Thursday, January 31, 2008

How the West Was Won and Where it Got Us

With apologies to Michael Stipe.

I would love to go into all the details of the story in which you are about to read, but I can't. I can't because they would easily identify me for who I am (not that that is really difficult, but still). They are also not public knowledge and, if they were, local media affiliates here and back home would make them press fodder. They aren't big stories mind you, but they would get a couple of days of media coverage and fade off the papers in favor of Anna Nicole Smith's baby's potty training and Lindsay Lohan's latest embarrassing nipple slip.

I have come to the realization that hard work will get you nowhere in life. I am sure that at least one other blogmember has figured that out, but I wanted to share with you why I found this to be the case. I have a job that I am very happy with but doesn't pay what I deserve. It isn't an entitlement thing, it is a standard payscale issue and everyone agrees that I don't earn enough. My direct supervisor's supervisor (who hired me) even agreed and freed up some additional resources for my development when he absolutely did not have to.

I am also taken care of fairly well at my job. I am surrounded by mostly good people. The ones who are not good are more annoying than bad. I have the opportunity to use my skill sets and my degree in ways that are beneficial to others around me. Thus far this year I have written letters of rec for 4 internships, 5 graduate schools, 10 law schools, and I have more letters to write in the coming weeks. Most of those students will go on to succeed in what they want to do. One girl is an absolute superstar and has already received offers for full-rides at major law schools in the top 20 rankings. Another girl is going to be a great classroom instructor at a high school somewhere. In short, I am serving a purpose and I'm doing ok.

Except for today.

Today, I have been told that due to budget cuts (and not anything I have done) I am no longer going to be employed as of June 30th. My supervisor's supervisor is trying to find a way to re-allocate resources for me, but told me in all frankness that it didn't look promising. I have played every political connection I have (and that is actually quite a few believe it or not) and chances are something will happen. I'm not totally up the creek, but the water is moving faster.

You may ask why hard work doesn't pay off. Budget cuts can happen to everyone. Well, because at the same time that I am down here struggling to make ends meet and to be kept on for the next fiscal cycle so I can continue to be underpaid by 25% of what a comparable person makes, I found out some news.

At a school that I used to be affiliated with (where I actually taught Rev. Josh in a class) they are unable to hire me. They are unable, because they have no lines to hire anyone because the President of said university has allocated those lines to programs designed to correct social wrongs to some people. They have hired an individual to teach in my field who has yet to write a page on their dissertation and has just completed their coursework for their doctorate. In other words, they have yet to earn a doctorate but have a full-time, permanent line teaching because of something that neither they nor anyone else have absolutely any control over. I don't want to go into details on the schools, but my degree (which I have actually finished) is bigger than theirs. I work and scramble and bust my ass to help people - I get budget cut. This person works for a bit at a vastly inferior institution - gets a full-time job.

I don't know how to redress this situation, but I have made some calls. Something may come up. I didn't know when I was graduating as a shy fat kid that I would actually turn out to have significant networking and social skills, but I'm very glad that I do. We'll see now if those will complement my hard work and actually keep me clothed and fed in the coming year.

For those of you who are religious (and those of you who are not) say a prayer for me that this all works out.

Yet, due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, this person


Nate said...

Man, I had a response written out and blooger ate it before it could get posted.

The fine points:

1) I'm sending my positive energy and good thoughts your way, dude.

2) I related my tale of nigh-termination when I worked in VA. I got hired in SC on August 2002, and was informed by a work friend that, had I still been employed there in October 2002, I'd have gotten laid off. And that was a shitty feeling; I can't imagine how it would have felt had the situation been different.

Ron said...

The worst part is the part I had to leave out. My current school just flipped a six figure salary to pay for a current member of the state legislature to teach a very, very light teaching load in a department. I thought that such out and out bribery would be illegal, but oh well.

Jake Palumbo said...

Daaaaaamn, homie. I would go into how and why all that sucks, but you just did in great detail and don't need me to explain this stuff. That's fucked.

I do pray (bad habit I picked up after years of drug use), so I will certainly include you in there. And I'm sure "ray-of-sunshine-positivity" is not wanted in this case, after having scarfed down a Shit Sandwich like that, but you never know when being kicked in the balls is going to manifest itself as a blessing in disguise. Cause those types of blessings are usually disguised as being kicked in the balls, which makes one scream in pain, rather than saying "Oh what a blessing."

At least keep telling yourself that while you purchase a Mac 11 online and go after the Department of Education. That sucks, my dude.

Rev. Joshua said...

See, that's why I never work hard.

If you need ideas for how to kill time while unemployed, I've got a few:

Catch up on a TV show (I watched 80% of Scrubs over a two week period earlier this month)
Install Linux in dual-boot mode on your PC or laptop

I'd imagine that your doctorate will come in handy at some point, so I wouldn't worry too much. But good luck nonetheless. (Also, compromising photos of the university president would help your cause. Hire a private investigator.)

Ron said...

Prayers work. One of the big time political connections pulled some big time political strings at the institution that 4 of the 5 blog members have in common. Might have an interview with someone a bit higher up than department chair.

Remember all those newspaper columns I wrote back then? Yeah....that guy.