Support your local broke adjunct!

I hate to have to post this again, especially since I know there are a lot of people in far worse situations, but here goes. Starting this Monday (1/28) I'm teaching six classes this semester at three different colleges, for which we get paid monthly. Due to a paperwork error, I recently found out that I'm probably not getting paid until late February (rather than earlier in the month like I was supposed to).

As an adjunct who is hired on a semester basis, I'm eligible for unemployment for the weeks I didn't work over winter break, but they've taken so long to get back to me that I likely won't get it until after I get my first paycheck of the semester. I also do delivery driving for Grubhub during breaks as well as various freelance editing/web development, but will have very little time to do any of this once the semester starts.

Even without this I'd have been able to cover the month and a half of no work, except for some unexpected expenses that happened right before the new year...my car got a flat tire and when we took it in to replace it, we found out that the car needed several hundred dollars' worth of additional repairs, and an optometrist appointment to get new glasses and contacts (my first in almost six years) that turned out to cost almost $400, even though I have vision insurance through Covered CA. In the meantime, I need to pay bills (health insurance, car insurance, etc.) and buy gas to get back and forth to work, to avoid letting this brief delay in finances turn into something worse. Any help is appreciated...thanks in advance!

*****

Hello! I'm a PhD student and adjunct instructor in anthropology in the San Diego area. Most semesters, I teach 4-6 classes across 2-3 colleges. It's a lot of commuting, schedule and income are unpredictable semester to semester, and I don't qualify for most benefits like health insurance (generally requires having a certain course load for a certain number of semesters), but typically this provides me with enough income to get by while I'm finishing my dissertation and looking for something more permanent. Due to an overall decrease in enrollments and fewer classes being offered, however, summer 2018 has been the first time in five years that I wasn't assigned any classes. Part-time instructors like myself generally qualify for unemployment over summer breaks (since classes can be canceled for a variety of reasons, it's not considered reasonable assurance of employment in CA). I've also been driving for Grubhub over the summer. Even so, having very little income for three months means I've had to use up the little savings I had and to put necessities like groceries and gas on my credit cards. At the same time, my partner (also a grad student working part-time) had about a month where he wasn't getting any work. I've been trying to get freelance and part-time work in editing and user experience research, but with a primarily academic background it's hard to convince potential employers/clients that I actually do have relevant knowledge and experience. I'm also trying to make time to finish my dissertation, which has been difficult while I'm trying to find any way I can to make a living. I've been putting off paying several medical bills, my income taxes from this year, and some necessary professional expenses in order to keep up with more immediate necessities like rent and health/car insurance, planning on catching up on these once the semester started. However, I just found out that one of the classes I was supposed to teach this fall was canceled due to low enrollment, so even paying for necessities will be difficult now. (Although it's not likely, it's possible I could have more classes canceled before the semester starts, because again, it's contingent on enrollment and a lot of other things.) I start classes at the end of August (upon which I will most likely no longer qualify for unemployment), but because our paychecks are monthly, I won't be paid for most of them until mid- to late September...in the meantime, my rent, car insurance, health insurance, and other bills are due, and I also need things like groceries and gas. I had been counting on income from some work I did back in May and June to make up the difference, but I still haven't been paid for this and I'm not sure when I will be. Assuming nothing else gets canceled and there are no other unexpected expenses, I should be (hopefully) OK once I start getting paid. Until then, I'm not sure what else to do. Any help is appreciated...thanks in advance!
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Erica Fontana 
Organizer
San Diego, CA
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