Last night the e-mail I've been anticipating came. My immediate supervisor at the university wrote to ask if I'd be interested in teaching 2 courses in the fall. Tom and I talked about it a lot (months ago) and came to the conclusion that I would indeed not be interested. The adjunct gig just isn't worth it anymore. The gas alone, to get me to a school that's not right around the corner, should serve as enough of a deterrent. Add that to the fact that the moment they are able to hire someone for a full-time position, I'd be gone without a moment's thought (as they came very close to doing 2 years ago). And the fact that every year I find myself less and less tolerant of my students and their drama. And the fact that I've been away from the field long enough that my classes are more based in philosophy/history than they are in current real life experience. I could go on, but those are some of the key points.
So what now?
I am so very lucky because I don't need to jump into something - anything - just to get a paycheck. Things are very tight for us (as they are for so many right now), but we can get by on Tom's salary. We can get by in a very tight-budgeted, no frills way, but we can get by.
So I'm in the perhaps enviable position of wanting a job, but not needing one. That, for sure, is the good part. The bad part is, at the tender age of 45, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I'm pretty sure I'm done teaching, but I don't think I'm ready to step away from education altogether. So I know that. Or think that, anyway. But what, exactly, to do? What to do?
I can't believe I walked away from a job without having anything waiting for me in the wings. That seems so irresponsible. But the adjunct job wasn't working out, for the reasons noted above, and it involves an 11 week obligation - so I would be rendering myself unavailable to start something new for basically 3 months. But what if nothing new turns up? It's so scary!
I want to work. I want to feel like I'm making a contribution - both through the work I do and through the money I bring home. I want to talk to people every day! I want a sense of purpose. I do not want to waste my time just doing something for the sake of doing it. Perhaps I'm being idealistic, but I really believe I'll find something that fits if I just keep looking.