March 23, 2004

Signing Off

Gentle Readers,

A few months ago, I made a vow to myself that this would be my last semester as an invisible adjunct. Since Iíve failed to secure a full-time position in my final attempt at the academic job market, what this means, of course, is that I made a vow to leave the academy. Six more weeks of teaching, and I head for the nearest exit.

Though I must inevitably feel a sense of loss and sadness, itís thanks to this blog and its readers that I donít feel the kind of life-twisting bitterness that I might otherwise have experienced. Iíll take with me, among other things, a knowledge of XHTML (which I never thought I could learn!), an undiminished passion for the Scottish Enlightenment, and a heightened sense of lifeís possibilities.

In the meantime, Iíve decided to give up the blog.

I do so with both a good deal of reluctance and a certain sense of relief. Writing blog entries and reading and responding to comments has become such an integral part of my regular routine that itís very difficult to walk away. For the next few weeks, at least, Iím sure I wonít know what to do with myself (novel-reading? I just finished rereading all six of them). But this weblog has always been a labour of love, and lately I find that my heart is no longer in it. I think the time has come to focus my energies elsewhere. Anyway, I guess Iíve pretty much said most of things that I wanted to say, and then some.

Iíve also received more support than I ever could have imagined or expected. Indeed, the response to the blog has been, quite simply, overwhelming. Since I canít even begin to express what this has meant to me as I've struggled over the past year or so to make sense of my experience in the academy, I wonít even try. Instead, Iíll just take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who participated in the transformation of what began as ďyet another me-zineĒ into something like an online community. To everyone who has read, linked, commented, and emailed: I thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Posted by Invisible Adjunct at March 23, 2004 04:24 PM


As someone who found you at the very moment my struggles to leave academia behind were beginning, I just want to offer my support -- it's a scary process, I know! -- and deep, heartfelt gratitude that you were there when I needed that support.

There is surely a place where a person of your talents and heart and spirit will be recognized and rewarded with more than words of gratitude -- I hope you'll consider blogging again at some point under a new identity. :)

Best of luck!

Posted by: Rana at March 23, 2004 04:47 PM

very sad, but good luck, there are plenty of opportunities in the world:) are you going to archive invisibleadjunct somewhere orther than it would be a shame to lose this bit of history to netrot.

Posted by: jeremy hunsinger at March 23, 2004 04:51 PM

Sorry to see you go. Wish you the best, etc. You might consider editing, publishing, or free-lance writing. I resommend Flann O'Brien, "The Poor Mouth" and "At Swim Two Birds." Not at all like Jane Austen.

Shouldn't there be a potluck? Maybe with cheese-toothpicks and doughnuts?

Posted by: Zizka at March 23, 2004 04:59 PM

We'll miss you. Thanks, and all the best.

Posted by: ogged at March 23, 2004 05:10 PM

I am stunned! Angry, first of all, at the academy and more particularly at the history profession for its failure. And, yes, it is the profession's failure, not IA's. Deeply sorry, secondly, for the loss of a humane and deeply thoughtful voice in our wilderness. And hopeful, even certain, finally, that IA will find a fulfilling future. But, I am angry ...

Posted by: Ralph Luker at March 23, 2004 05:12 PM

Thank you for creating this and welcoming us all in! I've found in my life that when I sadly conclude that it is time to move on, good things always come of it. So, I wish you the best!

Posted by: oliviacw at March 23, 2004 05:21 PM

IA, Allow me to join all of the others in wishing you the very best. I found your blog as I struggled with the idea of pursuing a graduate degree in the humanities and found it so insightful that I returned to it everytime I contemplated going into academe as a second profession. Your site was a lifesaver. Good luck.

Posted by: Michael C. Clark at March 23, 2004 05:28 PM

Thank you for making this space, and best of luck in the next space you move into!

Posted by: heather at March 23, 2004 05:32 PM

I decided to start a blog because I enjoyed commenting on this one so much. I often regret the time I've spent on mine, but not what I've learned from this one.

Please don't sell the domain name to pornographers.

Posted by: chun the unavoidable at March 23, 2004 05:34 PM

Hi. To IA and to everyone else who leaves academia--remember, while it may be a good life, it's not the only life, and the worst thing one can do is to regret forever not getting a TT job. It's really too bad that all of US culture seems to support the idea that "what you get paid for is who you are."

Posted by: sappho at March 23, 2004 05:38 PM

I am really sorry to hear this--both about the status of your quest for academic employment and about the blog. I think this has been one of the "great good places" among academic blogs, a blessed island.

Posted by: Timothy Burke at March 23, 2004 05:39 PM

Auf wiedersehen (I hate goodbyes), and good luck.

Posted by: sennoma at March 23, 2004 05:39 PM

IA -

I enjoyed this blog like none other. I wish you the best in your future, and like most of your readers, I hope you keep writing in venues where we can read your work.

All the best, Jeremy

Posted by: better left nameless at March 23, 2004 05:46 PM

Godspeed, IA. You blog will be remembered by many (myself included) as one of the very, very best.

Posted by: Russell Arben Fox at March 23, 2004 06:01 PM

I'll be so sorry to see the blog go, IA. But best of luck in whatever you choose to do next.

Posted by: Miriam at March 23, 2004 06:12 PM

This has been a wonderful space. I echo the hope that you will write again soon, somewhere else. Your going leaves a hole in the blogosphere.

Posted by: mjones at March 23, 2004 06:13 PM

It was not by accident that your blog attracted a large number of sane, witty, and memorable voices; I learned a lot in a short time, and it was an honor to join in. May the voice of Anne Murray and the lyrics of Gene MacLellan accompany you along the road.

Hm . . . maybe it's safer just to say, Good Luck, IA!


Posted by: flu in san diego at March 23, 2004 06:19 PM

Thank you, IA, for hosting such a wonderful blog. It was so many things: thoughtful, insightful, fun, silly, yet always welcoming of discussion.

I wish you the very best of luck and happiness in future ventures.

Thanks again,

Posted by: isabel at March 23, 2004 06:27 PM

Oh nooooo.

"I think I'll miss you most of all."

If you ever feel like writing something - well, don't forget B&W. Articles? Book reviews? Very brief book recommendations for In the Library? Signed or anonymous, as you choose. Might be a good way to palliate the cold turkey blog-withdrawal. Or not, but keep it in mind.

Posted by: Ophelia Benson at March 23, 2004 06:45 PM

You've made a real contribution to the quality of discussion in the blogosphere, and deserve to be proud.

When you land in your new career, I hope you will consider starting a new blog.

Posted by: david foster at March 23, 2004 06:56 PM

So sorry to see you go. I haven't participated, but I have enjoyed the discussions here very much. I felt really alone in contract-land until I stumbled upon this blog. Good luck to you, Invisible Adjunct!


Posted by: Karen at March 23, 2004 07:02 PM

Oh no, and I'd only discovered you! Good luck in the next step, I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job at whatever you try. Thank you for the great weblog!

Posted by: ghani at March 23, 2004 07:19 PM

Hey, good luck.

I stepped out of academia in 1997, and I've found this place a real tonic when I find myself worrying that I did the wrong thing.

Hope it all works out for you.

Posted by: Tom Runnacles at March 23, 2004 07:21 PM

Thank you IA. I am sorry to see you go. And if I may, I'd like to extend a deeply felt thanks to the extended community that has made this site a daily learning experience for me. I have enjoyed your "company," and I have learend more from all of you than I could ever enumerate. And so to Ogged, Zizka, Rana, Tim Burke, THB, Dorothea Salo, Chun, Amanda, Sappho, Another Damned Medeivalist, Miriam, David Salmonson, Passing_Through, PZ Myers, Failed Again, and everyone else whose name I cannot recall, thank you.

Adieu, IA.

Posted by: Chris at March 23, 2004 07:25 PM

This is a beginning for IA, not an end at all. I wish IA every possible stroke of luck and moment of truth, as she starts to learn what visibility is like.

My crystal ball is cloudy, but somehow... I'm not sure we've seen the last of her. Not to be sappy, but -- we've seen the chrysalis here. I look forward to the emerging tiger swallowtail.

Posted by: Dorothea Salo at March 23, 2004 07:43 PM

Gee, IA ...Damn. And what Ralph said about our profession being doofuses. I will really miss you -- my days won't be the same without my visits here. Take care of yourself and let us know when you land something you like. I've had other jobs, and I know you'll land on your feet, and probably end up doing something you really like. I just wish it weren't at the expense of your teaching.

Me, I'm going to tough it out as long as I can -- it looks like my FT contract is going to be renewed for one more year, so I've been reprieved. Still -- it isn't quite the same knowing you won't be here anymore. Damn.

Posted by: ANothr Damned Medievalist at March 23, 2004 07:46 PM


You have provided an immeasurable service to the academic blogosphere, and you cannot be thanked enough from all of us who commiserated, ranted, connected, debated, and found solace here. Best of luck wherever life takes you.

Posted by: Cindy at March 23, 2004 07:50 PM

Too bad . . . I'll miss you, IA, but I understand. And I suspect we'll all meet again somewhere else.

Meanwhile, all the best to everyone!

Posted by: Thomas H. Benton/THB at March 23, 2004 07:53 PM

As someone who actually had a tenure track job (technically, two of them) but wound up leaving academe anyway, I can report that life's not all that bad out in the rest of the world. I miss parts of the academic life but I've managed to find intellectual fulfillment in my post-academic pursuits. There are certainly many jobs for historians out there, including a whole series (#170) with the federal government.

And while I understand that being "The Invisible Adjunct" would be rather odd once you're no longer an adjunct, you can always change the title once you're ready for a return. Once you're on to your new pursuits rather than lamenting the maddening inability to get hired doing what you thought you wanted to do, you'll almost certainly find other things to write about. And a blog can very much be part of the Life of the Mind.

Posted by: James Joyner at March 23, 2004 07:58 PM

Wow...I'll miss you and the site. However, I commend you for making a tough decision regarding your life and career.

I'm grateful to you for setting up this forum; it's emboldened me to be a little more outspoken when I deal with administrators, it's introduced me to a broader range of opinions about adjunct life than I previously knew existed, and it leaves me with a great deal to ponder about the implications of my own very part-time role in the adjunct system.

Take care of yourself, and thanks.

Posted by: J.V.C. at March 23, 2004 08:01 PM

Your blog helped me see grad school in the humanities for the scam it's become, and stiffened my backbone to let me leave after a couple of terms without bitterness. I know you've done the same for others, too; you've honest-to-god saved lives.

While academia is becoming a poorer and poorer place by the minute, the lucky place you end up will be enriched by your arrival. Thanks, IA, and all the best to you.

Posted by: Rose at March 23, 2004 08:05 PM

IA, we hardly knew 'ya.

Congratulations on making what was certainly a difficult decision. I'll reserve my wailings about the loss of the only intelligent meta-academic discussion site for private moments, and publicly, but gently, encourage you to turn your critical intelligence on whatever institution and endeavor you do end up in.

And also suggest, gently, that it would be fun to know who you are and where you end up, if you're comfortable with removing the mask at the end of the show.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at March 23, 2004 08:10 PM

Thanks, and good luck in your new endeavors. If you blog again, perhaps you could use the name, "The Historian [/Artist/Insert New Endeavor Here] Formerly Known As Invisible Adjunct."

Posted by: af at March 23, 2004 08:13 PM

Just so's you know that part of the "community" you created here remained, shall we say, invisible ... thanks, and all the best.

Posted by: nnyhav at March 23, 2004 08:22 PM

God damnit, she says to herself selfishly. Then recovers. And says, good for you, IA! There are other jobs out there. You will be rewarded for your brains and your talent and humor, I'm sure.

I'm terribly sorry that your blog will be no more. It's always the first read of the day. Damn it, she says again to herself selfishly.

Posted by: Laura at March 23, 2004 08:30 PM

I've really enjoyed reading your blog and the discussions here. There's been much fodder for rumination as I contemplate my own post-PhD trajectory (if I finish the damn thing!)
What an unfortunate metaphor: MIND = BOVINE ANIMAL. The language made me do it.
All the best.

Posted by: Anthony Jukes at March 23, 2004 08:35 PM

Damn. We'll miss you. Thanks for everything, and best of luck.

Posted by: Mark at March 23, 2004 08:36 PM

May you find fair winds.

Oscar (another adjunct)

Posted by: Oscar Chamberlain at March 23, 2004 08:41 PM

Thank you! Your site has been a huge part of my life for the last year -- my first read of the day, and one I return to compulsively -- for your wit and criticism, for the amazing community you have built here, for your clear-eyed sense of what's wrong (and, occasionally, what's right!) about the humanities we love. You've done more than contribute an enormous amount to the academic blogosphere -- you've shaped debates out here in the real world, too. I'm going to miss you. But what a talent you have. Go and use it -- for fun and profit!

Posted by: wendy at March 23, 2004 08:44 PM

IA, best of luck. Your insights as to the character of academic life have always been spot on.

Posted by: invisible reader at March 23, 2004 08:49 PM

I'm sad to see you go, and I wish you well on the next leg of your journey. Thank you for a wonderful blog.

Posted by: Cleis at March 23, 2004 08:52 PM

Thanks, IA. I've made the same decision: no full-time gig, and so when the term's up, I'm hanging up my school bag.

Thanks for being that rational voice we all need when dealing with something as all-around stupid as the adjunctification of the academy.

Hope to see you in print again.

Posted by: MisterBS at March 23, 2004 09:06 PM

Can I second Jonathan's gentle suggestion that you unmask yourself. It would be nice for us and it would be good for the people who could have hired you to find out what they missed....

Wishing you weren't going but, since you are, wishing you the best, H.

Posted by: harry at March 23, 2004 09:09 PM

Always a leader, show us where next. Bravo!

Posted by: The Happy Tutor at March 23, 2004 09:34 PM

I'm going to miss you, IA - you are the one of the most coherent voices out there on what is wrong with the academy today. Incidentally, I got my Ph.D. a few years ago, adjuncted, then worked full-time (but non-TT) - and decided to do what I already had thought about while I was ABD: get out of academe and into something non-academic that also allows some hybridization with my academic interests (at least on the side, if in no other way).

I still keep up with sites like yours because, in some ways, I continue to process the decision of "leaving academia" even though I've already made that decision. (I am currently in law school). Finding a community of people in the same place mentally and emotionally has been very helpful to me, so I wish you all the best for the future. I am sure you will do quite well in whatever occupation you decide to go into ... it's academe's loss, losing people like you to other pursuits.

Posted by: law geek at March 23, 2004 09:39 PM

I admire and envy you, and I'm sad to see you go. I've never posted before, as I just discovered this blog a few weeks ago. I wish that years ago I had enough courage to leave academe, but now, after eleven years of adjuncting, I find that I have no choice but to leave at the end of the semester, as the full time job I was promised for so long is going instead to the friend and protege of the head of the search committee. I hope we both find visibility and fulfillment outside of academe.


Posted by: Nick at March 23, 2004 09:49 PM

You've done so much good with this blog. All I can say is "thank you." And good luck; may you be richly appreciated outside academia.

And yes, you must keep on writing, whether fun or profit are involved. I hope we'll still be reading your work, on- or offline, in the future.

Posted by: Amanda at March 23, 2004 09:52 PM

Congratulations on taking the plunge, and good luck.

Obviously you should start a Scottish Enlightenment blog. I'd read it (nervously glancing at the Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment that's been sitting in the to-read pile on his nightstand for the past month...)

Posted by: Joshua at March 23, 2004 09:56 PM

Best to you. Regards, Bill.

Posted by: IB Bill at March 23, 2004 10:04 PM

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish...

Posted by: Regretful at March 23, 2004 10:09 PM

Thanks for creating this little community. I'm glad it appeared at the time I was deciding to leave the academy, as it helped me accept my decision.

Good luck.

Posted by: Frolic at March 23, 2004 10:19 PM

IA, thanks for everything. We'll miss you. Good luck and all the best.

Posted by: Chris Genovese at March 23, 2004 10:23 PM

Thanks for creating this community, IA. I found it just six months ago. It got me through the beginning of my academic job search, ending it after it failed me, and now searching for work outside of it. The presence of the other posters helped me place myself in relation to thousands of others in similar situations. And beyond that, your blog helped me start explaining to myself why I did the PhD in the first place. This was sparked by Passing_through and some of the other economists here. Thanks to them, I now have an obsession with behavioral economics that might make up for the loss of this blog! Best of luck to you!

Posted by: pencil_vainia at March 23, 2004 10:26 PM

Oh, what awful news. Your blog has always been one of my first to check in my morning surfing. As a junior tenure-track reader of the blog, I always found it enormously useful in keeping my eye on some of the bigger issues confronting academia as a profession. You will be very sincerely missed.

All best wishes as you moved forward into your life's next chapter. I hope it's a long page-turner of a story!

Posted by: JW at March 23, 2004 10:28 PM

Cheers IA - I've been reading you compulsively since last February and it has been pure education in more ways than one. Crazily enough, reading your comments helped me apply to grad school in the social sciences with my eyes wide, wide open. Nearing the end of my 1st year, all I can say is ... I have learned enough from this blog to keep everything in perspective.

Go grasp the world with both hands


Posted by: Grincho at March 23, 2004 10:35 PM

Well, it's come to this. I'm sad that this fine blog has to end-- this is the first one I read, you know. And I'm sad that the profession has made the choices it has.

All that aside, I'm excited for your new opportunities, and I'm pretty sure that life after academe will treat you right. Let us know how things turn out.

Posted by: Fontana Labs at March 23, 2004 10:39 PM

I wish you all the best, though I'm so sad to see you go. The community of people you have welcomed here has helped me to begin graduate school with eyes wide open, and I cannot thank you enough for that. One of the things I always remember about my undergrad advisor is that he challenged me, in the best sense of the word. Your blog has does the same, in a witty, graceful and always intelligent manner. Thank you for the gift of yourself, and I salute you as you begin this new journey. You are much appreciated, and you will be much missed.

Posted by: English grad student at March 23, 2004 11:16 PM

I am so sad to hear the blog is ending, and astounded that the profession would give up someone of your caliber. Obviously an indication of the sad state of affairs in history (and, I should add, in English - my own field). This site was a remarkable help to me as I ventured out on the Academic job market this year, helping me to put rejection in perspective and to gain insights on problems in academia. Thank you so much IA. As you can see, the assistance you have given to so many of us has reached international levels. The best of luck to you as you enter a new (and likely *far* more lucrative) profession.

Posted by: Canadian Postdoc at March 23, 2004 11:22 PM

IA, you know where to find me if I can ever be of help; it would be the least I could do for someone whose presence and advocacy have meant so much to so many, but deeper than the debt I and we owe you would be the joy of contributing to your flourishing in some way, in some place, beyond this. Grace and peace be with you.

Posted by: AKMA at March 23, 2004 11:45 PM

IA, your decision is a courageous one. I hope that it will bring all the fulfillment denied to you in academia. As it was for many others, your blog was very influential in helping me to come to grips with the harsh realities of an academic career. When I stumbled upon the site last summer, it was at the conclusion of a troubling first year of graduate school. All of the doubts I was experiencing--about departmental politics, academic dishonesty, tenure prospects, the mounting student loan burdens, employability--were being discussed openly here. At last! A voice in the wilderness!

Walking away from school, and therefore my deepest ambitions, seemed unthinkable at the time. But seeing academia through your eyes and others' put all that rising tide of doubts into a different perspective: the dysfunction I was observing could no longer be dismissed as merely isolated or fleeting. Making the choice to walk away from school at the end of fall semester was very difficult; but the *act* of leaving, once the decision was made, turned out to be surprisingly liberating. There are lots of others ways to teach, to inspire, to fill others with the passion one feels for a beloved subject. May you find opportunities aplenty in your new "civilian" life. Mazel tov, IA!

Posted by: Carina C. Zona at March 23, 2004 11:49 PM

And I just found you, too. Drat.

Thank you for a remarkable, insightful, and at times hair-raising blog; it's valuable beyond words. I'm sorry there's not a happy ending for you in the academy, and hope that you'll find something challenging and fulfilling outside it.

And yes, do, let us know who you actually are when you leave.

Posted by: jo. at March 23, 2004 11:49 PM

IA, I expect you will do well wherever you go. But I will miss your blog. You have provided clear evidence that academia too often fails to keep the very people who have the most to contribute.

Posted by: Robert Campbell at March 23, 2004 11:51 PM

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do. I'm sure that whatever it is, you'll be a great success, and find a lot more fun and fulfillment that if you'd stayed in academia. I'd just like to thank you for the blog: it has helped me personally to realize that my frustrations weren't unique or solitary, and to see the academic career more realistically. It really has been personally important and very helpful document to me. Thanks and again, good luck!

Posted by: ladygoat at March 23, 2004 11:54 PM

I just discovered this site, and now this. It will be a significant loss.

Keep writing, in some format, somewhere, sometime. All the best to you.

Phil Mole

Posted by: Phil Mole at March 23, 2004 11:58 PM

I admire your courage in walking away from an academic "community" corroded by lack of jobs and funds (and adjunctified with the full complicity of senior academic staff).

But you made your own, very good community here, one that has been keeping large numbers of us sane (or saner, at least). What a shame to see that dissipate.

Still, it must have been an enormous amount of work to keep such a popular blog going single-handedly. Please know that there is a large body of your former readers wishing you all the best in your future life.

Posted by: Australian Postdoc at March 24, 2004 12:00 AM

Oh, I also meant to follow Zizka's lead (# 3), & suggest possible novels outside the Austen canon to assist with blog-withdrawal: Sarah Water's Fingersmith and earlier novels are sort of revisionist Victoriana; or W.G. Sebald, if you want to wallow in beautiful melancholy.

Posted by: Australian Postdoc at March 24, 2004 12:08 AM


Reading and commenting here has kept me -- I hope, at least -- not simply sane but also honest, through a hair-raising year-and-some. I hope to find you back out here in the blogosphere again, sometime soon, finally visible to all.

Wishing you all the best in your brilliant next step.


Posted by: KF at March 24, 2004 12:13 AM

You will be missed. The best to you in your new endeavours, whatever they may be.

redeem the surrogate goodbyes
the sheet astream in your hand
who have no more for the land
and the glass unmisted above your eyes

Beckett, "Da Tagte Es"

Posted by: Curtiss Leung at March 24, 2004 01:32 AM


Having only recently discovered your blog I am sad to only have had such a short time to enjoy it. I wish you all the best as you strike out on a new course (you have certainly given me the hope that I may be able to do the same!). To reinforce what has been said many times, thanks for helping to keep a lot of us sane!

Posted by: British PhD at March 24, 2004 02:52 AM

My very best wishes to IA wherever she goes, and in whatever occupation she finds.

I found this blog no more than a 6 or 8 weeks ago, and have felt very fortunate in being able to read it and learn. I'm sorry to see it go, but it doesn't diminish the number of intelligent and insightful people in the world, just makes us find other places to meet.

Posted by: kd5mdk at March 24, 2004 02:58 AM

Please keep surfing the blogosphere and let us know where you end up. Good luck :)

Posted by: Duckling at March 24, 2004 05:24 AM

I was sorry to read your news this morning as I very much enjoyed reading your blog.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

Posted by: Roxanne Cooper at March 24, 2004 06:45 AM

In many ways it's sad to see someone so creative, committed and intellectually engaging leave the teaching community; however, as someone who knows how it feels, I can both understand and admire your decision to move on. I grapple with similar feelings too often. In fact, I can often feel my feet heading for the door.

IA has been a constant source of support (not just from you but also the community of academic bloggers who've engaged) and inspiration. The academic community doesn't know how to make the best of people like us.

I wish you all the very best.
Blog on!

Posted by: jb at March 24, 2004 06:58 AM

Although it is with deep sadness that I contemplate the end of this blog, and the loss of your sane and sagacious voice, you'll forgive me for being slightly cheered that there might be an adjunct position out there with my name on it now...

Posted by: IG at March 24, 2004 07:13 AM

From one historian to another, Salve! May you have good fortune as you move forward for you will be missed.

Posted by: Ancarett at March 24, 2004 08:10 AM

As someone who once seriously considered the academy and didn't even make it through an MA, I can't begin to tell you how reassuring it was to come here and realize that all along it "wasn't just me". "Wasn't just me" that has ever had such problems, and "wasn't just me" that had caused a large portion of my own problems. This place has been a huge asset to grad school prospectives, attriters and even finishers alike. Your place in history is secured; you need not feel ashamed for letting go of this because you have already had such a huge positive impact on so many people. Good luck and please, somewhere down the road, find a way to briefly update us or otherwise keep in touch.

Posted by: Incognito at March 24, 2004 08:30 AM

Best of luck, IA--

Posted by: Matt K. at March 24, 2004 08:33 AM

I walked away a long time ago and never looked back. Real people are living real lives out there, not analyzing others' lives.

Live in the present moment. It's where you can make history.

Posted by: journo at March 24, 2004 08:49 AM

I am practically crying at the keyboard over this news. I am not exaggerating.

The best of luck IA, and please consider continuing blogging in some form. I loved the suggestion of "The blogger formerly known as IA" which can then morph as you grow and change. Your voice is valued.

"Hope you have a good good morning, (doo doo)
Hope we get to see you again."

-Closing song to The Magic Garden a New York area children's show from the '70s.

Posted by: David Salmanson at March 24, 2004 08:51 AM

Ave atque vale, IA! (But what's going to be my first blog o' the mornin' now?)

What you're hearing from people is that your combination of (a) the determination to "tell the truth and shame the devil" and (b ) the determination to be fair-minded and equable in doing so, is a rare one in the blogosphere -- and almost unknown in the academy, which may help to explain your job situation (see Ralph Luker above). It is also a real gift to others. May you find a path that will let you develop that gift still further. And when you do, START ANOTHER BLOG.

Posted by: Ayjay at March 24, 2004 09:05 AM

Thanks for blogging.

Posted by: PF at March 24, 2004 09:29 AM

Best of luck in the "real world," and thank you for providing a place for this remarkable community to take root.

I second the many suggestions for you to start a new blog.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at March 24, 2004 09:38 AM

IA--I found your blog when I was a few years out of academia, but still processing the experience. It's helped me a great deal to put my academic experience in perspective, and to mull over some of the questions raised by academe in general. There is life after grad school! Good luck, whoever you are.

Posted by: hw at March 24, 2004 09:40 AM

Good luck, IA. I left teaching many, many years ago, but I have many academic friends and hear the stories through them.

[I have a quite hesitant suggestion: I hope that, if you love teaching, you might consider teaching at the secondary level. I believe the best opportunities are at very academic private schools, where teachers are supported in their teaching and standards are high. And the students are just as bright as college students, but maybe a little less cocksure. Anyway, just a thought -- if you hate leaving the classroom.]

My very best wishes, and all my respect for making a tough decision.

Posted by: Nancy at March 24, 2004 09:52 AM

IA, thanks for doing this blog. You've given far more than you've taken, and have certainly helped many people avoid the pitfalls of academia.

Posted by: Barry at March 24, 2004 09:57 AM

Sorry to see you go - have been a regular reader for some time...

Best of luck to you!

Posted by: Elisabeth Carnell at March 24, 2004 10:06 AM

congratulations, IA! I know how hard it is to leave, and I admire you for making the decision and sticking to it. And good luck to you; I'm sure you'll continue to teach those around you.

Posted by: carla at March 24, 2004 10:10 AM

Iím saddened by the loss of this blog. But I think youíre making the right choice to move beyond the ďveil of tearsĒ of adjunct work.

Iím planning on doing the same at the end of this semester.

Best of luck IA!

Posted by: TDA at March 24, 2004 10:27 AM

Even though I'm not in academia, your blog has always been one of my favorites. I'm sorry that you're closing shop for a while but I hope we'll see you online again after your hiatus. I admire you for having the fortitude to stick with adjuncting for so long. Best of luck.

Posted by: Chris Martin at March 24, 2004 10:38 AM

Look what awful things happen overnight! I come for my morning IA fix and learn that it will be gone. Clearly all the folks with their aggregators got the news right away and came to pay their respects, so my comment ends up in the high 80s or low 90s. I guess the handwriting was on the wall when you posted about going on hiatus a couple of months ago. I can only reiterate what everyone else has been saying: you created an essential blog, it will be missed terribly.

Good luck as you try to make your way into the non-academic world. I confess, I found it harder than some of your other commenters (which is perhaps why I followed your blog with such interest). You may need some of the same fortitude that you brought to the myriad disappointments of the academic job search. If you sit down with "What Color is My Parachute?" or some other job-seekers guide, remind yourself that one of your special talents is creating really outstanding communities because of the thoughtfulness of your commentary and nose for the key issues. It really is a gift, and one that is not shared by even quite talented bloggers.

In any case, best wishes for your future! And do find a safe home for the archives of this invaluable site.

Posted by: john theibault at March 24, 2004 10:41 AM

IA was one of the bloggers who inspired, and indirectly encouraged, me to start my own blog. I have more reaction here. Best wishes for all your future endeavors.

Posted by: John Bruce at March 24, 2004 10:45 AM

Best wishes!

I took this step (getting out of academia) last semester. Still painful, but definitely NOT a mistake.

Posted by: David at March 24, 2004 10:48 AM

Good luck. You're going to love it out here!

Posted by: baa at March 24, 2004 10:54 AM

Good luck IA! Your blog has been so interesting to read. The comments have been insightful.

Posted by: ds at March 24, 2004 11:10 AM

Best wishes on your new career. You leave a large hole for others to fill in the higher ed blogging world.

Posted by: kb at March 24, 2004 11:13 AM

I don't think I've ever seen 17 trackbacks on a blog before (and there are some not counted there, like my primitive handrolled non-RSS blog).

This now looks less like a comments thread and more like a movement, which is one thing I think this blog did: it connected people who were having similar experiences and feelings, but thought it was only themselves, and showed them that they suffered from a social condition, an institutional pattern. Any historian knows that moments where people previously in isolation discover a common conditionality can be very powerful.

Posted by: Timothy Burke at March 24, 2004 11:17 AM

Good luck in whatever you turn your hand to; with your keen insight and good humor, I'm sure you'll make a good go of it wherever.

And thank you again for your excellent writing, and providing a forum where so many critical thinkers have been able to share and learn from one another. I've learned a great deal from what I've read here.

Posted by: Elaine at March 24, 2004 11:26 AM

Yeah my B&W comment wasn't tracked back either, no RSS either. But I made one. And there's much discussion at Cliopatria (not surprisingly, since it's a history site). Universal regret.

Posted by: Ophelia Benson at March 24, 2004 11:31 AM

There have been some excellent discussions on this website which I have really appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by: moom at March 24, 2004 11:34 AM

Alles Gute IA. Thanks for being here the past several months.

Posted by: DM at March 24, 2004 11:37 AM

IA, I've enjoyed reading your blog and am grateful to you for putting up a few topics that I suggested--more recently, "Unfinished Business". You aren't alone in making the decision to leave the academy as I'm walking right beside you and (I'm sure some others are as well). I KNOW that you will do VERY well and that you are doing what is best for you. I wish you well:)

Posted by: Anna at March 24, 2004 11:43 AM

I refused to say goodbye yesterday as though today might be different. Denial...

IA didn't mention that the blog is being discussed in a paper at the Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing in Fargo next month:
ďMaking the Adjunct Visible: Normativity in Academia and Subversive Heteroglossia in the Invisible Adjunct Weblog CommunityĒ
Clancy Ratliff, University of Minnesota

(not my paper!)

I will miss you greatly.


Posted by: elana at March 24, 2004 11:50 AM

I didn't post much, but I lurked heavily, and this blog and all the great discussion here will be very much missed. I exited the academy myself two years ago and though greatly relieved in some ways to find the world outside it, am still processing my own experience. The site helped significantly.

Thanks so much, IA, and best wishes to you.

Posted by: anonymous me at March 24, 2004 11:52 AM

I second Elaine's comment - you're one of the best writers I've ever come across. You have the gift of an easy fluent style that's a total pleasure to read. Thank you for that and for all of the other things people up there have been saying...

Posted by: margaret at March 24, 2004 11:54 AM

Come back someday. You will have an audience waiting to hear from you.

Posted by: PZ Myers at March 24, 2004 12:09 PM

Dear Invisible Adjunct,

Goodbye and thank you so much. You are a wonderful writer and a clear, judicious, temperate thinker, and your blog has taught me so much.

Tony Grafton

Posted by: tony grafton at March 24, 2004 12:14 PM

Profoundly sad about your departure from the blogosphere and academia. Especially from academia where sanity and clarity like yours is needed. Best wishes and greener pastuers!

Posted by: chris at March 24, 2004 12:15 PM

I feel sad, but recognize that it is a selfish feeling. Good luck in your future!

Posted by: Brian Ulrich at March 24, 2004 01:10 PM

congratulations on a fantastic run.
add me to the list of those inspired
by IA to begin blogging . . . also to
the somewhat-longer "habitually checked
IA first thing" list and "please decloak"
list . . . live long and prosper.

Posted by: vlorbik at March 24, 2004 01:57 PM

I hereby nominate Invisible Adjunct as the Reader's Choice for the Weekly IA Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence (No Cash, Just Glory)

Posted by: susan at March 24, 2004 02:16 PM

Well -- now I feel the need to blog regularly. It will be nothing as good, but I feel the moral obligation to continue the conversation. I'm away from home now, but look in once in a while -- maybe I'll even have something worthwhile to say ;-) Take care, IA

Posted by: Another Damned Medievalist at March 24, 2004 02:23 PM

How much am I going to miss this blog and its readers? Well, too much. That's all.

I'm overwhelmed.

What is there to say that won't sound ponderous or maudlin or otherwise silly? Just: Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at March 24, 2004 03:02 PM

From yet another lurker, selfish regrets, but full-hearted encouragement for whatever you seek to do next. Your talents will be missed here, as you see, but will undoubtedly be highly valued in your future pursuits. Many thanks for all the wisdom, humor, and truth. Best wishes,

Posted by: Anavix at March 24, 2004 03:05 PM

See ya sis. Maybe we'll meet on the outside one day. That would be nice.

Posted by: Academy Girl at March 24, 2004 04:00 PM

I will miss you. Best of luck in your new life, and don't stop writing!

Posted by: Heather P. at March 24, 2004 04:09 PM

I'm so sorry to lose this site... It is wonderful because it focuses not on the mundane details of life but on the larger concerns of academia... I don't know any other sites out there that are like that. I will greatly miss reading IA every day.

Posted by: Rachel at March 24, 2004 04:24 PM

I'll miss you too, IA. As someone who tried to blog himself with at best mixed results (at the now defunct 'diachronic agency'), I always envied your blogging skills. You were very good at this, and I hope you're equally successful as you move on. Best of luck.

Posted by: Ted H. at March 24, 2004 04:35 PM

I can't believe it.
*struggles for composure*
I join everyone else in thanking you for all the effort you've put into this wonderful site, regretting the circumstances that you've spent so long analyzing and that have now driven you away from academia, and wishing you the best the rest of the world has to offer. And I really, really hope you'll have a continued online life someday in the not too distant future. I'm going to miss you terribly, and I'm obviously not alone.

(If you're ever in the NYC area, drop me a line and I'll buy you a drink...)

Posted by: language hat at March 24, 2004 04:36 PM

Waaaah! And good luck! I've greatly enjoyed reading this blog, and I hope you'll find new paths surrounded by people who appreciate your intelligence and insight.

Posted by: Castiron at March 24, 2004 04:49 PM

I'm sorry.
When I discovered something amiss in academia, I thought it was me. I didn't understand. I wasn't getting with the program.
I went on hiatus, stopped teaching and tried to find a reason to go back.
I set out to discover something positive to hang on to by way of on-line communities because the personal interaction in the real world offered up little conversation and only vague acknowledgement that something was very wrong.

Nowhere have I found any evidence, anecdotes, or correspondence that indicated that I was over-reacting. Now you. I am so sorry.

Posted by: cesek at March 24, 2004 05:16 PM

Bye Bye Waves, Tears, :-(

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 24, 2004 05:18 PM

Welcome to the world of the extra-muros!

I salute you as someone who has for a number of years signed many a message to various discussion lists with the designation "scholar-at-large" and offer you an epithet : "historian-on-the-hustings-to-no-office" as a small token of appreciation and to mark a passage.

The occasion calls for breaking the posting rules


And wild applause broke out in the blog-salon ,,,

Posted by: Francois Lachance at March 24, 2004 05:26 PM

This is a tragedy. Not that you've decided to move on to the non-academic job market, that is, but that the blog will be no more.

It truly has been a "great good place," as Timothy Burke put it, and your readers will miss it-- and you-- greatly.

It's also been one of the most important voices on a set of subjects that are discussed all too infrequently, usually without your intelligence and wit. You should be proud of the fact that there are more blogs that write bracingly about academic life and its aftermath: yours has been a real model.

And don't give up your e-mail address just yet. Your skills as a blogger may be more valuable than you realize.

But good luck in whatever you do.

Posted by: Alex Pang at March 24, 2004 05:27 PM

I am grateful for your work here, IA, and want to add my voice to the chorus of thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm among the many making a similar choice about leaving academia, and you've given me (and others, apparently) the strength to do so. Have a wonderful time in your new endeavors. I hope they involve writing--the world would be poorer without your words.

Posted by: Rachael at March 24, 2004 05:33 PM

A community doesn't transform into existence out of nothing. Thank you for providing a glorious example of what one person's intelligence, energy, talent, wit, passion, and humanity can achieve online.

Like everyone else here, I hope I'm fortunate enough to encounter your writing again -- although when that happens I really don't care at all whether I know it's you or not. It might be even more pleasant to go on believing that the world holds two of you.

Posted by: Ray at March 24, 2004 05:39 PM

I'm selfishly disappointed to see you go, as I've enjoyed your blog greatly. You are on the very short list of blogs and news sources I check daily, and I will miss your unique (and smart, and wise) voice.

That said, I wish you luck in all your future endeavors. I hope you will find some way to let your fans know how you are doing. I'm quite certain that you will prosper in the career that awaits you!

Posted by: Matilde at March 24, 2004 06:02 PM

Best of luck, IA. I wish you well in a place that appreciates you as academia should have. You will be missed.

Posted by: wolfangel at March 24, 2004 06:16 PM

Your humanity, perspective, and community has been invaluable to me. Nothing more to add, except thank you and I hope you'll stick around the blogosphere in one fashion or another.

Posted by: DJW at March 24, 2004 08:02 PM

Thank you for your contributions to a fledgling medium. Please don't forget about blogging. Why do I say this? I left "The U" almost exactly 10 years ago. After a while, I found that I missed the intellectual stimulation. Blogging has to some extent brought that back into my life.

I hope that after a while, you too will find that you miss the pleasures of open discourse, random and unexpected provocation of thought, and creative self-expression. Maybe then you will decide that getting back to blogging can be a source of satisfaction for you and enrichment for the rest of us.

By the way, it really is possible to have a good life outside of academia...

Posted by: Joseph at March 24, 2004 08:28 PM

I hope when you return to blogging you can shed the cloak of anonymity and share your identity with the world. Regardless, I hope when you return you can find a way to let your thousands of readers know where you are.

Posted by: Frank Paynter at March 24, 2004 08:38 PM

Best of luck in whatever you choose to do next! Obviously there are quite a few of us who have read your blog and enjoyed the discussions -- even if we haven't spoken up much. As you retire from blogging, have you thought of passing your site on to a team of your frequent participants-in-discussion? It wouldn't be the same without your voice and personal reflections, but if the site you created continued to help focus discussion on the forgotten parts of academia it would be a long lasting gift to the whole community of invisible adjuncts, and those who care about them.

Posted by: Steve Thorsett at March 24, 2004 09:19 PM

I'm bummed, of course, because I valued the discourse on the academic job market and teaching in general... but I understand the reasons behind your decision. I'm saddened, too, because of the bitter reality that many of us still face in finding jobs, but haven't quite accepted yet.

Good luck in your future endeavors -- enjoy life, and hug your child daily! :)

Posted by: Mariann at March 24, 2004 09:55 PM

I'm sorry to see this weblog go, but glad you're making a decisive break from feeling trapped.

Thank you for giving me a way to learn more about academia than I have learned from any other source (shy of being a student myself). I'm going on the job market soon, but I'm going there with eyes wider-open and better informed than they possibly could have been without you and your comments and reporting.

Be well.

Posted by: S. Worthen at March 24, 2004 10:36 PM

good work. you did what you could when you were in there. hope you're getting out with everything still intact. good luck.

Posted by: che at March 24, 2004 11:08 PM

Thanks for validating my life, IA. As someone who is still struggling with the decision of whether or not to complete my degree, I found comfort here. You will be missed. Best of luck.

Posted by: Donna at March 25, 2004 10:11 AM

Best of Luck!

Posted by: Ben the geographer at March 25, 2004 10:58 AM

Great Blog! I wish you'd been around years ago when I applied to grad school!

Posted by: e Hardin at March 25, 2004 11:15 AM

What a truly great loss for the (academic) blogosphere!

Good luck for the future!

Posted by: Devoted Reader at March 25, 2004 11:24 AM

IA, thank you. Thank you very much. As an adjunct who is also exiting stage left (permanently), I owe you much more than I owe the institutions I hold degrees from. Best of luck to you.



Posted by: John at March 25, 2004 11:38 AM

Well, good luck. I did the whole, horrible adjunct thing for five years. I'm a lawyer now, and pretty securely ensconced in the middle class. Lawyering wasn't even my second or third choice, but it's one way to pay the bills comfortably. I hope you find a tolerable alternative as well.

Posted by: Aaron Baker at March 25, 2004 12:38 PM

Very sorry to hear that -- good luck in all your future endeavors!

Posted by: Eugene Volokh at March 25, 2004 12:53 PM


thank you for all you have given. I will missing reading...


Posted by: mg at March 25, 2004 12:55 PM

thats "miss" lol

i am so distressed about the end of IA my spelling has gone haywire!

Posted by: mg at March 25, 2004 12:56 PM

Another tragic injustice.

Posted by: Nadine at March 25, 2004 01:02 PM

Best of luck, IA. You did terrific work here, and I'll add my name to the list of people who are urging you to start a new blog when you have the chance. As for your post-academic life, you'll surely do terrific work elsewhere (and be treated better for it), and academe will be that much poorer for losing you.

Posted by: Michael Bťrubť at March 25, 2004 01:19 PM

Fare well, and thanks for everything, IA. You will be missed ... but if you start a new blog, let us know!

Posted by: Luis at March 25, 2004 02:20 PM

Wow I found this site about 6 months ago when I was just starting my first year of grad school and already fed up with the whole process. This site has taught me alot about the academic underground (as opposed to the rose-tinted delusions I get fed by most tenured professors). Best of luck with everything- I'm soon to be on my way out of academia as well.

Posted by: Chris at March 25, 2004 05:30 PM

IA WebRing, anyone? I got this idea after seeing the long list of sites referencing this post over at Cliopatria (thanks, Ralph!). Is this technically feasible? Thoughts?

Posted by: Rana at March 25, 2004 06:01 PM

It used to be quite easy to create new webrings. I suspect it still is, but can't swear to it.

invisibleadjuct junkies ring, maybe? I can't be the only one checking periodically for at least some new comments.

Posted by: wolfangel at March 25, 2004 06:59 PM

Hee. Yeah, I keep coming by even though I know at this point only one or two more might have appeared. Just can't let go, I guess!

Posted by: Rana at March 25, 2004 07:02 PM

Bless your heart. I was able to make good use of this site in talking with a PhD candidate nephew of mine.

You will be missed.

Posted by: Steve at March 25, 2004 08:10 PM

I will miss IA. It made the Internet world better--filled a need and did it very well. (Made the academic world better too. Not too many people can say that!)

My best wishes for whatever comes next. You've done well.

But, damn, I will miss you.

Posted by: Roger Sweeny at March 25, 2004 10:55 PM

this blog has been such a useful conduit for those of us at the the daily-kick-in-the-head side of the spectrum of post secondary instructors. ia, your blog's provided me with more than either of my unions. thank you so much and mucha, mucha suerte.

i think the webring is a great idea.

Posted by: meanregression at March 25, 2004 11:35 PM

Allow me to join belatedly in the chorus: goodbye and good luck. One of the first blogs I read regularly and certainly the one to have the biggest impact on my life (who knows--I might otherwise be headed optimistically off to grad school next year).

Posted by: ben wolfson at March 26, 2004 03:57 AM

You're too smart to waste your time teaching people who will never appreciate it anyway. Find yourself a nice 9-5er and read a lot - it's good for your soul, heh. Good luck outside the ivory Tower!

Posted by: Nick Blesch at March 26, 2004 04:13 AM

I go to graduate school now better informed and more alert than ever I would have been without the Invisible Adjunct. That I cannot imagine doing anything else is because of poverty of imagination on my part. The blogosphere will be a diminshed place without the warmth, wit and erudition of this blog as will the historical profession without the Invisible Adjunct among its number.

Posted by: Haydon Cherry at March 26, 2004 04:44 AM

Congratulations on getting out!

I stopped with a MA from a top-10 humanities graduate program and spent a long time wandering through various positions, but now 11 years later I am reasonably well-entrenched in a good industry and making more money than most tenured professors.

Ironically, I survived the dot-com crash largely because of humanities training: none of my co-workers could write documentation that wasn't embarrassingly unreadable, and thus I missed layoffs hit most of them.

Posted by: anon at March 26, 2004 10:57 AM

IA Webring: If you're interested in the IA Webring idea, I'm looking into the mechanics of using or similar to set it up.

If you have thoughts/suggestions/advice, come over to (or post here -- though it might be nice to have only one location devoted to the topic)

Among the issues that would need to be resolved would be

(1) who will maintain the webring

(2) what the host URL will be, if any

(3) what the criteria for membership in the ring would be


Posted by: Rana at March 26, 2004 11:54 AM

I haven't commented here often, but I've often lurked and enjoyed. Thank you so much for all the effort you've put into this great weblog; and good luck and happiness in whatever you try next.

Posted by: Ampersand at March 26, 2004 01:18 PM

I seriously hope there will be an archive of all this material.

You will be missed. Too bad this doesn't qualify for a sociology PhD project in the brand new field of the sociology of higher education in the era of adjunctification.

You know you've anchored an entirely new area of research and original thought, don't you, and a valuable one?

Posted by: Steve at March 26, 2004 06:55 PM


Godspeed. You deserve all the happiness in the world. You have helped more people than you will ever know by sharing your experiences. I join others in expressing the hope that we can share in your future successes.


Posted by: Kevin Walzer at March 26, 2004 10:24 PM

Yes I too join in the hope that we can share in your future successes. You'll send us each a check, right? Okay?

Posted by: Ophelia Benson at March 27, 2004 06:30 PM

but i just discovered your list TODAY!!!

and keep writing.


Posted by: kate at March 28, 2004 12:36 AM

Same as Kate of #163 --- I just discovered you today!

Well, I spent 12 years in the IT whirlpool, gladly being laid-off, unemployed the past 2 years, now almost graduating from my master, and planning to go ahead with PhD.

But then I am 53.... my life sent me off to taste all the other urges first, and now I am here to do something that I know is where I belong...teaching.

There is no perfect world. Only the world that is most perfect for you. And I hope you find yours.

Good luck!

Posted by: Cindy at March 28, 2004 04:41 AM

I wish this blog had been around ten years ago before I made the fateful choice of going to grad school. Even though I am a "successful" TT assistant professor, I'm not very happy with my career choice. This blog has made me feel OK about not being happy with academe (i.e., less guilt, fewer feelings of failure). Now, I am in the tentative process of exploring other options, but I will likely stay in academe for the next few years until I have firmly nailed down a "Plan B."

Anyway, I will miss this invaluable blog very much. It has been a tremendous help in validating my nagging doubts about this "profession." I don't feel like a loser anymore. Thank you, IA.

Posted by: cwd at March 28, 2004 01:41 PM

I'm sorry about the lack of luck on the market, IA, and saddened that this blog will be ending. I agree with what Timothy Burke said; I really think you have started a movement here. Yours is the strongest, most thoughtful voice for radical institutional reform. So many fine and feasible ideas have been circulated here--how to change graduate programs so that the number of students accepted into the programs is more proportional to the number of job openings and suggestions on how to go about professional development in alternative careers for graduate students in the humanities, making academia more friendly to mothers, etc. I will miss this community terribly. Good luck, IA, and I really hope you'll stay in touch with us.

***Slinks away to brood and listen to "Circle" by Edie Brickell***

Posted by: Clancy at March 28, 2004 02:48 PM

Thanks, IA, and good luck. You made a big, big difference.

Posted by: Mike at March 28, 2004 09:27 PM

You deserve a job that helps make you happy, and I know you will find one. I have been a heavy lurker here, but I have appreciated so much your comments and those of the people who posted. I've been struggling over whether to leave academia, and you and all the others have helped. I even have a tenure-track job, and I still want to leave. Reading what was posted here confirmed what I was feeling. It helped make me see that I wasn't crazy.

Best of luck to you, IA, and thanks.

Posted by: drivingal at March 28, 2004 11:27 PM

Done, I might say, with your incomparable style. We've a history position here, not very classy, alas, but tolerable. Interested?

Posted by: Styles at March 29, 2004 03:38 PM

Although the RSS feed here shows 29 blog tributes and farewells to Invisible Adjunct, I have compiled a list of 63 such posts at Cliopatria, If you know of others which I have not found, please let me know either in comments there or via e-mail. Many thanks to the remarkable IA and her family here.

Posted by: Ralph E. Luker at March 29, 2004 07:35 PM

I'll miss you too. As the spouse of someone struggling with the adjunct/postdoc life, I've found this site informative and actually encouraging over the past year or so. As a refugee from Academia (and now a successful computer geek), I say, way to go! I have no doubt that you'll do great in the real world.

Posted by: LizO at March 29, 2004 08:38 PM

take care

Posted by: meika at March 30, 2004 07:39 AM

I am sorry that things have not worked out for you, I have also decided to leave teaching behind because I have not been to lucky in the job market myself. It seems as if they are looking for less than what we are able to offer and being college graduates and students just means that they have to pay us. Why pay graduates with degrees, when you can get a kid out of high school and pay them less. This is a shame because I have been on numerous interviews with no luck and still no job. I work and vulunteer at my sons school and I am having a good time with the kids and the other parents of special needs kids. I am now a student at the Art Institute of New York City where I am working on my other love, Culinary Arts. I have always wanted to be a chef and now I am getting the opportunity to fulfill that dream and work on my art. I wish you a great deal of luck and I hope that everyone has a great summer.

Cynthia Ortiz, Brown

Posted by: at March 30, 2004 08:49 AM

Working in a professional kitchen is probably a worse deal than being a grad student or adjunct, actually.

Posted by: ben wolfson at March 30, 2004 06:33 PM

Thank you so much for creating this blog!! I left my horrific graduate program with a terminal MA and opted for library school. Your entries and the responder's comments are partly responsible for this former aspriant's ability to put her lousy academic past behind her! Many thanks!

As you wrap up your teaching and are still frustrated by facless, anti-intellectual drones, just remember you have greatly impacted some of us out in cyberspace! Enjoy the rest of your life!!

Posted by: trailgirl at March 31, 2004 10:58 AM

Thank you for the wonderful community you created in your part of the blogosphere.

Every time I\'ve dropped by I\'ve been lucky enough to find your intelligent commentary on academic life.

Good luck for the future, in whatever you do.

Posted by: Andrťs at April 1, 2004 03:10 AM

I wish you well, thought you might be interested in the LEO union and their contract negoitiatons. Some solidarity their way would be cool. Good luck with your next adventures!

Posted by: Mark at April 3, 2004 12:14 AM

I'm a little late, but I wish you the best of luck. Like many of your readers, I was often inspired by the work you've done in your blog.

All the best.

Posted by: chuck at April 3, 2004 02:10 AM

I keep hoping you will find someone to hand the torch off to or have that stroke of good luck that puts you on the tenure track after all.


Best wishes though,


Posted by: Steve at April 3, 2004 04:03 PM

As someone who retired from the blogosphere last year, I do sympathize with doing so. I always enjoyed reading your blog.

Good luck with whatever you do. I wish academe could have worked out for you.

I was just granted tenure and promotion by the Board of Regents within the hour.

I only wish you could've had more success with the job market, IA.

I do, however, understand your decision.

Posted by: Tom Spencer at April 5, 2004 04:02 PM

One last post, to go with this from the Chronicle: (hint, hope, perhaps a group of co-bloggers to carry one?)

Some of the associate professors who remain were the good hires of yesteryear who didn't manage to find the jobs they once longed for. Many of them now spurn the academy in general, reserving their special contempt for the graduate students who teach our service courses (two a semester!). I've even heard some colleagues voice the opinion that we ought to disband the Ph.D. program, "since our students won't get jobs anyway." This is perhaps a defensible argument for a professor at a branch university or a liberal-arts institution, but we are the flagship public university in the state.

Posted by: Steve at April 5, 2004 08:20 PM

I've enjoyed your blog, and I think the number of comments here proves how truly valuable your insight has been to so many. How about publishing a print version of the blog as your next step?

Posted by: at April 6, 2004 04:42 PM

Invisible Adjunct Buttons for your website, here.

Posted by: Rana at April 9, 2004 07:11 PM

This entire website would make a great cd (a number of cds use web browsers and are set up as HTML documents).

You could sell them at the MLA, etc.

It would be a great product.

Think about it.

Posted by: Steve at April 12, 2004 09:07 PM

Thanks for your many postings.... and running this blog.
I'm sorry to see such a dedicated teacher leave the academy. What are you future plans?

I encourage your readers to continue the conversation over at Higher Learning. The direct URL for this higher ed career discussion board is:

or visitors can go to and do search for "Higher Learning"

Posted by: Doug at April 16, 2004 06:58 PM

Good luck Invisible Adjunct -- you're making the right choice (about quitting the academy, maybe not blogging ) and now you'll have more time to read those six novels again, I hope.

Posted by: fairest at April 17, 2004 11:27 AM

I've made an "invisible adjunct" channel on the Internet Topic Exchange to allow the conversations to continue. Interested parties can add themselves to the list, it's very easy:

Posted by: Seb at April 26, 2004 04:16 PM

I did not know about the Internet Topic Exchange. Thanks very much!

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at April 26, 2004 07:53 PM

Returning from a brief hiatus, I just caught the news and my heart sank. Really, though, that's silly and a bit selfish. Your weblog has been one of the best around--but it's good news that you're moving on to a better life. I wish you the best I could possibly wish.

Posted by: Turbulent Velvet at April 28, 2004 12:17 PM

Hi - I was given your website by a colleague who was very concerned about the future of higher education and the plight of adjunct professors. I was an adjunct for 5 years and through attrition was able to secure a tenured full-time teaching position in econ at a college far away from NYC. I wish you happiness in your next endeavor. Just to share with you why I have stayed in education - now for 22 years. I did not go into education for money or recognition. I went into it to make a difference and because people, as in your case, said I would make a good teacher. I also suffer and am frustrated by the profession of education. I was told long ago, by a husband and wife anthropologists that in American society the worst college students become teachers. We are one of the few societies that do this. The best American students go into business and in a way this explains why many people suggest that education should be more like business and why professional educators do little to advance education. Now what would happen to our society if the best college students became teachers, and eschewed business? Thank you for making a difference.

Posted by: nnagai at April 28, 2004 03:23 PM

The IA Channel is great!

Thanks, Seb!

Posted by: Rana at April 29, 2004 07:00 PM

That interview you did was interesting.

If you are really leaving academia (and not signing off to hide the fact you got tenure), then identifying your public persona probably wouldn't have much of an impact as the spheres don't intersect much.

And, it would be one last vector at getting a tenure track job.

Again, if you decide on law school, read Atticus Falcon's Planet Law School (though with a large grain of salt). Pick up the second edition through interlibrary loan (my favorite way of getting books) and read the core parts referenced in the front of the book. That will let you skip the parts that are probably too familiar from being an adjunct.

Wish you well whatever you do.

And please do consider copying this entire site to a CD ROM and selling the CD ROM on -- it would make an invaluable reference for kids thinking about graduate school.

Perhaps a book, with the CD as the supplemental stuff (books + CDs are very popular in some areas).

It would be nice to have a "What you should really know before you start graduate school, or why you should bail out with a Masters and go to Law School/Switch to a PhD in Business" sort of book.

Posted by: Steve at April 30, 2004 04:55 AM

"She has the resources for a KICK ASS book. What is she waiting for? She could novelize, or do a straightforward work of cultural *history*..."

Posted by: my mother said this at April 30, 2004 10:05 AM

As a newcomer to the IA blog, I'd like to add some thoughts.

I decided to leave academia several years ago (Ivy ABD), work in NYC in an entry-level position, and then pursue my MBA in finance and accounting with my firm's sponsorship. I now work as a management consultant specializing in operational and technology strategies for the alternative investment community (e.g., private equity, hedge funds, real estate). And I was previously a graduate student in anthropology conducting fieldwork in North Africa and studying classical Arabic!

In my second year in graduate school, our department had an open tenure-track position for which we received 500+ applications. The hiring committee invited graduate student representatives to participate in the selection process, and I was amazed at the overall quality of the applicants. This search took place over nine years ago.

So when I decided to stop writing my dissertation, I didn't need an MBA at the time to know that the academic labor market would never be in equilibrium in my lifetime. As Keynes once remarked: "In the long run we are all dead."

And so the overproduction of PhD's continues. And so universities seek all manner of cost reductions at their expense. And so intelligent, capable members of our society attempt to reconcile their intellectual passions with the interests of a system that has students to teach, degrees to grant, and research to conduct. Business and pleasure are not easily reconciled.

In the U.S., academic institutions are run as businesses, although administrators choose to don scholastic robes when appropriate (i.e., fighting unionization). And they hire when local demand necessitates and budgets permit, and do so at market prices. As one of my economics professors was fond of saying: "You can't repeal the law of supply and demand." Brutal, but accurate.

The level of competition in academia, particularly for desirable positions, is akin to that in many professions nowadays. The overproduction of attorneys is a problem in the legal profession. I know many young lawyers, who, unlike those on television, have worked as contract or temp attorneys in search of a "partner-track" associate position. And remember that grants are rare for J.D.'s, so I suspect that the debt burden for a newly minted attorney is, on average, greater than that for a newly minted PhD.

Talent, competence, and persistence are important, but not sufficient, factors in securing gainful employment in one's chosen profession. IA, I'm sure, possesses these qualities. But chance cannot be tamed.

I harbor no bitterness for the academic world in spite of its wrongheaded practices. I wish that the U.S. placed more emphasis on teaching as a career at all levels (e.g., Finland). And I have no doubt that IA will find interesting and engaging work somehow, somewhere.

It is never "too late" to pursue a new career or interest. The "too late" concept I refer to as the "sunk cost fallacy of academia." In finance, the "sunk cost fallacy" refers to the (incorrect) belief that previously invested capital should be included in the evaluation of the profitability of new projects. In academia, it refers to the notion that because one has spent several years pursuing an advanced degree and perhaps several more searching for a tenure-track position, one should be resigned to one's fate and spend more time in a pursuit that will unlikely come to fruition.

Banish the thought! Past performance is no indicator of future results!

Leaving academia enabled me to a) live where I want, b) support my family, c) pursue my intellectual pursuits independently, d) travel the US and abroad, and e) challenge myself in ways previously unthinkable, such as managing employees, building client relationships, and developing cutting-edge solutions.

A life outside academia can be successful and fulfilling. All the best to IA and to hopeful academics everywhere.

Posted by: Sunyata in Algonquin at April 30, 2004 05:01 PM

Thanks very much for all your thoughtful and wry entries. I followed your blog from about March of 2003 to June. It helped me out in making up my mind about continuing academic life in British Columbia. UBC has a great campus but then again being on a peninsula may be of some other significance.

Best wishes!

Posted by: David Jobson at May 1, 2004 12:11 AM

I'm a bit disappointed that you refused to reveal your identity for the article in the Chronicle. It left me with a sense that while you're obviously a person with genuine abilities, you failed to grab an opportunity when it landed on your head. I'm not saying that this article would have led you straight to the tenure track, but I can't help thinking that something positive could have come of it. I wonder if there were other moments during your career as an "Invisible Adjunct" that opportunities presented themselves that you failed to grab

Posted by: Anon at May 2, 2004 05:54 PM

I hope that you keep this website open and do not close it down - I just found it and would like to read more!

Posted by: at May 4, 2004 03:12 PM

I read the article in the Chronicle and came to read your story. You sound like a wonderful, dedicated teacher I hope you find your new script.
I am a Dean of a Graduate School and I have shared the address of your weblog with our graduate students. I hope you keep it up for a while.

Posted by: Bonnie Holaday at May 5, 2004 05:50 PM

While I haven't been an "adjunct" for 10,000,000 years, I still remember:

1) Adjuncts exist to teach the courses that faculty want to avoid but the college needs taught

2) Grad programs allow faculty to teach the courses they wish to the students they like

3) Faculty perpetuate 1 and 2

What more is there to say (except, why faculty are still called such when sophistry would work as well)?

Life . . . don't talk to me about life . . .

Posted by: anon at May 9, 2004 11:09 PM

Best of luck to you. I came to know about your site from the Boston Sunday Globe. I'd been an adjunct for 10 years before getting out. You can do it. I've been working in the publishing sphere for the past four. If there are any transferable skills I picked up from correcting zillions of papers, they are editing, copyediting and proofreading. (Thinking critically goes without saying.) I became a copyeditor, then senior copyeditor after one year at one company. I left to become a freelance writer. I joined another company to become associate editor, senior associate editor, and now senior editor within two-and-a-half years. I have great benefits, three weeks vacation, health insurance for me and my husband (the irony!), sick days and a good salary and title. Getting out of the adjunct biz was the best choice I ever made. I can own a home, buy new clothes more than once every few years, etc. In other words I don't have to live hand-to-mouth and wonder from semester to semester if I'll even be working. Every weekend is mine to spend as I choose. After 5, I don't work. It's not an easy transition, though. I missed teaching terribly. I missed the students, the sense of purpose, the giving of myself to a greater cause, but I got tired of never having any money, of working for less than my students were making at their security guard jobs. There is life after teaching. Take your transferable skills and make the most of them. These are your prime earning years!

Posted by: at May 10, 2004 03:54 PM

Is this something new in blogging? A blog post that become a permanent message board and even link exchange?

Posted by: PF at May 11, 2004 12:57 AM

I seem to be entering this thing a bit late, but anyway, 3 things:

1. Bronte;

2. Anonymity in the face of growing "fame" is impressive; and,

3. I've heard all the bitching from the inside too, all the contract-and-condition consumed grad students, all qualified and yes, over-qualified -- I guess ultimately it seems like, if their sense of entitlement were ever to be called into question, this whole river of complaint might begin to abate, or at least perhaps it could be directed towards something more useful . . .

Posted by: Teacha at May 11, 2004 11:48 AM

Good luck in your future endeavors.

Posted by: the tall one at May 18, 2004 02:23 PM

Yikes. I've been trying to (slowly but surely) answer all IA-related email. This afternoon I managed to delete the contents of my inbox. Every last email gone. Do I have backups? Uh, no, of course not.

If I haven't yet replied to your email, I am very sorry. I'm going to try to recover the inbox, though this may not be possible. If I humbly petition the tech support guys, can they undelete what I stupidly deleted?

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at May 18, 2004 08:03 PM

Im sorry to hear this. My wife has been in a similer situation and your site is a very important source or information. Please leave the site up and running even if you do not update it. I can refer you to low cost host if necessary.

Posted by: David at May 20, 2004 03:33 PM

Just found you today and you're already gone. Please take up O B's invitation to write for Butterflies & Wheels; and keep this site archived somewhere so I can find out what all these people are so sad about.
Best of luck.

Posted by: fyreflye at May 20, 2004 10:28 PM

I just found you, too, but already miss the blog. I echo the above in hoping you will leave the site up for a time so we can still enjoy and learn from it, even though you will be absent.

Best of luck to you.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 23, 2004 08:57 PM

Dar IA-
I didn't hear about your blog until now, reading the Village Voice article around misery in academentia, and I'm sorry to read that you're high-tailing it for another lifestyle--but I don't blame you.

I'm full-time faculty in English at a community college as I'm still (forever) writing my dissertation. I do enjoy the atmosphere of collegiality at the community college level--we are more teachers than scholars, so we lack the snobbery and competitiveness that is rampant elsewhere.

You may want to consider the community college route. It's much less pressure. I enjoy my students, committee work, colleagues, the whole atmosphere.

Good luck to you!

Posted by: Betsy La Joie at May 24, 2004 06:37 PM

I've only just found this blog, so I'm sorry to see it go. Sorry, too, that the academy (which I'm about to enter as a student) never found a place for you. From what I can see (I hope this archive will be around), you deserve much better.

Good luck!

Posted by: Paige at May 26, 2004 04:35 PM

Please try to keep the blog in the same location, at least. It's somewhat sad that I never got to read you before you closed shop. When you're established outside academia, please let's know who you are - and keep blogging!

By the way, there are jobs you can get based on the fact that you are the mastermind of this weblog.

Posted by: Seun Osewa at May 29, 2004 06:08 PM

Don't let anyone give you trouble about not revealing your identity. It will be fun to have a secret identity for the rest of your life. Years from now, someone at a conference or something will mention the Invisible Adjunct, and you can just smile quietly into your coffee.

Posted by: af at May 30, 2004 12:49 PM

I came too late to this fantastic blog, having only heard about it through a newspaper article.
Question to you all: is an adjunct teacher's union a silly, unrealistic idea?

Posted by: Mark W. at June 10, 2004 07:53 PM