Take this job and… this job, and this job, and this job, and…

A few minutes ago, I updated my facebook status as follows: Maggie quit two jobs in two days, and feels AWESOME.
Panic has ensued, which, in a weird way, makes me feel loved. I think I have issues.
But my friends and I aren’t getting any younger, and I don’t want to stress anyone’s system more than necessary, so an explanation is in order.
I should start by saying that I did NOT quit my actual job, as a college English teacher. In fact, for those who missed that announcement a couple of weeks ago, I just got tenure, so I’m not going anywhere for a while.
I should also amend my original statement, in the sense that I didn’t actually “quit” anything:
Job #1: Content expert for the development of an on-line/distance education English Literary Genres course
I was hired for this almost three years ago, and at the time, was faced with no teaching for the winter semester, and no real guarantee of full-time teaching in the following semesters. This contract seemed like the perfect stop-gap – it involves taking one of my pre-existing courses, and developing the content, assessments and pedagogy for a self-directed learning package. Since I wasn’t teaching in the winter, I’d have plenty of time to write content, create assessments and the accompanying tutor/marker guides, and so on.
Ah, the best laid plans…
The project director was hired by another institution, so my direct manager was promoted, and a new manager was hired. Naturally, this whole management shift took a while, and all the ongoing projects had to shift their timelines to compensate – so all of a sudden I was being asked for lots of work, but about six months had gone by – and I was teaching full-time, fall and winter. I panicked – but the new project manager was very understanding, and we compromised by hiring a co-author.
This was great, particularly since the person we hired was a spectacularly competent friend I know from Vanier, and she was looking for work she could do from home so that she could justify extending her time at home with her son, beyond her mat leave.
For the winter semester, this worked fairly well – but I still found myself checking the caller ID on my phone, nervous that it was the project manager calling to remind me of deadlines or outstanding course elements; I got nervous when I checked my email for the same reason. I spent a lot of my summer “vacation” working and worrying about the project – in fact, I spend a significant number of hours on one section of the final chapter, only to be told that none of the material was necessary, since it had been covered elsewhere by my co-author.
Suffice it to say that my stop-gap had turned into a big ball of stress.
So yesterday I called my co-author and asked her how she’d feel about taking on all of the remaining work, with the remaining money, obviously. Turns out she was thrilled to have a bit more work while she’s still at home with her son. I called the project manager, and while I suspect she was not entirely surprised, she was very understanding, and tada, it’s done.
I’m still involved in the sense that I will be available as a consultant while my co-author works on the remaining material, and that I’ll review the entire course when it’s, well, entire, so in that sense, I did not “quit.” But I quit!
Job #2: Chairman of the Board
Two years ago, I was encouraged to become a member of the Governing Board for my sons’ elementary school. I accepted the nomination, and was elected (to a two-year term as a parent representative) by the parents on hand at the first school gathering of the year.
Now, as a former high school outcast, being elected to anything at school is, like, wow. You like me!
Initially, this added commitment meant an evening meeting once every month, which wasn’t too arduous, even if it did mean limiting myself to one glass of wine with supper, instead of getting roaring drunk, like the rest of the week. But then last fall, our chairperson was not re-elected, much to everyone’s surprise, given that she’d been chair for years.
Another parent nominated me as chair, and I accepted that nomination too (I know, I bring it all on myself really. I can’t say “no.” That’s how I ended up with the two sons in the first place). I was acclaimed (which is really cool, except that no one else wanted it, so, well…)
Again, this wasn’t a particularly arduous position – a little more prep time before the monthly meeting, but that was spent with the principal, who is an awesome lady, and whose educational/global philosophy is just like mine, but more articulate.
But then, at the beginning of 2009, the school board announced a Major School Change consultation. Anytime you’ve heard some lunatic ranting on CBC/NPR about the school board and the government threatening to close schools, change programs, move students, etc., that’s Major School Change. As the Governing Board, we have to attend meetings with the school board, meet with other schools’ GBs, draft proposals, consult our fellow parents, and so on.
This was, quite literally, not what I signed on for.
Now, as it happens, my two-year term as a parent rep is up, and I would have to be re-elected to continue on the GB. So I sent the principal an email and said, as nicely as I could, that I was not going to accept the nomination this time. So, technically, I did not quit, I just didn’t seek re-election. But I quit!
Jobs #3, 4, 5 and 6: the ones I didn’t quit
~ I’m still teaching full time, and loving it – three courses, 120 students… but I’ll write more about that some other time.
~ I’m getting ready to present my proposal for my M.Ed. research. I’ll be gathering data this fall, and writing my thesis next winter.
~ I’m also preparing and heading a project for our Liberal Arts program, with the aim of creating a more interdisciplinary and coherent program.
~ Despite all my other commitments, my family hasn’t kicked me out, so there’s the whole wife and mother thing.
So, yes, I am a free(er) woman. Maybe I’ll even have time to blog 🙂

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