Tuesday, December 31, 2013

They have the nerve to ask me why I drink

when they should be asking me why the hell I bother with this job at all.

In a discussion with my department head about my salary, he checks my salary in next year’s budget and exclaims with surprise that it is way too low.  I appreciate the sympathy, asswipe. Could you have noticed this problem a few years ago?

In the same discussion, I tell him that the local community college is paying only slightly less than my current salary.  He responds that if I want to teach CC students then I should do that.  Why would I go to the hassle of changing jobs to just to teach underprepared little shits with an administration pushing me to lower standards when I can do that here?

I shovel a ton of research salary (relatively speaking) to my ABD research assistant as a reward for several years of good work.  He thanks me by blowing off the semester, not graduating and not meeting our research goals.  I should let him explain this outcome to the granting agency at our next meeting.  Thursday.

I haven’t read a book in months.  Maybe a year.  I am not proud of this, mind you.  I read stuff for work and lots of news and kids’ stories for bedtime (the kids’, not mine) but not a single book.  I’ve gotten to where I am based on being smart and, frankly, I’m not very pleased with the results.  So fuck it.

Update: I see that Professor Chiltepin wrote, "learning how to think made my life immeasurably better."  Upon reflection, that's an imminently wise view.  I retract my immoderate comment and conclude with a more polite "screw it."


  1. I sympathize. Maybe it's like in my dept, where the dept head can basically do what he wants. Sure, criteria for raises are announced, but neither the data nor the raises themselves are made public, so who can check? (Actually, for last fall's merit raises I am working on a spreadsheet, based on data posted on our local paper's site).

    Other countries have a system of raises based on promotion to another "step" within rank, based on time-in-step and on meeting predetermined research and teaching benchmarks. A system like that--entirely deterministic, independent of subjective judgments by individuals--is inherently more fair. Sure, it can be gamed to some extent, but in fact you can't be a total slacker; and it is immune to personal preferences by the head or anyone else. As far as I know, this kind of system is not used in the US, with the usual "competitiveness" excuses.

    And the "want to work in the CC?" comment marks your head as a total jerk. I would work to undermine such a person in every possible way.

    1. Yeah, the CC line kinda burnt me a bit too. I work at a two-year school that feeds into the four-year system, and I take very seriously my role as the fucking gatekeeper. Because I teach a course students must pass with a C to get a degree, I am the brick wall they either slam into, or find the door through (by doing the work I assign). It ain't no cakewalk.

  2. Ah, the joys of salary stagnation/compression. It's probably the economy. Well, that and the fact that administrators have figured out just how cheaply they can get at least some of your courses taught by adjuncts. I'm not sure I see a problem with the similarity between community college and university professors (teaching community college is very hard work), but, otherwise, you have my sympathy, even though I'd probably be happy to have your salary, and would certainly be happy to have the salary of any of my TT colleagues with education and experience similar to mine -- which, of course, they're not happy with, and justifiably so, when you look at our local cost of living. A decade or so of wage stagnation makes everybody unhappy.

    I hope the meeting with the grad assistant was satisfying in some way (and hope he doesn't head for an industry job at twice your salary. That would be adding insult to injury, but I gather it's possible in your field, though I also know some people in related industries who are out of work, and have been searching for a long, long time.)