Friday, June 12, 2015

A Complex Friday Thirsty on Financial and Psychological Matters.

What do you do for extra money in the summers?
Do you get paid 9 months or 12? Do you choose that?
Is summer a time of respite and renewal, or do you scramble for money?
Does summer make you think of leaving academe?
Do you like summer "you" better than school year "you"?


  1. Paid for 12 months (which I like). I have almost always taught a summer course, partially for the extra but also because we need to offer some electives for our grad students. Between that and admin work, it's just a hotter time of year. Not much else is different.

  2. I teach, I research, I do admin work. I do it all so I get paid all summer.

    If you mean, do I spread out my 9 month contract over 12 months, you must be effing crazy. This place could close for good in May and I'd never see that three months of pay.

    Summer is still relaxing since I'll only do work if they pay me for it. I've made that clear enough that nobody bothers me unless they really need help.

    The scrambling for summer money begins the year before when I'm writing grants and wooing deans to give me some work or class assignments.

    I do think of leaving my school for another during the summer. Part of the reason is that I dread the upcoming fall semester and that's when hiring season begins. I'll need to update my CV.

    I love me no matter what the season is.

  3. a reader sends this to a dead email account:

    Ever since I became a parent and homeowner, I’ve taught during the Summer. It is during the Summer that I pilot new ways to teach. It’s easier during the Summer when all the non-academic B.S. is not required of me.

  4. I'm paid on a 9-month basis. I don't think that's an option for newer employees, but I was grandfathered in. For a few years there, I actually managed things the way I'd ideally like to: 35% of each paycheck went into a savings account, to cover the summer plus a rainy-day fund. I'm still funding (and drawing from) the rainy-day fund, but, thanks to a combination of factors -- mortgage, car payment, recession/no raises for years, a promotion system that didn't work as predicted/promised, lingering financial effects of now-long-ago family drama -- it's been a while since I was able to fund summers from the 9-month pay. So I work over the summer, and I *need* to work over the summer, which makes me a bit nervous. We're guaranteed one class at 10% pay (as long as it makes, but the required class I teach is pretty much guaranteed to make, especially when offered online), and can usually expect a second (and expect another 10% for the 2nd, though sometimes the university tries to pay us the adjunct rate instead), but I'm always a bit nervous in the fall when the summer arrangements are being made.

    For that reason, and because it's the only time I can get concentrated time to write and research, I'd really like to go back to having summers off (or every other or every third summer off, or some other season off). I hope to get there, but I'm not there yet, and even if I could take summers off, I'd probably wonder whether I should work and save the money for a possibly-earlier-than-I'd-prefer retirement instead. But I'm pretty sure if I could take the time, I would. I don't have any illusions at this point that writing and research would be an "investment" in the possibility of a better job, or even insurance against the loss of my present one, but I'd still like to do it.

    Of course, what I'd really like is a sabbatical, but that's only going to happen if I win a fellowship, and I'm only going to win a fellowship if I make substantial headway on my book-(barely)in-progress, and . . .well, you see where this is going. Basically, I need to work in time for writing and research year 'round, which I've done in the past, and will do again, but right now I'm trying to reduce the chaos that's been building up in my apartment (because it turns out that one thing I did pretty reliably during those summers "off" was household maintenance/organization of the longer-term sort. Everybody who works outside the home could use someone who takes care of the traditional home-making chores, and it turns out that summer me did that for school-year me, and the advantages were noticeable).

    In a way, I think it may be good not to be able to think "I'll do that over the summer." After all, that's not how most people live. On the other hand, many people seem to be perpetually behind and overwhelmed, and that doesn't strike me as a good way to live. So I try to grab a bit of rest and rejuvenation when I can, year 'round (sabbath rather than sabbatical, though I wouldn't mind both), and I enjoy the fact that, even though I teach during the summer, it's online, so I get to spend much more time at home, alone (which is rejuvenating for an introvert like me). I don't know that I like "summer Cassandra" better, but I do think I'm better, year 'round, for whatever breaks I can make for myself, during the summer or year 'round.

  5. I write and travel. Mostly, I work on side projects that have nothing to do with my field. Summer me is the real me, I think, once the anxiety and depression end (much better now!). I have taught summer courses, but I hated it. It felt like an annoying imposition on my time. But then, when doesn't it?

  6. 9-month contract, repeatedly turning down summer assignments so I can use the breaks for family and renewal. The pay is generous (at least by world standards), and both my house and car are paid for, so I have the luxury of not worrying. We have condensed, 16-week semesters with 10-week winter and summer sessions in between so the college can teach year-round. Maybe when my last kid is gone I'll decide to work year-round and save more towards retirement.

    Does summer make me think of leaving academe? Yes, but no more than grading does.

    I like my work self better for keeping a schedule, but my break self better for having things more in order around the house and garden.