Today I withdrew from some lecturing in a topic I really, really, really like, at one of the local universities, because they wouldn’t offer me enough work to make a decent chunk of part time work. One of the problems with part time academic work is that it’s an hour here and an hour there, each time involving a trip to and from campus, and very few economies of scale. Plus there are no resources – no office space, no access to computing, no access to photocopiers, an expectation that I will use my personal resources (i.e. my home computer and home internet access) for preparing lectures and accessing the course web site. And on it goes. An adjunct’s life is not a pretty one.
What I was being invited to do was to collude in exploiting myself. The particular program I was going to be working in is strapped for cash to pay casual staff, and I really do understand the constraints they are operating under. However I do not see that it is my responsibility to help them to manage their budget. So often, I have made an effort, tried to just help out a little, given a bit here and a bit there to make sure that other people succeed, but ended up fraying at the edges, because I do too much work for too little reward. And in the past, I have crashed and burned quite badly as a result of that desire to get involved, to put in the effort, to work just a bit harder, even without much reward, so that my colleagues (hah!) can do well. I don’t want to go there again.
But now I’m worried that I’ve done the nose and spiting face thing…
Time for a nice glass of wine, I think.