About last week, Hazelnut wrote about leaving the legal aid profession. By chance, he wrote that three days after I had a telephone conversation that changed my career plans, semi-permanently. I don't have quite the experience that Hazelnut has, so instead of giving a write-up explaining the entire industry, I will just talk about my personal experiences.

I had previously worked as adjunct faculty at a community college, and in the past year, I had sent out applications to every institution in five states where I could get a similar job. The wheels of higher educational bureaucracy grind slowly, so I didn't mind too much that it wasn't until late August that I got a phone call. The job was nine hours a week, for what would be maybe a $1000 dollars a month. It was at a satellite campus of a community college, in a town some 700 miles away, and I would have to move inside of six weeks. But, I thought, some sacrifices had to be made.

I had my telephone interview on a Thursday. At the end, they told me that they would hopefully know by the start of the next week. Monday and Tuesday passed, and finally on Thursday I called to ask if they had made a decision yet. They said they were about to have a meeting. A three day weekend followed, and that Tuesday I called up and asked (more or less):
"Well, it has been two weeks now, and I am guessing since you haven't called me back, I was not at the top of the list."
To which the woman on the other end of the line just laughed and said "No, you weren't at the top of the list."
Perhaps she was just enjoying a moment of good humor with me, but...it struck me as a little unprofessional, and unappreciative of the fact that I, as a person with a Master's Degree and with experience teaching, was willing to relocate on a month's notice to a small town for a job that would probably not pay my basic living expenses.

And that was when I decided that my career plans were going to change a bit. There are three reasons why adjunct teaching doesn't seem like an attractive field to me, despite the fact that I like the actual teaching and seem to be okay at it.

  1. Money. The pay for adjunct teaching is really bad. Well, it can actually be really good, as long as you don't need the money. For nine hours a week of teaching, I would be making around 1000 dollars. This is pretty good money, but even in a small town with low rental prices, it isn't enough to live on. The theory behind adjunct teaching is that it is adjunct. In reality, most adjunct teachers teach as their only job, but string together several jobs at different institutions.
  2. Location, location, location. At least in the Pacific Northwest, most community colleges operate satellite campuses in smaller towns (
  3. Lack of respect. As my hasty and unprofessional treatment show, community colleges treat their adjunct instructors as a resource to be used and then replaced. While the financial situation can't be approved, there are many things institutions can do to cultivate their adjunct faculty, such as communicating expected workloads, offering professional developments and references, and giving teachers more lead time to adjust.

One question that people might ask (and that I've asked many times myself) is whether it is true that adjunct faculty have it so bad, when colleges (community and otherwise) often have very cushy jobs for administrators and permanent faculty. If a community college can offer a diversity coordinator 80,000 dollars a year and benefits in a tenured position, can it be that the people who are actually teaching the students are making under 20,000 dollars a year without benefits and face the prospect of unemployment every ten weeks? I don't actually understand the economics and politics of it, and I've decided it is not a system I wish to spend more time trying to outwit.

And as a final note, while there is much noise made about the undermining of teaching and the teaching profession, especially in the "war" against public sector unions by astroturfed right-wing groups...there is also a lot of internalized self-disrespect by members of the educational establishment. It wasn't one of the Koch Brothers who laughed at me and told me that "I wasn't at the top of the list". It was another teacher, who didn't take my skills and education as a teacher seriously.

For a long time I've had this weird pain in my back that comes on after I'm done eating. I don't know what this pain is, but I noticed it becoming worse as I started going through various dietary changes. Today I went to the chiropractor. It was my third visit this week, but I go because I feel better when he releases that spot in the middle of my back and I feel like I can start breathing a bit easier. This pain doesn't seem to be tied to lung function, but it could be, it's as if the muscles of my back are so tight they won't allow my chest to expand fully. It's frustrating, kind of scary, and even though this doesn't seem to interfere with things like my ability to walk, it has a psychological impact because I fear I will run out of breath if I exert myself.

My chiropractor recommended a physician he knows, the other day I called a family practitioner the pediatrician my girls see told me about and I decided that whether or not these people are physicians that I like, I need to start somewhere even if it means starting over and spending some money that doesn't get me the results I'm searching for. Yesterday I didn't eat much, I always feel better when I don't eat which is sort of alarming at times, but usually I think it feels good because I'm so used to overeating and stuffing myself. During a past life that is closer than I would like it to be I would drive to the grocery store or gas station, buy at least two candy bars and eat them in the car on my way home.

Needless to say that didn't help me, but I think I shared the story about me not buying much candy when I had my paper route and my parents took the money I had been saving and spent it without apologizing to me for the theft, and buying the candy was an act of affirmation for me. I can have treats, no one is going to take my money away and spend it on things that don't support and nurture me. I'm still reading Healing The Child Within, and I'm to the part where the author speaks about core issues. This is helpful, and very painful, because I can see how I have done these things, or been on the receiving end of the inappropriate things described.

Every day I wake up to a knot of tension in my stomach that usually doesn't go away. Sunday afternoon I went to the Brewers game with my brother-in-law. I stopped to buy popcorn at the gas station and I was sitting in a stadium seat when I realized that my stomach wasn't knotted up the way that it normally is. As I read this book I can see behaviors in my nuclear family that are distressing, I feel like I should be able to do the things that will make me a person who is at peace with where they're at in life, and for the most part, I shouldn't be complaining about that place as many would like my life and the luxury of not having to get up and go to a job.

Years ago I had a bad experience when I went to see a GI doctor so now I'm afraid that if I take my daughter in to see one, bad things will happen. When my youngest was a baby we saw a GI doctor who gave us some bad advice, but we didn't realize the advice was bad until we got a second opinion and I must subconsciously blame myself for not knowing that the first doctor we saw was giving us poor advice. The problem with having a screwed up head is you have a lot of trouble doing normal things. This is not an excuse which is why I made myself do the dishes that I left out on the counter, but I have to work myself up to doing things that I'm fearing.

The bathroom needs to be cleaned, and when I go in there I can remember my father baring his teeth and subtly abusing me in ways that I didn't recognize as unwholesome since that kind of treatment from him is what I've been trained to expect. I've written about the incident elsewhere, but it keeps coming up at odd moments, sometimes when I'm not in the bathroom or thinking about my dad, these thoughts will creep into my mind and I wonder what kind of a person could be so naive and so compliant to participate in their own traumatization. My sister said I didn't see the manipulation because I don't have a tendency to manipulate others, I'm not sure if that helped, or just confused me more since I often view myself as manipulative.

Right now I have this small group of habits that I'm working on expanding. Going to the doctor will be a big step to me. I'm afraid of going, afraid of what they might find, afraid of them being cold and clinical and uncaring. Afraid that they will overlook something subtle or obvious, afraid that the money will be wasted on an appointment. Afraid of future expenses that may be associated with further testing they may want, and this is completely illogical, but I have this belief that a medical degree means that you're some sort of super human who has their life figured out despite having many friends in medicine who have shared things with me that fly in the face of this belief.

I also have a problem feeling as if people are not listening to me when I am talking to them. When I was either 22, or 23 I went to the doctor for terrible pain in my knees and elbows. I still have this pain, it keeps me from sleeping and today I have a problem because I really liked the doctor that I saw back then, but the extra strength ibuprofen that she prescribed tore apart my stomach and didn't really do anything to alleviate the discomfort. Years ago a doctor told me that what I have is rare, and there wouldn't be a routine screening or questions that would lead a regular doctor to order labs that would reveal auto-immune conditions.

I felt as if the implication there was that the doctor was not at fault, I'm not saying she was, I'm saying that for more than a decade I went to people telling them that I had this pain and these other symptoms and no one was able to put this sequence together and arrive at a diagnosis, and now that I do have the medical names for these things, I don't have the kind of free and easy movements others enjoy. I am absolutely better than I was, however that is subjective and I know we all have something, but it seems like I'm caught in the gap between not deathly ill and not well enough to work and play the way that I would like.

Today I took a bath that had essential oils of lemon and basil. Using essential oils topically or having them diffuse throughout the house eases my breathing and I am very grateful that I finally spent the money on them and a great book that has more applications than I'm going to be able to use throughout my life as I will never be a man or a child again. A good thing about having not much energy and decluttering around the house is things are easier for me at home, but I feel as if I should be able to do more and not live with this type of pain and discomfort on a daily basis.

We finally gave up our membership at the YMCA, part of me is mourning the loss of the sauna, especially as the winter weather chills me, but we can't really afford it right now. Sometimes I feel like writing helps, other times I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not really getting anywhere with it which is how I'm feeling now. I'm cold, kind of tired, my stomach isn't feeling the greatest and my skin is so dry that the parts that didn't get oil kind of hurt. I'm really sad today even though the sun is shining through my windows. I wish I could be a cat lying down in a warm patch of sunshine. Maybe I'll take a nap and dream about that.

After posting this I only need 9 XP to get to level 14, when did that happen?

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