Day 1 - Disbelief

Like most people who get laid off, I knew the potential existed. We'd been told that two teachers in my department would not be renewed. We were also told that a major criteria for deciding who stays and who goes would be seniority. There were rumors that past non-renewals were based on money, and the bosses wanted to make sure the new layoffs were not seen in the same light.

 

Of course, that's why I was in disbelief when I saw the email inviting me to a meeting to fire me. I had done nothing wrong and I was about middle of the road in seniority. I could only infer that letting me go was more about money than the vague reasoning given: the remaining teachers are the best team moving forward. My co-worker with a few more years experience than I called the wording Orwellian, and I can certainly see his point. An administrator that had earned more of my respect than he deserved sat there and repeated the same canned phrase until I gave up asking why.

I'd gotten called to the office before. I'd been reprimanded in other jobs before. However, in all the years of employment, I'd never been let go for no reason. Back when I was a first-year teacher, I knew I could have been let go for no reason at all. That was the way it worked. I knew it and accepted it. Apparently, that is how it works for all teachers today in Wisconsin. Four brand new teachers at the high school and two teachers with nearly thirty years experience together were thrown away. Disbelief.

Advice:

Believe. Public sector. Private sector. We can all be liquidated. While it might be hard for someone to fire you, believe that he or she is not wishing to be in your seat. Neither are your co-workers. They might empathize, but that's as far as it goes. They all had that instant feeling of relief (happiness) followed by remorse for you. I've been the other employee each and every year. I'd never once even received a tentative layoff notice. I'd never once had to worry about whether or not my job would be around next school year. Just when I was out of the woods in my career, with half the department below me for seniority, that's when the hunters took aim. It can happen at any time, and it might surprise you, so be prepared to be strong. Think of your family. Use your friends for support. Make new friends... quickly. 

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