Monday, September 27, 2010

Money Money Money

Always Sunny In the Rich Man's World...

OK. You'll just have to forgive the ABBA reference in today's post. I've been thinking a lot about money (struggling to make it through September, as I don't get paid until October 1 and we have to make it on Hubby's salary and whatever I managed to save through my 9-month contract).

I went to the grocery store yesterday, early (like 7 am) because we were out of creamer and milk. The headline greeting me on the Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel?

$100,000 incomes common at MATC

I threw up a little bit. [MATC stands for Milwaukee Area Technical College, FYI.]

And reading the comments on the website just makes my head throb. Yes, I'd agree that it seems that some of the faculty are overpaid for what they do. I'd also agree that MATC's independent taxing authority is the reason that they can pay these people what they do. The UW System is dependent on two things: tuition and state allocation. State allocations are down, WAY down, from where they should be (I'm not going to get into it, but suffice to say that my campus' operating funds from the state constitute 24% of the overall budget).

What kills me is that most of the comments I could read (before I had to quit to lower my blood pressure) accuse ALL faculty of being over-paid, under-worked whiners who couldn't get a "real" job (read: in the corporate sector), which is frankly just so much BULLSHIT.

I have two Master's degrees (an MA in literature, and a terminal MFA in creative writing). I have 15 years of teaching experience. (FYI, I could not get a job teaching high school English in Wisconsin with these qualifications.)

I teach a 4/4 load over a 9-month contract, for which I am paid a grand total of $44,439, per my contract and the UW System Redbook. My salary also covers campus and departmental committee obligations, which in the past have added up to 15 hours to my average work week, which is approximately 45 hours long. I do not have a TA. I teach 12 hours a week; I have office hours, grading, and committees (including ones I do for the students' benefit, like the creative writing group). I will be the first person to admit that I make a living wage. Am I fairly paid compared to someone at the System level (who teaches 3/3 with similar committee work)? No. I work UNPAID over the summer so that I can keep my job (tenure-track).

I had a job in the corporate sector, making over $50K/year. I wasn't happy because I wasn't teaching, which is what makes me happy. I took a pay cut that I still have not made up because I would rather teach than work in corporate world. I work very hard to make my classes worthwhile and engaging--in fact, I work harder as a teacher than I ever did as a corporate monkey. For less money.

And Hubby wonders why I periodically chat up Steve, my friend in the State Department about job openings. I sometimes think about going back to my old boss to see if he'd have anything for me, except that I don't really want to go back to Chicago. I want to teach. I just want to be paid commensurate with my credentials, experience, and actual work done.

Too bad pay equity is about at the bottom of the list for the Wisconsin State Legislature (except for Glenn Grothman, who is a complete idiot for a variety of reasons). So in the meantime I will keep the light on for my students, who need me and my extremely dedicated, hardworking colleagues in every discipline. What would they do without us?

Hmmm....according to Glenn Grothman in the article, well I guess they'd hire the other poor slobs out there who'd be happy to work for $40k, atleast until they look around and wonder why the fuck they're working so hard while the rest of their colleagues at other institutions are making twice that (or more). 

And don't let's start talking about administrative salaries....

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