At one point during my year spent adjuncting, a former graduate school classmate who was now a tenured professor told me that I was lucky. I didn’t, he helpfully explained, have to attend department meetings, and I was only teaching one course.
Anyone familiar with adjunct life -- the anxiety about money, the constant search for the next job, the terrible work conditions -- knows that this classmate-turned-professor’s comment was ignorant at best. Now, having finally landed a tenure-track professorship, I understand better the extent of his ignorance. It went beyond his obliviousness to what a $3,000-a-semester job