As many of you know, I was "laid off" from Simpson College Tuesday afternoon as part of a major cost-cutting initiative. Enrollments here are at an all-time low, and the college is hemorrhaging money, and letting faculty go is now part of the way to get students to come back. Yeah. It makes no sense to me, either, but it is what it is.
As I begin the job hunt again -- something I honestly wasn't ever hoping to do again, because I liked it here at Simpson -- I find myself wondering two things: (1) Do I want to stay in higher education, given the climate nationally, and (2) is there anything out that there that is stable at all? I love teaching, and I'm rarely happier than when I watch that proverbial light bulb go off over a student's head during that moment when he or she "gets it." I have also started a small side hobby, a Twitter feed called @comminternships, dedicated to helping college students land that first job during and after college. It has also expanded to a regular blog post at College Media Matters. I will endeavor to continue that regardless. In fact, I am already considering ways in which I might be able to monetize that in the future. Let's just say it may be time for me to practice what I preach in the classroom regarding entrepreneurial journalism.
The nice thing has been the parade of students and faculty stopping by to tell me they can't believe I, of anyone, was let go. The fact of the matter is that wear a lot of hats here -- I teach three classes a semester minimum (I usually teach an overload or two in our night program as well); I advise the newspaper, magazine and the radio station; and I serve as the internship coordinator for communication and media studies. Now, all of those duties are going to be distributed among the three remaining journalism faculty members -- each of whom is already stretched to the limit. I feel sorry for them, because my departure hurts them almost as much as it hurts me.
I am hopeful this job search is as fruitful as my last. When I chose Simpson, I had four other job offers on the table at the time. This seemed, at the time, to be the most stable option. One lesson learned: I'm clearly not a good judge of stability.
If you have any knowledge of job options, please let me know.