The Silent Pink Slip

Dear Mr. Monk,

I teach psychology courses at several universities as an adjunct. One of the schools has not contacted me about next semester, and I’m getting worried. I’m wondering if I asked too much of my students or if my tests were too easy. Maybe I didn’t do enough to communicate with my international students. I do like to bring current issues into the classroom. Maybe the students complained. I won’t know until the student survey results come back to me next semester, if there is one. I’ve been meaning to talk to the dean, but I fear all I’ll get is embarrassed. I don’t make much money as an adjunct, but I think it’s important work. What can I do to avoid this constant doubt?

Fred at Many U.

Dear Fred,

My advice, Fred:  Stop trying to come up with the reason.  I’ll do that for you.  Seeking a reason for your silent pink slip is not worthy of your study.

JobBuster Monk

You and your university have conflicting purposes.  It’s a topsy-turvy conflict: they want to run the school like a business; you want to run their business like a school. They like to create and meet budgets by trying to drive tuition up and salaries down. They see teaching as a line item; you see it as a cause.

There are a variety of actions to take, depending on your style. One is to walk up to the dean and tell him you’re making out your schedule.  Remember though, it’s possible to mistake tact for the truth.

I recommend you sidestep the semester survey. They are always too late. Do your own.  In your remaining courses, ask your students daily or weekly the questions from the semester survey. Also, throw in your own: “Am I making myself clear?” “Do you think this video is worthwhile?” “Are you having fun?”

They will be reluctant to answer, at first. But, when they do, your doubt will fade away.

JobBuster Monk


Dear readers: Having been fired eleven times in my life, I am an expert in employment advice. If you have a question, please send it to me  danezeller@ yahoo dot com. 

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