Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm officially insane

Yep, I got the notification just the other day. I'm officially a doctoral student. Walden University. Ph.D. of Education, specializing in Educational Technology. Woo Hoo!

No money. No sleep. For years. But at the end, I'm Dr. Blogget.

Yeah, I like that.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My addition to the wealth of memories

Today is a day of remembrance. All day, everywhere we turn, we see the images and hear the stories of that day, five years ago. This little blog will be no different. For me, it's important to remember and to make a record.

I know what I was doing exactly five years ago, right at this time. I was finally tucking in my children, emotionally exhausted and feeling a little shell-shocked from the day. That's how days that change the world feel.

My son was on the cusp of a milestone - his tenth birthday. September 12th, 2001. We had a big birthday party planned for the following Saturday. As I tucked him in, he said the most astounding thing I'd ever heard from a little boy.

"Mommy, I was thinking. Can we change my birthday? This isn't a time for people to be thinking of me."

I hugged him with all the pride I could have for this wonderful child. His tenth birthday. It would only happen once. But even he felt the magnitude of the day's events. He would wait while the world mourned. And he never complained. Later, I bought a book to keep for him: "September 12, 2001: The Day We Knew Everything Would Be All Right."

I called his friends' mothers and postponed everything a week. Everyone understood, and we had a great party the next week.

On his actual birthday, we had a family celebration. In the midst of the festivities, I didn't notice that the restaurant's televisions were playing the horrible pictures again. My little daughter, just 6, pulled at my sleeve. Her eyes transfixed on the screen, she quietly asked, "It's not happening again, is it?" I held her and let her know it wasn't a new attack. We were safe, and I moved her to a seat away from the television.

September 11, 2001 was dominated by shock, sadness, and overwhelming resentment for me. I know it sounds petty and selfish, in the face of much greater loss, but I resented the loss of that part of my children's innocence. I resented explaining to a 6-year-old little girl what "terrorist" and "hijacking" meant, and how some people have such hate that they cease caring about living, breathing beings.

I hated the moment when my children asked me, "Were there kids on those planes?" And the looks on their little faces when I had to say, "Yes." "And mommies and daddies?" they said. "Yes," I said. The resentment was not for their questions, but for those who made the questions possible.

I didn't allow the television on until we had talked about the images they would inevitably see. I knew I couldn't hide it forever. This had changed their world forever. If I didn't talk about it, someone else would.

In the aftermath, I noticed the polarity in the reactions. Among the people in my sphere, the men wanted to rush to war, to exact revenge. The women wanted to gather their loved ones close and stay behind the bolted doors of home. We all lost a bit of innocence, I suppose.

In the midst, though, was the beacon that was my son. Love and hope for another, better day survived in his heart. Thank God for small favors.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Should I be upset?

Or, should I be as upset as I am?

I've been at my job for three and a half years. In that time, I've not only performed my basic editor duties smashingly, but I've also taken on a lot more. I've finished a Master's degree in distance education. I have a particular expertise in online delivery of distance learning. I've overseen a major migration from one platform to a new, cutting-edge one. That included some temporary supervisory duties, even. I've become a researcher in our field, too, representing our organization and presenting several sessions at national and international conferences.

However, I'm still in the same position I started in, at much the same salary.

Two years ago, a new guy was hired to handle some of the red-tape stuff we deal with. He's well-suited for it. He's a retired administrator of a continuing ed program at a junior college in another state. He has handled personnel, contracts, and red tape before.

For my boss, this was a big plus because she hates dealing with people. On the phone. In person. And especially any potentially confrontational situations.

A couple of months ago, she asked me if I objected to him moving into a new position she was creating. After all, I am the most senior of the editors. He would be overseeing the non-electronic courses and faculty, dealing with more of the red tape and people issues she didn't want to handle. I didn't object. That's not where my expertise is. However, she promised to look for advancement opportunities for me.

The other day, she reminds us editors that he's moving into that position now. And she added this:

"I've decided that he'll supervise the editors, too, so you all report to him now."

WTF?! He's my SUPERVISOR now?! This was NOT part of the "Do you object..." conversation! This chaps my hide in a major way.

I see how this happened, though. He is well-suited for the parts of her job that she dislikes. She's just found a way to dump all of the people-dealing on someone else. That's her agenda in this situation.

What gets me is that I've busted my tail for longer than he has, and I've had NO (count 'em - NO) opportunities for advancement. And he's now my supervisor.

But should I be upset? He has decades of experience in this. I didn't want the position; I just didn't expect to get a third boss out of it.

Where are my opportunities? When does my hard work pay off? She has taken care of her own agenda along the way. I don't know that my interests are being kept in mind at all.

What rubs salt in the wound is that the very next day, I'm given even more responsibilities. I now monitor and mentor our online faculty. Also, new online course development is now entirely in my lap. I decide how it's done.

For that, I get a "Gee, thanks for doing that" (like there's a choice). Not a promotion. Not a pay raise. He's already receiving retirement benefits from his old job, his wife works, and they don't have kids to support. I'm a single mom with two kids, not making enough to support them without help. It just doesn't seem fair.

Personally, I think the writing is on the wall. She'll take care of her own convenience. My interests are my own to look out for. Maybe it's time to look around at other opportunities. I do love what I do, but other places do it, too. I don't want to move, but I have other things to consider. And maybe it's time for that doctorate. Oh bring on the torture!