Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Like I Needed Another Reason to Quit This Job

I've already decided to blow off teaching after this semester. If not forever, at least for awhile. It is not a decision that came easy, as you know if you've read this blog for a few weeks.

The pangs of doubt start revving up sometimes. Like today after class when my favorite student of the semester hung around to talk to me. She's effervescently smart, invested in learning, funny, and she wants to go to law school. Why? Because she is fascinated with the Constitution and wants to devote her professional life to studying it. We spent some time talking about the lunatic crap spewed out by Ahmadinejad. She knew who he was. She was one of 2 in the class who did. It's hard to convey how much I appreciate this girl, the proud, confident owner of a living, vital intellect among a majority of students who are happy to function academically with all the vim and vigor of the bulb in an Easy Bake Oven.

Today this girl told me she's really glad I came here from the midwest and wanted to know what I was teaching next semester so she could sign up. I told her I didn't know. (Although most likely I'll be teaching myself which halter top to wear as I wash the windshields of cars stopped at downtown Phoenix stoplights.)

So yeah, there are moments when I see the things I'll miss.

Which brings me to this: I miss my old job so much that I start to get a twitch in my face just thinking about it. Not only were the classes great, the co-workers, etc. etc. But the (much higher) salary included benefits. Outstanding benefits. For a monthly $35 deduction from my paycheck, I got big fat HMO coverage with $15 copays for doctor visits. My prescriptions were $10. My eye exams were free. And the dental coverage was 80%.

Contrast that to the community college where I presently work. There are no health benefits offered to adjuncts. A colleague, Cindy, who is a "full" faculty member there filled me in on some other things. I was feeling head-spinningly sick today from some bug I've been halfway in and out of for two weeks. It hit with a fury in the middle of my 7:30 a.m. class so I let them go way early. (Weeping and gnashing of teeth all around.) I was trying to decide whether or not to go home or to stick it out until my 1:30 class. Usually the 4 hours in between those classes are my time to grade papers, prepare lectures, eat, play on the computer. But my innards were coiling and writhing and taking on muffled voices that sounded high-pitched and frantic like Miss Jane Hathaway of The Beverly Hillbillies. As my mom sometimes says "I didn't know whether to shit or go blind."

I walked to Cindy's office to ask her if she remembered the policy about sick days for adjunct professors like me. I hadn't bothered to read the dull, lengthy adjunct handbook, and she used to be an adjunct herself. She rolled her eyes. "Ha!" she said, and told me that no matter why you're absent from a class, the college will not pay you. They deduct the pay for that class session from your already feeble paycheck. She went on to say that during her first year of "adjuncting" at this college, she got cancer. She had to be away from work for two weeks after her surgery to remove a tumor. The English Department, she said, kindly delivered to her a pile of student papers to grade. But they did not pay her for those two weeks.

When she told me this, I stood looking at her as though she'd just admitted to having been held down and sexually assaulted by a goldfish. The story was too impossible. But true.

So even though a few hours later I had the nice conversation with the student, I had already tied bricks to the feet of the tiny chance that I might work here another semester, and tossed it into the deep end of Satan's toilet. I am infuriated with this pathetic excuse for a "college." For all their talk of helping people and their printed brochures proclaiming themselves the best/most diverse/highest ranked/warmest/most altruistic and magical community college system in the country, they can't bring their sorry asses to pay for 2 weeks off for cancer surgery. Surgery that was paid for by an expensive ill-afforded insurance policy bought through an independent agent.

To this overgrown, selfish high school with the solid block of ice where its heart should be (hard to pull off in the middle of a desert) I say, I already despised you, but now, karmically, I believe you have purchased yourself an eternity of honking on hot donkey schlong.

10 more weeks of classes to go.


  • At 6:25 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. There is nothing more deflating--more spiritually eviscerating than to work a job you really hate. It saps your vitality and deenergizes you. I think about one such situation that I was in. I quit, even though I had to pay a horrible price.

    Fortunate are those who picked the right parents--the wealthy ones, or happened to be blessed with artistic ability.

    I taught management classes to thousands of supervisors and managers for large and small companies (behavior modification, applied behavior analysis for business and industry) and most of the participants did not want to learn. I did not take it personally, because they were not being discriminatory; they did not want to learn anything about any subject.

    It is excruciatingly de-motivating to try to teach disinterested students. On the rare occasion when I had a participant that was genuinely interested, I felt like kissing them.

    I envy those people who love their jobs. I define work as doing something you have to do to earn money. If you love it, then it's not work; a curious but accurate contradiction.

    I hope you find something that gives you some fulfillment. But, if you don't, you are in good company. Most people are doing the grind--working for the man to put bread on the table.

  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger Domhan said…


    This is incredible. All of it. The situation, the WRITING (Candy, why ARE you not sending your stuff to NPR, major magazines, local newspaper, YOUR PUBLISHER...?), and the f*cking picture! (Is that a leg or a schlong sticking out from under the donkey? Why did I just write that? Why on earth would I want to know? Did I just type all of that out loud?) This is some of the best damn writing I've seen out of you...or by anyone in recent history.

    I'm so sorry your job has become what it is. I don't even have a word for it. As you know, I know how that happens. Eight years in a job I LOVED, then bam! New boss. New *$$hole boss. New *$$hole incompetent boss who thought he was terrific at his job and who treated me in a way that the university now has defined as "creating a hostile work environment." I could have had his incompetent *$$ moved to a different department if I had known. But I feared retaliation. The thing is, at least *I* had excellent benefits. I spit bile every morning and venom all day long, but at least treatment for my ulcers was covered.

    And it took me two years of that "hostile work environment" to decide to move on. I am so much happier. I have opportunities now. I have responsibilities and challenges that I enjoy. I am not berated for being an imagined threat to my immature, insecure dork-a-thon boss. I often wonder what took me so long to make the change, but then I think I did it at the right time. If I had moved along earlier, maybe I would not appreciate my current situation as much. And...I have to be pushed to make changes in my life.

    But this...ugh. It's the entire organization treating you (and your colleagues) like shit. Does Michael Moore know about this?

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Norma said…

    So so sorry to hear that your having a rough time. That's horrible about the insurance. Insurance is the main reason why I had to actively look for a new full time job because the bookstore didn't have that great of an option.
    Hopefully the 10 weeks will go by faster than you think.

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, I know that very few people love their jobs. In my own life, I think I know maybe 2. So I know I'm not in a rare circumstance. It's almost impossible to find a job you LIKE and one that pays a decent salary. I'd just like one or the other at this point. I'll go do the daily grind if I can come home and not have to spend time figuring out how to stretch a tiny amount of money over a Paul Bunyan sized pile of bills.

    I'm so glad you understand the soul crushing that goes on when you try to force feed that there learnin' to someone. Though I'm truly sorry you had to endure that, too.

    I say we call it an early weekend and party like it's 1999. Remember when that sounded far away into the future?

  • At 11:20 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Domhan...Thanks for the writing boost. And I SO remember that $sswipe (remember the old SNL pronunciation: "OZ-WEE-PAY") you worked "for" back then. I'm surprised that guy survived the acid bath of words you and I emailed back and forth about him. He was the first real diagnosable narcissist I'd ever heard about.

    It's an interesting question, wondering why we make our changes when we do. I'd like to see the whole inner workings that show how we decide things like that. I'm almost sure it would look like a Mousetrap game.

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Yeah, retail doesn't usually offer great benefits. That was the best thing about the Big Giant University. No matter how many symptoms they created in me, I could get them treated. :)

    Damn. If I have only 10 more weeks, I need to start hoarding office supplies NOW.

  • At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, but Candy--what about the moral beauty of molding young minds, no matter what's the personal sacrifice? The sheer satisfaction of knowing you've made a difference, that the young minds you teach are our future? That the students of today....OK OK, I'm just screwing with you. Get out if that hellhole faster'n a speeding bullet. They don't deserve you or anyone like you.

    And, I agree with the correspondent who asks why you're not publishing all this? Lots of outlets out there--love to hear you on NPR. Especially after one of their mind-numbing 30 minutes reports on literacy in Southern-eastern Belize.

  • At 12:09 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    "Molding young minds." HAAAA! That used to be a serious phrase back in the day. Now they're "moldy young minds."

    OK, not all of them. Just most.

    Thanks for being so very Tony-like.

  • At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ditto on the NPR thing, and generally seeing Candy in print.

    Anybody know anyone who slept with someone? I suggest a quasi-massive letter writing campaign.

  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dude, *what* are you talking about? I think we all know someone who's slept with someone. You lost me.

    I thought I hid those vodka bottles.

  • At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I meant people in the biz that we could grovel and suck up to.

    Oh, and pander. And begging, as a nearly last resort.

  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Candy does not grovel, suck up, or pander to.

    You LIVE with me and you don't KNOW this???

    There will be a crash course tonight.

  • At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Of course not. You will have minions that will do this for you.

    Who you will punish. Unmercifully.


  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger EB said…

    Ummm. . . so I'm guessing that my phenomenally-difficult-to-get Ph.D. and enormous cranial diameter is the reason I just came up with this solution (has nothing at all to do with this collection of comments):

    Why don't you replace the atrociously, gut-wrenchingly, donkey-suckingly terrible job's income with income from blogging? I regularly read blogs authored by people who are getting paid to write them. And none of them is as entertaining as yours. Seriously.

  • At 1:53 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Oh, you are SO going to be the minions tonight, Scott P.

    EB...I've been toying with looking into it. I don't know how any of that works.

    You and yer kranium. I miss that whole shebang, girlie.

    Donkey-suckingly. Nice.

  • At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds like it's time to tell that overgrown, selfish high school with the solid block of ice where its heart should be to suck your Christmas c*ck! (One of my favorite Candy-isms.)

    Feliz Navidad!

  • At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    You know my vote on this getting you to write and be published subject. There is a book inside of you. Blogging and NPRing sounds fun but books are still more permanent and lasting. The world needs to remember you.

  • At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ask Candy to post her Oblets poem. I have always told her I want to read the book that explains the poem.

    We want Candy! (and I don't mean anything dirty!)

  • At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    so, um, candy ... given the vast gulf that divides our political views, this may meet with fireworks, but ... don't you think some sort of, um, (whispers) universal health care (/whisper) might have it's merits in situations like this?

    oh, and yes, get yer ass published so that we can pay money to large publishers who will give you a pittance in order to read your writing!

  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Merry Christmas, Jackie O.! Oh how you do recall the sweet tidbits that flow from Candy's warm and sentimental brain!

    You know, I reserve that special saying for only the most festive moments.

    Mele Kalikimaka!

  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Belle, You are one of the reasons I still write. There have been 2 or 3 constant supporters reminding me to keep writing for the past 20 years. You are on the short list.

    But when I next see you, I will still be chewing on fabric. I can't help myself.

  • At 4:03 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…


    The gulf in our political ideologies? NO!!! It cannot be true! Surely you have me mistaken with someone else.

    But really...No fireworks here. It doesn't matter how far apart we might be politically. I like/respect you and that's that.

    This Hallmark moment brought to you by Candy's almost-always-absent other personality. The nicer one. The one that has never even heard of "donkey schlong."

  • At 4:04 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    But seriously. Doesn't that donkey look totally ready for some action?

  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    "I had already tied bricks to the feet of the tiny chance that I might work here another semester, and tossed it into the deep end of Satan's toilet."


    Seriously, yours is the first blog I check every day, and your stuff is so awesome it always gives me a lift and a laugh.

    I wanna be like you when I grow up. Well, okay, IF I grow up.

  • At 1:29 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thanks, Steve...

    Growing up is for dullards. Never ever do it.

  • At 7:41 AM, Blogger Gail said…

    1. Your future former college is a disgrace.
    2. VERY few bloggers make a living out of it. You have to have an enormous number of people coming to your site to make it worth the advertisers' investment. Like hundreds of thousands a day.

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    1. Yep.

    2. I figured it was something like that. I wouldn't even want 100,000 people a day reading my writing. It would freak me out.

  • At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    who are you and what did you do with Candy?

    I refuse to accept that sorry excuse for a Candy response ... what has AZ done to you?

  • At 3:53 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Well, apparently, c...., AZ has made me its bitch. At the moment I'm using the tiny keyboard on Scott's laptop because my computer has been in surgery off and on for 28 hours. Long story.

    If you're talking about my not being all that into having 100,000 people a day reading my blog, maybe I was having a moment of timidity. But just the couple of rabid psychos I've had to deal with in the comment section at this level of readership is annoying. Know whattumsayin?

  • At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    but, Candy, aren't *you* a bit of a rabid psycho?

    anyway, i was meaning the sickly sweet hallmark response in place of some searingly sarcastic comeback about the left-wing academic lesbo who's so stuck in lalaland that she thinks government can solve social problems :)

    but oo, damn, maybe your computer is even more homesick than you are?

    or, maybe you are enacting some really weird techno version of Munchausen by Proxy?

  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ahhhh, you're right, c...

    I should've been more vicious. But I was making up for that time in the office when I told you what I thought of one Ms. H. Rodham C.

    I didn't wanna get up in your grill again. I assume that one day you will see the error of your ways.

    "...some really weird techno version of Munchausen by Proxy?"

    Now THAT sounds cool. And given the state of my computer and its attitude, I can see how you might think I'd like to make it SICK. I didn't pour Drano into its hard drive. I swear.

  • At 10:13 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    "Where are you going to find more dumbasses than in an institution of higher learning? Where?"

    Truer words were NEVER spoken.

    Thanks, Ana.


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