Sunday, September 09, 2007

More Re-Entry Problems …

While we were in Columbus, Susan spent a lot of time at Ohio State’s Political Science department. She often went to lunch with the department chairman, and in one of their conversations Herb suggested that if Susan, after her UNO retirement, wanted to teach part-time at OSU he could assign her just about anything she cared to teach. It was then the fall quarter of 2005.

This offer, even though Susan was not particularly interested, shaded our thinking toward Susan’s retirement becoming her semi-retirement. She felt then that the opportunity would be open for the fall of 2006, and possibly fall 2007, but certainly no longer than that. At the time she felt that her retirement was more than two years away, and thanked Herb for the offer.

The 2006 spring semester at UNO was difficult, given the physical damage to the campus and the University’s financial difficulties. Air-conditioning was spotty. Bathrooms were out of order as often as not. Political Science offices were unavailable, forcing the faculty to work in a “bull pen” that was uncomfortable and distracting.

Susan’s staff was down one person (out of two), and her computer lab was unavailable, forcing her to do that semester’s public opinion survey by the old pencil-and-paper system. Still, her attitude stayed positive because these were thought to be only short-term problems.

Several of Susan’s long-time colleagues thought differently and chose retirement by the end of the semester. Some promising junior faculty took the opportunity to move on.

As the 2006 fall semester began Susan found that her job had changed significantly, and for the worse. She missed the collegiality of the friends she had lost to retirement. Problems she had assessed as short-term were becoming chronic. Teaching had become a chore. The job that she had consistently said she loved became the “job from hell.”

Susan made the decision to retire, effective at the end of the 2007 spring semester.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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