We've had some tense discussions about adjuncts this week. Personally, I was devastated to learn that my PhD and years of experience were only worth about $3 an hour on the local market. I want to broaden the discussion. The move towards hiring temp workers is bigger than just academia.
Steve was downsized from his permanent position at a Wall Street firm last fall, along with thousands of other workers. At some point, I'll talk about that stressful period of time, but not yet.
Now, he works for a very, pleasant firm in Connecticut. The commute is about the same, but now he drives for an hour, instead of taking the bus. (One car accident, so far. Ugh.) It's a much less intense workplace, so he's not walking around with bucket-loads of tension all the time. He's also a consultant, rather than a permanent employee.
For the most part, that's fine. The weekly paycheck is about the same as he made before. Even though it's not a permanent position, it's about as permanent as any job is these days. The only downside with this arrangement is the benefits. We're researching health insurance right now. Apparently, if you incorporate yourself, you can get access to cheaper health care programs. There aren't paid vacation days. We have to figure out our own 401K program.
So, from our perspective, there are pros and cons. From the business perspective, there are only pros with the move towards hiring consultants over permanent employees. In the banking industry, there are so many unemployed workers, they can easily find people to take benefit-less jobs. I'm also hearing anecdotal stories about this movement from friends in law and publishing.
Are consultants and freelancers and adjuncts the wave of the future?