Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't get too comfortable!

"Life is what happens while you're making other plans"

In the past few months it has become increasingly clear that it doesn't matter how intelligent, well-educated, eloquent, good-looking, industrious, or down-trodden you are.  None of those things matter in an economic crisis.  You can do all the right things and you may still fall victim to the budgetary axe.

What can you do if you find yourself in this situation?  You have a right to ask questions, but you may not get straight answers.  You can argue that a mistake has been made, while the rest of your co-workers are inventing reasons to explain why you were cut and they are allowed to stay.  You can shout about the unfairness of it all, but very few people will listen, and even fewer will take up your cause.  You can curl up in a fetal position and whine "why me?"  but after a while you're bound to get a cramp.

My colleagues and I know these feelings all too well, having been fired on August 27.  We have done everything we could to understand why this has happened to us.  We have met numerous times with soulless administrators.  We have endured the distance and apathy of our colleagues.  We have sometimes retreated into our shells to make sense of it all.

We all do what we need to do to come to terms with misfortune, whether it's a death, a divorce, or the loss of one's job.  But eventually you have to move on.

The lesson of this story:  Don't get too comfortable.  Relish your job, your marriage, your life.  Do your best, but always be aware that your circumstances may change.  Always have a back-up plan.

Sit down tonight, and answer the question "What would I do if I got fired tomorrow?"  And if you are in the uncomfortable position of being unemployed, ask yourself, "What do I have to do to make this situation better?"  Life-changing events like these test our mettle, but also open up opportunities that we never dreamed possible.

If you're interested in becoming part of an online community of mutual encouragement, or just want to cheer us on, please leave a message in the comments. We're all in this together!


  1. someone like you deserves the best in life. i hope things start looking up for you soon.

  2. I came to you from this blog:

    I want you to know that educators like you are the ones who make the greatest impact. My college Latin professor taught a third year of Latin for free just so we could have another year even when the school wouldn't pay her for it. She hand wrote me a three page letter giving me guidance when I was a senior in college and had relationship drama and didn't know what to do with the rest of my life. She helped me get my first job. She invited me over and made me delicious food and listened to me cry and worry my first year out of college about navigating through my first year of teaching (Latin, of all things!) and long distance with my boyfriend. She knew me not only as a student but as a person. She has become not only a mentor but a dear friend. She is the only college professor I had that I keep in touch with regularly. She has battled the foreign language department and administrators at my Alma Mater to keep Latin alive, and I know that one day, if they cut the department, she would find a way to keep Latin alive somewhere else (after she had exhausted all other options at the university). Don't quit trying and don't quit inspiring people. We need more professors like you.

  3. Thanks for your support, squirrel and medicalwife! It's been a tough semester and we've all been responding in different ways. My goal is to return to teaching (perhaps sooner than later) but in the meantime I'm gearing up to be a tax preparer come January.