December 9, 2008

Well, it finally happened last night. I go laid off from my job in Hell.

Over the past 21 months, I have been teaching the beginning module at a corporate university in the evenings. This is a job that combined with my studio hours had me working 12-hour days five days a week. I went looking for , and took the job because my wife got laid off from her good paying job and was out of work. (This was the job that was paying all the bills until my business started making a profit.) It wasn’t much money, about 18k per year, and did not pay the bills, but was better than no income.

It took my wife almost a year to find a job, and then when she did, it paid a little more than half of what she had been making, so I had to continue teaching. And although I like teaching, and I’m pretty good at it, the stress of what I had to put up with was killing me.

You have to understand that my immediate boss is a liar. He got me in there under false pretenses. He told me that all I had to do was read the prepared lecture notes. Unfortunately there weren’t any, and I had to spend lots of time creating my own. He had me (and two other teachers) do extra work with promise of payment for time spent. That turned out to be a lie as they expected quality work but were only expecting it to take a couple of hours rather than 100. At that point, payment was denied by the president of the school.

When I pressed charges within the corporation (and it is a nationwide corporation), I was told that I had no evidence. Well, I have the evidence in voice recordings that were made without the others knowing it, but they are not admissible in court so I can’t really do anything. When the other teachers saw what happened they realized that they had no recourse either. One left, but the other had put it behind her.

I had a feeling on my first day when I had to read the policy manual and sign a from saying I did read it. Of course I never got a copy of it. There was no evidence that I didn’t get a copy either. (Think about it.) I was told by one of the students that the same thing happened when she signed her contract. She got to keep a copy of the page she signed, but not a copy of the contract. Hmm, now what does that tell you about this company.

My boss suffers from what I was told was Napoleon Syndrome. Being short, he wanted to control everything around him so that everyone jumped to his will. This made it difficult to work as he did things that did not make sense, like having one teacher with the key to the supply cabinet. That meant that two classes had to be interrupted if someone needed something. It just made it harder to do a good job.

When I had one student, he told me I had to be the body. I finally convinced the dean that this was not a good situation. So my boss ended up being the body. It drove my student crazy because he would make sounds and comments that showed that he did not like what I was teaching, not that in 21 months he sat more than 10 minutes in any of my classes. (And when he did, he told the other teacher there that he was really impressed with how well organized it was, not that he cold be bothered to tell me.) We ended up bringing in other people to be bodies so my student would not have to work on him.

The school administration felt that my time was theirs no matter what hour of the day it was and no matter what I had to do. This was a constant battle with monthly meetings during daytime hours, and special meetings given with little or no notice. And we were expected to be at all of them.

My boss would tell things to the other teachers and not me. Everything I learned, I learned second hand. I didn’t even know when we got paid, and had tow checks waiting for me when I finally found out (from another teacher).

He was teaching one of the day classes because he wanted to hire a male teacher and could not find one. He kept crying at how these 12-hour days were killing him. And I was doing this all along. He seemed jealous at what I knew as I knew more than any other teacher there as far as styles and types of massage go.

I have seen teachers screwed over as well as students. When they had graduation last month they sent a memo out to the teachers to read to the students. They were told that the school would be closed for that night and that if the students wanted credit (and part of their grade is based on attendance), they would have to be at graduation or make the class up. The day after graduation which half of the students did not attend because it was a major inconvenience, they were told that there would be no make up class.

Basically it was just a sad situation that I could not afford to leave. Well, that was taken care of last night.

I was brought into the dean’s office and told that they were having a reduction in force (RIF), and that I was being let go. Now when RIFs happen, they usually keep the most senior people. Of all the teachers, I was third highest in seniority, however I was being thrown out. I was told it was because of my employment record. Let’s see, I missed a total of nine days in 21 months, much less than any of the teachers there during that same amount of time. I had been written up twice on petty things. So to say it is because of my employment record is just a stock line that gives them a way to not commit to anything they could get sued for.

Before I walked (stormed) out the door, I did take the time to tell the dean and my now ex-boss what I thought of them. The dean told me I did not need to do it, but I told him I did. Called my boss a liar and told them all there that I have never worked for a place as fragging (and that is not the word I used) evil as this place was. Oh I went on and used every colorful phrase that came to mind. I finally snatched the papers that I needed to review and sign out of the dean’s hand and stormed out. The papers I have to sign make me commit to not suing them to get my piddly $700 severance. If I thought I had a case, I would go to court, but all my evidence is inadmissible. So although it feels like I am signing up for blood money, I will probably sign them as I need the money.

My wife is right though, we needed me to take that job as it was the only income we had for a long time. And although we still need more income than she is making, the stress levels have reduced so much it is not funny. I have been going around in a constant mad all the time. Anger was right there waiting to jump out at any instant. I’m no longer worried about what will go wrong tonight. I have a much more relaxed and positive attitude. This is where I needed to be for a long time.

Now, yes, I still need to find some income. The sad part is knowing that if I could work on three people a day, it would pay the bills at the shop and more than replace the lost income. My mediumship teacher sees me working for a chiropractor or some such medical doctor. This could result in closing the shop tow to three days a week, and then opening it Saturdays. The problem then becomes making expenses being open only three days a week. Right now, I’m not stressed. I’m sure it will come when I pay bills, but right now, I’m not.

I know, one door closes. Another one opens. I’m looking for that open door.