I received my w-2 this past week and under earnings is read 15800$. It was depressing to look at but also showcased the reality of my life which is that my earnings from teaching are at poverty levels low the federal government would argue I earned 4000$ more above such demarcation. Nonetheless, it is my poverty level and that’s all that really matters.
I interpret my w-2 to mean that my graduate school degrees from UCLA are equal to such earnings which does not mean much. And even though UCLA might argue college graduates earn more than high school and high schools argue that their graduates earn more than drop outs, I would tell them that my UCLA degrees do not really mean more than being a high school dropout because at least the drop out has the sympathy of school districts for those coveted janitorial positions that pay more than what I earned as an adjunct instructor. Add health benefits and retirement and I look at those Black or Salvadorian immigrants with envy. The economy is about individuals as my w-2 indicates.
A doctoral dissertation could be done on the meaning of the w-2 but in simple terms it means that my so called career of twenty years is void and obsolete because unemployment earns more than my having to work. I would tell my graduate program that your degrees did not help even if they spew the endless virtues of a college degree. Even back then I wondered why the professors with so called knowledge would settle for the limits of a college job but now I know why, they did not want to endure the wrath of the real economy that lays off people with no safety net because unemployment $1800 is not really salvation. It’s more a gauze on a wound but the blood is still springing forth pushing its way out.
And the reality is even with a so called balance budget from the governor’s office deficits still exist so returning to that three year contract I earned at Cal State Long Beach is null and void because full timers are protected more. I don’t view college teaching as a career anymore but just a place to hang on to until I’m told we have budget issues for afterall I am only a temporary worker, at will much like a prostitute who gets hired for a one time business exchange but at least the street worker can charge what they feel they are worth while I’m told this is what you get paid take it or leave it. I do not know what 2013 has for me in terms of employment because who knows the future and that is what the future holds in this land of great opportunity the unknown and with out doubts lower wages and it could get worse because I might not even get my one class I normally teach. Such is life today, hopefully I can get on unemployment.