Saturday, March 29, 2008

Perhaps he just lost his heart for the battle.


adjective, adverb
1. away from military duties without permission, but without the intention of deserting.
2. a soldier or other military person who is absent from duty without leave.
3. go AWOL,
a. to depart from military duty without leave.
b. to absent oneself without explanation.

AWOL is one of those expression that comes with a bit of baggage. It always seems to conjure up images of military service, shaved heads, basic training and following direction without thought or rationalization. It almost seems to suggest that people using the term are in a position of earned status or acquired rank through exceptional service to a military organization.

Normally, school districts don't use the draft to expand their ranks. They don't issue salad suits or send their recruits to basic training to do push-ups all day in the hot sun. They don't issue rifles or belittle rookies with oppressive and offensive language from perpetually irate drill Sergeants. They don't allow staff to kill strangers that might threaten the security of the Superintendent.

But somehow, the term AWOL finds it's way into the District through lesser minds fixated on structure and the chain of command. If you are given the rank of staff Sergeant, you quickly learn to make demands of staff - as if they cannot think or develop an opinion. As if the new recruits are just warm bodies with trigger fingers. It is very unfortunate to possess such a narrow view of public service. At the District, everyone enlisted and everyone has something to contribute.

Here is a rather comical depiction of my last few days through the eyes of a man that chooses to view staff like drafted Privates.

Attendance regarding M
March 1: emergency or vacation, (furnace trouble at home)
May 7: medical appointments
May 21: sick
May 29: AWOL
May 31: AWOL
June 4: sick
June 5: AWOL
June 6: AWOL in the afternoon
June 7: AWOL. May have been here for a short time between 7 and 8 AM
June 8: AWOL

To this day, I still find it amusing that my former supervisor actually spent time trying to track where I spent my final days with the District. He apparently has absolutely no comprehension as to the nature of the work that I was performing for the District and therefore can have no expectations of my replacement.

When faced with fewer than two weeks to wrap up projects and meet with parent groups and developers, a departing member of staff may not have much time to sit around and drink tea and eat crumpets with co-workers. If that was management's expectation, I am sorry because I don't work that way.

Equally amusing is the suggestion that all other days I somehow checked in or requested permission to do my job. I knew what I was paid a salary to accomplish and I did what I was expected to do. It was what I had been doing for the last six-and-a-half years. When I met with the Facilities Director, it was to provide him with an update on what I determined was important. He just stared with vacant eyes and suggested that I "develop a policy for that". Apparently, he must have heard a lot of managers use that expression in the past.

One thing is absolutely certain. Someone has actively decided to change the dynamic of our District. Clearly, Nick Brossoit meant business when he said he wanted to change things. I just wish he would have tried to change them for the better. It must be better for him, because it isn't better for the rest of us.

Fun Factoid: I was in a British comedy called "Soldier, Soldier". They were filming scenes in Mutare, Zimbabwe.


Anonymous said...

Why were they tracking your absences LONG before you sent your infamous letter. Seems BIG BROTHER to me.

Anonymous said...

And again, think of some of the employees in HR that really don't put forth any effort to make a difference. The effort put forth is to try to get out of work early. I also know that these same employees don't have a system in place that makes them accountable for their hours worked and lost. said...

Sorry, I should have mentioned this was an older document. It is from June 2007 and was intended to make the case that I somehow abandoned my position or left without permission.

It seems very relevant due to all of the absences that are happening in Human Resources. Of course, they must be tracking those in similar fashion.

Anonymous said...

Were you really absent? said...

No. The absences described are a rather feeble attempt to track my whereabouts by a man that came to work after 9:00 and left around 3:00 each day.

As I mentioned in the entry, the last days of employment are normally packed with finishing up projects and meeting with people for the last time.

Anonymous said...

Are you allowed to tell us what happened at the end? Are you still fighting the district? I can't imagine you haven't won yet.

Anonymous said...

Nine to three? I know a six hour manager like that. He has a black cloud over his head most days. Probably a good thing for him then,that he only puts in six.

Anonymous said...

Can you say WHSE Manager!

Anonymous said...

I for one will admit that I had a lot of absences from Sept'04 until I left in March '06. These absences were caused by the climate that we were enduring at MMS. I freely admit that I frequently took two or three days off because I could not stand to be treated the way I was treated. I was seeking medical treatment for my high blood pressure and high pulse rate. My doctor advised that I get another job because the stress was killing me.

And this was done under the banner slogan of doing "what's best for the students." What a crock that can be.

Bullying is a cancer. Surgery, chemo, radiation. Whatever it takes to get the cure.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you lose a lot of vacation days anyway? It sounds like you were volunteering for the last full month anyway.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons most employees at ESC, get away with not reporting their absenses, is that they are not required to get a substitute when they are absent because they are salaried. They come and go as they please and no one keeps track!! (One exception would be if the employee is out for long periods of time).

Anonymous said...

Can I go ahead and report todays ESC absence? Guess who? No really, guess who? I'm not kidding,would you just hurry up and guess? C'mon! Okay I'm not gonna play with you any more. Just guess,please. Then you can do one to me. Okay, can I give you a hint? Fine I'll just tell your mom you aren't playing nice. I don't care about you either. Let's ride bikes. Just take one guess and I'll stop. You're not fair. I'm just going home.