Monday, March 29, 2010

Trying to Get Back in the Game - A Long Post

I just found out through semi-official channels that the school district where I work is laying off eleven secretaries for the 2010-2011 school year. This is part of a rather massive staff shakeup which will leave approximately 80 people in the school district jobless. This is due mainly to Christie's cuts but also to the abysmal status of student achievement in the district, and the dragging weight that places upon the Asbury Park's high hopes for becoming the hip, alternative, creative jewel of the Jersey Shore.

I have no problem with Asbury Park's aspirations and their achievement of them thus far. It really is a great little town, on the east side at least. I agree with the Powers that Be that the dead weight of extra under-performing employees needs to be shed from the district's bloated corpus in order for the town's poor students to succeed, and new positions need to be created to help them do so.

I have been wishing I could leave my job for a long time now. This didn't change when the recession came upon us. In fact, it only seemed to intensify the feeling. I have felt, for at least a few years now, that my job stands in the way of my real life, that it depletes me of any and all the energy I have for daily living. I feel like my job eats away at my soul. I cannot imagine myself retiring from here. But, I make decent money. I have lots of paid time off. I have cadillac health benefits. I feel like a horrible, ungrateful, wench. So many people right now would trade just about anything for a job like mine. I even (pretty much) have my own office, in a great building, in downtown Asbury Park!

When I was first hired in July 2004, I was so, so grateful for this job. I felt that God (or the benevolent universe or what have you) had taken care of me, had given me just what I needed when I needed it. It was so close to home. It paid well. There were great benefits. I had a big desk, and a great computer, and I didn't have to worry about money any more. The people were so, so nice. I appreciated the cultural cachet of working in Asbury Park. Even the retro job title of "secretary" had its appeal: it was warmer, sexier, saltier than the clinical, insincere job title "administrative assistant." This job provided me with the financial and mental stability to get myself together to face adult life, and even placed me in a good position to meet my husband, and get married, and experience emotional security for the first time in a very long time.

Now, we are down to this. I am almost hoping that I will get laid off. You see, I really want to go back to Library School. I miss it. I began in January 2009 with great expectations. I had wanted to go to school full-time, but my husband got laid off from retail, and could not find a paralegal job as he had become certified for. I had to keep working in order to pay the rent, and this proved to be too much for me, as I knew it would be. I dropped out of one class and barely finished the other. The next semester, Fall 2009, I had a new boss and a new Superintendent, and was feeling disheartened about the whole undertaking, so I took a semester off.

Undecided about librarianship in general, I didn't register for any classes for Spring 2010 and I didn't bother to call Rutgers to let them know I was taking another semester off (oops). Sometimes that is how I do things. I can't decide something, so I resort to inaction and see what happens. Not the best strategy, I know. So now, with lay-offs looming, I see a possible inroad to getting back on track. I am now in contact with Kay Cassell and Faye Brown at SCILS, and am in the process of becoming retroactively "matriculation continued." According to Kay, who is the Dean, if I don't go back to Library School in the Fall 2010, I should withdraw from the program. I filled out my financial aid application for 2010-2011, so with financial aid and unemployment (if I am laid off) Rob and I can probably make it. If I don't get laid off, I am going to go back anyway. I want to do this.

By the way, this book looks interesting.