I’ve Got the School Spirit

When I go to see my therapist, I have to take this little survey that asks me questions about how I’ve been feeling lately. Have I been depressed, lonely, feeling isolated, have the acute sense that anything I do that could be read as a demonstration of a slight flaw is emblematic of everything wrong with me and everyone can see it and knows I’m nothing more than the sum of my mistakes? Have I ever thought of hurting myself?

No, I have not, or not in a long time. This post isn’t about depression; it’s about being very, very frustrated

If I say yes to that last one, my therapist has to talk to me about not doing that. She makes sure I either have been advised on all the different outlets for misery, or she makes sure I have very clearly indicated I’m not actually going to hurt myself. I’m not. I’m quite happy. However, even knowing me as well as my therapist does, I think she is still obligated to make sure I’ve agreed not to hurt myself. Damaging school property is illegal.

A question not on the survey: Have you ever wanted to burn an institution to the ground, to raze its foundation until the only thing it could be recognized as is a field of rubble of indeterminate origin. Have you ever wanted to salt the earth on which the university that employs you stands? Yes.

But let me add this disclaimer: I am not at risk of actually damaging my university or any of its properties, valued more than me as they are, and this document serves only as a means of articulating just how much bullshit can be inflicted on one person by one place. I’m not going to burn my university down, but holy shit am I going to think about it a lot after yesterday.


I have been at my university in some capacity for 6 years, my entire adult life. I have worked for them for the last 4 years. I have been a teacher for the last 2. In that time, I have begun to notice just how many little ways this place has of either demanding money they do not deserve or denying money someone else does. This school is run like a business, so of course it’s going to try to keep every dollar it can for itself, but increasingly that is coming at the cost of the students and the faculty and the staff. When the purpose of an institution is sacrificed for the perpetuity of that institution and the comfort and affluence of a tiny fraction of its administrators, isn’t it time for a new institution altogether?

I’ve been asked to pay fees I shouldn’t have to owe, teach classes in a department that has to see every single student in the school but is funded like its a freshen anime club, and every summer it seems I have to deal with not getting paid until long after I’m owed it.

I work on a 2-week pay cycle. There should never be a reason an employee is not given what they are owed for more than 2 weeks. My first paycheck is coming 3 weeks into my job, a job that lasts 5 weeks.

An advance? Oh no, you can fuck right off with that 😉

I spoke to the Human Resources department, and by spoke, I mean ground my teeth and listened to someone stumble over themselves trying to figure out where I worked, whether I was still a student worker employed by an internship that has been dissolved for 3 years, whether I worked online or taught in person. I offered answers to all these things. She still said she was going to check “just to make sure.” Did she think I was lying? I don’t know what my voice over the phone sounds like, but I’m pretty sure she couldn’t see me trying to glare her to death. Why would I lie about my position, or why would I be deliberately confusing when I’m trying to make the process of her checking to make sure I’m really and truly employed any more difficult.

I started working at the end of a pay cycle. This means, I only worked for a week before a paycheck was due to come out. Instead of giving me half a check, the university decided to hold the money for another 2 weeks. They’d put it on the next one as back pay. So nice of them.

I harassed several more people over the phone, asking if there was any chance I could get that back pay now, asking if the university would let me take an advance, asking if there was anything I could do other than wait 2 more weeks. Apparently, it is the entire university’s policy not to give advances. I understand this is not the fault of any of the people I spoke to. They are small ambassadors for a colossal force that cares as much about them as it does about me. They are only the messengers telling me that the entire university’s management of low-level employees has been homogenized to the point that every department, regardless of how different they are, is made to treat its employees in this absolutely infuriating way.

When an organization is actively making it difficult for its workers to live, then shouldn’t that organization just… be gone?

I’m tired.

I think a lot about fire lately.

11 Replies to “I’ve Got the School Spirit”

    1. I definitely wouldn’t burn my school to the ground and salt the earth so that generations of onlookers might know my rage, but it’s nice to think about.

      I don’t know if they’re too worried about me feeding myself, but things could be worse.

      Feels good to complain about it here

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe you have finally convinced them that you’re a robot and they think you don’t need food? But I feel you, complaining is fun. I’m pretty much a walking bitching machine whenever I’m not actively talking to my customers. >.<

        Liked by 1 person

  1. ‘ I’m pretty sure she couldn’t see me trying to glare her to death. ‘ – If I get to the heights of handing out superpowers, this shall be yours, and yes, it will work by phone.

    I feel your frustration emanating in waves and empathise, as I too am caught up in a system that reminds me of the film Brazil. (If you have not seen Brazil, you are commanded by Esme to watch it asap, you will very much enjoy it).

    Big breaths (no dirty lisps going on there), and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to consider burning things, as of yet, we have no thought police monitoring us, (well none that stick a chip in our head, obviously with the internet most people are screwed up the wall).

    – Esme pulling him up to sit on the Cloud to clean his flamethrower

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check out Brazil. I know I’ve seen it on a map, but it wasn’t terribly interesting, but I’ll watch it again.

      Until I’ve got a chip in my head, I don’t think anyone–myself included–can stop me from fantasizing about fire.

      Nes, sitting with a cat, wondering if word has gotten out yet that I’m actually a lady, a lady with a flamethrower

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Are you? How marvellous! I don’t tend to meet lady folks as ballsy as myself, and you most definitely are. Some thought I was a male when I had a different name on here, and my dear friend Hariod had the world and her husband thinking he was an exceptionally clever old lady who looked like Agatha Christie with a filthy sense of humour to boot. We’d been friends for a good couple of months before beans were spilt and he told me, though he doesn’t aim to deceive, he just doesn’t tend to put people right. He puts them right about everything else because he’s a pain in arse pedant mind you – *waves at Hariod*.

        And yes, you must watch Brazil by Terry Gilliam, it’s ideal for a mind such as your misses.

        – Esme Cloud liking it very much when pleasant surprises occur

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I think a lot of people thought I was a man because I never clarified that I wasn’t and had a drawing of me with super short hair up that looked pretty ambiguous.

        Filthy Agatha Christie sounds like a very fun person, and I’m also a painful pedant!

        I’ll get on Brazil.

        – Nes, sitting on the floor with a cat, thoroughly happy with things

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This isn’t good on many levels. Check your pay stub very carefully as to how your hours are recorded as if they muck it up then you’ll be taxed too highly.
    They sound horribly incompetent. Have they had you fill in a w4 and an i9? I can’t see how they can be unsure as to the pocket your pay is coming out of if they have and if they haven’t.. oh boy. HUGE red flag. Get that sorted today! I do work in HR (not there obviously!!) if you need anything explaining I’ll help happily

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I may have some professional-grade annoying phone calls to make. The only thing I’ve seen from them is a contract, and that was quite brief. I think they operate on a “you’ve worked here for years so we can fuck up” policy.

      I’m going to talk to someone tomorrow to see why exactly they decided it’s better to wait three weeks to pay someone.

      Thank you for validating my rage, and I’ll absolutely let you know if they give me any new reasons to be furious/confused.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The idea of being able to cite laws clearly outlining why I’m right is satisfying to my little communist core. Thank you for the help! I’m going to talk more to my HR department today and see about putting the fear into them

        Liked by 1 person

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