Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Sunday, April 05, 2009

keeping eyes wide

(First, a note about my job: I teach in private high school. It is impossible to write this entry without writing a bit about my job, which I have thus far avoided. In order to maintain a suitable barrier of confidentiality [and because my job is weird enough that the metaphor is entirely appropriate], I will refer to my school as Hogwarts and to the classes that I teach as Defense Against the Dark Arts.)

Saturday morning, I woke up to a hangover. I also woke up to an email. My boss, heretofore known as The Headmaster, wrote me to say that a meeting with his boss, The Founder, had not gone as expected. Last week, I was told that I would be teaching at least one DADA class, and would probably be able to pick up a second course in another subject (Potions, perhaps). After spending the week ironing out a schedule, The Headmaster presented his work to The Founder, and was told it had to be drastically rewritten. And by rewritten, he meant cut down. One of the many cuts that was made happened to be to Defense Against the Dark Arts. I went from certainly teaching one class, and probably two, to suddenly teaching nothing this term. As of April 20th, I am effectively unemployed until the end of June.

Up until yesterday, the recession hadn't hit me particularly hard. I am generally poor and underemployed, so an economic situation defined by poverty and underemployment seemed pretty par for the course. Besides, my job seemed removed enough, and strange enough, that no downturn could possibly effect it. I knew that it was a possibility that I would be teaching less (I've even fretted about it on this blog), but I still found myself shocked when I was told to effectively find a way to manage without an income for twelve weeks until Hogwarts could find its way clear to employing me again.

It's not a disaster. I have an incredibly supportive family who are, in a fit of breathtaking generosity, helping to support my unemployment. I also knew that there was the possibility of a layoff, and so for months have been squirreling away cash like a WWII housewife. I will be able to manage. But finding myself in the same situation has made me realize just how many of my friends and colleagues are here with me.

In June, I will be working again. Hogwarts has an amazing contract available for me, teaching a class abroad for a month, and I'll definitely be back into the regular swing for next year's DADA program. But for the next 12 weeks, I am officially laid off.

I'm terrified and poor and not sure what to do with myself. I am also getting excited. I can see a full draft of this manuscript getting finished. I can taste the sleeping in. And above all, I am going to take some very, very good advice and do something spectacular with this time, so that wen my generation finally becomes prosperous again, I'll have something to be damn proud of.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 9:06 p.m.!!