Sunshine and Sorry

The past 12 months have been incredibly challenging even by my Kimmy Schmidt extreme sports coping standards. Year of the Dog really bit me hard…

Here is a little listicle:

  1. Workers Comp claim got settled in mediation, but I was never reimbursed

2. More colleagues resigned, I was falsely accused of being a terrible teacher and bullied to the point where I couldn’t return to work.

3. I took on 2 sessional teaching jobs to keep paying the rent

4. My landlord decided to sell my flat and issued an eviction notice

5. I moved house at the end of semester… after a potential third flatmate bailed at the 11th hour

6. My horrid workplace made false accusations and then sacked me

7. My ex landlord didn’t want to return my bond and I had to go to the tribunal

8. We had a revolving door flatmate situation so I had to cover rent in the intervening periods.

9. I could only work part time after this stress and so was in financial stress and went through my savings

10. Cue: massive tax bill due to accumulated HECS debt from last century

11. I spent 4 months attempting to obtain Newstart benefits without receiving a cent, or any kind of concession card or health care card.

12. I just missed out on a 12 month lectureship for subjects I have taught and developed for the past 6 years: and also on possibility of any more sessional lecturing contracts.

13. My beloved darling 8 year old cat got cancer and died

That’s the shit version

This is the CBT and SSRI version:

  1. I showed grace and generosity and integrity in dealing with an abusive employer, in negotiating a mediated outcome and returning to work.

2. When the bullying intensified I stood my ground and refused to put up with it.

3. I was able to teach 2 amazing subjects! Architecture! AND Feminist Philosophy where I was reminded and reassured that my dedication as an academic is recognised.

4. Leaving St Kilda, motivated me to become a penguin volunteer which is totally amazing

5. I found my dream large share house in Coburg, surrounded by friends within walking distance

6. I was finally freed of that horrible workplace when they sacked me

7. I had help from a friend and beat my landlord at the tribunal, and even the real estate agents were supportive of me.

8. My experience in being an Air BnB host made it easier to negotiate new flatmates.

9. I got to develop and teach my dream subject in creative writing and critical theory

10. I managed to do my tax return and pay the outstanding amount.

11. Even though I couldn’t obtain Newstart, I had wonderful help from friends (mainly women of colour) who bought me coffees, and dinners and lunches and tickets to events and lent me money. I also was accepted into a NEIS scheme which allowed me to consider if and how I could operate as an independent creative arts teacher….. and I got to run 3 workshops and curate an amazing exhibition.

12. I dodged a bullet from a stressful academic contract and was offered consultancy work doing applied research and development on diversity in the creative arts. The latter has reminded me how much I love research, and also reminded me what my strengths and abilities are in this area.



2 responses to “Sunshine and Sorry

  1. wowo, this post left me just a little bit emotional. Can you remind me, is it still ok to be emotional? I know this is the internet and not my bathroom, but I’m gonna chance it seeing as you just laid out so much of yourself. If the emotion I am feeling were a pair of hands, those hands would be holding a single word, after reading your post. The word is “precarity”, and though it is most currently associated with everything on the first list you have provided, it is also intimately associated with everything you have provided on the second list. While my year was not as difficult as yours, this account has confirmed for me that my anxiety for how I will pay next months bills is the combustible vapor that runs the engine of anything of value that I might do. Nothing worth doing was ever done from a place of safety, security, or predictability. Thank you for reminding me of this truth.

    • I love this honest and generous reply. And yes – precarity is the sum of my woes. I feel like a weird kind of modern working class version of Virginia Woolf – who found independence to write by an aunt’s inheritance – whereas I found it in an Affirmative Action recruitment into a blue collar male dominated profession with a living wage….

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