What It's Like to Be an Adjunct Prof With a Grocery Job

Matt Debenham spends his mornings at the store before heading to campuses
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2015 12:22 PM CDT
What It's Like to Be an Adjunct Prof With a Grocery Job
Matt Debenham is both an adjunct professor and a grocery shop worker.   (Paolo Bona / Shutterstock.com )

Being an adjunct professor isn't an easy job, nor is it a steady one—and it's certainly not lucrative. "Sometimes I think I did everything wrong" in leaving work in PR to focus on teaching, writes Matt Debenham at Buzzfeed. But while "there are a lot of should-haves, at some point … there come the what-are-you-going-to-do-about-its." For him, that meant taking a job at a local grocery store to help make ends meet. His routine now involves working in the morning—sometimes starting at 4:30am—then picking up his kids, napping, and teaching. He loves both jobs, but they show how the country has changed.

"While all the adjuncts I know are juggling multiple campuses, most of my fellow grocery employees—non-management level—have second jobs as well," he writes. "When I was growing up, 'retail employee' and 'college teacher' were both career options. Now they might still be, but only if you combine them." And while he's used to the busy routine, it raises troubling questions about American education when Debenham's customers' kids are paying $60,000 a year to learn from people experiencing similar career trajectories to his own. "If people with a good amount of higher education themselves are having to work additional jobs or go on welfare just to afford to teach the next generation, what is the message?" Click for his full piece. (More adjunct professors stories.)

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