I am leaving CollegeIworkAt. No, I didn't get fired for impregnating anyone or something like that. I am leaving on my own accord. I resigned last week after a long and (honestly) pretty tough last couple of months deciding where I was going.
Let me begin by saying that much of my unwillingness to blog has been because what has been on my mind revolves around my current work who knows that I keep a blog. So, I have been unwilling to really share because it could have gotten me fired. Starting about a year ago I found myself very unsatisfied with my work. Don't get me wrong, I really like the students I work with and who work for me. They are in fact, the reason I stayed so long. I found that I was enjoying the work less and less, thanks to the insane growth at CollegeIworkAt. Every year it was more and more work with no money and not even a new title. I mean how hard is a new title? Throw your employees a bone if you aren't going to give them more money. Anyway, I wanted out. Situation came to a head back in September 2007 when a friend who works for Uncle Sam told me that there were some openings in his directorate and that he was in good with his bosses, etc, etc. I applied for the job, jumped through a bunch of hoops and received a bunch of good feedback for the first time applying for a federal job. (I had applied for federal jobs for about 2 years to no avail) According to the government hiring website, I had been selected. All I had to do was fill out this extensive questionnaire and the next step would be to bring me in for an interview at which point I would be pretty much in the door. When this news came through, I was on my way to a college fair in Northern VA. I said to myself, I should probably do this immediately but I've got to run so I will do it when I get back - after all - the email said I had a week to complete it. When I got back from the college fair, there was a new email from the federal hiring people saying that the position had been cancelled. Cancelled. I was , as you, dear reader could have guessed, quite despondent.
I returned home to Timonium and started to rethink my motivation for trying to find a new job. I found that I wanted out because I was angry. I wanted out because I didn't like some people and the direction CollegeIworkAt was going. That's not a good reason to leave. I decided that working for the feds was just not in the cards. I did a lot of soul searching and decided that I was doing good work, I enjoyed being close to my friends and family and I loved being here in Baltimore. I was at peace. Still making peanuts for salary but at peace with myself and my life.
Fast forward to February 2008. Out of the blue, I get an email from the feds asking me to do some online questionnaires. Haven't I been down this road before? Didn't I spend a ton of emotional and psychological capital getting my life in order? What the hell?, thought I. This time around it wasn't just one online questionnaire it was about a dozen. Each one was so long it took about 30 minutes to do each one. So that was that. Fast forward to late February. I get a call out of the blue asking me to the feds for an interview. I have mixed emotions because after all, they burned me once before - badly. So I went up for the interview which was about as standard as can be. About a week later - first week of March or so they called me while at work as offered me a job. Whoa. "How long do I have to tell you my decision" I asked. "I am authorized to give you up to 48 hours". Ouch. Not only was I eyes deep in application season but I honestly hadn't thought they would offer me a job. So I turned them down. I know what you're thinking - you IDIOT - right? Well like I said I had made peace with my life and I just couldn't leave CollegeIworkAt. I was too deep into the season and they needed me. So I thought that was that. All things being equal, it would have been.
Fast forward to April. I get another call out of the blue- the feds again ( I thought I told you to take your jobs and shove it!?) offering me a job. This time - I decided to take it. Long story short - there was a ton of paperwork that had to clear security-wise before the offer was official and I could notify CollegeIworkAt. So last week everything cleared and I gave notice to the boss. Needless to say this was hard. I've been there for four years and I've made some good friends and I am really proud of the lives I've changed. Even the small things stick in my mind. Whether it was recommending a book or a class to a student or suggesting that showing up drunk to an exam might not be a good idea, I've enjoyed the last four years. I will miss my students the most. I feel bad that they have all left for the summer so I will try and do something for them.
So why did I take this new job? Well to be quite honest - CollegeIworkAt has moved to a new pay scale system that doesn't even guarantee minimal cost of living increases. When you work for a non profit and make peanuts to begin with , that 3% is pretty critical. Knowing the department and the college as a whole like I do, I can tell you exactly what was coming and it wasn't pretty. Cheap, yes. Also, I've really hit the glass ceiling there. I've advanced in the ranks and taken on tons more responsibility but the honest truth was that short of the top end of the department quitting tomorrow, I would be doing my job forever. The feds don't pay like the private sector but they offered me more money and guaranteed raises for the next couple of years. Yeap. So what's the catch? Why the melancholy?
I have to move to New Jersey for at least a year, likely two. I still haven't come to terms with this. Baltimore is my home. It always will be. My family is here. My friends are here. My hear it is here and it always will be. College was one thing - it involved huge chunks of time that I could spend here so in essence I never really left. Work, however will keep me away from Baltimore for most of the time. I plan on being here weekends to visit my family and friends but well - yeah. I will miss it terribly. It's home. I will be moving back when the installation I will be working at closes and the operation comes Maryland but until then I will be in Babylonian exile. I95 lead me back to the promised land. I will be checking out of Timonium on June 7. I will keep you all (I know all 4 of you who read this) informed as to any going away parties or some such.
More to follow...