Hello, lovelies! Starting the month by sharing a pretty personal post about everything that’s been going on the past few months. I’ve alluded to it on social media and in some blog posts, but haven’t spoken about it at length. It all especially came to a head in May; one of the reasons I have been less active, less engaged and doing less of what I loved. Being inundated with uncertainty and being in limbo with many things outside of your control, yet impacts literally every other aspect of your life, can do that to a person. So, what has been going on?
Since March, I have been at threat to lose my day job.
Now, that might not seem that dramatic. This is something that’s become an unfortunately more common occurrence since the pandemic started. Is it too bold a claim to say that my stress skyrocketed to levels I’m unused to? Perhaps so. Yet, that doesn’t change how I’ve felt; the uncertainty and being in limbo, unsure of my job status–and thus, my financial security–making life pretty miserable for me.
I’m an academic advisor at a major university. I found out the entire university was experiencing a budget crisis. As such, all units were going to be asked to make budget cuts. Mid-March, we found out from our director that our unit was being asked to cut 12%.
Mathematically, that came down to 4-5 positions.
We had three positions that were certainly unfilled. Even getting rid of those didn’t guarantee that one of us wouldn’t be put on the chopping block. For me, this made me begin to panic, as I:
- Don’t have enough savings to pay my rent, loans and debt without an income (I could get by for maybe three months)
- Lose access to my healthcare, which is the only way I can a) afford my depression meds ($11 for a 3-month supply that, without insurance, is $600) and b) attend therapy
- Forcing to drop out of grad school, as I can only afford it due to tuition assistance
- Not ready to freelance full time yet
Needless to say, I started job searching immediately, just to stay prepared. We were given no parameters on how they would decide who would be let go, nor a timeline. I wanted to cover my ass, just in case I was the one that was chosen.
25+ job applications, 22 rejections, four interviews and eight weeks later, I found out I wasn’t being let go. We did lose one person, but hopefully they will be able to find a different job at the university. In the same week that I found out I wasn’t being let go, I got another job offer from a different university.
For almost two weeks, this was where my stress, uncertainty and being in limbo was at its highest, as I:
- Verbally accepted it, due to the beautiful location and massive pay increase
- Found out after the fact that they have no rentals (??), forcing us to buy a house and move in six weeks
- Stressing about my partner finding a job, after he was unemployed for 8+ months during the pandemic
- Discovered we couldn’t afford to move without going massively into debt
- Then discovered the town is M*ga-heavy and would be dangerous for us to live, as a queer, outspoken woman dating a biracial man
- Decided to turn down the offer despite it allowing me to be financially stable for the first time in my life. Yet, then I had to scramble to undo all the work I did in preparing to move (letting my current job know I’d changed my mind, our apartment, grad school, etc.)
Even writing that all out, I’m completely exhausted. And, while I know it was the right choice, these next few months are not going to be pretty. We’re entering orientation season, which is our busiest time of the year. This year, we’re trying a complex online and in-person hybrid model, which would be challenging even at full strength.
Yet, due to the massively long time frame it took them to confirm what our budget plan was, four of my colleagues have found new positions. Add that onto the fact that we have three positions cut permanently and it’s inevitable. All who remain will see an increased workload with no chance of a raise (read: still in budget crisis).
So, should I be surprised that I hardly wrote anything and didn’t even finish a book in May? Or that I hardly responded to messages or was active online? Yeah, not really. Job uncertainty and being in limbo is not fun, my friends. And again: I am so thankful to survive the cut and get to keep my job. Yet I’m also frustrated that I’m nowhere closer to any financial stability that I was after I graduated college, six years ago. I’m frustrated that I will continue to be taken advantage of at my job because higher administration cannot make the right decisions. I’m tired of the politics and bullshit of academia.
Yet, I am trying to look at the bright side of things. I am employed and so is my partner. We still have our apartment. I can continue with my Masters and hopefully complete it by Spring 2024. While I’m bummed we won’t be moving to the mountains I crave so badly, I’m still close to my family who I adore, including my 5-month old niece. I’m still close to friends I can start to see in person, now that we’re vaxxed.
I’m unsure of what the future holds and thee are days I question if I made the right choice. But, for now, this is enough.