Sunday, May 22, 2011

Money, money, money, money ... MONEY!

Spent a good deal of time talking to my friend from Key West. He lost his job this month, after more than a decade at the community college. His contract is up in (I believe) August and they bought him out.

But he has tenure, so he was completely blind-sided by this event. And the college, which he believed was his professional family, handled the situation hurtfully. He found out about his impending axing from one of his students, who was told she couldn't take his summer class because, well, the professor wouldn't be there anymore.

Enrollments are down. Funding is down. 7 educators were let go. He believes he was one of them because of his whistle-blower tendencies. That, combined with tenure, is why he wants to sue.

I warned him that he's not getting this job back. Even if he gets money from the State of Florida, or whoever he's looking to sue, he won't be reinstated. He acknowledges that intellectually but I don't think he gets it emotionally. He loved teaching at that school. He was involved with his students and his coworkers. It's like an amputation, and he still feels his "missing limb."

They can't afford their home on just his lover's income (even though his lover is currently working two jobs; days as an accountant, a couple evenings a week tending bar.). My friend had comprehensive health coverage through the school, but he didn't feel he could afford COBRA so he passed.* Since he and his lover are gay and cannot marry, it complicates things. They are checking whether his lover can add him to the group plan he gets from his accounting job. Never mind that they have been monogamous for nearly 20 years. Apparently we are comfortable dismissing that in this country "in defense of marriage." (Right, Governator? Don't you agree, Newt?)

Key West is an island. It's not like there's another institute of higher learning he can turn to now. This chapter of my friend's career is over.

The thing of it is, my friend is much beloved all over town. Friends and former students work in hotels, restaurants, stores and publications across the island. I reassured him that, at times like this, karma counts -- and all the good he has done will come back to him. He just has to allow himself to accept it graciously. (To get the ball rolling, I sent him a CVS gift card for $50. You can buy anything at CVS, right? And maybe it'll be a subliminal reminder to get that health insurance situation sewn up.)

I wish we could have spent more time talking about the emotional damage, rather than the fiscal. But alas, these are the days we live in. Money is important to all of us these days. If only it wasn't so.

* Though I feel he can't afford
not to take it.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry for your friend. What a touch situation.