I left a job unloading furniture off trucks and loading it into buyer’s cars to go back to grad school a few years ago. I can’t go back, because that same job doesn’t exist the way it used to just two years ago.
That’s the new job market. Turnover can be lightning fast when there’s a suspicion that the workforce isn’t compliant. We started asking questions about pay scale, about how they were paying the black lesbian on the dock the least of any of us while hiring white men at a higher rate than the veteran team member who was a woman (for example), about how they were out of compliance with health, safety, and labor laws, et cetera… suddenly everyone was out. Managers who supported the team were moved, supervisors were canned, the entire team was either moved to other stores, fired for blatantly false accusations from anonymous sources or trumped up reasons, or incentivised to leave. All in one year.
There are very little protections for workers. I wasn’t fired - I left. But the manager and supervisor who stood up for the team aren’t there, replaced by someone I butted heads with - there’s no reason to go back there for the $10 an hour wage I was making.
I spent some time as a TA, which I hated. The teaching was great, but balancing my coursework and teaching was awful. I was told that I had to prioritize myself over my students, but these were just first years. They were all afflicted with terrible anxiety. They expected me to abandon them to their course load, which I refused to do. I worked around the clock to give each assignment my personal, undivided attention. I can say I wanted to die, honestly. I was in a state of absolute despair. Teaching set my thesis writing back by the year I engaged in it, and I only taught a max of two classes, but I feel like it was worthwhile.
Our household starved in both the summer and the winter. My TA colleagues often had another job - or more than one - in addition to their studies and their classes. The adjuncts make an average of $12 an hour if they only work for 20 hours per class. The math gets significantly stranger and less appealing the more work they take on. I’ve heard that even TAs and adjuncts are “bourgeois.” I’m not sure that bourgeois and proletariat are useful terms for how we operate in this moment. They’re historically useful. We can use them that way. But attempting to draw 1:1 comparisons from Western industrial and capital structures when they were coined and initially implemented, and trying to apply them directly to our current situation I think obscures the structure we live in now by trying to map the structures of past theories over it.
I’m just thinking in text. I’m always tired, I’m always hungry, and I’m always poor, and it always sucks.