|Cows from Vox Europe. Salad Days are Coming.|
It’s near the end of an academic year, and we recently had a Unit Meeting. There were a lot of announcements: people moving away to new opportunities, people coming in or getting promoted, a new boss, etc. These are big changes, but the thing that had a big effect was when the Second-In-Command gave his work load projections not just for the coming term or year but for the next few years.
The SIC hands out the work assignments. He tries his best to give everyone their fair share, but this time, he said that there were a lot of things that are out of his reach. For one, the course that is usually shared with other units is now much more sought after—even departments who don’t usually want them now fight for them. “That’s how you know the lean years are here,” he said. Then he gave us this chart looking at enrollment and course demand spread over 3++ years.
The effect of the K-12 transition in education is now going to be felt fully. Sure, we had these two years where a sizeable bulk of our workload was from Senior High. This first batch is now moving on to higher education, but there won’t be enough of them for the next few years. Which means that this coming year onwards, from a work load of 12 units, we are only expecting half, or 6 units. “That’s optimistic,” said one unit head. “Realistically, expect just 3 units.”
Twelve units is enough for a decent, not lavish living. It’s half of a two-person household if you have a spouse and kid/s. For a single person, twelve units is decent enough—if you don’t Grab and go out for meals all the time. It’s why I decided I could let go of that other place of employment. Six units is pushing it—that would put us barely past minimum wage. I don’t pay rent, but I have bills. My transportation is relatively minimal. I guess I can work on a side hustle. (Whoever said that we could have a decent living for Php10k is nuts.) I know the Unit is trying to keep everyone employed, and that means spreading the work so that all of us could have work. We get paid by the hour. If we go from 12 hours to 3 hours, how will that even cover the basics like bills, transportation and food.
Our unit is relatively large by comparison, since we handle a lot of Everyone-Is-Required courses. Lets say there’s ~25 Part Time People and ~9 Full Timers. Full Timers are expected to carry a full load, and they are the priority. What’s left will be what’s divided between the Part Timers. Even if you gave all the PTs just a course each, that still means 25 classes are required to keep the population intact. For this reason, we are being encouraged to apply for grants and other things. In the almost sure scenario that we won’t be getting a decent amount of work. That could be manageable for a year. But 3 years? How could we survive?
|Hoping for rain. But not the torrential Ondoy kind.|
Later that week, finally had some time to catch up with workmates. Something we rarely do now. But since all of us were there, we had dinner. Of course, the topic was the Lean Years. Just a couple of days before that, my cube mate and I were talking about Life Plans. Are we going for advanced degrees? What kind and where? Or are we going to explore Other Things not related to Education.
Then this was announced. It seemed like all the signs are pointing to getting out of here. I don’t know yet what the next step will be. But it seems like there’s a high probability that a lot of us won’t be sticking around for long.