“Help Me, I’m Poor: A Professor’s Lament” by Steven Salvatores Shaw

Great. Here’s what I have to look forward to.


Over the last month, I’ve been experiencing what I’ve lovingly named “Career Strokes.” When I think about my job and the lack of security, benefits, and sufficient cash flow — not to mention the constant nagging fear that, at any given moment, any or all of the courses that I teach could be cancelled —  I experience wonderful bursts of anxiety attacks.

When I first realized that I wanted to teach writing at the college level, I told my undergraduate major advisor, and was met with a harsh semi-reality: Becoming a full-time college professor is not easy. I refer to this as a semi-reality because this is the exact thought that went through my mind: “It won’t be hard for me.” I thought this despite hearing my advisor’s story of how she was an adjunct professor who fought to patch-quilt a full-time schedule every year for 9 yearsbefore she…

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