Inside Higher Ed recently posted an article entitled, “Our Divided FTE Lives.” Joshua Kim, the author of the article, has noticed a trend in the higher ed labor market:
“More people are doing more jobs. Folks are dividing their time between .2 FTE for 1 gig (1 day a week), .6 FTE for another role (3 days), and the remaining .2 FTE for yet another role. Sometimes the job splitting is official, bureaucratic, and organizational. More often, however, the chopped up FTE’s of higher ed professionals are driven by opportunity and need. A grant becomes available here, a director gig there, a consultant role over at that place.”
As much as this bundling of jobs can be good, providing fascinating and interesting opportunities, Kim expresses concern: he’s “wondering about the cost of our divided FTE lives.”
I encourage you to read the article to understand a bit more about what life looks like for many academics today in North America.
As an aside: In the Netherlands, the separation of work into FTE has existed for years in the biblical/theology sector (grant funding being a significant factor in this). However, the cost of this has been mediated by a different and somewhat uniquely Dutch phenomenon: an openness to working less than full-time. This is true of both male and females, although more so of females, whether single or married, with or without children, both within and outside of academia. A healthy work/life balance, of importance to many Dutch, is generally more achievable at 0.5-0.7 FTE than it is at 1.0 FTE.