Thursday, January 31, 2013


It has been a very very long week. So long that on Monday, I thought it was Wednesday. On Tuesday, as a friend was looking down and stressed, I said, "Hey, at least tomorrow's Friday! Oh wait! Fuck! What the hell? Today's only Tuesday. Shit."

By Monday night, I just broke down and started bawling. And then I passed out on the couch at like 8pm.

I finally finished all of my grading that I've had yesterday afternoon. Of course it took twice as long as normal because the one day I have actual work to finish in my office is the day I had more students in my office than I've had the entire quarter. And there are several more who want to meet with me today, and I had to tell two that I couldn't see them because I was already booked solid with appointments. I don't know if I'll have time to pee even. Or eat. And no, I will not make last minute appointments outside of my office hours today or come in early or stay late tomorrow because students waited until the very.last.minute. I have 10 freaking office hours a week, most of which are empty. So, no. I'm sure the honors student is going to freak out, but well, she's had two weeks to see me. I'm also a bit annoyed that these two particular students emailed me between 10 pm and midnight telling me when *they* can meet and asking for appointments outside my hours and to please let them know soon. Yes, because I lie awake at night waiting for students to email me with their meeting demands. (Ok, they weren't that rude, but I'm still annoyed).

I'm exhausted. My hips are killing me. My back is killing me. And because I'm exhausted, my morning sickness has returned.

Also, I told my boss on Monday that I was officially taking fall off for maternity. Her face went from a smile to see me to an intense, ferocious scowl. I'm not kidding. (Yesterday when I went into her office she said, "every time you come in here my life gets more difficult! *Chuckle. *Chuckle.--yeah, I didn't find that funny at all. Whatevs). I pointed out this scowl to her when she said, "well it's good you'll have time to bond with the baby, but I'm not happy about this." Me: "Yeah, I know. Your face and body language told me that immediately." Boss: (shocked I would notice this)--"Oh!"

This is why there are FMLA laws. She kept insisting that she had no idea what she was going to do with my classes if I wasn't there to teach them: "I'm in a real bind now. The dept. is probably not going to get money to give people overloads to make up for your absence. That this puts me( again) in a real bind, and the fall schedule is now going to be difficult for me to figure out, and are you really sure you can do this? Is HR really sure that you can take maternity leave in the fall if the baby is due in June? Are they aware that the baby is due in June. Because last summer the dean didn't think that maternity was possible or should be possible for a baby born in July let alone one born in June. I mean, it's during the summer. You already have time off for that. And well, the dean isn't going to be pleased with this at all. I guess I have to break the news to him because he doesn't know that's what you were planning. There just aren't enough people to cover your survey classes. I guess we just won't offer them. Do you know what you're supposed to be teaching in the fall (uh, no. How the fuck would I know that??)? You're going to use up all of your sick days. That's not very smart. What if you get sick in December then? You won't be able to miss any classes because you won't have any sick days left. Have you thought about that? Did HR think about that? I just can't even believe that it's possible for you to take maternity leave so late."

Uh, yeah, your guilt trip is not going to work. I'm sorry that it makes your life difficult, but I let you know in December this was a possibility. And I know you've been working hard in trying to guilt me into not taking maternity leave because it's better for the fall schedule if I don't. But really, I have given you ample time to do the job you get paid for. I'm not the first person to go on maternity leave. And not recently either. You had to deal with this last year. And seriously? I'm not going to take maternity leave on the off chance I might be sick one day in December before I can build up another day of leave, so I should just not use any of my sick days for that? Really? I tried to point out to her, as I brought up in the grad faculty meeting, that there was a giant hole in the course offerings every other year that excluded classes in my field. There is nothing required in my field (or even as an elective for that matter) on the scheduled rotation for fall. As proof of this, I brought her the schedule yesterday. "See, there's nothing in the course rotation for me this fall." Boss: "where did you get this? This says Fall 2011." Me: "I got it at the meeting. Remember, Rob said that Fall 2013 would look exactly like Fall 2011, that this was the rotation set in motion for next academic year." Boss: "Oh yeah. That's right? Are you sure? Is *this* what he handed out at the meeting?"


"Oh, but see Af-Am lit is being offered in the fall. You teach that right."
Me: "No. I can. I have, but it's been over a decade since I have. And if it's going to be in the fall rotation, then I'm more than willing to pick it up in 2015, but it's not a required class. It's on a line with several others, so if it's not offered, the class I'm teaching this spring counts toward that set of requirements."
"Oh, sure, I guess it doesn't have to be offered. I don't want to teach two classes in the fall. This job is hard enough only teaching one."

I had to work really hard to control my eye roll.

Anyway, I feel as if I'm going to be punished for this in the winter. In the same breath she says, "There are just not enough people to teach your survey class. But I think I'm going to give you a comp in the winter next year."

That makes sense. There are not enough people to teach the class I teach, but you're going to take one away from me and give me comp. Along with a brand new, first time ever teaching grad class, grad class. Thank you. That's not punishment at all. No way. Not at all. I can't wait.

So that has soured me a little bit this week. Because seriously, do I honestly think that if I make this sacrifice and not take maternity for the good of the department, the students, and the university that this will be rewarded or remembered one day? Do you honestly think I believe the university and the department have my back especially given yearly budget cuts and a governor who is anti-education, and has taken millions out of the budget every year for the last five years, that this is something that's going to go in my tenure file and help with my job security?? Fuck no. I'm not going to do you or the department a "favor" boss by not taking maternity leave. But it's done. I'll submit all my paperwork and stuff to HR next week, and put all of this behind me. Because I'm so looking forward to being off from mid-May until December.

In some ways I do feel better now that the decision has been made, but part of the reason I put it off so long was because I knew I was going to have to deal with her and her passive aggressive comments for the next four months. But I can make it until May. I can make it. I will make it. It's only three point five months. That's all I have to endure. And then in December I'm sure I'll have to hear how the department had to cope in my absence, but whatever. I'm fortunate in that HR is supportive and that I get the time off I want for this.

Now I need to go get some stuff for dinner prepped so that I don't have to do it this afternoon when I get home late from my meeting. I really just want to go back to bed for another hour, but I need to go do this.


  1. That's some crazy shit. And your chair is obnoxious.

  2. Good for you recognising that no-one will remember this in a few years time. You carry on looking after yourself and your baby, and setting a much healthier example for your students and for anyone else in your department having a baby in the next whatever...