Monday, October 12, 2009

"Busy" is Booming

While our economy continues to contract and college graduates find fewer and fewer opportunities for work, I have three jobs... and I am adding a fourth in two weeks' time.

I had two offers for full-time employment: one in August and one in September. I was wary to accept either since I already committed to three courses at two different schools. I added a fourth class two weeks ago. Two weeks from today, I will begin teaching a month-long graduate seminar in Composition Pedagogy for a university out in San Diego (class number five).

Even in these hard times, I will online-commute to a campus over 2,000 miles away and will teach future teachers of Composition how to be teachers of Composition-- invaluable job experience once I am on the national job market again next Fall.

But as of January, 2010, I will be full-time employed for the first time in six years. One and a half of those years I was unemployed but collected no unemployment benefits; we lived on one graduate research assistant stipend earned by Tom. It has never felt so good getting a pay check as it did in September.

Colleges are one place where business is quite recession-proof.

In fact, institutions of higher learning are in high demand by both the supply side and consumer side of the economy. One of the schools at which I currently teach two of my four courses had to turn students away in August. Luckily, I have a doctorate in a field that nearly *every* college and university has a universal requirement: Composition.

The students have changed, too.

I have fewer teenagers and twenty-somethings than those in their 30s and 40s, returning to school for a degree to earn better pay, to start a new career, to keep up with education credits demanded by their current employers.

Smaller, accredited schools are filling the gap, too, in terms of expense. I will be teaching full-time at a school next January that is seeking better accreditation and will be the only person on campus with a Ph.D. (it is a very small school).

Tom's path to getting his degree has been a long and winding one. We have to stay here for at least another year and a half before we move (he is applying to go to Antarctica to drill an ice core next fall and has been offered a post-doc fellowship for that year).

But, it seems, that "down" time will be very helpful in terms of my own vita.

I recall a number of years ago when my Dad asked me: "Why are you still in school?"

My response: "Dad, I will have a job whenever I need one with this degree. Every school in the country has a writing requirement. Those types of classes are the ones I am learning to teach, to research, and how to contribute to the scholarship."

Turning down jobs seems like a pretty good indication to me that a job in higher education is pretty safe.

Now if I could just find time to write...

Happy Monday All

9 comments:

Sidhe October 12, 2009 at 2:46 PM  

Rock on!

There's something to that old saying, "when it rains, it pours," huh?

I dislike my current job but am locked in and the dinero is pretty good...as soon as I get back we *are* getting together chicky! You are invited to Yule at our pad!

poietes October 12, 2009 at 3:07 PM  

Congratulations on your employmet. I was just bemoaning the fact that I am no longer in the classroom a few weeks ago.

I'm glad that things are finally turning around for you.

PENolan October 12, 2009 at 10:14 PM  

I'm with two year olds this year - I'll do my best in the hopes that they will know their heads from their asses by the time they get to you ;)
Congratulations

Diana October 12, 2009 at 10:51 PM  

What an interesting life to lead.

Good luck in all four situations and, of course, don't forget to write us here!

smallbytesbythecapital October 12, 2009 at 11:53 PM  

I read an article today about how some students are struggling to get into their required classes due to the cut in part time teachers. Now these students are having to take out financial aid in order to complete their degrees in a longer amount of time than the old averages. This is mainly due to the cuts that many of the public universities have had to make. Hopefully, with Obama's push in education, more jobs will be created for teachers, and the full-time students will be able to complete their degrees in a more reasonable amount of time. Then it will be a win-win for everyone!

itdawnedonme October 14, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Wow, congrats! You're really being stretched to work at so many places. But hey, work is good!

mud_rake October 14, 2009 at 8:34 PM  

Thank you for including my blog on your list and congratulations on your employment.

Mud_rake

Aliceson October 15, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

Good for you! I think you hit it right on the head with your area of study. I know so many educated people that are currently unemployed due to lack of jobs in their field. I'm sure your dad is proud of you now!

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