Life as an adjunct
This was buried in the comments section of this post. As the new year starts, where do you stand?
There's one segment of the adjunct population not mentioned in any great detail in this discussion; namely, those for whom adjunct work is the only option. For myself and many of my friends, the idea that there are a bounty of well-paid non-academic jobs out there is a canard.
BOA, you pointed out somewhere that you are self-taught in your IT job. That's impressive. You also pointed out something I have had a hard time explainign to my non-academic friends: my Ph.D. is not worth the paper it's printed on. You did this more gently, though, when you noted that your graduate work was not germane to your present IT job. I'll take a further step: when I have applied for non-academic work, I leave my Ph.D. off of my resume. Unfortunately, it doesn't help. There's the small matter of all those years working as a "teacher" at however many colleges and universities. And that's a hard one to explain.
I and my cohort are in an odd position. Most of us would hate to see the end of adjunct and casual positions in academe. Why? Becasue we would be out of work. Sadly, adjunct work is the only work we can get.
After a certain age, 30? 35? 40? Starbucks just is not a viable option.
I've come full circle. I used to be striving for a full-time position. I wrote, published, went to conferences, the whole deal. But ... nothing. I got interviews, but never got the job -- the list of stated reasons is baffling. And then, finally, I just gave up trying. But I kept teaching, albeit as an adjunct. Why? Because I had (and have) no choice. Now, when I learn that someone is retiring, I hope they don't re-fill that position because that means there may be more work for me.
It's a living. Granted, it's a high-brow version of a McJob. But it does pay the bills.