Friday, November 20, 2015

The Patina of Respectability

Let's face it: For a number of years people working in low-level professional or semiprofessional positions have had to find ways to supplement their meager salaries. Their ranks include junior clerks and sales associates, paralegal employees, entry-level managers, and even adjunct professors that are effectively part-time. In response to this, the part-time employees have to resort to other jobs to fill in the pay and benefits gap.

Most often these are mundane jobs that bring a bit more money in. While it's really nice to obtain another part-time job that one qualifies for, pays well, and hopefully brings benefits, that doesn't always happen. Hence, the math teacher/barista or the history teacher/nightclub bouncer! As long as the position is not too unrespectable they can function as a member of the lumpenprofessoriat!

But what if a dean or department chair finds a part-time instructor in his/her other setting? Usually, the tendency is to not recognize the person as one of his/hers; but remember with the mercenary idea that the person has another job, so is likely to stick around for a long time and need not have to be offered a full-time position of one becomes available.

As for those who work part-time with the idea that they might be hired on a full-time basis, do they still believe in the Easter Bunny? Or: "Why buy the cow if the milk is cheap?"*

I think that reasonable employers should recognize that, when they find a part-time person engaged in work that is incongruent with the role or status of the part-time position that they offered, they are part of the problem. Let's face it: part-time academic salaries are not enough to be one's sole means of support! Where's the money coming from?

I know of one part-time instructor who showed and sold houses part-time; and she graduated into a full-time realtor! As she put it, "I didn't take a vow of poverty!"

As for another, she became a member of a roller derby team and could really body check others!  That's definitely preparation for being an administrator someday.



*Deans are sometimes capable of crass analogies.

9 comments:

The Bastard King of England said...

Part-time positions have no benefits as well.

John Hill said...

As for no benefits -- I have know people to take particular part time jobs for discount benefits. For example -- taking a part time job at an electronic store for the employee discount in order to buy computers and game systems for kids Christmas presents!

Mike said...

A friend's daughter was working 5 part time teaching positions at 5 different schools. She finally gave it up when she got a real full time job in the business world.

Chuck Bear said...

Part-time instructors do the heavy lifting when it comes to introductory courses like Freshman English.

Linda Kay said...

Two part time jobs does not equal the benefits that usually come with full time, but desperate situations require desperate solutions. Many folks have left teaching for something with higher pay.

Cloudia said...

This is actually a radically important topic A gel!

Cloudia said...

ANGEL

Bilbo said...

I had full-time jobs as an Air Force officer and as a government contractor (not at the same time) during the nine years I had my part-time, unpaid radio announcing gig. The radio was what kept me sane. Or as sane as I ever am.

TexWisGirl said...

whatever's legal and pays the bills, i say...