Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

Guilt Reigns

I had been struggling with the decision of whether or not to leave my current job for the past month or so. There are many reasons why I have been considering this. Some are personal, others are job-related, but mostly because other opportunities have presented themselves.

I have signed on to teach at both the university (first-year astronomy course) and the college (first-year math), and both start in January. I will also be volunteering with a high-school physics teacher. These are great opportunities to investigate more options in the field of education, and I just couldn’t pass them up.

So, even though I have many, MANY, good (even excellent!) reasons to leave my current job, I still feel THE GUILT!

“But I’m leaving right in the MIDDLE of the term!”

“Are they going to be able to find a replacement for me?”

“Is the student going to be negatively impacted because of me?”

and don’t forget the favourite:

“Everyone is going to think I’m AWFUL!”

I spoke to numerous people about this decision, both inside and outside education, at different points in their careers, and asked their advice. One central theme was that the only person who will look out for me is myself.  And if there’s one thing in the time since my stroke is I need to look out for myself.

So, yes, the guilt is there, but it will lesson with time (isn’t time amazing for things like that?). And, come January with all of its new starts, the excitement will overtake those feelings. I’m already getting excited!

When 1 Thing Sucks, it All Sucks.

I was never warned of so many things about adult life. Why isn’t there some kind of handbook or something given out when we become adults (I don’t give an age, because that clearly happens at VERY different ages for different people)?

One thing I’ve learned, mostly in the past 5-ish years since E was born, is that even though if most things in life are good, everything sucks if one BIG thing sucks. Major stress in one aspect of life really overflows into every other aspect.

Right now, not having a job, and looking for one, SUCKS. I am stressed about working (or not working), when that will happen, IF it will happen, if I should hold out for a teaching job (and if so, then how long) or if I should try to find something else. But, finding SOMETHING just ANYTHING doesn’t feel good to me either.

Of course, one big overflow stress related to (no) job stress is money stress. Thankfully DH makes enough to cover our expenses. But, we DO have to watch what we’re spending, and can only have C in daycare part time, and E only in before school care come September. We can’t move forward with any of our plans that involve money. We’re just at a standstill, which is super frustrating.

Putting those together, I just feel like an unproductive member of our family and our community. I’m a person who NEEDS to work. It gives me much needed definition and purpose in my life, and I know I’m much happier when I’m working.

And me not being happy certainly overflows over into the rest of my life. I don’t seem to find enjoyment in much these days, because the no-job/lack-of-money thing overshadows it all. I’m lesson patient and loving with my family, and can barely enjoy my hobbies that have always brought me joy.

The worst part is I get jealous to the point of not being happy for people who ARE having a good time in life. I just can’t right now because there is no foreseeable end to this suckiness that is a job-hunt.

I know I should have expected this when I decided to go down the long path of switching careers to become a teacher in this province, but it still SUCKS.

Still Upset

I’m still upset about how my work situation was handled before I went on maternity leave* back in September.

I have not written about it much yet, but it’s still bothering me, 9 months later. So, here’s the story.

Basically what happened is that I was going to cut my contract on Sept. 13th to go on “leave” (not really a leave, since I was on contract, and would have no guaranteed job to go back to). I was told that the $$ was there to pay someone to take over the position for at least the duration of the contract (March 31, 2014), with a possibility of give them an extension on the contract until I want to come back (plan was August 1, 2014, if there was funding at that point).

At the end of July, we interviewed someone, really liked her, and my boss gave her a verbal offer. She was going to start September 1st, to overlap with me for about 2 weeks to learn the ropes. The contract was drafted, and her references were being contacted…until it just stopped. During August, both me and the person who was to take over, contacted several people several times about the contract, and why it was taking longer than expected.

Then, near the end of August. she was contact by my boss and another staff member to have a meeting over Skype to talk about the position. She asked me if I knew what this was about, and I didn’t..I had no clue what was going on. They had the meeting on the 26th, and it turned out it was actually another interview (without telling her that). They told her the position was NOT going to be what it was at the time, and told her how it would be different (totally different duties, and much lower pay).

In the meantime, I was left out of the loop completely on all of this. I was frantically preparing everything to train the new person the next week, and to make sure everything was all organized for her. Three business days before she was supposed to start, she was offered the new job at the new pay and she turned it down. Again, I had not be told any of this, and never was.

I spent the last 2 weeks of my time there wrapping up loose ends. I knew there was not going to be a replacement for me, but not from my boss or other university staff. In fact, to this day, no one at the university has told me that 1) there would be no replacement for my position, and 2) there would be no option for a job for me to go back too (though we agreed I’d go back August 1, 2014).

Needless to say, I was not happy about how the situation was handled. It still upsets me. Nothing was done wrong in the legal sense, but it was just unprofessional. I have pretty much cut all contact with those I worked with/for**, but I have never brought it up with HR, my boss(es), or anyone else at the university.

What would you have done at the time? Would you do something now?

*Not really maternity leave, since I had no just to go back too.

**Though I do see one of my bosses from time to time with things unrelated to work, which can be awkward (for me, at least…can’t speak for them)

If it’s not one thing…

Note: This is a rant. I am not looking for advice or for someone to tell me to suck it up and that’s life (I KNOW that, thankyouvermuch – I can still bitch about it). 

…it’s another! I feel like my to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer. How is that possible? I’m on maternity leave! I’m supposed to be enjoying my time off with the baby, not:

– Registering Evan for kindergarten (!!)
– Ordering new contacts
– Calling Employment Insurance AGAIN to try and get that whole thing straightened out
– Calling various doctors’ offices to confirm/change appointments
– Answering questions about a conference I helped plan last year that *must* be done ASAP
– Answers various work-related emails
– Paying the bills
– Doing the never-ending cycle of household crap
– Making yet another potty chart (and POTTY TRAINING — potentially the worst part of parenting thus far).
– Trying to come up with 100 ways to entertain Carter

Plus I’m dealing with a cold. Ugh. Can’t I just REST and forget all these stupid obligations of life??

What’s Next

I mentioned in my last post that there were still some work-related issues that were left unresolved. Basically, because of funding issues, it doesn’t sound promising that I will have a job to go back to next summer when my maternity leave is over. A replacement was not hired for my position, and I was only on contract until March 31st, 2014 (so no, my employer is not obligated to have my job – or equivalent – waiting for my return). Me being a planner means that I will go into the next year assuming I don’t have a job. 
I really enjoyed it for the most part, and it was exactly what I wanted to do after I finished my PhD. My favorite parts of the job were working with the K-12 students, learning more about education theory and practice, and creating new activities, presentations, and programming for students and the public. I think I was able to accomplish a lot during my 2+ years in the position, and I was also able to develop some new skills. 
So, what’s next? 
Ideally, it would be great to stay in the education and outreach world, but the jobs in that area are really few and far between – especially when limited to staying local. I’ll keep my eye out, but here are some other ideas dancing through my head right now:
1. Teachers College: I know teaching jobs are incredibly hard to come by right now, but this has been something I’ve been wanting to do for years. 2014 is the last year the local program will be only 1-year (well, 8 months, actually), so it would be a good time to FINALLY do it.  
Pros: something I’ve wanted to do for years, so my interest/passion is clearly there; getting a teaching job means great pay, benefits, and vacation time. 
Cons: 8 months of no work (read: no paycheck) and paying tuition on top of that; could take years to get a permanent position.
2. Not-For-Profit: I would love to take my skills in volunteer management and event organization into the not-for-profit sector. It would be wonderful to be more involved in the local community, and working with projects that are important to me. 
Pros: meaningful work; getting into a sector with more mobility; working with like-minded, passionate people.  
Cons: switching sectors can be difficult; jobs tend to be short term in nature; would probably mean a pay-cut.
3. Doula: Going through my own pregnancy and birth experience(s), and hearing those of others, really makes me consider becoming a licensed doula. Educating women about their birthing choices, and acting as an advocate for them during a very intense moment in their lives could satisfy both my need to help people and my interest in women’s rights.  
Pros: amazing, rewarding work; certification can be done in a short-ish amount of time with relatively low expense; would be my own boss; gets me into medical world without huge amount of additional schooling; scheduling flexibility (can choose how many clients to take on, etc.).
Cons: would be my own boss (a bit daunting!); unsure of demand in the area (need to do research on this); always on-call.
4. Midwife: Similar reasoning to #3, but this would require 4 years of schooling minimum. If we didn’t have to worry about money, and lived in a city where a program was offered, this might be my top choice. Unfortunately, those are two HUGE strikes against this option, and I don’t think I can put my own wants above those of my family for such a long time. Perhaps #3 could lead into #4 in the future though?
Thankfully the timing of all of this works out nicely so that I have about a year to do some research and make some decisions, while getting paid through maternity and parental benefits. I will definitely submit an application to teacher’s college for 2014, and then can make the decision whether to go or not later (so at least I have that door open). I also would like to do some volunteer work during my maternity leave to create more contacts in the not-for-profit sector. 
Seems like I’m writing these posts every couple of years. I’m more excited than nervous this time around though – I feel very blessed that I’m in the position to have the opportunity to switch gears and do something different again.

Last Day

Yesterday was my last day of work. It’s a bit surreal. I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet that I don’t have anything to do next week…or anything I’m obligated to do, anyway. It’s a lot different than last time when Evan came before my maternity leave was to start. Most things were wrapped up nicely, though there are some job-related issues that are still up in the air (more on this soon).
Nothing like leaving to feel acknowledged and loved, though! My office-mate planned a going-away lunch, which was attended by about 20 staff and students. A group of them even got together and had one of their mom’s sew me a beautiful, space-themed, blanket for Jelly Bean. One of my bosses said some very nice words about me at the first planetary science gathering of the year, which was followed by audience applause. I had multiple drop-ins to my office, lots of hugs, and another nice gift from a group of ladies working down the hall from me. All in all, it was a very nice send-off.
Now, I really hope to have at least a week or two to just relax at home, make up a bunch of meals to freeze, and get ready for Jelly Bean to arrive. 
Evan will be starting part-time at his daycare – going three days a week and being home with me the other two days. Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to keep up with him while 35+ weeks pregnant, but we’ll manage!

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