Coffee heat rising

Laid-off Employee to Boss: Think again!

Well, it took a load of chutzpah to turn around and tell Her Deanship that her and her deanly pals’ decision to shut down our office and can all five of us is all wet. As in…i can’t buhlieve i did that!

Apparently she’s so stunned she can’t speak: nary a reply has come back since yesterday’s memo was dropped into the Wells of Silence. Not even the usual two-word “thanks, vh.” One colleague points out that she probably has other things to think about. My paranoia, however, suggests she’s thinking how to say “forget that!” LOL!

Ultimately I recruited a half-dozen full and associate professors—two of them very husky full bulls, indeed—to sign onto our memo. We argued that shutting down the office, which is unique to North America and, as far as we know, to the entire planet, would be penny-wise and pound-foolish, since its creation  entailed a huge investment of talent, administrative diplomacy, cash, time, and effort and it will never be resuscitated if it’s allowed to die now. 

Her Deanship, as we know, was one of the administrators who was responsible for bringing our operation into being, and she has told at least three of our colleagues that she regards it as her baby and regrets having to close it. So there’s an outside chance that her silence comes about while she argues with her co-deans and the rather scary vice presidents that they should accept our proposal, or some variant thereof.

Even if our scheme works, it won’t make a lot of difference for me, financially. The real point here is to save our unit, which has a great deal of potential that should not be wasted. Personally, the main advantage would be that it would allow me to delay collecting Social Security for another 18 months, upping my gross income by a grandiose $304 a month. On a nine-month basis, my salary would drop to about what it was when I was teaching, well below the state’s median income.

Instead of prorating that piddling salary over twelve months, as I used to do, the plan now is to be paid over nine months and then use savings to cover the two summers between December and the time I reach full retirement age. Combining regular monthly savings, the extra amounts that have accrued in my various savings and and checking accounts, and the amount I’ll net teaching three community college classes in the fall, I’ll have about $21,000 above and beyond the $23,000 saved last year to pay off the second mortgage on my house. My house will then be free and clear (again), and my living expenses should drop to around $1,840 a month. Figuring I’ll probably need around $6,000 per summer, there’s enough to cover two summers with one and a half left over!

The scheme’s biggest advantage for me is that it would allow me to delay major drawdowns from my retirement savings for a couple of years, by which time my investments may have had a chance to recover a little. This would be good, obviously. But it’s not imperative: my financial advisor has shown that I can live comfortably enough, even on the present remains of my savings. And obviously, I won’t recover the losses of the past six months in just two years.

Much of the angst brought on by this forced early retirement has been resolved by the discovery of a nifty workaround to get past the $14,100 limit on earned income for those who take “early” Social Security. I’ll tell you about this tomorrow.