As if being an adjunct wasn’t hard enough already.

1 02 2010

I never intended for this blog to cover academic employment and nothing else, but when people keep publishing stuff like this how can I help it?:

In this time of job insecurity, the question may have occurred to you: Should you consider part-time teaching as a way to improve your finances and expand your career opportunities?

Becoming a teacher can be rigorous and time-consuming, but at the college level, part-time teaching is a realistic option for some professionals. Postsecondary schools are often willing to be flexible about academic credentials in return for real-world expertise

Historiann (where I found this link) applies the proper amount of sarcasm, so I’ll opt for historical perspective. This is one of my favorite quote from my dissertation, because it’s still so useful today:

“When labor is plentiful, men do a great deal more work; at least 30 per cent more by my estimate. When wages are high and men are scarce, they do not do the work. The reason is this (I am not blaming the men for it; it is human nature): when labor is plentiful, a man is zealous to keep his job. When labor is very scarce, and you can not get other men, the man will be a great deal less attentive to his duties. That is my experience, and it is that of every employer of labor I think.”

That’s Andrew Carnegie testifying before Congress in 1910. His emphasis on human nature suggests that employers don’t need to meet and plot ways to flood the market for labor. They instinctively know that having a huge surplus of workers available benefits them in both the short and long run.

It also helps when the New York Times is willing to do your bidding while acting as if its doing the future victims of an exploitative labor market an extraordinary favor.



2 responses

1 02 2010

“Postsecondary schools are often willing to be flexible about academic credentials in return for real-world expertise”

That’s the part of the equation that really pisses me off.

Why did I go to school, learn how to research and write papers and teach? If some schmuck with “real world experience” (and no grad degree…or just an MBA, which is an appropriate grad degree to teach what exactly?) is being offered even the meager adjuncting gigs ahead of me, why did I waste all that time and money and energy getting the degree that just 10-15 years ago was mandatory for the job?

Marc Bousquet (and others) keeps noting how the NYT seems to have a hate on for professors, and this seems to be more of the same. “Professionals” who adjunct tend to do it for glory and pin money. They are always the most vocal in the blogosphere saying how wonderful the job is, how well-paid they are, and how they don’t want full-time work, thus ignoring the big elephant in the room of their colleagues who are on food stamps.

I should have been a plumber or a hair dresser.

31 05 2012
In praise of enlightened professorial self-interest. « More or Less Bunk

[…] I’ve used this quote from Andrew Carnegie (which I actually took out of my dissertation) before, but it seems like a good time to bring it back: “When labor is plentiful, men do a great deal […]

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