I’ve had a pretty hard two days. I got a bill from a missed appointment that is grossly overcharged. I am having trouble going on temporary disability (more later). I have car on the street which I’m getting tickets for because it won’t move. I got rejected from 3 adjunct jobs. I also have a friend who was turned down for a more permanent just at her school – her peers rejected her work. Meanwhile, another friend told me something I didn’t know gallery dealers only show twenty-somethings.
Needless to say, I’m cranky.
I love New York so passionately. But, sometimes I wonder if this passion is misplaced. New York City sometimes rears it’s ugly head, and even people who aren’t in the loop feel the pressure.
Adjunct jobs in New York pay (typically) $3600 a class for semester. There is no job security. There are no medical benefits. I haven’t done it yet, but I imagine (depending on the school) you have 20 students. This is English comp and many of the students have just come out of the wacky NYC public school system (code: they don’t know how to write or behave). One friend called “babysitting.” Another friend said it’s basically the same work load as high school. So, if it’s such a crap job why are they so hard to come by & why on earth would someone want one?
My father was a professor at the University of New Mexico for 20 years. He was the youngest chair (I think he was 40) and he stayed chair for five years. I asked him what it took for him to hire an English comp teacher – he said “a pulse.” You may read this (particularly from NY) as well of course, what kind of school is UNM? Actually, if you’re a photographer or print maker – you know it’s one of the top schools for these things. If you’re a poet, John Nichols, Joy Harjo, and Bob Creeley have all taught in that English Department.
Which leads me back to New York’s particular horribleness. I think in New York you have to constantly prove you are “someone.” There are so many people competing that what is “the best” becomes obscured. I think the quickness of New York has created an environment where people are much more aware of surface qualities. i.ehe. are you 1. young 2. good looking 3. a Harvard/NYU graduate? I saw it when I was first a teaching fellow. I went to a job fair and all the kids who looked like the just stepped out of a Gap ad immediately had jobs – never mind the fact that I had more education and life experience. This better than tho attitude even makes us turn on each other. Strangely, I see it at my pre-k son’s school. For example, there is a woman who is very beautiful, tall, and some form of European. Not only will she not talk to most the parents, she won’t even look at them! OR they’re’s the snot students in the snot bullshit art review who give my friend harsh criticism. OR The public school in the Bronx that had students interview me and tell me I wasn’t good enough for the job. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? Do they have it in Iowa?
I would love some comments on your take.