Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Attrition rate

In cleaning out my office today I came across an old staff picture.  Of 13 former coworkers, only 3 people in that picture still remain employed in my office.  Over the past 3 years, if I'm doing that math correctly (which I totally might not be), that's an attrition rate of 76%.

Still, that's a pretty staggering number.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Ph.D plan

Or, letting the Universe plan it out plan...

The nice thing about the program that I'm going into, which is what appealed to me about it last year when I was looking at it, is the kind of 2-for-1 combo deal (ok, it's not really that... because you still have to pay for the 2...)

As you may have realized, the Universe, God, Higher Power, etc obviously has other plans than I have for myself oftentimes, so I'm trying to be open to that. This program allows for some of that flexibility.

 The program that I'm going into has an MA built into the Ph.D program (and yes, this will be my 3rd MA... ahem...).  What's really nice about this is that I can be licensed and practice with just the MA, but then if/when I want to continue on it will count toward the Ph.D program.  One of the reasons I gravitated towards this model vs. the PsyD, for example, was... frankly, I'm getting up there in age.  If Jedi and I plan to have kids, we need to start trying in the next few years.  The MA would be a logical sort of 'break' point, since I could get a job in my field, and then potentially when kids are in school, continue onward with the Ph.D  Or, if kids are not in our cards, then just keep continuing on for the Ph.D generally.

Anyway, that's sort of the thought process at the moment.

Choosing my choice

The funny thing about being sad and angry about leaving my dysfunctional workplace is that it's easy to lose sight of the fact that I made the choice to leave.  I wasn't forced out. I wasn't fired. I wasn't "let go." I wasn't "asked to resign."

It was just water torture.  Death by a thousand paper cuts.

While the work itself hadn't changed, the way in which I was being asked to do my work was so convoluted, so clearly designed to be deliberately frustrating, insulting, belittling, ridiculous, and at cross-purposes to all good practices that it made no sense to continue.

But I could have continued.  But I chose not to.

In fact, one of my colleagues in HR told me that many people do continue, for years in some instances, in such circumstances.  The mind boggles.

Coming to work every day should be invigorating, exciting.  I take pride in what I do.  In fact, I'm fucking amazing at what I do, and I love it, which is why it's hard to leave. But I can't take pride in this.

I have to shake my head at my colleagues who are choosing to stay under an ever tightening grip of an administration, and who think that they are the sand that is somehow going to slip through the fingers instead of the shells that are going to get crushed.  And maybe they are... or maybe, they just are quietly planning their escape.

Collaboration, openness, dialogue, honesty, light, transparency, exchange, those are all things I need.

And it's difficult, because there are glimmers every once in a while... there are new people who say the right things, who say that will happen... and then. No.  Squashing and squelching of dissent. Backbiting, lying, maneuvering, politicking, squelching of innovation and independent thought...

I choose my choice to leave, but that doesn't mean I'm not sad about it.  Because I see the potential, I see what it could be, if enough people in power were actually willing to have a backbone and integrity.

I choose my choice and I'm scared about the future. I'm scared about student loans (yes, I have a plan to pay them off, but that plan goes to hell if in Nov. 2012 we have President Romney who decides to gut the budget).  I'm scared that Jedi will come to resent our new lifestyle that no longer includes such luxuries as heat over 65 degrees or beef.

But I choose my choice, because the alternative involves too many ethical sacrifices, and that's no choice at all.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tuition & then some

So, it's official. I'm going back to school full time. I feel good about that. I'm going back to a program that in March of 2011 I had made the decision not to attend because to do so would have meant that I would have had to quit my job, and I just couldn't fathom quitting my job.

And then I was upset with that decision and back in August of that year I had decided to reapply.  And then I had withdrawn my application because I just couldn't justify the uncertainty of being in school fro 2 years full time while Jedi was still trying to figure out his own life.

And then my work turned to crazy-town a few months ago. As, in everyone lost their fucking minds.  And I could stay in this mess, but if I did, I would lose my mind too. And it's fucking water-torture to be here as it is.  And right around the time everyone lost their minds, the school I had originally wanted to attend contacted me to say, "hey, we still have your materials on file..."

And so, I applied.  And I got it. And I am going.  And I am leaving these lunatics to their lunacy.  And I feel good about that.

What I don't feel good about is money.

I have a part time job, and I have the financial aid lined up-- but, oh, lordy, lord do I see how people get into the financial aid messes in this country, and I pray I will not be one of them.  This program will cost $50k to complete.  It's a 2-year program, and it will cost $50k total.  They are letting me borrow $44k for the first year.  Now, I realize I don't have to take it, but I do wonder how many students get into trouble with this type of thing and end up borrowing $88k for what should be a $50k diploma.  Far too many, I think.

But I am worried about money-- I've done the "watered down vegetable soup & toast" every day for 2 weeks dinner far too often in my life. When I was a kid, that was most of my childhood.  I can actually handle that. Deprivation is nothing new to me-- school lunch tickets, toys for tots, sleeping in the car with blankets on the windows in Wal-Mart parking lot. That was my childhood.  Jedi? Every time he went to the store, he came home with a new toy.  If his mom was poor for a very brief period of his childhood, he sure doesn't remember it.  And so, I hate having to be the bad guy all the time, telling him, "No, you can't buy that root beer, because it costs $1.99, and that's not in the budget."  But it's true, and we can't.

But, it's not even 2 years. It's 18 months. And it's for the greater good in the end.  And, God might be up there laughing, because this sure wasn't my plan, but I have to pray that it's the right one.

A year ago I couldn't have predicted this... but 2 years ago, I couldn't have predicted that a year ago I'd be getting ready for my wedding right around this time.  Who knows where I'll be a year from now.  I've learned not to bother making plans...

Friday, August 3, 2012

A moment for sappiness

I interrupt your usual program of angst and kvetching to say how wonderful Jedi is, once more.

I really don't know how I got so lucky. You know the song from The Sound of Music, "Something Good?"  I often joke that in a past life I must have done something good, because I certainly haven't done anything in this life that would warrant the love, patience, kindness, generosity, and unfailing goodness he shows me every day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012