Friday, February 4, 2022

Play List for Job Loss: Higher Ed Bad Boyfriend Strikes Again

In some ways, yesterday at work was a normal day, the new normal, where there's construction noise and whimpering animals and people who show up with no notice asking to be let into the server room.  During my lunch break internet ramblings, I found the web site of a woman who used to operate the most amazing fabric store for quilters in all of Broward county, and I ordered some fabric to go with the fabric I bought in January. I'm starting to formulate a vision for my next quilt!  I have dreams of quilt camp.

After lunch, at 2:00, I was on a video call interviewing a candidate for Director of Career Services when our HR person sent a chat through Teams asking if I was available for a quick meeting at 2:45.  I replied "yes" and spent the next half hour wondering what was about to happen.  It occurred to me that I might be let go, but I thought it was more likely that I would get a heads up about someone else being let go.  I thought it was even more likely that I might get an innocuous question.

Nope.  I was let go.   I got off the call, packed a few boxes, then it was on to home and my seminary class that I'm taking on Thursday nights: "Speaking of God in a Secular Age." It was surreal to be taking a class that discussed Catholic and Protestant ideas of grace when one has just been laid off.

It occurs to me that this is not the first time I have experienced a lay off (see this blog post for more details about the last time I was let go from an administrator job).  And like last time, this time was not entirely unexpected.  After all, I spent much of 2021 expecting that the campus would close, and my job would vanish.

But then the campus didn't close, and in fact, the new owners announced expansion plans.  Construction is underway.  Some part of me still expected to be laid off at some point--but it's strange when it actually happens.

On Tuesday, in fact, we had begun to think about plans that might be possible if my job lasted as long as the lease on the condo, until August of 2023.  Even as my spouse was running figures, some part of my heart urged caution.

I have begun to think of Higher Ed as a bad boyfriend, who breaks one's heart again and again, and apologizes profusely, and each time, one thinks it might be different. Not an abusive boyfriend, in that one's face isn't broken and it's not bad enough that one knows to run away. There's potential--one wants it all to be different. But the Higher Education bad boyfriend breaks one's heart in so many ways.

Let me hasten to say that I feel fortunate in so many ways.  Since we spent much of 2021 thinking I would lose my job, we made alternate plans.  I am so grateful to Feb. 2021 Kristin who went ahead and applied for seminary and candidacy.  I am so grateful that we have sold the house.  I am so grateful that I have a vision of an alternate future.

While I will miss many of my colleagues, I am also grateful that someone else will have the task of leading the campus through the accreditation visit in 2 months.  I was not looking forward to many of the changes that were barreling towards us.

I will return to the campus today for a final time to box up books and load up the car.  When the HR person asked if I had any questions, I thought, I have so many questions.  But the one I asked was "I have more personal stuff in my office than I can get home today in my little car.  How do you want me to handle that?"

This morning, after a night of restless sleep, I woke up with a Meat Loaf lyric in my head:  "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you." Thanks Higher Ed Bad Boyfriend! Now listening to Jimmy Buffett's "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On." That man doesn't get enough credit for his skillful lyrics.

This morning's complete play list, minus Meat Loaf:

"Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" by Jimmy Buffett

"Further on Up the Road" by Bruce Springsteen

"I Shall Be Released" by the Band

"The Wanderer" by Johnny Cash and U2

"Midnight Rider" by the Allman Brothers

"After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young

"Surrender" by U2

"Straight Lines" by Suzanne Vega

"Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones


Knott Here said...

Not the usual journey but it sure is much more exciting in my experience. Wishing you all good things.

Kathleen said...

I'm so sorry! And also so glad you have those things to be grateful for, and that you feel that gratitude. You are an amazing person.