It was November 2012 and I was becoming desperate. I was in charge of organizing a panel for the Middle Eastern Studies Association annual conference, but panelists kept dropping out, forcing me to scramble and find last-second replacements. This was against the backdrop of juggling multiple part-time jobs. My wife and I were both teaching English to supplement my meager PhD stipend. We could barely teach enough to pay our bills. Whoever wasn’t working was looking after our 10-month-old. I was falling behind in my dissertation because I didn’t have enough time to research while simultaneously teaching hours of English lessons a day.
Fast forward six months. I was no longer teaching any English lessons but earning more than ever. I could take an unfunded research trip to Europe without worrying too much about expenses. We were even planning a two-week vacation in August. I would continue to earn money from my new job even though I wasn’t working. [Read more…]