This week marks 6 months of working at my “new” job at the college. This occasion comes with a small raise and dental coverage! (Appointment’s already booked). But… it also means that my contract is up in just over a month… and there has been no mention of what’s going to happen after April 25th.
I knew coming into this job that it was only a 7-month contract. It doesn’t really make sense to work in student support over the summer when there aren’t students on campus. Regardless, the pros of taking this job undoubtedly outweighed the con of being laid off or unemployed in the spring. It was a foot in the door. It was getting me back into the industry I want to work in. It meant only having to work one job to pay my bills. And perhaps most importantly, it got me far, far away from my last job. (And let’s be honest, the idea of being a seasonal working and getting summers off is very tempting!)
I was very surprised back in my first week when I met with HR and they had me signing up for health benefits and a pension plan. I remember making a comment about it being a lot of paper work for such a short contract, to which the HR rep responded “everyone stays”. This was reinforced as I got to know other staff members, who also told me not to worry about “only being on a contract”. Most people have been working at the college for years and there is lots of opportunity to move around within the different departments, if I so choose.
My supervisor told us from the start that our contract renewal for next fall was dependent on a grant. Having come from a non-profit background, I know all too well about waiting on grand funding… But, we were told that we should hear by January, so that left a lot of time to figure out a Plan B if things didn’t pan out. Then as January approached, we were told we’d hear by February. And then as February approached, we were told we’d be lucky to hear by July…
And because that wasn’t scary enough, my supervisor then dropped the bomb-shell on us:
We have no recall rights to our jobs.
He suddenly stopped using the phrase “contract renewal” and hesitantly told us that we would have to reapply for our jobs – if they continue to exist – and hope that no one more qualified or with more seniority applies.
Fan-freaking-tastic! I was not anticipating having to go through the whole hiring process again to keep my job.
Although I’ve known all along that I have no real job security, I’ll admit, I kept my head buried in the sand over this issue. I’ve been putting some money away in preparation, but I could have done a better job. I chose to believe all the positive things that I was told at the start. I assumed that any day now my supervisor would announce that we got the grant and that they want to re-hire me for the fall. Or at least that we got the grant and I could reapply (and perhaps know the outcome before my current contract ends).
But alas… there is still no news.
IT LOOKS LIKE I’M GOING TO BE LAID OFF AND THAT MY FUTURE CAREER
OUTLOOK IS ONE BIG FAT QUESTION MARK.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the job boards, but it’s become clear that I need to step-up my game. Unfortunately, I’m already finding the same struggles as I did last year when I was job hunting: most vacancies at the moment are for Summer Student Jobs only, which I of course, do not qualify for. Now I’m really kicking myself for not doing a better job of establishing some side hustles when I was off work last summer!
Naturally, there are things that I don’t like about this job (i.e. my office-mate), but I would hate for this to be the end. There was a fairly steep learning curve involved and now that I’ve been through the cycle once, I have many ideas on how I could improve upon it next time. I’ve only just recently established working relationships with a lot of the faculty members thanks to an event I helped coordinate. And this is clearly the field I need to be working in. I feel very confident that if they job is re-posted that I will be re-hired. I haven’t received any complaints or negative feedback about my job performance (and the hiring manager that initially didn’t seem sold on me has since retired).
There is quite a bit of downtime involved with this job so my colleagues and I have been helping out with a lot with other, related departments. This has led to promising rumors that we will have more responsibilities going forward (such as running study skill workshops, coordinating a peer mentoring program, and perhaps even resume writing – all things I have experience with and would love to do). We seem to have a lot staff and upper-management in our corner, but I’m not sure how much influence they have – especially if the funding isn’t there.
I have no problem being laid off for the summer if I know I’ll have a job to come back to in August. But I can’t survive off of my savings for long – nor do I want to. My fingers are crossed that this is all only temporary bureaucratic red-tape nonsense and that I’ll have some sort of idea of what’s happening within the next few weeks.