The State of New Jersey cut the funding of all the public colleges and universities—my primary employers: an adjunct writing professor.
I generally worked for at least two different schools per semester, accepting as many course offerings as I could juggle. There were always slots to fill, I’d developed good professional relationships, and the students generally liked me. I filled the classes with tuition dollars.
My highest achievement was signing contracts to teach four courses and two workshops, employed by three different schools, and tutoring at one of their college writing centers, part-time. I did this for a Fall and a Spring semester.
Then I taught two summer courses, and tutored for Huntington Learning Center at night: SAT prep and essay writing.
That was the year I grossed almost $45,000 (with no health insurance) but the IRS severely taxed me for “having too many jobs in one year”—the immortal words of H&R Block, not mine.
Then, the cuts.
Whereas before I was turning down work—it’s physically impossible to teach more than four college writing courses in one semester—now I was begging for courses, pleading with department heads and administrators: my friends and my colleagues.
I called in a lot of favors to stay afloat, but eventually the emails, the phone calls, the job offers from this or that college stopped coming. And eventually many, most of my connections—administration and staff—my colleagues, my friends, were laid off.
My ten year house of cards—Professor Charles Bivona—just crumbled to nothing. And I wasn’t eligible for unemployment.
» Browse for More «