Monday, December 08, 2003

New Tricks

For me, working part time is the only way I can manage everything. I'm not a career mom, like my sister, who embraces her role as mother with maximum gusto. But I also can't work full time. So, I've been working as an adjunct, the only option for academics who want to put off the tenure track for a few years.

But it hasn't really been working out. The money is bad, just covering the babysitter. And it isn't flexible. The babysitter called in a panic last week to say the baby was running a high fever. My husband had to come home to take care of him, because I couldn't cancel class. Students come in from all over the city. I couldn't cancel class after they had commuted an hour to get there. And my husband has the job that pays the rent.

Also, I'm pretty sure that adjuncting won't help me find a real job in a few years. Hell, lots of great PhDs with loads of publications and conferences can't find work.

Then there is the problem of transitions. It's very hard to go from wiping bums and giving time-out to pontificating in front of a class on the evolution of federalism over 200 years. I need a 40 minute bus ride and 30 minutes of blog reading to clear my brain of concerns like diaper inventory and milk consumption, so that I can prepare my lecture.

So, I am seeking out greener pastures. I told the chair last month that I wasn't coming back at least for the spring. I quit. Good luck, buddy, finding someone else with my background and my winning personality who is willing to work for $5 an hour.

I have a tentative plan. I have a couple of academic articles that I'm going to work on. I want to keep all options open. But I'm also going to try to write some mainstream articles about issues that are always on my mind. So I won't need to step into a decompression chamber before starting work.

I'm a little nervous about switching careers. I mean I've been at the academic racket for a long time. Old dog. New tricks.

But I'm also very excited. More later as plans flesh out.

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