Wednesday, December 7, 2016


It's been almost 48 hours since the "not No" email and already the drama is in high gear. There's panic about when I can start the position. There's panic about how exactly I did the interview process (really?). But the final component is the one Grey and I have been most concerned about: salary.

One of the hardest realities of being an educator in higher education institutions is how poor the pay is. While tenured faculty can make a comfortable living, those in temporary, non-tenure positions usual make far less (below $50,000 per year is not uncommon). Add in no office space for office hours, lack of job security, uncertainty about benefits and zero voting rights, and you have a subclass of educators who make up the majority of instructors in post-secondary institutions all over this country. There have been efforts to resolve this (unionizing faculty across the country) that have been met with a ton of resistance. The culture is one where university education has become a business, focusing on new dorms, rec centers and wade pools instead of fair pay and support for those who are doing the teaching.

Today I had a meeting with the admin to talk about my offer for this position. After answering a few questions, she told me a number that immediately made my heart sink. Circling back, I began to state my case for how my years of instructional experience warranted that I be in a higher pay grade. Even then, given the argument that it's academia, the offer will be $5000 less than what we were hoping for.

So here I sit in a cafeteria, waiting for my next meeting, feeling frustrated. On the one hand, this opportunity could open doors. I'm also burning out on research, particularly as my bully is still persisting with her toxic campaign, making work a less-than-fun experience. The flip is, what if something better comes along if I just waited it out? The point of being a postdoc is to train and make these connections, something that would become limited again if I took this position due to obligations to the course.

I've been told that I may get a formal offer by Friday. The question is, is it worth it?


  1. You have a lot of thinking to do, and there's no clear cut decision because a good case can be made for staying with your postdoc and for transitioning to the other position. So hard.

    I'm here for you and I'm in your corner, no matter what you decide!

  2. That's so crummy Cristy! Fingers crossed you get what you were hoping for.

  3. Oh dear, what a quandary. Can't help, but hope the decision, whatever it is, is one you can happily live with.

  4. Oh, that sucks. I had no idea that nontenured academia was that poor-paying. I hope they up the offer. It's so hard to weigh an offer that sounds great and could open doors with the possibilities of having another offer come down the pike, someday and not regretting saying no to this one. Such a hard choice.

    To go down my own path, I would not be in the teaching position I have now (which is also not great pay but has great benefits now and in retirement) if I hadn't taken a weird, sort-of-teaching position for an hourly wage instead of accepting an interview for a tenure-track position in another district. I went with the possibilities offered by the position I knew I had, and while it took a couple years to get to a salary I was much more comfortable with, I wouldn't have my job now if it wasn't for sticking with the odd job I had versus the opportunity for a job I was presented with. So hard to weigh these things out without that crystal ball of the future.

    If that toxic person is getting worse though that weighs in, I would imagine. I make a LOT of T-Charts -- positives and negatives, fears and realities, short term and long term. Maybe that might help (unless you've already been charting your way through this... :) ) Much love to you as you sort all the options out!

  5. It's so tough to make the decision when the disparate factors are very different but even each other out on either side of the decision.

    I hope a path becomes clear to you, and that it's a good one.

  6. Under pay is terrible right now in my field as well being part of such a large pool of takers desperate, maybe look at it as paying yourself and family 13.69 a day to remove the toxic trash from your current situation and then pay yourself 14 mins a day to network tweek add an achievement etc towards a future goal ....either way its diet oreos just not as satisfying as saying me = value good luck best wishes

  7. I have been in your shoes. Looking at numbers and running it all through your head is dizzying. Just know you have to make the right decision for you. It's not an easy one by any means. I know when faced with this decision, I chose poorly in the beginning, but ended up right where I needed to be. You are pretty amazing and you have a super fantastic partner. I believe you will choose the best for you and your family. Hugs! I know this is the tough part.

  8. Feeling for you, dear Cristy. Hoping there's a good outcome here...xo


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