Monday, June 11, 2012

why exactly should I do this?

I'm sorry to keep bothering you with this possible new job stuff... blogging about it is good for me, not only because it helps me with the decision process, but also because several of my readers are academics who can give me good feedback (and you already have, thank you so much!).

so, maybe this is the key question: why exactly should I take this job? what would I gain?

K's reasoning, from day one (the day I heard about the position) is that it's good for me professionally because this is a unique opportunity to join (even if "in the margins") an outstanding department.

Everyone in our acquaintance who's familiar with the institutions we're dealing with agrees (if you're really curious, email me and I'll tell you more about that). This agreement is even stronger among K's department colleagues at the university (some of whom we've sought advice from as soon as we heard about the position and who resoundingly encouraged me to apply and go there). People in K's department think that my current department is really bad (and it is an incredible machine of exploitation, that's for sure).

so... what exactly would I gain?

1) More experience teaching language because I'd be teaching higher levels and much more sophisticated and motivated students. It would look very good in my CV (both the classes and the school).

2) Excellent collegiality at a department that everyone I've talked to has described as "congenial."

3) Retirement benefits.*

I am waiting to hear from the dept. chair whether they would support scholarship (though it's not required) and other important concerns I have.

Detrimental points:

1) Still an adjunct position, maybe more unstable than my current one (which can basically be considered "permanent" -- as in permanently exploited who knows for how many years more ;)

2) Teaching language only, not culture & literature (though teaching a GenEd class is not that great anyway and I will probably still teach it in the summer);

3) Long commute and lots of contact hours in the Fall (it gets better in Spring) (I will probably sleep a couple of nights there at the house of a friend who has just accepted a similar lecturer position. Her husband teaches at our current institution. I want to pay, but it probably wouldn't be much, and I could cook with her to keep my costs down);

The driving can probably be turned into a good thing if I use it to listen to books, which would be an excellent use for my time.

What say you, my dear readers?

* and an additional half-joking benefit -- there are more stores there than where we are now. I don't want to get into specifics, but I'm happy about that too.


Spanish prof said...

If it's going to drive you insane to the point where you are miserable, don't take the position. Otherwise, I would say the combination of higher level courses, better students AND retirement benefits make up for the inestability. Only word of advice: ask at HR whether you are vested immediately or how long would you have to wait at that institution to be vested (vested means that whatever contribution your employer makes towards the retirement fund is yours to keep when you leave the place. In some institutions, that happens from day one. At others, you have to work at least two years). If you are vested from day one, I would take the job.

Another way of looking at it is consider the worst possible scenario: you take the new job, you are only there for a year because they do not renew your contract for the following year, and you don't get the old job back. Do you speak Spanish well enough to pick up a few adjunct classes? If so, the economic hit would not be so bad. If you don't, would you be able to adjust to a budget on your husband salary only? From reading your blog, it sounds like he has a decent salary.

kate said...

Hmmm, I'm so not an expert, but it sounds like it might be worth the sacrifice to take this job. If it's a step up (whicj it sounds like it is) it could open doors to new opportunities, and even if it doesn't, it sounds like a good place to work and gain new types of experience. Especially if your financial situation is such that you can value these things over a steady, but exploitative, job and paycheck...