A Response to David Rubinstein

Dear Professor Emeritus David Rubinstein,

Earlier today I had the dubious pleasure of reading your post on NPR entitled “Kickin’ Back with Tax Payer Money.” Congratulations, sir, for making a mockery of my profession and yours.  I am so happy for you that you get paid more now in retirement than you did while you were….what, exactly, were you doing, since your grad students were doing your grading, and by your own admission, you certainly weren’t updating your teaching materials? Reading, I suppose? Funny, I can read too. AND grade everything, and respond to students, and update and improve what I teach.

Me, I’m an adjunct. Just got a 10% raise. That means I now make just barely over $2000 a class.  Which means that this coming fall, with my 3 classes, I’ll make $6000. Of course, that money has to last for 6 months, but that’s a small matter, right? Because somewhere down the road, if I’m really, really lucky, I’ll land myself one of those ever-diminishing tenure track jobs, and then I can stop caring if students like me, if the material I’m teaching is actually factual, current, or even relevant to my students’ lives, and I can start not bothering with actually being present, either physically or mentally. Once I jump through that flaming hoop known as actually getting tenure, that is. But that’s easy, right? Just cook up something with ‘Marx’ in the title, and I’m golden. Of course, it’ll help if I actually am a Marxist, disdaining the rich while all the time rubbing my hands with glee at how well I’m fleecing the administration, and, if I’m at a state school, the taxpayers.  When students complain that I’m boring and go off on tangents, that I’m disorganized and unhelpful (all of which was said about you on ratemyprofessor), I can just say ‘tenure!’.  When I don’t actually produce anything after a sabbatical, I’ll just crow ‘tenure’ and go look at my stock portfolio.  Oh yes. I’ll buy a big house, one I can fill with the latest books in my field, none of which I’ll actually read. I’ll get myself a luxury sedan, and put a vanity plate on it…BSTPROF.  Oh yes.

But wait. I’m an adjunct. My classes can go away at any time. I have no health insurance, 2 month spaces between pay periods sometimes, and I qualify for food stamps. The state just cut our budget by nearly 90%, so hiring…well, let’s just say that getting hired at this point is a pipe dream.  A long shot. I’m thinking of applying at Wal Mart.

So here’s my request: since you’re making so much money, more than you need, how about you send me some? We’ll call it a gift. You can help me come up with the three grand I need (if my petition for part time study goes through, mind you) to file my dissertation. it would be greatly appreciated, and I’ll even mention you in my acknowledgements. You’ll be a hero to those of us who have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being where you are, and the handful of people who will ever read my dissertation will know your name. How much more could you ask for?

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm  Comments (5)  

seeing one’s self in photos

A friend of mine took some pictures of me the other day, and I really had a moment. It wasn’t that they’re bad photos…they’re great. But in them, I see wrinkles I didn’t have, freckles that are turning into age spots, and hair that may (and only may) be turning gray.

Looking at the photos, the person there is much more settled, much more calm and self-assured, than I ever feel on a day to day basis. And a hell of a lot older.

Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment