I have been an adjunct in the City University system for 12 years. I have taught mainly at City Tech but in the last 2 years have taught a class each semester at BMCC. I never know until a few weeks before school begins if I have classes or not. It doesn't give me enough time to try to locate another class elsewhere. I depend on my income from these classes and it is terribly stressful to try to cobble together work at the "eleventh hour." I also depend on enough hours to qualify for the adjunct health insurance.
I have a good relationship with my dept. chair and colleagues, but when given a class I have never taught before, it makes it difficult to prepare my syllabus quickly and feel comfortable teaching new material. Until the last few years I had a comfortable freelance business which has all but disappeared so my income from teaching is essential. I always hope to get firm assignments well before the start of a new semester to give me time to approach other schools. There are few alternatives given the fact that schools are happy to hire more and younger adjuncts than hire full-time faculty.