Redundant

My job ends on June 30. The college was expecting the first budget increase in a number of years to come in at about +2% (promised in the most recent election). Instead we are being cut about 7% plus losing 225 students in academic upgrading to a new public school model that will “allow” failing students to continue in high school until they are 21 on the assumption that eventually the same methods of teaching will work. Since most of our upgrade students have dropped out before HS and perform below 8th grade levels this move will essentially remove these people from any educational system.

As for exact numbers, staff let go are mixed in with staff being hired into the yet to be announced restructuring plan. Know are 14 instructors gone and many that are taking early retirement among the staff. Our department of “Learning Design and Technology” is to drop from 7 mixed staff to 2 instructional designers and ¾ of a media person. Two of us are gone, one is still on undetermined sick leave, 1¼ move to Public Relations. Many of the things we did are to be subcontracted out and it appears other positions across the college lost will be refilled by contract employees or casuals.

All these changes are the result of surprise government cuts and do not involve the college administration beyond having to figure out some way to save the college from collapsing. I have my opinions but they don’t help. This side of change is not the happy side where we go on to new and better things. This is where you have to force yourself to not be bitter and poison yourself—not easy. In addition we all have to function at some level until we are dumped and this includes helping those who will stay on. Please don’t assume I’m taking this with grace, many of the people surviving have never done anything beyond performing as expected and it is unfair that they survive and I’m gone.

As with all change, there are some positives but I’m going to have to think about them and not come up with some phony happy ending.

Interesting links:
Givers take all: The hidden dimension of corporate culture

http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Organization/Talent/Givers_take_all_The_hidden_dimension_of_corporate_culture_3076

This article covers some very good points about helping teachers with technology. Observations in the replies are worth reading too:
How to Get Hesitant Teachers to Use Technology http://plpnetwork.com/2013/03/27/hesitant-teachers-technology/

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Comments

  • Lisa M Lane  On April 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    I would never attempt to cheer you up about this (righteous indignation and anger are more appropriate), but know that you and your knowledge are valued by those you have worked with, including me.

    • scottx5  On April 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      Thanks Lisa, in an odd way there’s a solidarity beginning to happen among those staying and going. (Being angry, a person might miss it). By losing people we lose friends, ways of doing things and resent it for being taken for neutral objects of exchange. Some things don’t break as easily as others and human connections are pretty resilient. When I heard our media persons and website builder were moving to public relations and that PR is growing it seemed crazy to lose content developers to “advertising.” Except our problem is a public that seems indifferent to education and intent on electing political representatives that are full of BS. So maybe applying a bit of intelligent persuasion takes front seat to helping the children of those who don’t appreciate what we represent?

      Even though I know better, change always flattens me. This is at least the 4th time I’ve been let go from this place and one or both of us should be getting used it:-) Tomorrow is “coping with change” consultant day–be interesting.

      Thanks again for your comments, I think people fear the internet as a wilderness of unknowns and indifference and it seems to be the opposite at times like this.

  • jaapsoft2  On April 11, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Just to let you know I do know and feel sorry for you. Glad you will have a coping with change day. ;)

    • scottx5  On April 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Thanks Jaap, The coping with change workshop went surprisingly well. There were fewer people than expected but it was nice to have the people who had to carry out the dirty work of doing the layoffs at the meeting. I think they are taking it worse than the rest of us. We left the meeting with a positive feeling but while away admin phoned down to our department to leave a message that contrary to a decision just yesterday they are going double the work load on our department. After cutting our staff the plan is to hire some hot shot at some inflated rate to show us how to do our work to push through the course package that has gone unsupported for months. This is the last straw except it will be a pleasure to watch this person do miracles with the same lack of support we’ve been given.Just before I leave that is.
      Shame to see projects with promise be reduced to crap for the sake of protecting the narrow interests of a few but this is how its to be playing out. I have a couple of projects to close up and then who knows? The potential in online learning continues to grow–not here though, the trust is gone.
      I was expecting the message from the change counselor to be tough and ride out the misery for better days ahead. Instead it was all about taking control of your life and not burning out in mistaken loyalty to those who care only for themselves. I’ll take that advice. It seems rotten to walk away from projects we’ve tried to bring forward plus all the abuse we’ve taken from those who’ve refused to cooperate but remain untouched, if not rewarded.
      One positive is that since no one ever asked us (or cared to know), our untried ideas remain intact for us to keep working on. My favourite is the relationship between dance and learning to “think with your hands” as a way of teaching physical skills and focusing on problem solving. Off to check to “help Wanted.”

      Take Care,
      Scott

  • VanessaVaile  On April 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    You mentioned this but the whole situation there has been so mixed up (or sure seems so) that I kept thinking they ought to come to their senses. Keep those projects to yourself to work on. Maybe putting that righteous indignation and competence to work can help some of those lost (dropped or pushed) between the cracks so they don’t have to be counted and make the bozos responsible look bad.

    Are there colleagues you will keep in touch with? What about home schoolers and independent tribal councils that might be interested in independent education programs?

    Sounds like that ‘hiring a hot shot’ plan could make leaving and change more bearable, although I doubt that was their plan. I’ve had the major change/upset thing too. You don’t really get used to them. There is point in the middle when you’ve learned a bit about dealing with it and still have energy. By this stage though, energy is in shorter supply.

    PS I dropped you a note among ocTEL emails that probably got lost. I’ll write more later. Good I think that you finally got a blog started so that those of us who recognize your worth can gang up and tell you so.

    And take care ….

    • scottx5  On April 14, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Hi Vanessa, think I saw your note at OCTel but not sure.

      The whole situation has become like a complex political novel thought I think it boils down to the self-interest of a few at the top to preserve their standing and the rest of us can just overboard. My wife and I work at the same place and her final straw was having a dean blame his incompetence on our department and get pissy about typos in a course he want credit for but helps with not. This is playground stuff so we’ll take our volley ball and move on.

      You are right about not getting used to it. This is my 4th (I think) layoff at this place in 5 years and it still hurts. And the energy is reduced at every change too. I’m not done yet though and plan to look around for opportunities outside the education mainstream. Lots of places further south in Alberta and in British Columbia that need community workers. Some of the tribal councils here are hiring except the politics is even more intense and I need a break.

      Thanks for the complements. Makes things easier. So how are things down there?
      Scott

      • VanessaVaile  On April 14, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Living on SS (my own retirement was less than entirely voluntary, more like I’d rather live short (which I can do with no note or rent and very low property taxes), I’d had it working (can’t always call it teaching anymore) for people I can neither trust nor respect, So I do a lot of free stuff but nobody gets to tell me how or even what. It’s tight but suits, I think I do make a difference with the national adjunct group and am the community media in this small bump in the road given to chronic information hoarding and opacity, I’d like to see more independent community learning initiatives ~ working on that in stealth mode

      • scottx5  On April 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        We moved to this town without expectations beyond continuing to work and maybe gradually becoming “locals” and it has never happened. People are friendly enough and we have made connections but there’s a smallness of mind here that we won’t adapt to. We don’t belong and never planned to so in a way to say I’m disappointed or poorly treated is kind of phony because I return the dislike in equal portion. Interesting contradiction to live with where you dislike the people you serve or need. What I’m finding is those connections that work are really tight and those that don’t still carry a weird vitality as if they were a challenge to indifference–so maybe being here is an unconscious attempt to avoid the indifference I saw in some people in the cardiac ward who’d stopped giving a shit about anything? Do you think being disagreeable is a survival mechanism? My younger daughter sometimes displays a pig-headedness I recognize in myself except she’s got the drama part nailed and makes me look like a novice:-) I need more practice obviously.

      • VanessaVaile  On April 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        small minded…sounds like mine has a sister village up north… that or there are twice as many villages missing their idiots

      • scottx5  On April 14, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        There may be more of these towns than we could possibly save on our own but who can we trust to help us?

      • VanessaVaile  On April 15, 2013 at 8:52 AM

        true, who else but us cranks and they do have their own particular appeal…maybe we deserve each other

      • scottx5  On April 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        Maybe we have earned each other through years of dedication to the cause? Whatever that is.

      • VanessaVaile  On April 15, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        and possibly too complex to consign to one liners. I would not attribute much of anything one way or another to “earning” though, and the word “cause”gives me the hives. 42 is as good an answer as any.

        ________________________________

      • scottx5  On April 15, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        Douglas Adams?

      • VanessaVaile  On April 15, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        indeed so… the absurdity matches and your place is obviously infested with Vogons

        ________________________________

  • howell11  On April 15, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Whoa, Scott, I’m _so sorry_ to hear this. I hope something great works out for you.

    • scottx5  On April 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Change seems to be the norm in education and the type of change happening here is not the kind I like so away I go. By necessity my layoff date has been moved ahead to get some projects finished. Wouldn’t stay if the boss asked but this is about our work group finishing what we started and we are proud of working through disasters created by others.

      • howell11  On April 15, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        Well, see, that’s how you know that you are exactly the kind of person they shouldn’t allow to go! You are a trooper! Again I hope something great works out for you!

      • VanessaVaile  On April 15, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        I’m not trying to be a Pollyanna or a Candide, and this is not how anyone wants to leave, but I think it’s going to be an improvement in the long run. The situation has been miserable, lots of red flags. You deserve better.

        ________________________________

      • scottx5  On April 15, 2013 at 8:31 PM

        Much rather leave doing something positive than just walking away. I work AT a college but work WITH people I like and can’t abandon them. Not being total fools we know the credit for finishing the program (and saving the college a huge non-performance penalty) will go to the people who created this particular crisis. It’s always been like that here and it will be good to get away from it but not quite yet. Anyway, if this was an easy decision I’d sure as hell find a way to make it more complex:-)

  • crumphelen  On April 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Scott, I read your post whilst I was away from home and have not had chance to make a reply, until now. It’s really just to let you know that I’m thinking of you as you work your way through this messy and disappointing chapter. I hope you have success in finding a new place and a new position. I’m sure many organisations would be glad to have you. I know I’d just love to have you as a colleague, anyone who can conceive of teaching people to think with their hands through the medium of dance sounds like a real diamond to me. If I held the purse strings, I’d back you to pull it off tomorrow.
    Like you though, I’ve also been “let go” after going beyond the call of duty. It taught me that at the end of the day, to the people who hire you, your job is nothing more a contractual agreement. The message from the change counselor seems like sound advice to me. I’m with Vanessa here, I do enough paid work to get by, and beyond that I do free stuff or improve my own skills and interests.
    Helen

    • scottx5  On April 18, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      Hi Helen, thanks for the reply. What’s frustrating here is the very limited opportunities to actually be able to help in this organization. Everything is so regimented and no one wants to accept help lest it come with obligations so they wait to be told what to do do. I was going to set up an instructors discussion area with reviews on tips picked up at MOOCs but I’m tired of feeding into a system that not only doesn’t acknowledge but reminds me to stay in my place with comments like I need to stay for the team (which I will) until they can get people in to cover my desk and pay them 35% more than me because the job is so complex. This is said without irony–just the way the world works.

      So screw it, I have other interests and things I can do outside this place like volunteering for the next Oxford Brooks “First Steps” MOOC and fixing up our house to sell. We’ve been taught that giving should involve no need for payback but when you feel like a fool for giving it becomes pointless. Too many interesting things ot there to spin my wheels here.

      Take Care,
      Scott

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