King (or Queen) of Contingency: Work Histories in Post-Fordist Economies

It has been a busy few weeks here. I am still wrapping up the most demanding course I ever taught. I applied for a couple of jobs, interviewed for an internship, did not get the internship, but was then offered a very short-term and somewhat intense sub-contracting non-academic research position with a consulting agency.  Despite my reservations about the time frame and deadline (I started this intense job during the last week of the semester and will have to have it completed a few days after grading finals) I decided to accept it because it is an interesting project/topic and I thought it would make a good addition to my resume during this time of transition.  I also thought that it was a good opportunity to “test” a potential new career.  (More on this topic in a future post.)

Being offered this position got me thinking about my work history.  Since graduating with my Bachelor’s degree, I have only worked at two jobs that were “permanent.”  By “permanent,” I mean that the job was not listed as seasonal, temporary, limited grant funded, or contingent.  These two positions were filing medical records (as unbelievably boring as it sounds) and working at a historic movie theater (a surprisingly fun, “cool” job that let me get my grad school homework done).  This summarizes over twenty years of my employment history in which I have worked in approximately twenty-five positions both in an out of academe.  And fitting this pattern, my first post-ac employment is contract work.  I appreciate the opportunity, but at the same time I feel like contingent royalty.


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