Editor’s note: This column will appear regularly in The Chronicle, roughly around the third Wednesday of the month.
I’m gonna level with you: I’m writing this because I need $150 this month.
Here’s the situation: My Lovely Wife is a dirty rotten greedy school teacher. In order to teach her (and her cohort) a valuable lesson, the state – on your behalf – is giving no cost-of-living wage increases for the foreseeable future, moving no one up in seniority for at least two years  (thus stalling everyone’s progress toward tenure, which the legislature is hot on killing anyway), and forcing teachers to cover an additional ten percent of their healthcare costs.
In our case, as a family of three (with one more on the way – more on that below), this means that her pay is going down $150 per month and her benefits being decreased, even as her workload increases.
That’s because staff has been cut to the bone – example: last week she worked a 14-hour day with one brief break. That’s not “8 hours, plus commute, plus grading while sitting on the sofa at home, rounded up.” She worked 14 hours in the school building in almost constant contact with students, staff, or parents.
Fortunately for us, while my Better Portion has a fixed wage (she being on an annual contract), I’m a freelancer; if her salary takes a hit or our expenses pop up, I hustle for more work to close the gap. Over the past four years, almost all increases in our expenses have been covered by expansions in my hustle, because, you know, she’s a dirty rotten lazy school teacher and needs to be put in her place.
When presented with this $150 gap, I contacted the publishers of This Fair Periodical of Note.