Fortune Friday #2 – Second Job

second-jobAs I eluded to in my last post, I have taken on a second job – it is another teaching job and consists of teaching two public speaking classes for our local community college.  I have been thinking about doing this for awhile, but for various reasons, most of them revolving around my inability to get a grip on my life during the last four years due to my daughter’s and my parents’ health problems, I have not done it.  This semester just seemed like a good semester to do it.  I feel like I’ve started to get a grip on my life lately (just a little – but fingertip grip will due for now) and we just bought a new (to us) car and my husband took a pretty big cut in pay this year to be able to be at home more often (he was on the road at least three days a week last year – this year, that will change to mostly only three days every other week instead.  So, the extra job will come in handy.  In addition, it gives me a chance to get my feet wet in the community college instructing, which I’ve never done.  I have taught only at four-year universities in the past.  So, overall, I am both excited and slightly scared about this semester.

I am lucky in that getting a second job was pretty easy for me.  I had connections to the college and was told they needed an instructor.  From there, it was just a matter of getting my application packet together and getting it in before the start of school.  I am also lucky in that I am teaching a public speaking class, which I taught before for a number of years (probably about five total, but with summer sessions, probably about 13 semesters of it total).  So, the prep is not terribly difficult, although it has been six or seven years since I last taught public speaking, so I will have to do a little work on prep.  I was also lucky in the classes fitting within my already established schedule at the University where I teach full time.  So, all-in-all, it seemed like kismet.  The first week was good, hopefully it continues that way.

Second jobs (and sometimes third and fourth jobs) are pretty much the norm with higher education instructors who work as “adjuncts” or part-timers.  My job started out as a contract lecturer position, but because of my unique position (directing the speech and debate team) and the cost of having to advertise the position nationally each contract period, we changed the status to that of part-time.  It is confusing because I actually work full time (I have a full load of classes), but my “status” with the University is considered part-time.  I am what they call a full-time part-timer.  It is very strange.  I have a contract (now three years – woot!), and benefits, and regular schedule of classes.  So, all-in-all I am like any other full-time person, other than my status with HR on the paperwork.

At my second job, I am a true part-timer.  I teach only two classes (a full load would be five).  I don’t have an office on campus.  I don’t have office hour requirements (at my full-time job, I have to hold five office hours each week and I have a permanent office on campus).  I could request temporary office space, but I don’t feel like I need it and I know the space is tight so I would rather have other people have access to it.  I actually teach one of my two classes at a satellite campus, so I really don’t need office space on campus.

For those unfamiliar with higher education and academia, positions such as mine are controversial.  My jobs are already unionized, but here is a recent article about national efforts in that area.  In addition, the biggest negative with adjunct positions are typically the lack of benefits.  But, since my University job is a full-time, part-time position, I have full benefits through them.  Thankfully. The controversy is a tough call for me – the budgets, especially in California, are so tight and so volatile, that hiring long-term tenure track positions is dangerous.  And, the cost to students is already so high that forcing colleges to raise tuition to cover more tenure track positions seems to also be dangerous.  So, part time adjuncts are able to fill the bill.  I also think that there are more jobs coming available around here, so people are getting full-time, tenure track positions.  But, not everyone.  It is a tough call, to be sure.  And I’m not sure what the “right” thing to do is at this point.

Anyways, I’m glad to have the extra work (and especially the extra money) at this point.  I’m also glad to have a full time job with benefits that allows me to take this part-time gig without any discomfort in that area.  Now, if I can just get my budgeting and spending in control, we should be in good shape going into 2014.


Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #2 – Flats, Laundromats and Labor Day

Feet - Juniper LakeFeet are a wonderful thing.  They allow us to get around from place to place without the aid of technology.  They allow us to feel the wonders of a cool lake in the summer (picture above) or the cold ocean rolling in on waves after walking across the hot sand that slides easily between the toes and massages the pads of your feet as you traverse.  But, as a society we have deemed it necessary to cover them up in shoes on a daily basis.  I’m sure there are good reasons for it – hygiene, safety (there are a lot of sharp things out there just waiting to get at us), etc.  And I am okay wearing shoes.  I even like shoes to a certain extent.  But, this first week of  classes, I decided to once again wear heels to add to my “professionalism” for that first week.  And, boy do I regret it.  My feet were KILLING me after the day.  So, I have vowed to wear only flat shoes and to treat my feet well with comfortable shoes.  I am just on my feet too long the days I teach to wear uncomfortable shoes!  I don’t know how people wear those spiky heels day after day…have you seen this about what heels do to your feet?  Seems like a justification to wear only flats to me!  So, a big thumbs up for flat, comfortable shoes.

Our dryer went out a few weeks ago.  We’ve been doing a load here and there – drying them in the garage by hanging them up or laying them out or running to the laundromat to dry them.  But, yesterday we took the piles that were left and went to the laundromat to get it all washed and dried for once and all.  It feels good to have all my clothes clean (I have plenty of clothes that I could have worn even without doing laundry, but it still feels good to have every option open).  The amount of wash we had was a little crazy.  A lot of it was bedding and towels that I didn’t wash during the interim at all.  It would have taken forever to do those loads at home, but at the laundromat, with the big industrial washing machines and dryers, it took less than two hours to have everything washed, dried and folded.  We still have to put stuff away today, but thumbs up for the convenience of laundromats!

Lastly, this has been a really loooooong week for me.  I started a new teaching gig in addition to my old teaching gig (which is full time plus really) to help pay for our new (to us) car and catch up on bills and hopefully get ahead this year.  The week was made much longer by those two additional classes AND the fact that the first weeks of school are always an administrative nightmare for me because my full time job includes a lot of travel planning and paperwork at the beginning.  Thankfully, we have Monday off for Labor Day and I can get a little rest and a chance to catch up.  Monday is by far my longest day of the week, so it is the perfect day to have off and will make a huge difference in my life next week.  So, huge thumbs up for Labor Day this year…more than most years.

So, there it is – My Thumbs up Thursday for this week.  Hope you had a lot to give thumbs up too this week!