Sorry about the woe-is-me post, there, guys. I was getting the last little bits of my down mood out of me. I have been making a bigger effort to get out of the house and meet people and be busier, because that always puts me in a better mood. I have had a great week, actually. I think my prayers have finally been answered. I feel more optimistic and happy than I have in a long time.
Well, except for one thing.
Just as the proverbial sun has come out, along comes a little black rain cloud: they have started to have layoffs at the school where I work. I am pretty sure I am safe, along with at least most of my immediate coworkers. But it's a little tense right now. Upper administration isn't providing much information, so the rumor mill is going bonkers -- 100 people are getting laid off, one of our campuses is closing, bosses are forced to justify who they can keep... -- it's nuts. The only things I know for sure:
* 2 people have been laid off (but I'm pretty sure there are more)
* lots of people, from all kinds of departments, have to take2 weeks or a month's furlough
*most of the non-essential buildings around campus are closed (as in, no power or water) for the month
What makes me nervous is that we are getting no information, and since there's a school policy that prohibits us from talking to the media, there is nowhere for me to get info, other than the rumor mill. I am also concerned about the fact that they never offered to freeze/cut pay as a way to prevent layoffs -- does that mean we are past that as an option? I don't like that they have shut down power/water to most of the buildings on campus. That sounds really extreme and last-resort-y to me. I did some rough number crunching about how much $ this would save to shut down most of the buildings on campus for one month (long story as to how I have numbers to use!) -- it's about $350k. If they need more than that, exactly how bad is it?
Is this just round one? Is there more to come? Has the president cut her own salary and bonus? Who knows?! But I have my suspicions that things have been bad for a while and they just haven't told us. Our Hong Kong campus is not taking off like we thought it would. Anytime you start something like a new campus, you have to expect that it will be a little slow to get off the ground -- we were entering a new market, for Pete's sake. But I think they thought it would be gang busters, and they have been struggling since day one. Everyone knows it. I'm pretty sure they are WAY over budget and I get the feeling they didn't do their homework when they hatched this idea. One of the Admissions girls in Hong Kong told me that everyone assumed there would be all these mainland China people who would enroll, but they had just found out that anyone who wants to attend school in Hong Kong must wait a year before they can go -- there's some bureaucratic law/immigration rule that requires students to wait one year before going to Hong Kong. Which set us back in admissions BIG time. Then there were a few signs last spring that something was rotten in Denmark. But no one thought anything of it. Now it's adding up, at least in my head. I work at an expensive, private school. I guess the economy finally caught up to us. Why go to our school for $27k per year, when you can go to a state school for less?
For several reasons, the library should be mostly, if not entirely, unscathed in this. Which means we will all have survivor's guilt. Can you imagine losing your job 3 weeks before Christmas? I know one of the people who was laid off -- she's a mom with a son in college. That sucks. Just in case, I am definitely going to be trimming back on things. Luckily, I have a lot of vacation time saved up, so if there's a 2 week furlough, it shouldn't affect me. Guess it pays to never take days off! I have also saved some money -- enough to pay my bills for a month if I have to deal with a worst-case scenario.
I called my mom today to tell her about all this. She says that worst-case scenario, I break my lease, pack all my stuff, and move in with her. There are actually a couple of jobs open in my hometown right now in libraries there. Then she told me there is no point in worrying about it, because I can't do anything about decisions made above my head. Which is true.
The thing is with layoffs and financial troubles, it works like an onion -- you peel off layers until you have the core you need just to stay operating on a skeleton crew. And right now, I don't know what layers are being peeled off and I certainly don't know which layer I am in. I am pretty sure I am in a better state than the guy who shares my office. Boy, is he a piece of work! I need to post about him -- you guys would NOT believe how awful he is. I'm glad my big boss likes me. Hard work always pays off. Right?