Sunday, August 30, 2009

Balls? Balls! One Proffie's Terrible Paycheck Realization.

At the state uni where I teach, part-timers and work study student get paychecks in distinctive colored envelopes. I don't know when or why this started this way, but they get generated in some massive office somewhere and distributed through campus mail. It's an imperfect system, of course, and in the three years I've been a part-timer here, I've gotten the wrong envelope a couple of times. I see the wrong name, stick it back in the mail, and wait for mine to come back around to me.

Well this semester I have a student with the same last name, someone who I actually see once a week or so at one of our fitness rooms. I won't tell you what our real names are, but let's say her name is Cindy Monahan, and my name is Celia Monahan. As a Fitness Room "assistant," Cindy sits behind a counter, plays Sudoku and Farm Town on the computer, hands out those giant fitness balls to the braver exercisers, scoops up towels occasionally. Mostly she seems to talk on her phone and watch one of the giant TVs hanging from the ceiling.

I teach 2 classes a semester here because there's a huge pool of available PhDs and many of them have a lot more seniority than I do. Of course full timers here teach 2-2, just like me, but that's another story.

So I get my first semester paycheck, and I open it up and the first thing I see is the SS# is wrong. And of course I see the first name is Cindy and not Celia. I've got my student's paycheck. Not a big deal, right?

Anyway, on a hunch I take her paycheck to class and ask her if she maybe got mine by mistake. She pulls the envelope out of her backpack and walks up to the front of the room. I see it's torn open and when we switch envelopes she says (too loudly), "Dr.'s so weird. I make almost the same amount as you!"

I look at hers, which she's holding up: $510.00 gross for the first two weeks, $12.75 an hour! I look down at mine: two classes at $2100 a class over 8 pay periods = $525 gross.

I make $7.50 more a week than my student, who spends 20 hours a week handing out BALLS! She spends her time with her feet up in a fitness room (with free fruit juice, Internet, cable, phone, and extremely limited duties). And meanwhile I'm prepping and reading and grading and lecturing, and I have a kid and a student loan, and a Ph.D.

Do you think the college would have a problem with me applying for that fitness room job next year?