16 August 2007

Smitty, This Is Your Life!

I like this headline because it can go either way. And, here's the way it went.

For the fourth time in six weeks, I had been given a date on which my separation paperwork would be signed. The date was 14 August. I was in Texas that day, and at orientation for Stetson Law yesterday. So today was the day: I would find out that my paperwork was signed and I would be getting out of the AF within ten days.

Last week I decided that if in fact the paperwork was not signed on the 14th, I would withdraw from law school. I was not prepared to start classes, mentally or emotionally. I did not want the extra stress of juggling law school with wondering when or whether I'd be out of the service by a certain date or time. And frankly, with classes starting next Monday, matters had been stretched just about as far as they could be to the last minute. I didn't want to start classes not knowing when I might hear about my separation. Plus, the law school offered to defer my admission and my scholarship (for the second time).

I was satisfied with either option. If the paperwork was signed, I could start school next week, no problem. I felt I'd be a bit behind at the start, but I'm sure I could catch up quickly enough. If the paperwork wasn't signed, I was satisfied that I'd be able to defer for a semester or a year as needed and not have any trouble.

Of course the paperwork had not been signed. Again--for the fourth time in six weeks--a date I'd been given with all certainty proved to be erroneous. I don't want to call this lying, because I believe lying is a conscious activity. I wasn't lied to. I was presented with a fact that could be neither proven nor disproven and told it was a foregone conclusion.

Nonetheless, when, after telling me the paperwork had not been signed, my boss insisted that it would be signed next week... well, I had no reason at all to believe him. Not that he would be consciously lying. Rather, he's passing along information from people who are criminally incompetent at estimating. I've been misled four times in six weeks (nine times in 22 months) and I have no reason to believe anything anyone tells me anymore. I'll get out when I get out. Until then, I won't be out. That's that.

I second-guessed my decision to withdraw from school, of course. But knowing the deferment was on the table and knowing that in a semester or two not only would I not have to worry about when I'd be separating from my job but I'd also be more prepared to start school eventually convinced me I'd made the right choice after all.

So, no, I won't be starting school on Monday. And no, I still don't know when I'll be getting out. But I assume eventually I will get out (I mean, this can only go on so long), and when that happens... well, when that happens I'll be throwing a nice little party I suppose. You're all invited. Watch this space...


Lucky Bob said...

He didn't lie to you. He was made into a liar. I hate being made into a liar. And I hate failing to meet an obligation or having to go back on my word. That's one of the reason's I usually say I'll "try to" do something. I know the future is fluid and that things come up. What kills me is the people I know who promise or say that they will definitely do something and repeatedly fail to meet those obligations because they always overextend themselves and don't take into account the unforeseen. I put great stock in promise, but some people's I don't listen to any more.

If I was your boss I'd be pissed. At work I don't make promises based on what someone else has to do. I communicate that "so and so said they would do it." My standard statement is, "I should be able to get that done in time, if nothing happens." Most people understand that, but a few don't seem to like it as much. I think it's honest. plus IU think some people are starting to realize that my "shoulds" are better than a lot of people's "definites."

Ooo look. Rant droppings. That sucks a lot man. When you do get out you have to come for a longer visit. And maybe shoot pottery. Yeah. Maybe by then it won't be 100 every day. My okra's wilting and the eggplants are literally baking. It sucks.

Smitty said...

I like it when someone leave a comment for me that gives me a perspective I had not at all considered before. You said, "If I was your boss I'd be pissed."

Damn, you're right. I mean, he looks like a fool. Four times he's assured me I'd be out, and he's been wrong each time? And it's not like he's giving me his personal assurance, I know that, he knows that, it's just what he's being told. But still, people are giving him bad info and it's making him look like he doesn't know what he's doing. Not only that, yesterday I told him I was having to withdraw from school because of this, and I know he's sitting there thinking I'm blaming him for that.

Now, for other reasons I do assign him some blame, namely because there was a simple action he could have taken two months ago that would have assured the matter was closed by the end of July, but he didn't do that. Then again, he probably didn't think he needed to, because, like me, he's getting dates that are absolutely definite sure things. I hadn't really looked at it from that point of view, but in truth he's probably pretty ticked off, too. Not as much as me, but still.

Ayzair said...

Jesus, I want to cry for you. I just can't believe how much you've been jerked around, and just when you seemed to have a plan, they screw it up again. I really, really hate it for you. Not nearly as helpful of a comment as Bob's, but man. That's just awful.

The Former Lepidopterist said...

Well, you already know my opinion on this. Ugh. I could barely put a blog post together...

Here's to next year.