Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Update

Happy Thanksgiving to all my online and real life poker buddies and other assorted friends!

In my job, the journey from Halloween to Thanksgiving is like a three to four week sprint -- fast and furious action! One goal is to just make it to the Thanksgiving break without feeling worn out or sick. I think I made it!

Work has been challenging in that the state of Illinois legislators and governors refuse to work together. They didn't pass a budget for last year and haven't for this year. They are anticipating not passing one until 2018. In the meantime, the state debt continues to grow, pension debt increases and public colleges and universities, as well as social service agencies cut, cut  and cut until being on the brink of disaster. My school had to not offer contracts for next year to several outstanding new faculty. Morale is low. Meh.

Being indecisive as I sometimes tend to be, I still don't know what my role at work will be come May. Either I will take on added responsibilities or will go back to my regular role I left 4 1/2 years ago. I hope to have some clarification by January.

I hope to actually make another post this holiday weekend. For now, have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Cubs Win the World Series & Life Goes On

After 108 years, it finally happened: The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions! It's not like this is a complete surprise since the Cubs were the favorite to win it at the start of the season and had the best record in the regular season. However, these were still the Cubs, who have known to blow it time and time again at the worst possible time. I guarantee you that most Cubs fans felt the way that I did when the Indians tied it up late in game seven. My stomach was feeling quite unsettled. Thank goodness for the rain delay, which was probably the true MVP in the deciding game.

Of course, now many of us are living in a new reality. How does one's prospective of life change now that the Cubbies have won the World Series? It's like seeing that thing you always hoped would happen but never would finally coming through. For me, this was the final team that needed to win it all since I started following Chicago professional sports teams. The pressure will now switch to the Chicago Bears, whose last championship was over 30 years ago. Since that time, the Bears have only reached the Super Bowl once.

The day after the big Cubs victory, I did have my wife go to Dick's sporting goods store before it opened so that I could get some sweet, sweet swag.
 My boss, one of those dastardly Cardinals fans who are overpopulated throughout central Illinois, did stop by my office to drop off a congratulatory donut treat.
All in all, the last week was one of great stress, especially after the Cubs went down 3-1 on the series and also when Cleveland caught up in game seven. However, the jubilation and associated feelings certainly more than made up for it.

And of course (u see), just when things were going great because of the Cubs, things seemed to take a turn for the worse at work. Some untenured faculty are not being rehired for next year in a cost-cutting measure designed to cut expenses and move my college to the point where we no longer have to depend on money from the state. My department is currently down 1.5 staff, and another retiring in April will likely not be replaced. I am scheduled to present a report on student mental health challenges in my school at a board of trustees meeting on November 16. I was hoping to use the meeting as a forum to make a compelling case to replace the counselor retiring in April. However, it appears likely that a big faculty contingent will also appear at the meeting, pretty much pushing my request into the background.

My status for next year in still uncertain as no plans have been finalized for the merging of another department into mine. I am scheduled to stay in my current leadership position for another 18 months. I had already been considering calling it a day on those obligations at the end of April next year, and I am pretty sure that I will not get what I asked to remain in my position and take on additional responsibilities: more pay and for someone to get an upgrade to associate director so that I would have someone with some real authority to back me up. It is likely I would be offered a nominal increase in pay, but I seriously doubt I will get the administrative help I need. Unless either I am offered a decent increase in pay and/or I decide to bite the bullet for the sake of my department, it looks like my administrative duties might come to an end in April. Either way, life will be quite different come next summer.

Thanks for reading!