Thursday, October 10, 2013

Twelve Weeks Notice

I've always known my employment was uncertain.   My title, itself--adjunct--just screams dispensable, insignificant. 

In academia, adjuncts are the third world sweat shop employees toiling away invisible in the dark corners of every college and university basement.  This part-time employee is offered no health benefits, no retirement, and no promise of future employment beyond the present term.  What's more, full time professors look down their nose at adjuncts as second rate educators not sold out to the craft.  Consciously or not, in the eyes of the full timer, quantity of courses taught determines an educator's quality.

I know this...because I once sat on the mighty throne of the full time instructor.  I, too, discarded the opinions of most adjuncts because they were less impacted by departmental decisions and didn't understand what a real teaching load required.

Then after the birth of my son in 2006, I turned in my throne to join the ranks of the lowly and downtrodden.  And there?  In all honesty? Despite the hours I have to work while others sleep and the hats I must juggle as a stay at home mother, here, I have continued to thrive.

My decision to leave full time employment was one I'd always known I would make.  Even before husband and I married, I communicated that God had called me to stay home with my children.  When I was hired at my first secure full-time position, my boss knew I was 101% dedicated to him, the college, and my students...until I had a child, and then, I was a goner.

Yet, by the time our first son was born, husband had already lost his career, so my decision to be a stay at home mom was more an act of love for my child and of obedience to God than a preferred choice.  I was giving up a fulfilling job I truly loved, a fabulous camaraderie with my peers, a retirement plan, insurance, and a steady paycheck complete with merit raises and the possibility for advancement.

It was a giant leap of faith, but I squeezed my eyes tight shut and stepped off the cliff into the waiting hands of my God.  Since 2006, I have watched His finger tracing a seemingly insane path for me to follow as He has opened doors for me.  The result is that I've been able to earn a good living as a part time adjunct for three community colleges around the state--all online, all at night while staying home with my young children during the daylight hours.

Sure, my employment has always been contingent upon student enrollment, which is dependent upon the economy.  Some semesters have made me feel like Jack Sprat's wife.  Others have been lean. In fact, just this past Spring saw the door close on one of my three jobs.  Even with that river dammed up for two semesters, God made way for a stream of other smaller opportunities to flow towards me...and taught me how I could survive with much less.

Yesterday, though, I found my faith being tested once again.  A two minute phone call left me without two of my part time jobs, effective January 1.  In short, I was receiving my twelve weeks' notice.  And this time, I couldn't just wait for the system's new rule to change, couldn't just find ways to squeeze that much money from the family budget.  I would need to find a new job.

I sobbed with my husband, prayed, planned, questioned, and sobbed some more.

Twenty four hours later, I see shadows that God's hand is not idle, even if when I look a second time, there's nothing there yet to fill the void.  When applying last night to a job posting at a Christian online university, I suddenly found myself faced with an empty java box and a simple request for me to write my statement of faith, no fewer than two paragraphs, please.

I couldn't help but smile at the irony.   My statement of faith.

I've learned to not have faith in my connections, my education, and my experience; they simply aren't enough.  Here I am with nothing but faith, knowing no one who can provide for my family's needs except God, Himself.  All I can do at this point is walk by faith for if I walk by sight, the oppressive despair of the situation will keep me firmly sunk into my sofa. 

One foot in front of the other (even if sometimes, those steps look more like tear-laden stumbles) I walk. Waiting. Anticipating. All the while believing my help comes from the Lord.

There is no other choice but to believe and wait...even when the road looks so very dark ahead.


  1. Bless you, Jennifer, for having the courage to articulate these feelings and tell yourself (publicly, here!) - "my help comes from the Lord" so soon after this news struck. I know how raw it still is for you, so I am even more impressed with you, and our God, as I read your words. He is faithful! We are praying.

  2. I have taken similar journeys Jennifer. I only know that every time without fail, God did show me His workings and provided for my needs. I slowly discovered the only identity I ever needed was that of being His child. Prayers and love.

    1. Thanks, Kellie. Missed seeing you a couple weeks ago at the "packing party" for the women's prison.