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Panic Attack!

December 27th, 2007 at 05:24 pm

I had thought that I had plans in placed for a seamless career transition from teaching to accounting, but a wrench just got thrown into the plans. I had been *informally* told by my department chair that, if certain things happened at work, they would be able to offer me one more additional full-time contract for the 2008-2009 year. It looked likely that those things would come to pass, and indeed they have, but I just learned that they are planning to hire a post-doc (whom they can pay $10000 less than they pay me even after they cut my pay by $9000 this year) instead. I was never even told directly but learned this by being on the department email list, where they have been discussing how much they would have to pay such a person. The chair seems to have forgotten what she said back in September. This has induced an instant panic attack--my heart is still beating wildly an hour & a half after opening that email. I've sent a note to the chair, but it sounds as though this new plan is too far underway for them to turn back. Now I don't know WHAT to do for the fall--do I apply for more adjunct teaching, which pays very low, or do I hope that, even though I'll still be two classes shy of the coursework I need, that I'll be able to find an accounting job for this fall? Things would work out so seamlessly in the career transition if I had another year in academia 2008-2009; if I have to fully transition in 2008, I'm much more unsure...and frankly, terrified. And angry.

6 Responses to “Panic Attack!”

  1. JanH Says:

    Oh, wow, what a way to find out! I'm so sorry! Take a moment to breathe in and out and slow your heart down. Close your eyes and concentrate on the feelings of breathing....It won't make the situation any better, but you might clear your head for a moment. Hugs to you!

  2. mom-sense Says:

    Can you look into other colleges offering the required coursework so you will be able to find a job in the fall in accounting? Can you look into grant-funded positions else where in the college? Is there a career counseling department that might be able to help you with the transition? In the colleges that I have worked at/attended, these services have been offered free of charge. Can you look into college-sponsored job fairs to get an edge on new grads? It sounds like your career history might put you ahead of recent grads. I'm just surmising, being new, and not knowing the background. Good luck to you - it will all work out - DH was unemployed for awhile this year (he knew it was a possibility for YEARS and even though we had a plan and were OK financiallly, it was still a SHOCK ...) and put out as much "Word as possible" to everyone you know, that is how DH got his new job.

  3. fern Says:

    Yeah, that is a bit of a shocker. Are your sure there's room for only one of you? It seems odd that she seemingly forgot what she told you informally.

    Well, try to hold on until you hear back from her about what your status really is. Maybe there's some info you're missing that will help make this whole situation more doable.

    I would fully pursue accounting jobs opportunities based on your current skills and classes taken cus i guess i wouldn't feel really good about them if they already cut your pay by $9,000.

    Learning about a job loss, or even possible job loss, is always a scary thing. Being single and feeling vulnerable, when i learned about my own job layoff, i freaked and 2 days later had applied to 2 jobs online. Amazingly, i got interviews at both companies and i accepted a job offer from one a few weeks later. I kind of have my whole life, from a financial perspective, mapped out and planned. So the loss of income, even for just a few months, was definitely not something i wanted, cus that would throw a big kink in my whole timetable. You might say my job layoff was one gigantic kick in the butt becus this was a place i had been "coasting" at for several years, meaning the pay was pretty low, but becus it was so close to home, i figured it was worth it for the lifestyle benefits. I probably would have remained there forever if i could have, but i think i would have been giving up a lot of income by doing so.

  4. Dido Says:

    Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. This is exactly the reason I am pursuing the career change! Having failed to get tenure (the school where I was up for it has a tenuring rate of 55%), I fell into adjunct teaching. I've actually been very lucky to have mostly been able to get full-time gigs, rather than having to patch together courses at different schools, although I did have to do that for two years. But I haven't had a job that I could count on lasting more than a year since 1999, and I often spend January through March in a state of high anxiety waiting for fall teaching contracts to be decided. I had thought I'd avoid that this year, which makes this a double whammy. I did write to the chair, and we'll see if anything comes of that. In the meantime, I'm just trying to breathe and, for today, focus on what I need to get done today--that's the strategy until I know more. I do have access to the career center resources of the college, and it beehoves me to continue classes at this school (for one thing, I get to take them for free as long as I'm employed). After the new year, when hopefully I'll have heard back from the chair about next year, I'll talk with my accounting advisor about the prospects for making the switch earlier than planned.

  5. shiela Says:

    WOW, I hope this is all a mistake.
    This sort of thing I think is not legal is Australia. It's so unethical.

  6. baselle Says:

    I'm just going to say it straight out.

    Man, that is SO shitty.

    On the bright side, should you be in the mood to sue, I'm willing to bet a few dollars that other emails coming from that server will be quite incriminating. Clearly your department isn't very smart - there has to be at least one email describing why the post doc will be more cost effective.

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