Tuesday, November 08, 2005

[Insert Extremely Foul Language Here]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally got internet access at home again (though Cox has sent me bills for a couple of months, which I have ignored), and I was looking forward to adding a bunch of posts about some good things from the past couple of weeks, like Halloween and Bourbon Street and running down St. Charles for the first time in two months, but then ...

I lost my job.

It was apparently a complete culling of all faculty not tenured or tenure-track. In the English department, it wasn't just me, but also people who had been at Loyola for 30 years. All of us, laid off, let go, fired, shit-canned, choose your euphemism. I suppose I should've seen it coming, but when I went to the meeting called by the Dean a few weeks ago and he assured us that the faculty were the heart of the institution, I made the error of believing him.

So now I join the vast majority of New Orleanians who didn't just lose homes and all their stuff, but their livelihood. I quite honestly don't have any idea what I do from here because it's not like any of the other universities in New Orleans are hiring. Go back to waiting tables? Secretarial work? That made me want to put a bullet through my brain; that's why I quit.

When I came to New Orleans seven years ago, I realized within a month or two that the place I wanted to teach here was Loyola. I did everything people do in order to get the job they want - I worked other schools and other places to get the experience necessary, and I worked as an adjunct at Loyola to get my foot in the door and turned down other job offers in order to keep it there, and I finally got the dream job.

And it's not just that. It's also that - I also saved and did without and kept my credit ridiculously clean so I could buy a house, 'cause that's what we're supposed to do, isn't it? Go to college and get an education and work hard to get the good job and buy a house and welcome to the American Dream, right? I even went into education, which I love doing, and even usually bit my tongue while lawyers and doctors and whatnot waxed eloquent over how noble my profession is when all I really wanted to say was, "Noble-schmoble, just buy me a drink, ya rich jerk." And I finally get there.

For all of a month.

I know, I know, you're thinking I should stop the self-pity. I'm actually not feeling that; it's more a sense of betrayal, though who exactly betrayed me I don't know. The American Dream? Some sort of nebulous societal promise, like hard work equals success? God? (Though having my house swamped because of an "act of God" stings less than having my house swamped because of incompetent levee building and management, and losing my job because of an "act of God" would sting less than losing it because of the actions of extremely well-paid administrators at a Jesuit university, though why I continue to expect Christian institutions to act, oh, Christian, I don't know.)

Okay, sure I'm something of a trouble-maker and I should probably learn to keep my mouth shut every now and again, but I basically played by the rules, and this is what I get. I mean, I want to stay in the city and help it re-build, but damn they're making it hard. It makes me want to sell everything, buy a big van, and go on the road with a stinky punk band. Or go out into the middle of nowhere and live in a tent. Or squat in some abandoned building and steal electricity, water, food, and cable. Or figure out how to hack computers and steal credit information and live off that.

Anyway, so that's why I'm not telling you about Halloween and other cool things today. Maybe tomorrow. After I figure when and where and how to sign up for unemployment.

Fuck me. It'll get funny eventually, right?

3 comments:

Audra said...

Hi, I'm Kate's friend.

Sorry to hear about your whole situation. I just finished 9 days (nothing compared to what you've been through) in Biloxi and Gulfport and I can't imagine actually being in that situation. It kinda cool reading a first-hand perspective of all this.

So good luck and as long as you're writing, I'm reading.

Brooke said...

I just read this even though you wrote it a few days ago. You'll make it through and make the best of it like you always do. I'm sure you're tired of it, but at least you have something to make the best of.

Albus said...

You know how cats hate water, so now that you have drained the pond, Albus wants to return to NO and has a standby space under the seat of a flight from Washington tomorrow. Please have a clean box for me to use when I get there.