Seven Years an Adjunct: Part II

BY APRIL FORD

In this, the second and last part of my mini-series about being a “terminal” adjunct on the market for a full-time teaching position in academe, I embrace my present fate (I’ve been rejected by every institution I’ve applied to since December 2016) and express my dismay in epistolary form (based, to some extent, on rejection letters I’ve actually received, sometimes more than once from the same institution).

If you wish to read the first part of this mini-series, please visit “Seven Years an Adjunct: Part I.”

_______________________

From: emp@stfu.edu

Date: 03/01/17 5:40 pm

Subject: Position Filed

Dear Sir Ford:

Thank you for applying for the position of 2017–18 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Fiction. Although your CV is impressively long, we have settled on another candidate.

We appreciate your interest in STFU and wish you the best of luck out there.

Sincerely,

Human Resource Services

Saint Tom Felton University

_______________________________

From: april.ford@fanofthelivingwage.com

Date: 03/03/17 6:15 am

Subject: re: Position Filed

Dear Human Resource Services:

Thank you for letting me know that in spite of my robust CV, I was not selected for the position of 2017–18 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Fiction. This most recent correspondence I’ve received from you marks the fourth in four weeks: Might I suggest that someone in your office has played a prank and scheduled an auto-sender to issue form rejections every Wednesday at 5:40 pm? God only knows how many other applicants’ spirits have been trampled, again and again, in recent weeks.

Even though you have no interest in me, I feel compelled to let you know that I go by the title of “Ms.” and not “Sir.” I understand the millennials have paved the way for people to freely assign girls’ names to boys and vice versa, but I was born in a time when working-class parents didn’t have such whims.

Finally (sorry to dump this on you all at once, but I’ve been holding it in for a while), I would like to draw your attention to a typo on your form letter’s subject line: “Position Filed” suggests you’ve failed the search (or “killed” it, as I’ve heard uttered when there’s no suitable candidate). Speaking as someone in desperate pursuit of a living-wage contract, if I think a position has been “filed” instead of “filled” (and I believe the latter is the case here), then I might continue to hope the position will re-open at some point, which would be an unfair waste of my hope, you see.

Thank you for your time,

April Ford, MFA, Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing

 _______________________

From: emp@stfu.edu

Date: 03/08/17 5:40 pm

Subject: Position Filed

Dear Sir Ford:

Thank you for applying for the position of 2017–18 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Fiction. Although your CV is impressively long, we have settled on another candidate.

Sincerely,

Human Resource Services

Saint Tom Felton University

 _______________________________

From: april.ford@fanofthelivingwage.com

Date: 03/10/17 6:15 am

Subject: re: Position *** FILLED *** (corrected)

Dear Human Resource Services:

I heard through the grapevine that the candidate you selected for 2017–18 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Fiction, has accepted a tenure-track offer with another institution. I also heard that your second and third choices are no longer available. Please let me know if this is the case, for I am still available, and I would be delighted to join your community for the upcoming academic calendar year. I have re-attached my CV, and I think you’ll find it reads more concisely and thus makes me appear more competitive than my previous CV does—thanks for the gentle suggestion to revise it!

Kind regards,

***Ms.***April Ford

 _______________________

From: emp@stfu.edu

Date: 03/15/17 5:40 pm

Subject: Position Filed

Dear Sir Ford:

Thank you for applying for the position of 2017–18 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Fiction.

Sincerely,

Human Resource Services

Saint Tom Felton University

 _______________________________

From: april.ford@fanofthelivingwage.com

Date: 03/17/17 6:15 am

Subject: re: POSITION F-I-L-L-E-D

Dear Human Resource Services:

I just wanted to let you know I’m looking forward to visiting your campus and getting to know my way around before I make the big move. Can you recommend the best driving route? I hear there’s a stunning view of the hills by car.

Can’t wait!

April Ford

 _______________________

From: emp@stfu.edu

Date: 03/22/17 5:40 pm

Subject: Position Filed

Dear Sir Ford:

Sincerely,

Human Resource Services

Saint Tom Felton University

_______________________________

From: april.ford@fanofthelivingwage.com

Date: 03/24/17 6:15 am

Subject: On my way!

Dear Human Resource Services:

I’m leaving in an hour, and I am surging with joy. I mean, your institution’s core creative writing faculty is world-class. Do you realize I’m featured in last year’s Pushcart Prize anthology alongside one of your full professors? I wonder what questions he’ll ask me about my story (it comes 396 pages after his in the anthology, in case you’re curious; it’s a fictional account of the problems that arise from generational inbreeding among polygamists).

See you very soon,

April

________________________________

From: april.ford@fanofthelivingwage.com

Date: 03/24/17 6:15 pm

Subject: I’m here!

Dear Human Resource Services:

Jeez, what a long drive. Not as scenic as I would have liked, but then we haven’t had much of a spring yet here in the northeast, have we? Petty complaint aside, I’m in the student-run café across from the President’s office, and I’m afraid it looks like she’s left for the week, so I thought I would check in to the cute little b&b down the hill and spend the weekend here to really get a sense of the area—for example, will my cat still be able to go outdoors when he likes? The last little town we lived in was brimming with cat-haters. I had to keep Jimmy Buffet Jr. inside the whole time, which sent him spiraling into depression. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to feed a cat SSRIs twice a day?

I look forward to meeting the whole STFU gang on Monday.

A

 _______________________________

From: april.ford@fanofthelivingwage.com

Date: 03/27/17 11:55 pm

Subject: My sincerest apologies

Dear Human Resource Services:

You won’t believe what happened today. I arrived to campus bright and early, caffeinated and ready to prove I am the candidate for STFU, when suddenly a pair of firemen took me by the elbows and ushered me to my car, claiming the university was participating in a day-long fire drill and all non-essential employees were required to vacate the premises. They weren’t the least bit concerned with the fact that I had driven all the way out there for a reason. They were quite grumpy with me, actually (maybe I should FILE a complaint). If I didn’t have to teach tomorrow, I would have stayed one more night at the b&b. Such is life, I guess. Rude firemen aside, I had a nice sojourn in your quiet little college town, and you can expect me back next week with Jimmy Buffet Jr.

Until then,

A xo

 _______________________

From: emp@stfu.edu

Date: 03/29/17 5:40 pm

Subject: Position Filled

Dear Ms. Ford:

The position of 2017–18 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Fiction, has been filled, along with any and all other positions at STFU that you might consider applying for now or in the future.

Best of luck out there (you’ll need it),

Everyone at Saint Tom Felton University

PS: There was no fire drill.

 

_______________________

April Ford served as a Guest Editor for the Pushcart Prize anthology XLI, after receiving a 2016 Pushcart Prize for her story “Project Fumarase,” the concluding story in her debut collection, The Poor Children. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared in numerous print and online publications including Grain, Atticus Review, Ploughshares, New Madrid, Gargoyle, Beecher’s, and SAND, and is forthcoming in the Santa Fe Literary Review. One of her poems is a Finalist for this year’s Lascaux Prize in Poetry and will appear in the forthcoming prize anthology. Until the end of this academic semester, she teaches creative writing to college students at SUNY Oneonta. She is from Montreal, Quebec. Check out April’s LinkedIn page (and offer her a job).


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3 thoughts on “Seven Years an Adjunct: Part II

  1. Brilliant. Clearly, their loss. Best wishes to you and Jimmy Buffet Jr. for the rest of your peregrinations through the ubuesque world of academia.

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