Job follies

Here’s what happened. I forget the exact dates, but trust me on the sequence of events.

I knew that around February/March, the Department of Journalism releases the list of summer courses that part-timers may apply to teach. (It used to be the Journalism Department, but its official name has changed. I’m not sure when.)

I hadn’t heard anything and something prompted me to e-mail the department. “Oh,” replied the assistant, “the application deadline was last Friday. I e-mailed everyone the course list weeks ago.”

I complained that I didn’t receive that e-mail, but the assistant insisted she had sent it to me. I was pissed – still am. See, these courses aren’t posted anywhere, neither in the department nor online. The only way to learn about them is to be on the mailing list.

I sent off a complaint to the head of the department. Here’s the reply I got:

I asked S. to look into this, as we followed the procedure we always do – i.e., e-mailing the postings to all part-timers and those who have expressed interest in teaching a course. S. confirmed for me that, for some reason, the postings were not sent to you, but your name and e-mail address are in the directory that she drew those addresses from. She doesn’t understand what happened, but obviously it was some kind of error.

S. also checked with our HR people to see if anything can be done. Given that the contracts have already been awarded, we were told it was too late to correct the error.

I don’t know what to tell you, other than sorry.

That little mistake cost me two courses and about $14,000 in income. To quote “Idiocracy”: Ow, my balls! But this gets better.

The department furthermore decided that it need to hire a Limited Term Appointment (LTA) for the coming year but instead of opening that to an application process, it appointed someone. Someone who was not me. That may have cost me a chance at a section of JOUR 202 in the fall. To quote Brian Collins: Boom goes the dynamite!

Once all this was said and done, the department decided to cancel JOUR 319 for next year. JOUR 319 is the computer-assisted-reporting course I’ve taught for a decade. I’ve run out of pithy ways to plaster over my rage and disappointment.

At least I managed to snag one graduate course to teach next year in the winter term (January to April), so we’ll still be able to afford to eat Kraft Dinner.

But I’m looking for work. The freelance market sucks, at least it does for me. My clips are stale and I don’t have new ones. Things are so bad, I applied to a distributor of online articles: the sorts of pieces you see at eHow and elsewhere.

I sent in my application Sunday and Monday afternoon they wrote back: “After careful review of your resume and writing sample, we are unable to offer you writing assignments at this time.”

Great. I wanted to know what they felt was so unsatisfactory so I looked on the site for an e-mail address but only found a contact form. I went ahead and used that and to my surprise I got an e-mail reply today.

Thank you for your inquiry. It appears that your writing sample was in .txt format, making it impossible for us to read. Please send another sample in PDF or Word Doc format.

You have to laugh, if only to keep from crying.

I sent them a Word version of my clip. We’ll see what happens, there and everywhere else I’ve applied.