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December 29, 2007

Death by politics

Last week, I wrote a terse entry  from my favorite getaway spot. I had packed up the car with kids, presents and goodies to spend a restful holiday with T's family. I had looking forward to this weekend for months. My work situation has been brutal, grinding and soul-stomping since the beginning of this school year. With new administration and severe understaffing, even my pretty new library furnishings weren't enough to make me happy at my job and this frustration and unrest were carrying over into every aspect of my life. It was the reason I went back on anti-depressants (which are not working, btw) ... I was hoping they would take the edge off so that I could merely exist until I found a way to make it better.

Well, I thought I had found a way to make it better. A job at the county level opened up, one that I have been working toward for 5 years, one that I went back to grad school for a second time to get licensed for. The job description called for a Masters and a Licensure in one of two combinations ... either a Masters of Library Science and a Licensure in IT or a Masters in Instructional Technology and a Library Science Licensure ... I now have the first combo and am well qualified for the job. As soon as the opening was announced (back in October), I dropped off my resume and sat back to wait.

They finally set up an interview on the day after school let out. In the meantime, I heard several things ... that the job description was being rewritten to focus more on the Library Science and less on the IT (which should have tipped me off), that the pool of candidates was very small, that the technicians were behind me candidacy. All of this should have told me to stop hoping. My gut kept warning me but I let a hopeful thought or two in and began to think I actually had a chance.

When I went for the interview, I was ready, relaxed and rehearsed. I don't do well in interview situations, getting far too nervous and passionate when I speak and easily getting sidetracked. I felt confident, though, even though I was going into a situation not knowing who my interviewers would be.  When I walked in, I found I would be interviewed by two people I knew ... the one that would be making the ultimate decision and a professor from ECU whose class I had thoroughly enjoyed getting an A in. I thought the interview went well, though my 'boss' yawned a few times while I was answering questions, something the professor caught and looked concerned about.

I should have been concerned. I should have known going in that it was a lost cause. I should have noticed when he looked down his nose at me before I left in that he had no respect for me and no intention of taking my candidacy seriously. I should have known that, in this political world where you change your ideals depending on who you are talking to, that my annoying habit of speaking my mind and being strong in my convictions of wanting to serve the children of our county would not go over well.

I found out via email that I didn't get the job. I lost to a sleeper candidate, someone that does not have my qualifications but someone that will make her boss look good. She doesn't need the job or the money but she fills a need for him that I don't. Eventually, I will be able to live with that but right now, I'm on my indignant high horse, full of venomous thoughts and toxic anger.  My holiday escape was wrecked. I spent most of last Saturday in tears, unable to have any fun during a youth group get-together. Sunday was supposed to be a joyful, reverent performance at church, followed by family time ... poor T was relegated to the supportive boyfriend role (which he is awesome at), watching me bob about in an emotional sea of angst.

Yes, I have ideals that I will not give up, no matter how tempting the job is. Yes, I have moral fiber, despite the fact that I do not fit into the mold of other candidates. I don't know how, but I get the feeling that the fact that I am a single mom of kids that some would consider mixed-race, that I do not 'come from around here' topped by the fact that I have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can not be broken by anything or anyone (witness my escape from my marriage) made me unpopular with certain people. 

The irony that I have helped several people that are above me get to where they are is not lost on me. This whole situation reeks of politics.  Why bring in someone that could actually help the department if they are going to make you look bad?  I have been told over and over not to take this personally but I can't help it.  I was hoping it would not be personal but that email told me it was.

I don't know what I'm going to do but I do know that I can't keep fighting this fight if it is going to hurt my kids in the end. Just under a week before I go back to work. I'm reviewing my options but, at the moment, I'm unable to do anything because everyone is off enjoying their vacation, which is what I should be doing.

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This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on December 29, 2007 12:13 AM.

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