This week I somehow managed to pull three all-nighters.
There was some blank spaces in there where I'm pretty sure I lost consciousness or at least all rational thought, but I pulled through it and thankfully had most of a weekend to coma my way to functioning again.
I'm pretty impressed that my almost-30 body was able to do something that I doubt I would have been able to do as a teenager. So yeah, go me.
In other news, I still don't know if I'll be gainfully employed anywhere from Tuesday on. I'm not sure how I'll handle being fired twice from the same job in less than 6 months when both instances have been the single-best employment experience of my life and have fundamentally changed something within me.
And then there's the other thing. An email. Saying what a great teacher I am, and the opportunity to work at the same rate but more hours.
I'm continually impressed with the fact that adjunct professors work so hard and do so much for so little, but I get it. It's like being a drug addict. Once you're in the cycle, it's damn hard to get out of.
Anyone in academia looks down on you like it's somehow your fault that you are stuck in such a lousy situation. Anyone outside of academia sees nothing but an academic, which have a reputation from the tenured professors of being lazy. You end up doing what you originally wanted to do, but at a wage that leaves many adjunct professors either on public assistance or working at multiple institutions just to stay afloat.
Before YSU decided that me earning them $170K a year after they paid my salary wasn't enough to justify paying healthcare costs for me, I was making something like $50K working at 3 institutions and I thought I was doing good for some reason, even though I was working an absurd number of hours.
I have a seriously great, seriously fantastic, seriously worthwhile job. One that I can make a bigger difference at than I could possibly imagine I could just teaching a few thousand students. It's genuine, it's good for the soul, and it pays me a wage that I don't have to hate myself for. I am doing my damnedest to ensure that it continues.
Because adjunct professor wages make you hate yourself. Look up any sort of abuse. Eventually you start to believe you deserve the abuse. Eventually being paid so much less than you are worth catches up to you.
I always think of myself as having a strong mind and above rationalizing and the petty psychological traps that other humans fall prey to, but I didn't realize how much being an adjunct professor was killing me until the Affordable Care Act came through. Until the gross injustice of what they were proposing fell down on me like a cut Sword of Damocles. One that had been hanging over my head for so long that I didn't even realize it.
And then they doubled down when no one was looking.