Esther Merves on Regrouping and Coping

By Karen Loew

Published May 21, 2013, issue of May 31, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Esther Merves, 54
Springfield, Va.

Job: Adjunct professor at George Washington University and standardized medical patient, both part time

Esther Merves
Bob S. Malone
Esther Merves

Previously: Full-time staff research scientist at GWU

A doctor of sociology, Merves was laid off from her full-time position several years ago. After fruitlessly searching for another fulfilling full-time job, she is “still in the process of regrouping.”

Desired position: “I would like to obtain enough standardized patient work [acting as a patient for medical students] to support myself, or find a position doing social work, which was my undergrad degree. I’m probably an anomaly, because I’m not looking to climb. I’m looking for the quality of the workplace and the mission.”

Financial effects: “I’m a contract worker. It’s not secure and it’s typically without benefits. I realized I was going to run out of money. I left my apartment in D.C. and moved in with a friend. Having several part-time jobs is stressful, and the commute is long and expensive. I’m trying to find a way to live on less so that I don’t have to spend my life working in order to live.”

Politics: “I have a lot of experience, but I’m competing with people who may be younger than I am and faster at using Excel and so forth. I’m the volunteer director of research for the New Faculty Majority Foundation, which advocates for adjuncts nationwide. I think the retirement age should be lowered. I’m too young for Medicare. You should be eligible to draw on IRAs and retirement funds at 55.”

Reflections: “You realize that your identity is not necessarily tied to a place or a thing, but it’s always inside you. I think some of that just comes from being older. But I will not have achieved my parents’ standard of living — and neither of my parents was able to complete high school.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.