Thursday, August 25, 2005

Adjunct, Smadjunct! You all look the same with my boot up your ass!

Before I begin my story I have to define a term that may not be well known outside of academia, so here goes…

An Adjunct (or Adjunct Faculty Member if you want to get all technical) is a part-time teacher employed by the college on an as-needed basis. Some people manage to make a living by adjuncting (and yes, it can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, or whatever strikes your fancy – both the word and the person are passed around like $20 whores at a frat party by academic institutions world-wide) for several different colleges, but most are professionals who teach part-time at night to earn some extra money. It’s a good part-time gig, but in the academic hierarchy Adjuncts rate just above the cockroaches that infest the walls and just below the feral cats that keep the cockroach population in check.

Now on with the story…

As some of you know I work at a community college where I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) and I run our department’s computer lab. Usually, I’m pretty tolerant of non-ESL students using our lab as long as they follow the rules: turn your cell phone off, don’t bring food into the lab, and most of all don’t print more than 10 pages. Pretty reasonable stuff – at least that’s what I thought until about 2 weeks ago.

At 4:15 pm --exactly 15 minutes before I was to start my vacation -- I noticed that the lab printer kept printing, and printing, and printing. So I went to the printer and saw that someone was attempting to print 30 copies of their resume. Now this is a definite no-no. I canceled the print job, and, since there was only one person in the lab at that time, took the stack of resumes over to her and embarked on the following conversation with her:

ME: Are these yours? Because you know there’s a 10 page limit on printing.

Crazy Woman {hereafter referred to as CW}: Well, I didn’t know that. How should I know that?

ME: Well ma’am, there is that sign over the printer, and those 4 signs on the walls, and – oh yes – the window that pops up on your computer monitor as soon as you log in that all say to limit your printing to 10 pages. So, no more copies, ok?

CW: But I’M an ADJUNCT! {said in the thundering tones of a self-righteousness crack-pot}

ME: {trying REALLY hard not to sigh} Well, that’s good, but there’s still a limit of 10 pages.

CW: Well, my department TOLD me I could print here! They told me!

ME: Really, what department are you with? I’d like to talk with them so they’re clear about our printing policies as well.

CW: But I’M AN ADJUNCT! I teach here! My department sent me to this lab!

ME: {again resisting the urge to sigh – working on keeping murderous rage in check as well} Well, no other department has contacted me about using this lab. Which department did you say you were with again?

CW: You know I teach here – I have a degree in English AND a degree in Business! Dr. SO-and-SO told me to use this lab!

ME: Oh, Dr. SO-and-SO, you mean Harry? I’ll have to drop him a line to let him know about our policies. I’m surprised he didn’t tell you about the Adjunct Computer Lab in the next building. I’m sure he’d be happy to show it to you – seeing as how my lab is really only supposed to be for students.

CW: What is your name? I’m going to complain to your boss! I AM AN ADJUNCT! I can’t believe the way you’re treating me!

ME: {murderous rage supplanted by almost uncontrollable urge to laugh out loud – really, stop with the “I’m an Adjunct” crap! That carries about as much weight as saying “I’m the Assistant to the Second-String Crack Whore!”} That is your prerogative, ma'am. Let me give you my business card. Now my boss’ name is XXXX, and his supervisor’s name is XXXX. They both office in the next building – here, let me write down their office numbers for you. Would you like me to give you directions to their offices? I’m sure they’d love to hear from you!

CW: I will talk with them. I’ve been watching you, you know. I see that you do nothing all day. Students are always in here talking in Spanish! You’re always in your office! It must be nice to have a job where you do nothing all day! I’m going to talk to your supervisor!

ME: Yes ma’am. Again, his name is XXXX and his office number is ###. He might still be here so if you hurry you might be able to catch him. And yes, it is refreshing to have a job where I do nothing all day – it’s so kind of you to notice! Thanks for stopping by!

At this point she stomped off down the hall. I had high hopes that she might actually talk to my boss because he has even less tolerance for crazy people than I do. Alas, it was not to be because I never saw her again. I guess having a degree in English AND in Business-- and standing in line at the unemployment office -- means she's just too busy to complain about me. Oh well.


Blogger The Cybrarian said...

That'shilarious I was an adjunct, that's like, the lowest of the low in college-land, one step above a bookstore employee.

2:50 PM  

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