14 July 2009

Insert Suitable Disaster Cliché

Well, I was having a pretty decent birthday yesterday. Then my mom found a little notice in my mailbox that I had some certified mail waiting for me at the post office. Foolishly, I went to pick it up. It was from ISU. My 2009-2010 contract will be terminal, meaning that, "barring a change in administration"*, I do not have a job after spring semester 2010 ends.

So... now I have to find something else that will keep the bills paid. I was freaking out yesterday until it occurred to me that there was an interestingly ironic option available: apply for a D.A. fellowship and actually get my doctorate. I'm still not entirely sure I want it, but it's a fallback plan if nothing else materializes. Another fallback plan would be to get certified to teach high school, but for that I need to talk to a guy in the department who knew exactly which classes someone with an extant master's degree needed for that.

My reactions have varied from disgust to terror to anger to, oddly, relief. The fact is that I'm a bit sick of what I've been doing. A break, even a forced break, might be a good thing. So long as I'm still able to keep the bills paid, anyway. Looking at the D.A. requirements, it will take at least 2 years, if I max out to 12 credits each semester, 3 years if I stick with the saner 9 credits. I won't be making as much, but I survived on the master's level stipend for several years, so I should be able to manage.

I'm still going to be checking job sites and such, and if I can grab something with full benefits that pays at least what I'm making now, I'll probably take it. INL is one potential option, and they are currently hiring people, but at this moment none of the positions are ones I can take. Unless someone wants to teach me to weld, stat. At this point, if something comes along that pays well and starts before my ISU contract expires, I might just be tempted to get out of the damn contract.

*I went to ask someone exactly what "terminal" meant, and he kept using the phrase "barring a change in administration." I sort of want to think this means that a change is likely, and if the rest of what I was told is accurate, there may be a mass riot soon. Apparently every contract lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences got one of two letters: terminal or temporary. Terminal means your contract will not be renewed, period. Temporary means it might be renewed, if they feel like it. Now, at least half of the lower level classes at ISU are taught by contract lecturers, more than half in the math department. They're essentially saying that they don't give a damn if we come back or not. I realize that they're trying to get out of paying benefits, but I guarantee you that if they don't change their tune soon, they won't have any contract-lecturers left. They're probably hoping that some of us "terminals" will accept a part-time job, with no benefits. I'd like the chance to tell them exactly what they can do with their part-time jobs...

As for me, I'm sort of crossing my fingers that it's all a bad dream (and I suddenly have a rather literal appreciation for that phrase), but I'm feeling better now that I do have a fallback plan. I would be surprised if I did not get accepted into the D.A. program if I applied, and that would give me a few years breathing room. I'm not ready to leave Pocatello just yet. The other fallback plan is to try again to publish a book... thing is that most authors don't actually make enough to live on from their books. There are the top-tenners, and then there's everyone else. *shrugs*


John said...

"INL is one potential option, and they are currently hiring people, but at this moment none of the positions are ones I can take. Unless someone wants to teach me to weld, stat."

INL needs welders? I need to get in on that! I'm about ready for a change, too.

John said...

Sweet. I'm totally applying for that.

Qalmlea said...

^/^ Glad my semi-throwaway comment was useful to someone. It looks like they're adding listings fairly frequently, though, so I'll probably be checking back with them fairly often.