Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Job, and Funding Complications

My advisor has a knack for turning a small triumph into a small headache. It is no doubt a knack shared by advisors everywhere, resulting from the different interests of grad students and faculty.

The triumph: I was offered the adjunct professor position at a nearby university, teaching an introductory graduate seminar. It's my first real job, outside of grad school, and I will be a "professor", for two months at least. Receiving the news was a much-needed motivational boost for my upcoming job search.

The headache: My advisor's reaction was, first "hooray!" (the text of her email responding to the news) and then, within hours, "so, how much do I have to pay you next semester?". It's hard not to interpret this as "how little can I get away with paying you next semester", and that the small salary that comes with the position is to make life easier for her grant, not for me. Unfortunately, I'm having a little trouble convincing her that my tuition waiver is linked to my employment here, not at a university in another city, and the potential loss of the tuition waive to "equalize" my pay with other grad students is setting off a mild panic.

I would like enjoy the thrill and challenge of designing my first real course, and anticipating going to a nearby university and teaching a new group of students. For now, though, thinking about the course is tinged with worry about administrative headaches that should never have existed. Just another reason to be taking off on a week-long vacation to visit family next week.

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