What Is It Like To Be An Adjunct Scholar?

What does it take to be an adjunct scholar and stay afloat in academe, a program that has become a source of economic stability and is increasingly viewed as the answer to social problems? Find out in this article.

We know that academics are more and more of a job, but we’re often confused about the nature of that job. Does it really matter what job we have? If you’re not even sure, what is it that you’re doing? What is the nature of your job, the work you do…

It’s common to say that some of the greatest minds in history have been those who were unemployed or underemployed and yet managed to turn their talents into extraordinary accomplishments.

The list is long and diverse: Galileo, Michelangelo, Newton, Darwin, Sargent, Edison, Euler, Einstein; Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Cervantes, Dante, Plato, Goethe, Kafka, Shakespeare, Kant, Hegel, Kafka… to name but a few.

But in this article we’re not going to look at any of the greats who didn’t have a job to support themselves, so they were able – from their own resources – to produce their brilliant brilliance. We’re going to look at the other side of the coin . . .

How can you become an economic vagabond? What can an underemployed academic do, besides study, that’ll make a living? Here are a couple of things…

#1. Invest in yourself.

In his essay, “The New Paradigm,” Paul Graham argues that the way to create sustainable careers in any field, including academia, is to invest in yourself. Here are some strategies to invest in your own development:

* Start a blog

* Develop an online presence

* Create a LinkedIn profile, or at least an email one

* Work on your personal portfolio (think of it as your resume, you’re just working on it on a larger scale)

* Start a business

* Find a niche that you can excel at in, but don’t have a large enough budget to fund, and start there. You have time, you have resources, you’re an expert – this doesn’t have to mean anything.

#2. Find an Academic Job . . .

You may have noticed a few months ago that there are a number of positions on a number of different hiring sites.

There are academic positions, as well as adjunct jobs. In the past few years there has been an explosion in academic job postings.

Here’s an idea: Why not start your own job site, right here, for academics? I realize this idea seems crazy to the general public, but think back to the days of high tech. People would take time to find the best, cheap office space available. They’d make deals with local landlords/property owners, arrange all the renovations and decorating needs for their ideal workspace. They’d have their office at the perfect location, close to amenities, and have a staff of people working for them. They’d call around to find the best prices, the best amenities, the best office space available, as well as a few other necessities.

This is the time that academia needs to be like that. Not only do academics need to find their own jobs, they need to find the best jobs.

There’s a lot of money and prestige to be made in the non-academic world, and if you can find a professor who doesn’t only teach the class you’re applying to, but is your employer, you can have a job for life.

The only things that will stop us from doing this are government regulations.