're advising me to apply for jobs elsewhere, just in case, which makes me angry; I could have stayed where I was before and saved thousands of dollars.
I'm applying for everything that I'm remotely qualified for: postdoctoral fellowships, lecturer positions, and tenure-track jobs. I doubt I'll get a tenure-track job, though, due to the fact that I don't have enough publications. I've been trying to work on my research, but my two jobs are why I've been working more than fifty hours a week with no days off. I was so stressed out that the other night I had nightmares about being attacked by raccoons (WTF?) and being crushed by stacks of students' papers while having a bunch of red pens thrown at me.
I think that I can afford to be a little more choosy about where to work, despite my lack of academic publications. I have my PhD now, as well as recommendation letters from my bosses, teaching experience at both rural and urban colleges, and positive evaluations from students.
The question is where I'll end up next. I'm hoping for a place that's bigger than Small Town and a job at a school with a more selective admission rate. I saw ads for a few schools located in towns where the entire population was made up of less than two thousand people, and I immediately thought, "NEXT!"
It's okay if I end up in another college town, as long as I don't have to drive too far to get to the nearest big city. But I must admit that all those years in a big city have ruined me for small town life. Sometimes I feel claustrophobic in Small Town, to the point where I feel like shrieking, "I have to get OUT of here!" Other days I find myself wishing that I had a little bit of vodka in my coffee mug when I'm at work (and I don't even drink alcohol!).
My ideal teaching situation would be at a medium-sized Catholic liberal arts college in a big city or medium-sized town, where the majority of the students are respectful, disciplined, hard-working, and turn in all their work on time. Then I wouldn't have any more nightmares about red pens. I'd like to teach more literature classes than freshman composition classes. I'd like to teach English majors. I've mainly been teaching students who are only in my classes because of their General Education requirements and would rather be getting root canals while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians than learning how to write thesis statements.
I'd also like a job with better benefits than the ones I get now; although I have dental insurance, I currently can't afford the copay for a dentist appointment. (I also have nightmares about my teeth falling out and me teaching while looking like a jack-o-lantern). I'd like a salary that allows me to quit my second job, so that maybe I could have at least one day off a week. Maybe then, I would be less of a neurotic workaholic, and I could finally let myself relax for the first time in more than a decade.
My biggest fear is that I'll end up in the middle of nowhere, teaching at a school whose students spend more time partying than studying, with coeds who are "offended" by pronouns (apparently that's a thing now. Insert eye-roll here).
What about you? What does your ideal day job (other than writing) look like?
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