Confessions of a (Somewhat) Reluctant Consultant: Or, What Happens When Academic Dreams Go "Poof"

By Hammar, Lawrence | The Qualitative Report, July 2003 | Go to article overview

Confessions of a (Somewhat) Reluctant Consultant: Or, What Happens When Academic Dreams Go "Poof"


Hammar, Lawrence, The Qualitative Report


This essay really is about a protracted and painful transition from academic and teacher to consultant and researcher, but first, I want to get a few things off my chest. If you can stand some wholly relevant whine at the outset, stay with me, but if not, just skip to the third section. Key Words: Anthropology, Consulting, Academia, and Qualitative Research

Sour Grapes?--I've made wine, baby ...

As I begin this essay I'm sitting at a "desk" in the Faculty Lounge, working on one of the two computers to which adjunct instructors theoretically have access. I share this "office" with who knows how many other adjuncts, some almost half my age and others almost half again my age. I was told earlier in the summer that "no one ever works in there-you'll find it a productive little office!" Well, yeah, there are staples, pencils, and scratch paper, but there aren't any pens, notepads or usable reference books. There is no lock on the door, lockers aren't available, and my request to allow me to use a bicycle lock on the cabinets was ignored, so I use my laptop computer here at my own peril. The monitor of one of the two computers is unreadable (1). The wall clock alternates between being 20 minutes off (potentially dangerous) and 18 hours off (just annoying), but is too high on the wall to be able to take down easily and fix, which I would, but I'd be yelled at if I got caught and probably told to fill out a work order, wasting time, resources, and labor in the process. The photocopy machine doesn't work at all, and another single-pager does so but just barely, and wasn't designed for books and journals. It has no automatic feeder, doesn't collate, and the edges of the plate catch the corners of books and journals as the plate slides back and forth, the more so the more heavily one must press the lid to the plate to keep the books and journals aligned. The Epson Behemoth 767 scanner hasn't worked in this millennium.

The computer I'm working on is an, ahem, somewhat older version (a Pentium-I running at 75 megahertz--woo-hoo!) of those computers that grace the real desktops of the real professors who have real appointments. There isn't a tenure-stream here where I'm teaching for one term, but rather, a teaching faculty body that consists of adjuncts, on the one hand, and three-quarter and full-time professors, on the other. "My" computer takes several minutes to boot up at all and often 15 to 20 minutes to get to an e-mail portal--when it doesn't freeze up altogether. Typically, I set it to task and return in awhile. Because it doesn't belong to any one "real" professor, the hard drive is formatted to erase automatically at the end of the day any text written upon it, thus requiring one frequently to save to an even slower, less roomy, and less dependable floppy drive (and not to forget to overwrite the correct version of the document when one gets home).

The "desk" on which I write really isn't, being neither deep enough to handle a monitor, a keyboard, and two wrists, nor wide enough to accommodate the articles and books I need with which to write. My wrists hurt every time I use it, one being completely suspended off the edge of the desk, and the other being creased badly for lack of room for a wrist-pad. You tell me if there's irony here: my wrists hurt because I've been writing lengthy e-mail messages to my students in a medical anthropology course on, among other things, repetitive movement stress syndromes. It occurs to me that the mental states of overworked, underpaid adjuncts are understudied phenomena.

One little insult seems inevitably to lead to another. In the "New Faculty" section of my campus's monthly newsletter, you will not find my name. The article was penned by one of the people on the search committee who, collectively, thought that my overall qualities were rather more than required for the permanent, three-quarter-time position for which I had applied in July. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Confessions of a (Somewhat) Reluctant Consultant: Or, What Happens When Academic Dreams Go "Poof"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.