So I waited and I guess at the end of January I got a letter from some official body or other saying Congratulations. You have received a 3 step merit increase. A strange letter, with no acknowledgment that an error had been previously made and since there was no acknowledgment of an error there was of course no explanation of the unacknowledged error.
Well, I was happy to get the merit increase, and when I checked with our highest level secretary, I was told that I would get the money I hadn’t gotten for the six months they had taken to ok my merit raise. So I would get retro pay, and starting in March my check would show the new adjusted amount. At this point, though, I haven’t seen a penny of it since some mistake was made and instead of getting more money my check for February was completely cancelled and some strange accounting had to be done to get me my salary that couldn’t account for my raise or the missing money.
Someday I will see it.
So I had my merit review last February and at the end of March I went to a convention of college writing teachers in Chicago I think it was and, of course, because it happens every time, I got sick about a week after I got back with some stuff that settled in my lungs and just wouldn’t seem to go away for the whole stinking quarter. I hate conferences. I hate airplanes. I hate airports too.
And then around in there maybe April or June we all get an out of nowhere email from our boss saying that she was retiring. This was like completely unexpected and out of the blue, and in itself a cause for tension and concern. This boss was the first boss of the writing program who a real tenure track professor. In fact, she had been hired in as a Full Professor, which is a pretty big deal. And now out of nowhere she was going.
We had one other Professor in the program but she didn’t have tenure and the rest, well, we were all top to bottom lecturers, and we felt—or at least I felt—that it had been good to have a full real professor as our boss since she might be able to talk with the guys up in the administration in a way that a lecturer, such as myself, could not.
So that was upsetting: to have the boss split like that after five years. She had been a pretty decent boss, I think. Nothing really had changed for the better in terms of our pay or workload or anything substantial like that but she was not nuts for one committee meeting after another and having been for years at another institution a full senate faculty member she brought with her a senate faculty ethos. She treated us more as if we were professors and that meant, most importantly, that she mostly expected us not to be in our offices, which is the case with most Senate faculty—they are not in their offices.
That’s my office again. Part of a bookshelf featuring one of those singing fish. I don’t know why the hell I bought that. But I actually bought it. It sings "Splish Splash, I was taking a bath." I don’t think it sings now though because the battery is dead.