Adjunct Horror Stories: True Tales of Obtuse Administrators and Adjunct Abuse

by GH

For your weekend reading pleasure (or schadenfreude inducement if you’re one of the admins whom I suspect reads my blog), I bring you the first installment of Adjunct Horror Stories!

The Seeds of Friendship and Hatred

When I first started adjuncting in the early 1990s, I worked at a suburban community college. Typically, I had no office, and there was no office support, but the real killer is that there was no system for contacting adjuncts in case classes were cancelled. Like many New Yorkers, I don’t have a car and don’t drive, and I relied on buses to get me to school. Or at least to the gates of school, which was about a mile from the road. That year was a real bastard of a winter: cold, snow, ice storms. After one particular ice storm, I listened to the radio in vain for information about my school closing. Dutifully, swearing all the way, I make the trip, only to arrive, three hours later, at a thoroughly closed school. Turns out all the full-time faculty had been contacted, but none of the adjuncts. Two more unlucky adjuncts and I huddled at the bus stop for more than an hour in freezing temperatures for the NY bound bus that day. I got a good friendship out of it, but I think that was the beginning of my hatred of badmin.

Critical Thinking Exercise

What can we infer about the personality of the administrator who fires people with terse emails informing adjuncts that they “are no longer on the list of approved adjunct faculty” and yet earns $90,000 per year and drives one of these:


(a) The administrator is a deeply sensitive individual with good taste and sincere concern for contingent workers
(b) The administrator is likely a straight male whose ethical system might be summarized as “bros before hoes [sic]”
(c) The administrator has secret longings, inchoate yet profound needs, and deep within the persistent feeling that there must be more to this life, to the daily grind; that there must be some way to live out his days off-roading while listening to Nickelback and banging hot chicks; and that no one can ever know that he often wonders if he just doesn’t quite measure up and fears that someone will expose him for the imposter that he is
(d) Both (b) and (c)

Send your adjunct horror stories to gordonhaber at gmail! Anonymity guaranteed!