Saturday, January 7, 2012

Well, that didn't last.

Wow, what a blip on the radar that was.  Two glorious months of working in a fun, creative organization and then *whack*... the ax fell.  I sort of saw it coming, but I'm still devastated.  I've never been fired before and I find the experience more than a little uncomfortable.

So, the full facts:  I accepted a full time position at a local community theatre as the marketing and development manager.  On the first day, when I thought we were going to hammer out the deal, I asked two things - that my schedule could be 7-3 and that I could have my son in with me for a few hours in the morning before I dropped him off at preschool.  The executive director agreed.

Then I started noticing some things.  First, the place has the highest turnover rate of any organization I've ever worked for.  Besides that part-time artistic director, who also works for a school, the most senior staff member worked there for less than a year.  All of the other staff seemed to be going through a revolving door.  Second, I discovered that the board (which is supposed to govern and support the funding efforts of a nonprofit) wasn't a governance board at all - it was a nose-in-the-details board.  

So, to make a long story short, first the board told me not have Quinn in there in the mornings.  They cited liability issues, which of course is crap.  (I worked in the office, not in the theatre.)  They said they were afraid he'd break things.  (Also crap - he's nearly 5, not an infant, and sat and watched movies on the iPad and colored for the two hours we were there alone in the morning.  Besides, if that they were that worried, I could have signed a waiver.)  But I wanted to keep my job, so I said whatever and asked my friend to watch him in the morning.  This was one month into my job.  It should be made clear at this point that a) my executive director (the one actually in the office) liked Quinn and didn't care if he was in the office, and b) I had never actually met the board members, with one exception.

Then, a month later, I get an e-mail when I'm on vacation that they have had it with my 7-3 schedule and want someone there 9-5.  

First, what the hell?!  I'm on vacation!  And they new about this BEFORE I went on vacation and let me spend the crazy amount of money it cost to go!  Was it a tactic to avoid confrontation?  Seriously, who doesn't explain the situation before someone blows $600 on a trip to Michigan?

Second, at this point, I feel the board is nothing but a bunch of bullies.  I stand my ground.  I say that's not the deal, that's why I chose the job whose pay is crappier and has no benefits over another job with better *everything* except hours, and I feel on principle I should be there when my kids get home from school.  

A week of torment later, I'm fired.

Good thing I've still been working for Jean this whole time.  She's positively delighted my hours for her are going up.  I'll go back to working at home, tending my gardens, and cooking more.  It's not financially sustainable in the long term, but it will save me the cost of finding summer time child care.  I'll start looking again near the end of summer, and make sure before I even go in the one the first day that my schedule is flexible, and I can be home by 4.

2 lovely people said:

Beki said...

I'm so sorry, Summer. That really stinks. I set up the same kind of deal when I went to work, that I would only ever work until 3, since I always wanted to be able to pick up my kids from school. There are many that would like me to work 9-5, but it won't happen and if the issue was ever forced, I would do the same thing you did. Sounds like it wasn't a stable place to be anyway. I hope you find something you really love doing.

Summer said...

Thanks, Beki. I hope to find someplace better soon, though not until the end of summer. I think the worst of it was knowing they didn't value me enough to work with my schedule. That's the most painful part. Oh well! I hope you never have the issue for Ed like it was with me!

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