Early Redundancy

Been busy with FSLT and no time to update this little story. Though the stated date for my departure was set for June 30 as the normal year end for casual workers such as me, late afternoon Friday May 17 our new director of teaching and learning appeared in my office to say the date had been “mistakenly” given as June 30 when they actually meant May 22. No official reason stated then or given later as casuals, though we pay full union dues and have quasi-contracts signed by all parties, are not due anything in writing. There is a clause in the general agreement requiring stating I was to be given at least 20 days notice but expect that since the initial layoff included over 20 days the updated 3 day warning is going to stand under some bureaucratic algorithmic exception of error rule thing. As for the union? I’m one person, too bad for me.

Next project is unknown, though how people learn despite betrayal sounds productive.

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  • VanessaVaile  On June 21, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    This gives a whole new meaning to the expression, “to want someone gone yesterday.”

    Do you have the June 30 date anywhere in writing? What about unemployment?

    Are you in BC? The Canadian casuals I know in Vancouver can’t shut up about how much better they off they are, with more union protection and better contracts. I gather that is by the province and not uniform across the country.

    How people teach as well as learn despite betrayal is…unfortunately…probably a growth area.

    More tomorrow – my coherence and keyboard coordination are shutting down for the night… no arguing with them, just succumb…

    Take care, Vanessa

    ________________________________

    • scottx5  On June 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Was inside the castle walls yesterday and spent an hour trying to help get quizzes sorted for one of the many I was unable to finish. There was months of work to be done on my desk but by firing 20 people like me at my pay scale they could afford another VP to strategize an imaginary way to get the work done. Our tech person has tried to develop a way to load quizzes into the new course (that now might fizzle out with no one left to work on it) but there’s some vital step she’s missing in the new Moodle 2.2 platform that I never got figured out either. I’ll try to get it figured out this weekend so the two people left on the team can can at least get basic course built.

      Sadly, the instructional part will be lost as management did nothing to provide support to the SME and he’s quitting as soon as he can get out of there. This will be one of at least 6 major projects that the college has promoted, partly developed and then blown with poor management and bad public relations skills at the top.

      I’m one province over in Alberta at the south end of the tar sands district. Millions of dollars in development is going on here but the right wing provincial government are too dumb to manage it for the public. If you put people who don’t believe in government in government they naturally will not apply themselves to operating the thing properly. Here, casuals are garbage without rights. When I asked for written notice it was refused on the grounds that casuals aren’t required to have any written notice so I replied that it seemed not very nice and HR passed my email on to the President who I’d already had a public exchange with and that was probably the straw for them. The union sings the same tune and gave me a lecture on how this is a rational process that provides “protection” for its membership. This isn’t new, having always been outside the membership club I’m used to people looking me in the eye and repeating slogans of solidarity–just not with me. I remember the explanation for discrimination in the 60’s was given as “they are different.” If you can define someone as different, you can do anything to them.

      It’s interesting to see how the rules of institutional life formalize the rights of people to treat each other like dirt. Seems to be a human need to screw someone once in a while to maintain the lies we tell ourselves about how much we care for each other. If we can’t be better then we need to make someone worse.

      There is some unemployment insurance due me at a very small percent of my former small pay that will last for a while. Also researching helping in MOOCs and other online courses. The social end is vital to reduce the dropout rate and I’d like to develop conversational ways to go beyond encouragement to actual engagement so I can become part of the learning process and not just another pretty face:-)

      Don’t stay up so late:-)
      Scott

      • VanessaVaile  On June 26, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        Not to worry ~ any time I am up late, I took an afternoon nap. I was set to reply a few days back but saw it was late, so did not. Next time the O Canada & how great for casuals routine rolls by, I’ll just say, what about Alberta?

        What about consulting? Someone posted on the connected learning about being involved with mentoring. I thought of you but forgot to save the URL. I’ll find it though.

      • scottx5  On June 26, 2013 at 10:09 PM

        Labour legislation varies by the locality. My experience has been that people will screw you not even because they don’t like you or would gain something from it–it’s human nature and no business of unions to fix. Trying to work out a screwing scale but it becomes complex when breaking trust is involved. Since trust is an irrational investment in a predictable future, what happens when trust is broken? I shouldn’t get so philosophical about this:-( People will eventually do you dirt and it’s probably more a function of how often that goes into trust than some sort of dramatic betrayal thing. I trusted someone who gave no indication of trustworthiness and may actually be the first alien life form of her type to land on earth. This is a job for the logic of Richard Dawkins and Stanislaw Lem. Just my luck to start a theoretical model based on a single specimen.

        Been thinking about consulting. Have an offer for some contract research which I’ve done in the past. (No aliens please). A variation on mentoring sounds good too. Like to be helpful and am now cut off from offering anything to those locally and still need an outlet for this energy. Long time ago I worked editing a course on preceptorship that isn’t being used and could adapt the concepts to helping online students become more curious and committed to learning. Think it would be useful for the Teacher Training (FSLT) MOOC through Oxford Brooks–a volunteers guide full of tips?

        Not sure what to do about income. Two of the three in the family are working and I’m doing housework and repairs. If you allow people to give you money for your work they honestly think they can use you as they please and I’m used up in that department.

        Let me know if you find the mentoring link. I’m just bursting with bad advice:-)

  • Carolyn Jones  On June 25, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Scott – to say this must be disheartening for you must be an understatement. Take your time over a consideration of the potential for the development of Teamworkhealth. Let’s just be clear that our motive is not to make money out of this for ourselves – we would be happy for it to be open sourced. It would seem to have potential for the effective development of primary care in the Third World – if nothing else. Derwyn would be happy to front it along with you if you think this appropriate – and if you can use it to gain financially for yourself we would be glad of that too. It would just be good to get it out there somehow and working for the common good.

    Take some time now to consolidate your life and make contact again – if and when you are ready – and be sure to take very good care of yourself and your wife.

    Kindest regards

    Carrie and Derwyn

    Our new email address is dfjcmj@gmail.com.

    • scottx5  On June 25, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      Carrie and Derwyn, thanks for the considerate words. Though I’m not happy with what happened at work the fact is the management style that protects itself by dismissing those who wish to contribute (even if we challenge the system) will eventually fade away. This is an odd place where I live and there are great people here as well as the rats and I’m still fascinated with how communities sustain themselves. Being an outsider it’s not necessary to subscribe to any particular social myth. Except for basic survival, there’s not even a reason pretend to be “social” here any more.

      Do have a few things to finish up and will try and figure out how to direct your information to someone who can make use of it.

      Scott

  • jaapsoft2  On June 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Scott, remarkable management strategy. Hope you will survive this mess and wish you all you need to overcome this changes in life.

    • scottx5  On June 25, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      Hi Jaap, too early to write about who, how and why I was let go but this is a small town that can’t seem to attract residents. A recent census shows a rise in population all around us due to the oil boom averaging 20% in the last 5 years while we’ve actually lost people. There’s even towns outside town that have sprung up rather than build here. Locals are so confused a town sponsored census is being done and apparently they are being extra careful as they’ve counted us twice:-)

      It only takes a couple of lead people in an organization to undo the the hard work of many. Lucky for everyone I’m staying in town and all my advice is free.

  • crumphelen  On June 28, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    What a perverse and sorry tale, Scott, but I just know that you’re gonna find an opportunity that fires you up and makes use of your talents. Wishing you well. Helen

    • scottx5  On June 28, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Thanks Helen, there’s some relief in not having to bother collecting cool professional development tips for the instructional staff. In 6 years none of it was ever used anyway so that’s time freed-up. (Haven’t been able to confirm exact numbers yet but instructional staff have been cut by at least 30% by program closures and many more are cuts are coming. Staff is more complex as the turn over has been large plus reductions in services to students has been offset by an increase in services administrators. Plus the apparent shortage of vice presidents and public relations officers has been dealt with by increased hiring in these underrepresented roles–the organization is now well staffed at all levels except student services and teaching which everyone knows are the areas of greatest inefficiency in education). There’s also the end of conversations featuring me being told I don’t know anything when I’ve actually done it while they’ve read about it (the accepted version no less!).

      Going back to finish my certificate in learning through emerging technologies my health problems interrupted. This time I’ll spend more time on the instructional design courses. Ironically, the university sponsoring this online program in online learning has an awful interface they are struggling to keep above water minute by minute. There’s something appealing about technology at the edge of disaster and, having worked under those conditions for years I appreciate the effort dedication it takes.

      Plus there are a million other things to do–some might even be fun!

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