Upon finishing a PhD I immediately moved into casual teaching where I teach three subjects at a small university. I was initially offered my first teaching job only three weeks before the start of semester and had to prepare an entire course from scratch without being properly compensated for preparation work. I learnt that I basically lost money when teaching a subject for the first time – the number of hours that go into properly preparing a course are far beyond what I would ever get paid for. Re-running the course in the second year gets a bit easier. But after two years of doing this my research slowly slipped away. I never got around to publishing articles from my PhD as I simply did not have the time or energy to dedicate toward this. In order to pay the rent I also do tutoring, extra marking and thesis editing. Conferences are simply out of the question as there is no way I can afford the fees and associated travel costs (sometimes I volunteer at conferences and the conference fee is waived but this is only useful for conferences in Sydney). It is anyway hard to commit to a conference because I have no idea of where I will be working. What this means is that postdocs and ongoing positions become increasingly out of reach as time goes by. As my university is a predominantly teaching orientated university, I have little opportunity to engage with researchers in my field. At the end of every semester, I walk into my bosses’ office and ask about what is available for the next semester. In one of these awkward conversations I once caught a glimpse of a list of subjects (including the ones I teach) with potential lecturers next to them. I always hoped that maybe the university would offer me something more stable but it has now been made pretty clear that there are plenty of other casuals willing to do the work. They never even showed me the staffroom let alone a workspace so I don’t know why I expected so much. To be honest it is just depressing. I can barely pay my rent.
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