A reminder about precarity from one of your many Term Colleagues
It’s that time again! We are in the final stretch until the end of the term. For many instructors this is a time of winding down and thinking about the next semester of teaching and looking forward to some well-deserved R&R. For term employees, it the stress and uncertainty of if there is a contract coming for January, how big it will be, and if the hours needed are like this past semester. Then there is the scramble to get the CV touched up and hopefully find work that accommodates the next semester.
December is not the equal enjoyment that continuing faculty enjoy, where there is a form of rejuvenation prior to the start of January term. It is spent looking for work to make up for the time spent between contracts unpaid. This can be typically difficult during December when financial expectations of the holiday season are in full swing and expectations of family and friends.
Those contract employees with children understand the struggle of a precarious work situation and trying to manage the frequent changes to childcare coverage based on the contract given. We will take anything we can get at this point, even if it throws the personal life into chaos. Saying yes to a contract will likely mean more contracts in the future and this is important to keep extended benefits since we may not get them in the private sector by not working enough.
Summers are a different story as well for those term employees teaching in programs that don’t run all year. We try to make up the difference in not having a contract by working full time, so we hope the work is out there when the time comes. A bonus though is the pay is really good in private industry and we can try to get ahead a little. Taking a contract means a giant pay cut and a slow crawl on the PayScale since it is hours counted and not years served.
So, between semesters, term employees move full throttle rather than slowing down. It will be a busy December for us folks, so don’t be surprised when we don’t come back all refreshed and rejuvenated. Why do we do it you ask? Because we love the students so we keep moving forward and hope for changes that will bring a little bit of parity with continuing employees…. sigh… one day…
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