Monday, December 6, 2010

what adjuncts can do for money during the holiday break

a few suggestions:

1. Donate plasma.
This is an option for those non-anemic professors, who have a strong stomach and a daring spirit. It is a viable option because it not only offers a small pile of money for an hour's time, but it is also a nice thing to do. When donating plasma, remember to eat a little something twenty minutes or so before you arrive. 
Warnings: This money-gathering technique will pay between $60-$90 for a first visit, but the donor risks bruising, fainting and must keep in mind that they pay you less if you are a repeat visitor. 

2. Sell personal items on Craigslist.
Much like donating plasma, there are a few things to consider when posting your possessions on Craigslist. Firstly, make sure it's something you really want to sell. Make sure the thing you're selling is portrayed accurately in the ad you place. Finally, screen anyone with whom you will be meeting to sell your stuff. If, say, when you talk to the individual on the phone, he is already trying to bargain with you, or worse, is breathing heavily and crying, it's best to not trust him. If, however, the potential buyer sounds a bit nervous about the transaction and asks understandable questions about the purchase, agree to meet him, but do so at a coffee shop or some other public place. If you are selling something big, like furniture, make sure to have a pair of MMA fighters answer your door.

3. Find a hustle. 
For those hipster teachers who live near-downtown somewhere, no, this does not mean sell weed. No. When I say hustle, I mean a game hustle. This requires a genuine interest in a game, say, Scrabble, pool, or darts. Also, it requires that you are amiable enough to strike up bar conversations and good enough at your game that if a small wager is placed, the out-of-work adjunct is sure to win. Please be warned, this could be illegal. So maybe you shouldn't do it, after all.

4. Trade in your Starbucks for a cup of coffee from Valero or some other gas station. 
This is just smart.

5. Ask neighbors. 
You can always pet-sit, house-sit, or rake leaves. But make sure the neighbor realizes that you expect payment for your work and are not just being nice. Imagine: "I thought you were just helping me out. I'm so sorry, but I don't have any cash on me," Mrs. Brown says kindly, offering you a cookie to ameliorate the effect of her comment. You take the cookie and walk off, head down, wondering how the gas bill will be paid, sore from cleaning out behind your sweet old neighbor's refrigerator as she told you all about her granddaughter's appearance on Jerry Springer last month--how they still haven't found the real baby's daddy, but she was glad because all the men on the show were downright lame.

6. There are other options, but I don't recommend any of them. 
Honestly, I don't recommend any of the above either. I've had bad experiences will all of them to a certain extent (except for the plasma donation--that really is a win-win). But, seeing as how most English adjuncts are writers, all life experience is valuable, no? 

7. I would say write your book, but that's cliché.

With any luck, we'll all be back to work Spring Term--albeit a few pounds lighter from only eating Ramen noodles--all the more thankful for our opportunity to do what we love: teach. 


  1. All sound like reasonable options to me and I'm no longer an adjunct, but am now an adhoc.

  2. Think this list can work for students as well. :)


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