20 votes

The Revenge of the Poverty-Stricken College Professors Is Underway in Florida. And It's Big.

7 comments

  1. patience_limited
    Link
    Delighted to hear that SEIU is making headway in one of the most difficult U.S. states for unionization drives. The situation for adjunct professors is appalling - they've spent their entire lives...

    Delighted to hear that SEIU is making headway in one of the most difficult U.S. states for unionization drives. The situation for adjunct professors is appalling - they've spent their entire lives dedicated to teaching, and received pittances in return. Having attended classes at Broward College, I can say I received far better instruction from adjuncts there, than from professors at one of the better universities.

    9 votes
  2. [6]
    Ephemere
    Link
    That was a very interesting read. It's quite tragic that the adjuncts in question clearly devoted so much of their lives towards gaining credentials which seem to have little market power. I...

    That was a very interesting read. It's quite tragic that the adjuncts in question clearly devoted so much of their lives towards gaining credentials which seem to have little market power.

    I suppose I was more curious as to why they didn't find alternate employment. I'm sure the reasons are as varied as the people, but do they really not have better options? Or do they feel like working at a grocery store would be a waste after earning a docterate? I suppose that would literally be true, but if the doctorate only buys you a crushing adjunt-ship, perhaps it is indeed a sunk cost to be disregarded.

    I don't want any of that to suggest that I don't completely support these people's drive to collectively obtain better compensation for their labor, I absolutely do. I'm just curious as to how they came to be in that situation to begin with.

    I suppose as a slight irony, if there is an oversupply it appears even the highly educated can be treated as 'unskilled' work, if there is a fungible and large pool of them.

    2 votes
    1. [4]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I've spoken with friends and acquaintances in this situation, and one of the most reported issues is that you cannot get hired for general services jobs if you have a Ph.D. As far as HR hiring...

      I've spoken with friends and acquaintances in this situation, and one of the most reported issues is that you cannot get hired for general services jobs if you have a Ph.D. As far as HR hiring rubrics are concerned, PhDs are overqualified by default for "grocery clerk" roles, yet many are under-skilled for other specialist professions because they dedicated so many years to academic pursuit of the doctorate.

      Though math, health, and science PhD's can respecialize for well-compensated finance, technical or science-adjacent jobs, there's not much humanities doctorates can get, outside of low-paying education careers.

      3 votes
      1. Ephemere
        Link Parent
        Yeah, that does sound truly unfortunate. I suppose I personally think in that situation it's entirely moral to omit your higher qualifications, but that might not be enough in the era of facebook...

        Yeah, that does sound truly unfortunate. I suppose I personally think in that situation it's entirely moral to omit your higher qualifications, but that might not be enough in the era of facebook and linked-in.

        2 votes
      2. [2]
        j3n
        Link Parent
        Maybe you learn that the hard way at first, but surely at some point you just stop mentioning that you have a PhD?

        Maybe you learn that the hard way at first, but surely at some point you just stop mentioning that you have a PhD?

        2 votes
        1. patience_limited
          Link Parent
          Then, at age 25 - 30, you have to explain why you haven't had a full time non-teaching job since you graduated from high school. It's a grotesque Catch-22.

          Then, at age 25 - 30, you have to explain why you haven't had a full time non-teaching job since you graduated from high school. It's a grotesque Catch-22.

          1 vote
    2. bbvnvlt
      Link Parent
      Is that such a mystery? In my experience, teaching and other academic work are not jobs many people do in the same way as working at a grocery store, i.e. as primarily a means to pay the bills....

      I suppose I was more curious as to why they didn't find alternate employment.

      Is that such a mystery?

      In my experience, teaching and other academic work are not jobs many people do in the same way as working at a grocery store, i.e. as primarily a means to pay the bills. It's a calling. You want to do it because it is an important, valuable and (therefore) fulfilling contribution to society.

      I have also accepted silly freelance rates to teach. I have a better contract now, but I could still make more by doing less elsewhere, with better job security. I too am working on a PhD, partly in my free time because not having one would limit my future career options (sadly increasingly normal in Europe as well).

      For me, not much can compete with getting to work with students on their projects, engaging bright young people in discussion, and seeing them learn things and knowing you helped them progress in skill and as people.

      2 votes