I couldn't believe the place I'd worked at for eleven years would drop me like it did, but disbelief can only last so long: sure, they'll figure out how to do EVERYTHING without me. Since the beginning of time, people have overestimated their own value at work. I imagine Cain and Abel had plenty of discussions about work issues not documented in the Bible. I generally try not to overestimate myself, so the disbelief only lasted a few hours. However, even if I'm replaceable or "interchangeable" as my administrator phrased us, I can certainly still feel anger about the decision that was made about my career.
I've had some of the anger for years now. I made the wrong choice in careers fifteen years ago. I know that. I can replay several events that led this way, but I mostly made the choice to forego higher salary and pressure in order to find a manageable career with strong benefits and retirement. I was top of my class in high school and graduated with honors from college (and not as an educator, so don't just think it was some easy teacher college). Not one student anywhere near the top of his or her respective class at the secondary or post-secondary level should even consider education. I don't care if your parents, aunts, sister, and grandma are all teachers. DO NOT DO IT!
No one was there to warn me back in the late 90s. My dad was happy and near retirement. My mom was relatively happy and near retirement. My grandma was living well in retirement. My sister was starting out with students who loved her. My sister was recently given an ultimatum: teach at three locations or not at all. She has major back issues and had to go with not at all. I just got let go for no good reason after year eleven of teaching and at least five teachers below me in the old seniority model. I've given my best years to this job and it's not repaying my later years for the sacrifice. As a family member said, even the private sector doesn't go that far.
Now I'm what I called last year "unhireable." I've been let go in an era of performance-based decisions for non-performance reasons. Who's going to want to even pay me what I was making if I can't keep my job? Which school board wants to approve higher pay for a recently-released loser when they can hire a fresh face without a blemish for less? On top of that, I'm angry because wherever I go is still not going to be as good as my first year in my old job, since I lost out year after year in order to keep retirees and those in charge of the union in good shape. Now the union (which I bought into) is busted and I'm left with little to show for backing it.
Speaking of the union, as of the writing of this, I'm still paying dues. Isn't that something? My union was dissolved (I voted for it) but I still get to pay for it, even though I've been told to leave for no good reason. They haven't even sent me a nice card. Right now, I'm angry at the union for taking my money, my co-workers for voting it down, and myself for supporting teachers of other subjects, older teachers, and everyone besides myself over the past decade, assuming I'd be directed to Sugar Candy Mountain in due time.
I can see this both ways: as workers, either we all need to be in unions or we all need to despise them. If we love unions, some people work less and still do well for themselves. If we hate unions, people like me get screwed. I either made too much money, didn't fit some secret model, or offended some power that be. That's some rough water to navigate.