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Wednesday: July 29, 2015

Now I owe posts on Peru and on my HPF grant project! But let me tell you why I am too busy to post now. When my classes got cancelled at my local university this spring, I decided that I cannot do adjuncting anymore. I gave it about a year, which some of you may scoff at, but I’ve been in the real world (no offense meant, but academia is not a normal workplace), and I can get a real job elsewhere that has stability and benefits and a liveable wage. I got my education for myself; it does not define me and I am fully comfortable not working in anthropology as long as whatever work I find feels satisfying. And it feels really good to finally realize that.

Because, if adjuncting is it for me, no thanks. The reality of adjuncting? About 2500$ per class in my area for having an M.S. degree, capped at no more than two or three classes a semester, depending on the university. No benefits, even though you work full-time hours if you have the opportunity to teach 3+ classes (stretched out between multiple universities – which for some people means a lot of commuting). And, depending on the university, you could lose your job the weekend before the semester starts, which is what happened to me this spring. [The other university I teach at does things a little differently – rather than handing over an adjunct’s course load to a full-time professor whose classes got cancelled for low enrollment, they make up the differences in the following semester so you know a few months in advance. That gives you more time to prepare and look for another job to get you through the year.]

So this spring, I wrote a letter to my boss that I wanted to be considered for a full-time position, or I would have to start looking elsewhere. But I did not send it, because, well, I thought it might be a bit naive or something, and I had just found out that a friend didn’t make tenure and was being let go and I didn’t like the timing of it all. Instead, I went on an 8-week archaeological project.

During this time, I got my QP status, huzzah! I submitted my application and CV to the state’s DNR about a week or two into the project. A week later, I became an official Qualified Professional archaeologist for the United States and the state of Indiana (which has separate, higher standards), and I became a Principal Investigator as far as the federal government is concerned (but 21.6 months shy for Indiana). I decided instead, then, to contact the other local universities I had applied to when I first graduated with an updated CV laying out my grant award and new status.

Choices appeared! One school had an adjunct position open to teach a single class, online, in exactly the way they structured it. I decided not to apply – I already don’t prefer online teaching, and to basically be the voice of someone else’s work seemed even more disconnected to me. Another school told me the application steps, which I didn’t have time for. A week or two later, they contacted me back to let me know they had a lecture position upcoming if I was still interested. I was about ready to look into that when I received another email.

My retired advisor informed me that my university had a full-time position now available and I should apply. At this point, I just kind of said to myself, “what the hell!” and sent my letter and CV off to my boss. A couple of phone conversations later (some literally while I was hanging precariously to a cliffside), I got a visiting lecture position.

And so that is why I am busy now. I let the other university know I was taking this job instead and completed my archaeological field work. I could not focus on my teaching grant during that time, so I have to address that first now that I am home. Then, I have to prep for my upcoming courses, two of which are a bit daunting but I’ve come a long way and will trudge ahead at a sustainable speed (a year ago I would have said high speed, but things change). The classes are not my own choosing, but the previous lecturer’s, and they lie a little beyond my speciality but not entirely outside it, so I will manage. I also have to do some research writing for the field work. Ergo, between all that and my lovely ability to procrastinate in times of stress, my schedule is packed.

TL;DR? I have a full-time job beginning in the fall.

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