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Stories

Story from Martin Sastri

Favourite part of your job 
Empowering students through teaching.
How has the precarity of your position impacted you 
For me, precarity translates into a kind of permanent impermanence. Even though I come back to work each year, none of my work has any positive impact on my future at the university. Everyone else, it seems, is working towards some kind of future goal: students make progress towards graduation; faculty advance research projects and work for promotions. The work I do helps students and faculty realize their goals, but doesn’t improve my standing in any significant way. It makes me feel like my work is tremendously important, but I myself have no worth. It’s a tough way to live.

Story from Michael Brisbois

Favourite part of your job 
Expanding students’ expectations and experience of writing and literature.
How has the precarity of your position impacted you 
Cyclical unemployment of usually two months a year has affected how my career has progressed. Essentially, I’m not able to do the work I am best at for months at a time. These gaps in employment mean I am not able to contribute to the university as much as I could. The times between teaching contracts compresses my ability to do research, revise courses, and improve as a teacher into an artificially short time.

Story from Sarika Bose

Favourite part of your job 
Intellectual stimulation through conversations with engaged students and with colleagues in all kinds of disciplines across campus; access to research spaces like gardens, museum, theatre and music program presentations.
How has the precarity of your position impacted you 
Financial impact: the secondary salary scale pays me as if I don’t have a terminal degree, expertise or experience, and ignores all the extra service I give to supporting students. Most of what I contribute is not very different in impact on students from the work provided for them by tenured, well-paid faculty, as I not only teach a higher numbers of students, but also voluntarily sit on departmental and university-wide committees that forward the university’s mission to provide formal education and support them in other ways.

Story from Rhiannon Don

Favourite part of your job 
Helping to demystify the university and academic culture. As much as I'm obstensibly teaching writing and research skills, I'm also teaching students how to figure out what their professors actually want, how to read assignments, and how to ask for help.
How has the precarity of your position impacted you 
Being precariously employed has affected pretty much every area of my life. It was a big factor to consider when my husband and I decided we wanted to have children, and it is a big part of why we decided only to have one. Taking time off for maternity and parental leave was a luxury I was lucky to have because my contract is continuing; lots of other contract academic staff run the risk of not being offered future contracts if they take the time off. Now that my daughter is older, my anxiety centers around whether I will get work for the summer term.