Monday, July 12, 2010

Recession Misery

I signed my new contract today.

We all know there are budget cuts everywhere, and I haven't had a raise since I started this job 3 years ago. I knew better than to expect one.

What I didn't expect was a pay cut. It's not much, but it sure hasn't helped my morale.


But I did get a new contract. I suppose for that I should be grateful. We haven't laid anybody off at our college (that I know of.) How long can this last? (Actually, don't answer that.)


  1. That sucks! I'm so tired of the administration acting like we should be grateful for them screwing us over!

    Yes, unemployment rates are very high. Yes, we are still in a recession. Yes, the financial outlook is bleak overall. However, I'm willing to bet that the same school that has cut your pay has increased the salary for others and is continuing to spend money on things it doesn't need. But you are expected to be grateful for making less money. Your insurance costs, if you get insurance, probably went up too.

    Let me put this as eloquently as possible: fuck that!

  2. Oh, fuckety-doo-dah, I got a paycut last year too, and I still don't know what my salary will be next fiscal year. It is totally demoralizing. I hate this idea that you should be grateful for having a job at all, while they slice and slice and slice away at your living, demanding more and more.

  3. I'm full-time, non-tenure track carrying a slave's load of classes/grading, and while I would hate taking a pay cut, I'd be willing to if it meant the Univ. didn't have to lay off other workers. Unless they were people I disliked, of course.

  4. When I taught at a state university last year, the union demanded and official acceded to giving everyone their scheduled raises even if it meant laying professors off. The union's line was that they don't represent people who have been laid off but they represent the people who remain.

  5. Here's to hoping they don't take your office away in August!

    [I've seen it happen.]

  6. I'm sorry, Ivory Basement. Both that you are enduring hardship and that I have nothing snotty or sarcastic to say that might alleviate things a bit. I guess this situation doesn't really warrant humour anyway. The fuckers get a lot of mileage out of people adopting a "I guess I should be grateful" mindset.

    Don't know what field you're there a way you can earn something on the outside though some related line of work? Put our research to work on something applied? Maybe this attack on morale can prompt change.

  7. I meant put *your* research to work, not our.

  8. OK, while I admire the nobility of people saying they'd take a pay cut to prevent other teachers being laid off, that is how they screw us. It is never "take a pay cut or you'll lose the Vice President of Fuck-all," or "take a pay cut or we'll have to delay construction on hot tubs for the student dorms." It's like watching people at a banquet telling us, hey, you'll need to split our crumbs 3 ways instead of 2 and then patting us on the head for doing so while they gorge. It's still crumbs, and they could still do better by us. I don't want a pay cut AND I don't want my colleagues laid off, how's that?

  9. What I really dread is that, even when the economy does recover, the current cuts will become permanent. "Since you've shown you can still run a research program since we increased your course load to five or six classes, we'll let you have 5-6 classes all the time!" How very generous...

  10. Frod, isn't that what they've already done with class sizes at most schools?

    They used to be capped at 15...then 20...then 25...then overloads at 30 got pushed to overloads as high as 40 or more. All for the same money (and 15 extra VPs and deans!).

    Classes in big lecture halls filled with hundreds used to have 1 TA per 20 students, then 30, then 50, now they want to out-source the grading to India so they don't have to pay grad students at all (and make them pay tuition to boot!).

  11. I don't even get one TA for my intro astronomy class for non-majors, with 100 people in it! Not that I much want one: most of the physics majors can't name the planets in order from the Sun, anyway. Yes, I know, you learned this in 3rd grade: well, they don't cover that in 3rd grade no more. I do get a grader for my 3rd-semester physics-for-engineers class: the main thing this TA does is notice how much the engineers cheat, which is why the final exam counts for 50% of the course grade.

  12. Did any of the vastly overpaid administrators have to take a pay cut? Even one? That's what I thought.

  13. Frod, my kid could name the order of the planets at age 3. She's 4 now and knows the distinctive features of each planet. And she's not, particularly, a genius, except in that Lake Wobegone way where every kid in my 'hood is above average.

    And yeah, our temporary furloughs show no sign of going away anytime soon. I'm too (chicken? ethical? tired?) to systematically cut my services the same percentage as my pay cut, but I notice I'm grudging about almost everything now, as opposed to the super-keener prof. I was a couple of years ago. The pay cut rolled back every raise I'd had for the preceding 6 years. So fuck all *that* effort. And the rhetoric about belt-tightening and shared sacrifice does not seem to be affecting the construction of fancy new buildings, the elaborate conferences about Our New Vision for the Future, and so on.

  14. You whiney f*ckers!

    At least most of you have jobs. I am now officially unemployed. And guess what? The new fiscal year is here and the 2010-2011 positions are all full up. This leaves me in the interesting predicament. I spent the last three years looking for a TT position (I graduated in '08). I took two one-year assistant jobs. Now I have no academic job.

    So I changed my CV to a resume. I redid my cover letter. I am looking for positions in higher education on the 'dark side' in organizational development or IT work and I am looking for a corporate job.

    Funny thing. I got my PhD because i wanted to LEAVE administration and all the requisite bullshit that went with it. I went to work in higher education to get out of the BS corporate world, where its all about numbers, productivity and screwing the guy next to you before he screws first.

    So I am doing two job hunts at the same time. One for a job now. One for an academic job next year. Meanwhile, I just applied for unemployment.

    So please, quit your b*tching about class sizes.

  15. At my community college, we are now forbidden from using colored paper in the copiers. Why? Too expensive. All gone. Yet we're demolishing half of the building this fall to build a huge, new student services center. The money must be in different pots, and our "colored paper" pot is nearly empty, but the "build totally unneeded new service center" pot has MILLIONS of bucks in it.

    Yes, I'm grateful as hell to have a job, even if it's as an adjunct, with no insurance benefits and a lower PERA contribution, working the same amount for about 40% of the pay that full-timers get. Is it fair? No. Am I pissed? Yes. But am I happy to be employed? OH YES. It's a mixed bag.

    Our school wastes lots of money on Spring Flings outside on the grass while we toil for crumbs, and it grates bigtime, but sadly, we are powerless to change the budgeting priorities.


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