My Stage 4 Lung Cancer is, without question, the largest Elephant in the Room, as far as my life is concerned. However, for the past four (4) months there has been another “elephant” which has also proven to be a foreboding and ominous presence. Let me tell you the story of my job…
Since August, 2009, I have been working as a part-time Co-Athletic Director for the school system that I spent 30 years teaching in. I shared the job with another part-time retired guy. To call this job “part-time” is certainly absurd. I get paid for approximately twelve (12) hours per week (by law, I cannot work more than 180 half-days as a retired teacher on a pension). However, I actually work an average of 32-40 hours per week. The job requires that amount of time, especially since much of the daily work is computer-driven and my work-partner disdains computers.
At the beginning of the current school year, my partner decided that this would be his last year and that he would resign in mid-January. He actually spoke with the school superintendent in September, telling him his plans. He also told the Superintendent that he would submit a formal resignation letter in November, but hoped that the Superintendent would begin looking for a replacement.
The resignation letter was submitted formally on November 1, 2012. In that letter my partner indicated that January 16, 2013 would be his last day. Later that week, I made an appointment with the Superintendent and candidly discussed the job with him. I emphasized that someone should be hired long before Jan 16th to allow the two Co-Athletic Directors to both have a hand in the new hire’s training. I explained that, even though I did the majority of the daily routine office work, there were things my partner knew and could impart (since he held the job for about 40 years) that I could never know. I also pleaded with the Superintendent to hire someone right away so that the new hire could share in the worst of the winter sports season, the fact that we needed to be present at evening games in order to collect and account for the gate receipts. I knew that when my partner left, I would have to attend all the night home games alone — typically there are 3 or 4 home games per week. I told the Superintendent that my marriage was in jeopardy, since my wife, as understanding as she is, was not going to accept my being out 3 or 4 nights each week from the middle of January to the end of February.
Nothing happened. The job was not posted. No one was hired. My partner left and I remained by myself in the job, a part-timer in a full-time job who is paid for a measly 12 hours per week. I was being abused and I was very angry. Despite several other emails requesting that the job be advertised, etc., the position was not posted until the evening of February 20, 2013.
The entire job situation has been another “elephant in the room” for me and my life since it cast a pall over everything else. It was a constant source of strife between my wife and I; it was eating me up since I felt abused and taken advantage of. I wanted to vent about it with everyone, but the town I work in is extremely political and you can never be sure about the connections or allegiance of the people you deal with.
I had to be content with my puny little protest — I have been working fewer hours during the day since I spend so many evenings at the school supervising games.
This “elephant” will remain in the room until he is forever dismissed, until I have left the job behind.