I know people think that tenured regular faculty like Historiann were somehow born in tenured faculty positions or leaped immediately into our jobs upon receiving our Ph.D.s, but believe me–most of us have done our time as adjuncts or non-tenure track lecturers. Even in the relatively good years of the history job market in the later 1990s and very early 2000s, most of us did our time in these positions before winning a tenure track appointment somewhere.
That said, I think adjuncting has become a way of life in ways that it just wasn’t fifteen or even ten years ago. For example: I applied as an A.B.D. to a number of jobs in the fall of 1994, and didn’t get anything but one interview at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting. My graduate funding was ending the following spring even though I wasn’t probably going to be done with my dissertation. Fratguy and I were in Boston for his residency, so if worse came to worst, we could live on the $27,000 he was making if I found some kind of part-time job. So, that year was kind of a see-what-happens attempt at the job market. When I came up blank for academic jobs, I got a part-time job in a local frame shop running the dry-mount machine, and put out some applications for adjunct lecturing while also writing my dissertation. Continue Reading »