I received the contract in the mail for the new job, followed a day later by a packet from human resources.
Reading it all has really made this hit home, shown me just how risky what I'm doing is.
I have a pretty solid job where I am, after nearly five years here. And the work I do, while I do it relatively unnoticed, is vital to the university. In fact, they'd get fined tens of thousands of dollars by the state and the feds if I didn't complete the appropriate reports and turn them in on time.
I'm the only one at the uni who knows how to do these reports. And while there are those outside the uni who know how to do it, I am relatively job secure these days. Yes, I know that most employment is 'at will' and I could be gone in a moment, but it's not bloody likely.
But now, I'm embarking on a new position at a uni where my contract has to be renewed every year until I have tenure -- which is seven years away.
I have no job security, and even something like student evaluations of my teaching could be enough to keep me from hired back the following year. And while I'd have some notice and would get to finish the contract year, what uni will hire me if I don't work out at this one?
I'd wind up having to go into a new line of work, and back to teaching as an adjunct, if I can get a gig.
It's a particularly scary, risky proposition, what I'm doing. Especially at my age.