19 July 2007

What next?

As you may recall, late last month I received word that I may finally be getting to leave my current horrible job. Hooray! Holy shit!

Well, the first of two potential deadlines for that to happen passed a while back with nary a peep from the powers that be. The second of the two deadlines is this coming Monday. Should I count on hearing something? Should I expect that this deadline will indeed mean that this long pointless nightmare will at long last be over? Find out after the jump.

Nah. I mean, this is, what, like the seventh or eighth solid deadline I've been given over the past two years? These people couldn't organize a game of Red Rover, much less manage the details of a large and complex personnel system. I've often said that with my employer, you can't be sure anything is going to happen until it already has. And so here I sit, nothing having happened yet.

But I'm not going to give up that easily, either. I have no choice but to assume I'll shortly be out of a job (a blessed occurrence indeed, though I must assume it will only feel that way for a brief while), so I'm looking at my open options for the next... um... thing. The next thing that I'll do with my life. Yes, that sounds good and neutral.

I've been talking with an outfit that helps people like me move into teaching--helps get a temporary certificate, pays for classes and such to earn a permanent certificate, helps with job hunting, that sort of thing. I'm waiting on a transcript from Clemson to arrive so I can send them all the information they need, but then we'll see what happens.

There's also still the open possibility of law school, at Stetson. Deep breath. This seems like maybe the right time to give this a try. I've got the scholarship, the school is here in town (sort of--it's about 26 miles away across Tampa Bay, which is not the greatest but survivable; need to check on PSTA bus trips across the bay), I can use the GI Bill to help support the household. I really think I want to do this. But... but I really don't know if I actually want to do this, or if I'm just afraid of closing a door. If I don't like it... well, that's another bridge for another time.

Still, do I want to commit to something for three years? That's half as much time as I spent with the current employer, but I'd be making... oh, let's see, approximately nothing during that time frame. And to do what with when I got out? I don't know exactly. That's a problem, too. Property law (both intellectual and real) interests me the most, but that's not a specialization Stetson offers. They offer a semester exchange program at Franklin Pierce, in New Hampshire, which would be cool, but I don't want to go to New Hampshire for a semester; a few weeks would be nice. In the autumn, you know. Anyway. That's not really foremost in my mind right now. Foremost is the following:

Three years.

Is that a stupid thing to be bothered by? I mean, I'm inclined to think so. After all, if I enjoy it, three years won't seem very long and will certainly be well worth it, a good investment of time. And no question a J.D. opens doors... since I'm so concerned about closing them, lately, it makes sense to try something that might open a few now and then.

Ah, but then there's the other thing that bothers me. It's a conservative field. Not politically, but culturally. Things have to be just so. There are specific expectations of behavior, of appearance. Courtesies must be rendered to people on the basis of their position, their rank, rather than anything they've actually done or any behavior they've shown. That sounds too damn much like my current job. And that's the part of my current job I hate more than anything else. Standards of behavior, standards of appearance, you must render the proper respect to people who've done nothing to earn it apart from being around longer than you. My God, people. Where did this needless hierarchism come from? Why does society require us to bow and scrape before those on high pedestals simply because of the pedestals, not because of the people?

Does anybody out there truly believe that everyone in a "position of respect" or a high rank in our society got there because they deserved it? Because they have proven themselves worthy time and again of the respect of others by constantly earning it through their actions, their integrity, their decency? It seems to me that throughout all of society at every level we've created hierarchies and instituted a system of levels of respect, based not on a person's qualities but on his or her position. Based, in other words, not on who we are, but what we are. I must offer you proper courtesy and respect because of the position that you fill, not because of the person that you are. That's a terribly empty sort of respect, isn't it?

It isn't that I want to be a jerk. I'm a decent human being, after all. I try my best most days to be polite to everyone, to help everyone who needs my help, to treat everyone I meet and work with the way I'd like to be treated. I want to be a nice guy, after all. They do finish last sometimes, nice guys, but they also sleep a lot better at night and have more fulfilling relationships. Certainly I have bad days, but we all have those; the point is, I'm not looking for an excuse to treat people like dirt and ignore etiquette. But I want to be decent and respectful on my own, because it's the right thing to do. I don't want to be required to greet a person, to speak to them in a certain way, to dress in a certain manner when I go before them. I'm more than happy to do those things, but I don't want to be told to, or forced to. Forcing me to behave in such a manner denies me any opportunity to be a decent person; I end up simply doing something because I must, being polite or courteous because I must, not because I want to be or because I should. It denies an aspect of my humanity, and damn it that's what's been pissing me off so much the last six years. It's like I can't be trusted to act on my own, I have to be told what to do at every opportunity. Here are the rules you must follow because we know we can't trust you to do the right thing on your own. Here's your peghole--jump right in! You'll fit, we promise! (We'll make you!)

Fuck 'em.

Ugh. Well, if you have anything to add to this raging moral dilemma please do so. I'm going to go have breakfast.

1 comment:

Tina said...

I hate to sound like an old hag... but... you're only 30 and if you have the opportunity to go to college - do it! I promise you won't regret it in the years to come. You may, however, regret never taking that chance to go while you were still somewhat young.

Just my opinion of course. :O)