A group for MLA members interested in exploring the full spectrum of Connected Academics careers. A space for discussion and debate.

Where We Work—And How We Got There

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    Rachel Neff
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    @rachel_neff

    I work as a copy editor in a communications office at a large, public university. At the time I was looking for work, I had decided to look for employment outside of the academy if I could not secure a tenure-track position.

    I spent a really long time looking for altac work (April 2013 – Oct. 2013) while simultaneously looking for tenure-track employment. I had zero tenure-track interviews and five nonacademic interviews.

    I accepted my current position because it had a salary and benefits. I started at $40,000/year and now make $41,000/year thanks to the cost-of-living increase that was approved by the state legislature. It’s lower than some tenure-track jobs, but not the lowest. I get benefits, which is important because I have an autoimmune disorder that periodically flairs up and can temporarily disable me. The autoimmune disorder also causes other health issues; my first year in my altac job, my insurance was billed more than $20,000 and I was billed for around $5,000.

    My altac job gives me the security and peace of mind that adjuncting never could/did. I’m covered by FMLA now. I’m covered by several state disability policies. I won’t lose my job if I get really sick again.

    I really miss teaching, but I don’t miss the precarity of adjuncting.

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