The Advantages of Being a Casual Academic

‘The Conversation’ recently published an article outlining the benefits of the increased casualisation of university teaching staff. While we loved the article, we felt the authors didn’t truly capture all of the advantages of being a casual academic. In the spirit of the Guerrila Girls (and their germinal list ‘The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist’), we present: The Advantages of Being a Casual Academic.

  1. Enjoying perfect health because if you don’t have sick leave, you don’t get sick!

  2. Not needing to apply for maternity or paternity leave because you don’t have any.

  3. Not needing to request holiday leave either; it’s never more than 12 weeks away.

  4. Not having to go to department meetings and make decisions that affect your employment.

  5. Not being distracted by citation alerts because you didn’t get named on the paper.

  6. Not stressing over the holidays about the courses you’re teaching because you don’t know what you’re teaching until a week before semester starts.

  7. You love a good countdown. You used to get a contract for thirteen weeks, then twelve, now eleven.

  8. Enjoying the challenge of teaching courses that ongoing staff members pretend don’t exist.

  9. Identifying with students through your own precarious circumstances.

  10. Getting to know students on a more personal level, as they contact you 24/7 through social media platforms … because you don’t have an office, a phone number, or a staff profile.

  11. Contributing to workplace diversity through your minority status.

  12. Developing thick skin! After years of reading gendered, racialised and homophobic anonymous student feedback that your employment relies on, you are impervious to minor projectiles.

  13. Flexibility! You can set your own hours for all seven of your jobs.

  14. Being on a first-name basis with security, so you can access the printer.

  15. Not needing to worry about workload points because most of what you do is unpaid labour.

  16. Being reassured that your unpaid labour doesn’t go unnoticed.

  17. Developing counselling skills as you listen to ongoing staff complain about how hard their jobs are and how little they’re paid.

  18. Seeing your painstaking research and hard-written lectures live on in the careers of your supervisor and other tenured academics.

  19. Not worrying about whether your super is being invested in unethical industries because your meagre balance has been eaten by fees.

  20. Not being stuck in a tenured teaching position.