Coffee heat rising

Should I bother with trying to save my job?

So I’ve cooked up a proposal that has an outside chance of rescuing our office and saving my job. The idea is that my sidekick and I will go on nine-month contracts, which would save the university a bundle of money, and that we would have only one research assistant, who would be hired 10 hours instead of the more usual 20 hours a week, cutting the tuition reimbursement (the real cost of running our operation) by 50 percent.

I haven’t submitted this to Her Deanship yet. At the moment, I’m wondering whether I want to.

Why? I’m afraid the deans will like it. They might actually buy it. And that would mean I’d have to keep trudging to work at the Great Desert University for the next three to seven years.

Not that such a fate would be worse than death. No doubt it would be better to hang on to a regular income, complete with health insurance and accruing sick leave (for which I get paid at retirement), instead of cobbling together a living with Social Security, investment drawdowns, and part-time teaching gigs. On a nine-month salary, too, if I quietly taught freshman comp at the community college my total earnings would be significantly more than I’m making now.

But I’m beginning to feel pretty confident that I can survive quite nicely in Bumhood. Why on earth would I want to keep working at a place that houses my office in a condemned building that still (months later!) stinks of the solvent used in the most recent asbestos abatement effort? Whose air conditioning has not been turned on despite 97-degree heat? Where we have no drinkable water (vile stuff comes out of the taps) and no place to get it but the public bathroom? Where parking costs almost $900, and where raises (few and far between) are immediately taken away through various creative increases in “benefits” and ancillary gouges?

On the other hand, it’s a nice sinecure: I come and go when I please, and I sure don’t work very hard. But…without those RAs, my sidekick and I most certainly would be reduced to actually working. Heaven forfend.

It would be kind of irresponsible not to at least try to save our operation. It’s the only such office anywhere in the world, as far as we know. No other university has anything like it. And getting it established took years of politicking and lobbying on the part of faculty and some powerful deans and chairs. If there’s even a chance of rescuing it from the trashbin, I suppose it really would be lâche of me not to try.

On the one hand, I think the heck with them. On the other: Michael Crow is not the only person who works for the Great Desert University…neither is

6 thoughts on “Should I bother with trying to save my job?”

  1. I think you may be a little overconfident that your idea will work. If the dean has already decided to eliminate a program there isn’t muchthat can be done to convince them otherwise, regardless of cost savings.

    My suggestion is to go for it, and buy a gas mask.

  2. Well, I would try it. Would a 9-month contract give you the summers off? If so, that would give you plenty of time to recover from stress accrued during the work period.

    Also, at the community college, you are the last hired and hence the most vulnerable.

    The best thing (at least for me–if I were you what I would want) would be to keep your present job-or a reasonable facsimile-till you are 66 and can receive full ss benefits. Meanwhile, teach a course or two at the cc to keep your foot in the door.

    OR even better than that would be to have a huge success with your monetized blog.

    Love the story about the prez’s wife. That is, “love” the story.

  3. @ frugalscholar: Isn’t it hilarious? The guy makes $900,000 (not counting various bonuses & the like). And it’s supposed to be SOP for a university’s president to pull down another six-figure salary in some sinecure.

    Meanwhile, if you subtract 25% of my salary, what you discover is that my hourly pay hasn’t changed significantly since I went from a nine-month teaching position to a twelve-month management position. The truth is, in the five years since I’ve been running this much-ballyhooed editorial office, we received a 6.2% increase mandated by the legislature for all state employees; my salary, prorated down from twelve to nine months, is just about 6.2% more than I earned while teaching. In an adjunct position. Five years ago.

  4. My thought is: what if it does work? That’d be awful in terms of having to continue to work there! Wouldn’t it? From my jaded point of view, having only been around this particular horrid joint with shenanigans on par with GDU for five years, I’m glad to be shut of this place, even if it does mean unemployment for unknown periods of time.

    I realize that could be disastrous financially but the employers are just really that horrible. [And I have a decent enough stock of cash.]

  5. @ Revanche: There’s something to be said for that. I also would like to STOP WORKING FOR GDU. On the other hand, another 18 months of income would keep me from having to start Social Security early. Also, on a nine-month contract I wouldn’t be working over the summer.

    On the third hand…recent figures plus a little revelation from the tax lawyer suggest (declaratively!) that I can get by just fine without working for GDU.

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