Work and Money, Money and Work

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was [redact redact redact]. No, literally, I put it on my (online) list that way because I wasn’t in a place I felt I could really get into how much I hated my job and how desperate I was to find something else.

But, new job secured, old job no longer giving me regular nightmares, I feel like I can finally delve into it a bit:

I mentioned the other day that for the last six months I have been in a job I absolutely loathed, it was horrible in every way and turned me into someone I hardly recognized. I knew about 2 weeks in that I would need to find something else, part of me hoped to be able to stick it out for a year for resume purposes, but part of me wondered if I’d be able to last another week without inflicting serious harm on myself or others.

Here’s some real talk, with all the kind of uncomfortable transparency about work and money: I work in higher education access; no one who works in education is paid well, that isn’t a secret. It’s also a pretty tight-knit industry, everyone knows everyone and what you’re doing and with whom. This is both a really great thing (collective impact for better success from partnerships across the industry!) and a huge issue (burn a partner bridge, and you’re black-listed forever). As I was looking around for new jobs I got pretty down-hearted, my experience and education levels would land me a nice, cushy job making $25k-$30k less than I what I was making working for the state (which, by the way, is NOT a high paying job to start with). And to get the same pay, I’d need a Ph.D. For me, that is, like, 7 or 8 more years of school. The jobs in my particular industry are kind of a racket, to be honest.

So, what does this have to do with resolutions? Well, I had resolved to increase my savings significantly in 2017, and also–the redacted resolution–to find a new job that a) paid me more and b) was better for my soul. I knew that in my industry, both of those would be a trick, and to get them at the same time seemed like the work for magical fairy unicorn dust or something.

But, a friend told me that you’ve got to put your wishes out to the Universe, so I wrote them down in full in my Resolutions notebook, and hinted at them a bit here. I have thought about almost nothing else for two or three months, to be honest. Find new job. Make more money. Save more money. Find new job. Rinse and repeat.

I honestly thought I’d really need to stay at the loathsome position until August, do my year of incarceration time and then be able to move forward with something else, most likely in the private sector and not related to education, (see above: jobs available, salary limits). I looked around constantly, applied to a few jobs here and there, but the position for which I was ultimately hired wasn’t actually posted anywhere. I heard a rumor that this non-profit was looking for someone to do something….and I took a shot and emailed their Executive Director my resume. I had a request for an interview less than 12 hours later. And within a week I had an actual job offer. It was all so…so very, very fast.

Also? My new boss used to work for Miranda Priestly/my old boss…she knows what I was up against, and she insisted on complete transparency on her management style, the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and everything else. I had HOURS of conversations with other people in the company, from the HR lady (informative) to the receptionist (more informative) to my boss’s boss. I asked direct questions, and I feel like I received pretty honest answers. They were not canned answers, or scripted, or really entirely 100% glowing. They all had struggles with one thing or another, and all told me that they were instructed to be completely honest with me on anything I asked. And, boy, did I ASK. I asked ALL THE HARD QUESTIONS, and spent some serious time with a Pro and Con column. I don’t want to be at this job for six months. I don’t want to be there for 18 months. I feel like I’ve done quite a bit of research on my new boss, both within the organization where she works, and with other industry contacts. I honestly can see myself here until I leave Arizona, and that…oh my goodness, people, that is such an amazing proposition. The pay and the potential to move up and increase my responsibilities and my salary are all there (and the pay is higher than what I’ve been making to start with, double win). The red tape of government bureaucracy and political job codes is gone.

I am 100% there will be issues and frustrations with this new position, as with ANY position. BUT, for me the biggest and most attractive difference is that my new supervisor manages people in the way I work best. Give me an end goal and a couple of stepping stone markers to hit, and let me have at it. I don’t need to schedule twice-a-week check-in meetings, I don’t need you to proof read my emails, or micromanage my day. I need you to answer your email and have a long-term plan, and I will execute my part of that plan. When I’m stuck, I’ll ask for help. But otherwise, I’m pretty capable and I’ve done this* successfully for years.

*Creating and implementing sustainable college readiness programs in high schools that specifically target low-income and under-served students, providing planning and support for students and families to be academically and financially ready for postsecondary education options.

This? I got this.


Working 9 to 5: how men have it all wrong

Warning: Fuck-words on the horizon…

Over the next few weeks my office will (hopefully) hire someone to fill the now-empty office of my boss. Now, this office has an enormous responsibility within the state and our industry at both a local and national level. It’s no small thing. Today we met the four final candidates and got a chance to hear them present on some major topics pertinent to our department and have an informal chat with each candidate to ask and answer questions about the more day-to-day aspects of this position.

All four candidates are women.

My department consists of ten women.

The rest of my company is dominated by men, particularly in upper management (i.e. my industry is not one primarily made up of women).

As a department, my colleagues and I work well together, we collaborate and exchange ideas, we rely on data, we present our programs and initiatives to a wide range of constituents, we partner with community, state, and national entities to further our projects and aims. We have learned how to cut through red tape–lots of red tape–we both rely on funding from and report to the state legislature, and partner with state and local boards and community organizations. In the last five years we have made tremendous change and improvement in our industry and have been recognized at national levels for the work we take on and the initiatives we create and promote (yes, I’m being deliberately vague, sorry/not sorry. #dooce).

In a word, we GET SHIT DONE.

YES! I know, it’s kind of shocking, I suppose, but we women ACTUALLY DO OUR JOBS WHILE WE ARE AT WORK!!! Whaaaaaa!??! Inconfuckingceivable!!

We don’t cry and ignore data and fall in love with our male colleagues and sit around and gossip instead of doing our jobs. We accomplish more in any given month than most places of business are likely to complete in a financial quarter.

Yet, there is still crap like this floating around the world, getting traction and supportive comments:

A training on “how to deal with women” for the newly elected Austin City council.

Female scientists should be kept out of the lab, they just cry and fall in love with me.

I can’t work one-on-one with a woman in the office because that’s like cheating on my wife…

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Dear Men: I show up at my office every day because I am passionate about what I do, I want to make a difference and change lives for the better. I am not interested in having a lusty, romantic affair with Office Ink.

Dear Men: I am damn good at my job, I am capable and talented and have all the qualifications and experience to excel at my job. If you need training on how to “deal” with a capable and experienced colleague in a professional work setting the problem is NOT me, it is you.

Dear Men: Ya’ll have been In Charge in many ways for thousands and thousands of years, especially in a political or professional setting. Your track record is pretty dismal. Why are you so damn scared of opening up to the idea that the other half of the population may have something positive to add to the way you do business? It is proven world-wide that governments, companies, and communities who have higher levels of equality–true equality–between men and women have happier, healthier constituents and their profit margins increase. WHY DO YOU NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THIS DATA?!

Dear Men: I am so over the douchebag, self-entitled “I’m so great everyone probably wants to sleep with me” attitude. I am willing to talk about feminism and the completely radical notion that women are humans too and should be treated with the same respect and given the same rights and opportunities as their penis-weilding counterparts. But I am unwilling to continue to pander to or even engage with this kind of bullshit. Get it together. It is 2015. No matter your industry or profession women will be in your workplace. In order to stay relevant and–GASP–continue to be successful throughout the remainder of your career you need to re-examine these outdated patriarchal notions of male superiority and “universal” “emotional” characteristics of women (romance, love, crying, not liking data) that you view as unsuitable in an office or professional setting. Get over yourself. You sound like a fucking Neanderthal.

Harriet sig