There are quite a few questions I didn't ask before I became an adjunct.
First, when I started in January 2012, I didn't realize that I wouldn't receive my first paycheck until the end of February and that I would only receive payments for February, March, and April. Secondly, I didn't realize that adjunct payments break down the way they do. For example, adjuncts are typically paid a certain amount of money (the low end is usually $550) per credit hour. So, if you teach a 3 credit hour course, which we typically do, you will earn, on the low end, $1650 before taxes. For the entire course over the semester. I thought that the payment per credit hour meant that if you taught a 3 credit hour course you were paid, if we use the $550/credit hour example, $1650 per paycheck. Nope. You're paid three installments of $550.
I didn't ask. I didn't know.
Going from a position as a graduate teaching assistant to adjunct was a weird transition in a way. I no longer had weekly or bi-weekly meetings with a mentor, I no longer received 30 e-mail reminders about forms and deadlines and workshops (oh my!). I don't have to make an appointment with the adviser before making decisions. No one has been holding my hand and I feel a little scared about doing this all by myself. (Is this what it's like to be an adult?) In a way, I feel a disconnect with the department, a disconnect I have been able to remedy as a support secretary. Perhaps because it's my first semester, and I don't have to share the adjunct office because I use my secretary desk as my center of operations, I don't feel the cameraderie with them that I felt with the GTAs. Perhaps it's because I haven't made more of an effort to immerse myself in their world, or it's because we adjuncts aren't taking the same courses, forming study groups and get-togethers to unwind. At least, I'm not.
I don't ask. I don't know.