Saturday, September 02, 2006

And Then She Broke Down--In A Big Way

I guess I lasted five days. Who am I kidding?

I’ve been trying to wean myself off a certain board where I post way too much. Half of the time I start writing responses to posts and then think “Who the fuck cares what I think? Jeeze, Bezzie, get a clue.” And I’ll delete the response. Of course, I only sometimes refer to myself in the third person as Bezzie, the other times I substitute one of my other names I go by.

It hasn’t been a good week. I’ve been trying to reevaluate life and all the trappings that come intrinsically linked to it. Right now it really doesn’t help that I feel like I’m in limbo.

I feel like the last two years have been Limbo. Fuck. Almost two years to the day. Two years ago my old boss (not The Man–before that) broke it to me right before Labor Day that he was leaving the firm for the firm across the hall. While I was extremely happy for him, it was tough for me. At that point I believed (foolishly I guess) that The Mad Scientist had a year left of school and who the fuck would want to hire me for only a year? I didn’t have to think about it long because The Man swooped in on my dead carcass before rigor mortis set in and convinced me to come work for her.

And here I am, two years later, still feeling helplessly lost. I’m 1,500 miles from my husband doing the single mom thing. Yes, I could have stayed in Lansing longer, but when I quit my job, I honestly thought he was close to being done. Today, I’ll be shocked if he’s here for Chunky’s fifth birthday (the last week of November). If he’s done by Christmas, I’ll shit a brick. If he can keep this job here in San Antonio lined up that long, I’ll be floored.

What really did me in this week was when I received his health insurance card in the mail (all our Lansing mail is delivered here). Every semester he has to renew his health insurance. His boss pays for it out of her grant. Well at the beginning of the summer (May) she cut him off. She put her foot down. She said she wasn’t paying for his health insurance (and subsequently Chunky’s) anymore and he’d have to do it out of pocket. She was nearing the end of a grant and was facing the loss of some serious money she had been accustomed to paying incidentals like The Mad Scientist’s health insurance out of. She even went so far as to say she wouldn’t be able to pay him his "salary" (if you can call $19K a year that) past August 15. Can y’all see why I quit my job now? She gave us every impression that he’d be done by now.

Now all of a sudden, she’s received a new grant and he’s got insurance again and she has no motivation to get rid of him. It doesn't help that The Mad Scientist lacks the assertiveness to stand up to her and ride her ass to get her to SET A FUCKING DEFENSE DATE ALREADY. I’ve worked with these highly educated people. They have no concept of time and other people. Look at The Man. Jesus Haploid Christ, she’s a shining example of how highly educated and sharp a person can be but lack basic human interpersonal skills.

Her track record with grad students is abysmal. Her first one was from Venezuela (ok, not really, but it was in South America–I don’t want to get too specific here). Woo. In the scientific world this means jack. I mean Venezuela isn’t really known for pumping out Nobel Prize winners you know? You want to keep your students in the country, not export them. Now Senor Venezuela is BACK at the university working with her. What the hell? God help us if The Mad Scientist EVER ends up BACK in that lab.

The only other grad student she’s had (including Senor Venezuela and The Mad Scientist) got his PhD after taking 7 years to graduate. Do you know what he did before the ink dried on that degree? He enrolled in dental school and is a fucking dentist now.

I’m probably being pretty harsh with her. I know The Mad Scientist isn’t perfect and has had something to do with this taking so long, but right now I just need to take it out on someone and I miss The Mad Scientist too much to be mad at him.

In the meantime it doesn’t help that I’m really not digging this new job. I thought working for The Man sucked, and it did, don’t get me wrong, but aside from having to deal with her bullshit and running her personal life, at least I was busy and I felt like what I did mattered. Oh, and I had a vague idea of what I was doing.

I got thrown into this job with no training. Ha! Here I thought I had it bad when I had two hours of training from the fired Bambi (The Man's assistant before me) when I started working for The Man! That was a piece of cake I tell you!

Now I'm stuck dealing with all of these moronic students. I won’t say specifically what department I work for, but I work with students that will soon become healthcare professionals. Apparently they can’t read. We sent out an email to all the December graduates to pick up some materials for background checks they need to get done before they become this type of healthcare professional. These background checks involve fingerprints. Everything was spelled out in the email. But apparently because the email was over two paragraphs long, none of them understood what it meant and need every little detail spelled out for them.

This is scary people. Very scary. I mean one day my life could end up in their hands and they can’t even pay attention to simple details. Of course I knew this from when I used to help divorce doctors and nurses before I started working for The Man. Doctors can be fucking crazy. Again, I won’t get into details, but don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re all intelligent and have common sense. I could tell you stories that would scare the shit out of you. In fact all of the attorneys in my office expressed a common fear of ending up in some accident and going into the ER only to find a former client or client’s ex-spouse working on them.

On top of the clueless morons that our university is churning out, I’m having to deal with university bureaucracy and lack of communication. Everything has a middle-man when you work for the state. You can’t send a letter without having to go through a third party just to get the envelope licked.

The icing on the cake is that our department is divided up into three separate sub-departments–between which there is NO communication.

All new students are supposed to take a certain type of training online. They have the option of printing out a completion certificate after they finish the training. I(and my co-workers within my sub-department)have been telling the students we didn’t need these certificates because hello, they’re being taken online. What’s the point of having them online if you can’t just run a report of who’s taken the training and who hasn’t?

Well today someone from another sub-department gets all pissy with me because apparently I was supposed to be collecting these stupid certificates. Fuck. And why wasn’t I told this? There’s a ton of other things I could go into about shit that I haven’t been told about but get reamed for because apparently my psychic powers aren’t functioning properly.

One thing I noticed when I started this job is that anyone that had been working for the state for more than a year was somewhat unmotivated and bitter. I understand this more and more each day. I feel like I'm on the fast-track to bitterness if I'm not there already!

So I’ve got that fun-fest going for me and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I actually miss being a legal secretary. I miss the responsibility. Yeah I was a paper pusher, but I was doing many more stimulating things than filing transcripts, answering the phone and handing out background check forms to students. I was drafting pleadings, setting court dates, non-legally counseling clients–-stuff that mattere (or at least seemed to matter). It didn’t seem all that meaningful at the time I was actually doing it, but as far as paper pushing goes, it blows this “Administrative Assistant” crapfest of a job out of the water.

Funny how life works huh?

I’d love to start looking for a new job, but that’s sort of something I want to do when The Mad Scientist gets down here. Right now I need this job to support me and Chunky. Limbo. It’s a bitch.

So how about some knitting content? Well I’ve been working on mindless work lately. It’s sort of been acting as the static in my brain to prevent me from thinking too hard about things and obsessing too much. Course this post would seem almost contrary to that last sentence wouldn’t it?

I’d take pictures, but you’ve all seen it before. I’m working on the log cabin blanket and a pair of Jaywalkers. Projects that everyone and their mother have knitted before.

However, I’ve also been thinking a lot about my knitting life. I think it’s sucking me in. Correction, the “gotta have it” syndrome that can happen with knitting seems to be sucking me in. In the year I’ve picked knitting back up seriously, my yarn supply has quadrupled. I mean I freaking spent $25 on a bunch of yarn from a store that was going out of business that I didn’t really need, but felt obligated to buy. Why the hell was that? Plus as much as I enjoy knitting socks, I’m starting to wonder why I need to spend that much money on yarn for socks that are going to end up on my stinky feet.

Ok, well if you’ve made it this far into this extreme Random Meandering, congratulations.

I figured I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut for long. Part of that I attribute to having no adults around to talk to.

I promise the upcoming entries will be lighter. In fact, T., if you've made it this far--you spoke of a “series.” What would you think if I resurrected G&B? I was reading it the other night and no offense to us, but god, we sucked as writers two years ago!!! Ha ha! I know you’ve gotten better, don’t know if I can say the same for myself!


Blogger Rain said...

In the UK clueless Uni students are called Fuckwits, there are plenty of them about.

Hang in there with the job. Come up with entertaining games like competitions with other staff to see who deals with the biggest moron of the day.

Hope the Mad Scientist pulls his finger out and gets his stuff done soon.

3:20 AM  
Blogger LadyLungDoc said...

I know what you mean about occasionally feeling repulsed at how much time, $$ and energy I am devoting to the knit/blog/board world. Ironically, I am in the same situation as you, not having other grownups to talk to, but for different reasons.

Could be worse, I could have taken up drinking as a way to pass the time. Hope the light at the end of the tunnel gets turned on soon for you.

8:22 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

"Jesus Haploid Christ" Oh my God you just made me spit coffee all over the cat and the carpet! Too funny. Heh.

Working period sucks. Why money is so importantis beyond me. I'd be happy to go back to the days of Little House on the Prairie and live in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin sifting fool's gold out of the nearby stream. Gah.

Hang in there, Bezzie. Chunky is depending on you to put on a happy face and reassure him all is well and right in the world.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous kristi and otis said...

Hubby graduated from MSU - both grad and undergrad - I taught for a couple years at the grad school but did not get my graduate degree there and I have heard much of what you report - you are not alone in your rants - I have also had some run ins with PhD advisors who sound pretty close to mad scientist's advisor - hang in there.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

My friends in San Diego are pretty much going through the same thing. They set their wedding date supposedly 3 months AFTER his defense date...That way they could pack it all away, have their honeymoon and start fresh and new wherever his post-doc happened.

Suffice to say it didn't happen that way. She started her "new life" couch surfing (they'd given up their appartment as well) and if it weren't all over and the stories so funny, we'd all hav been crying.

I don't want to say the foolish "chin up" shpeel, but I think it's very safe to say that you have a batch of readers pulling for you in any moral/karmic/'fluence way we can.

(Just shy of sending money, cuz we po' folk too :))

12:10 PM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

Well the good news is that clueless Fuckwits aren't just limited to University. sigh.

Oh, Bezzie I hope things look up soon or else I'll be forced to sing you more Celine songs..

12:33 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It really sucks. I'm sorry to hear it's all happening like this for you.

When Mr.SABLE finished grad school, we thought he would be leaving the area where I was quite settled, for a post doc. As it turned out, he did two postdocs there. It was good to have all that time staying in one place.

I've heard so many advisor/committee horror stories over the years, in all fields. Sciences, Lit, Psych. Academics just have a way of not treating grad students as worthy of certain courtesies.

My BIL got ushered out of grad school FAST because they were closing down his dept! I think a lot of folks wish for that outcome, rather than being forced to stay on 6 months at a time, for 2 more years.

2:02 PM  
Blogger LadyLungDoc said...

Bezzie - no offense taken at all about the subject of your rant; I get to work with the fuckwits that make it through!

Although I always prefer to call them wankers...Such a great word. Wankers Wankers Wankers. You try it.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Sherry W said...

OK, first take a deep breath at work. I work at a uni too. welcome to your first 'silly season'. This time of year blows wads of shit for everyone. Students are overwelmed with the 200 things they have to do, faculty are overwelmed with new grads and postdocs, and the staff get it from every direction. People who are normally OK either turn catonic/moronic from the pressure or become mega-jerks.

I LOVE my job and every end of August I want to hide under my desk and drink gin. The first time is the worst. Mext year (if you are still working there) at least you'll know what to expect, and you'll know it ends a few days after classes start.

5:35 PM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Dear Bezzie,

By all means resurrected G&B. I don't think I've looked at it since I got the last installment...and then never responded. It doesn't suprise me that you think we sucked. Haha.

How about this time you take charge and do the writing and I'll serve as a "first-time reader." I can read it through and give you feeeeeeedbaaaaaack. (If you want to humor me, you can call me your editor.)

In reference to the job junk: sometimes you just have to make peace with it. That's what I did at UAF when I was working as a student and I think I've finally found peace with the crazy administration at my current school.


8:53 PM  
Blogger Starfish said...

Limbo sucks monkey ass. We've been in limbo for a different reason, but I know how frustrating it is to watch time go wasting by. I hope things get back to normal soon. And if you have to spend a little more $ on yarn to get you through, so be it. There are worse things you could be doing.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Pyewacket said...

Perks of working for the State (at least in FL):
-Decent benefits
-Generous leave
-Hard to get fired

Cons of working for the State:
-Lower pay than the private sector
-Nearly impossible to get a merit raise, and "cost of living increases" are a joke.
-Hard to get fired

Those last 2 factors remove any incentive for excellence, and in some cases, even competence. DH and I have both worked for the state (he still does), and a lot of depts can be soul-crushing in their idiotic apathy. I did have one enjoyable job as an admin assistant to an academic advisor, so maybe you can keep an eye out for the possibility of a transfer.

The single mom gig is a terrifying prospect to me. I hope you don't have to do it much longer!

I'm sorry you're so isolated. Wail to the electronic wall as much or as little you want -- that's what it's for.

Oh, and I've never seen a log cabin blanket (why yes, I do live under a rock), so share pics. :-)

12:21 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

whew! Good luck with all that! You rule, limbo sucks butt, hubby far-away also sucks, midless job sucks, yeah, you got it straight, yer in a sucky period! Welcome Back!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Nik Budnik said...

Goddam. I love it. The first comment, fucking Fuckwits! I say that all the time!!
Look, it sucks. Alot of things suck.
I have a degree. I have had good jobs (with my own office, AND a window nonetheless), i have had BAD jobs...working as a coffee barista with all the dumbfuck "artistes"...I hear you loud and clear. But we do what we do becasue we have to. And do what we do at othertime cause we WANT to. It sucks cause your hubby aint there. I can TOTALLY identify with that. It will get better. It really will
I am glad you are writing, even if I STILL Dont understand the yarn shit.
Buy all you want,freaking retail therapy, right? Hang tight Bezzie. Hang tight, and you are not alone.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Cheesy Knit Wit said...

I am so sorry about how life is for you and your family. It is so hard to be positive when you are down so low.

Take care and Hugs!


8:55 AM  

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