On shitty advice

I’ve seen this video, or at least heard the audio clip, on TikTok several times, generally over a video of someone making something with their hands. I would talk about it there, except the way the site works there’s no good way to respond to a full minute of audio. I can talk over him and have the full minute, or I can clip out five seconds and then have 55 seconds of my own afterward, but neither really works, so … off to blogging!

Go ahead and watch the video; it’s only a minute long.

Look, I get enough of people not watching videos that are critical to understanding the next thing they’re going to do from my students. You haven’t watched the video yet. Watch the video.

Fine, figure it out.

This is terrible advice and this man is dumb.

Now, I don’t know when he said this, but the fact that he put it on his TikTok account implies that it was pretty recent. Which is odd, because the world that this might have worked in went away, like, decades ago. First of all, I love the implication that everybody can afford to take 90 days to work for free. So you’re either living at home and don’t have any bills or you already have enough money saved up that three months of rent, all expenses, potentially your student loans coming due (be real, he’s not envisioning someone who has student loans) and, oh, right, health insurance, which nobody gives to people who are working for them for free. Anybody who can afford to do that already has plenty of connections, and frankly if they’re planning on entering the business world their best contacts are almost certainly their parents. And entering the business world is the only possibility this person is really picturing; if the person who is “living your ideal life” is anything but the owner of a business this whole idea falls apart– you can’t approach, say, an author, or a comedian, or a school principal with a deal like this. The other possibility is some sort of apprenticeship model for a craftsperson, but guess what– we already have that sort of thing, and “connections” aren’t really all that useful if what you want to do with your life is build cabinets or chairs or something like that.

The other fun thing is his theory about how this process ends. After you have spent ninety days working harder than anyone this business owner has ever met, for free, you approach him and tell him (it is also certainly a him in this dude’s scenario) that you would now like to work for money. If you are told no, you shake hands and part ways (… and then what?) and if you are told yes, you have entered the odd question mark in this Underpants Gnome scheme for profit.

What if dude looks at you and says “I’m not sure, work for me for another 90 days for free and then I’ll decide?”

What if the wage he offers you is insulting? (Side point, but I will never as long as I live forget seeing a job listing offering $15 an hour and demanding a Master’s degree.)

Has this guy not realized that unpaid internships are already a thing, that they’re basically used as free slave labor by the businesses that sponsor them, that they have basically the exact same economic problems that I’ve already outlined above, and there’s an endless supply of them for anyone who wants to employ them? There is no fucking shortage of trust-fund shitheads who are willing to work for “free” (ie, everything paid for by their parents) and bring coffee to people for a semester in hopes that someone remembers their name when they hit the job market. There will never not be college juniors, dude.

I am sorely tempted to look more closely into this person giving this speech on a stage with a wireless microphone in his ear, to find out how his parents got their money.

Three mini-posts

I did, unfortunately, end up watching most of the “debate” last night, giving up at about the 2/3 mark when it became clear that the Beast was not going to stroke out or have a heart attack while I was watching. It was every bit as horrible and depressing as everyone says it was; there simply should not be further debates while this person is in office. There’s no goddamn point. There have been some rumblings that the rules are going to change from the debate commission, but if they’ve provided any specifics I’ve not seen them yet. Basically unless the moderator has the power to cut microphones there’s no further point in entertaining the exercise any longer.

We missed the sadly predictable moment where he refused to condemn white supremacy. Which … no one should have been surprised. White supremacists, the Klan, and the Nazis are clearly his people, and there has been no reasonable doubt about that for quite some time. He’s not going to condemn them because he’s one of them. That’s all there is to it. And yes, you are a bad person if you continue to support him. It’s not up for debate.


I think it is still the case that I own every album-length release Public Enemy has put out, including their live album. I generally find out about them by accident now, though, and while it’s kind of depressing it’s been true for a while that the band’s best days are behind them. The fact that they continue to mine the well of songs from Yo! Bum Rush the Show and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back after all these years is … well, it’s a choice, is what it is, and true to form this release has three or four different tracks that pull material from those two albums, plus a remake of Fight the Power with a bunch of new verses by non-PE rappers.

That said … I think I”m on my seventh or eighth listen already, and I just discovered it on Tuesday, so they’re doing something right. I mean, it’s PE. It’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav, despite the fact that Flav has been kicked out of the band at least seven or eight times by now. I’m enjoying it.


I got an email from Human Resources this afternoon, late enough in the day (no doubt on purpose) that there was no real point in asking for any clarification, informing me that my request for a length-of-the-pandemic e-learning job had been approved. (I assume it’s length of the pandemic. How long this job is slated to last was not mentioned, and honestly I can’t criticize them for not knowing.)

This rather portentous paragraph was in the message:

As we begin to start school back next week,  please be aware that your grade level, subject, or building designation could change based on the demand for eLearning in the school corporation.   We will continue to modify based on student attendance, eLearning requests, and building needs. 

Now, next week is the last week of the quarter, so my assumption is that I still have my current job next week. But I literally have no idea what they will have me doing the week after that. None at all. I mean, I’ll probably still end up teaching math in my current building, because seniority, but I have no idea.

And, I suspect, neither do they.

The pandemic started in March, y’all.

So that’s fun.

Some updates

I wanted to post more pictures of the boy’s room today, but it’s not quite done yet– one patch of wall maybe a foot square needs a touch more paint on it, the tree decals need to all be put in place, and we need to hang his curtains– and for some reason I don’t want to put up any more in-progress pictures. So have a sleepy kitty.

PAINTING! All in all I’m happier with how the project turned out than I thought it was going to be; I spent most of the first day of painting muttering it’s not my room under my breath and looking forward to repainting the entire mess again in five years when he grows out of it, but now that it’s mostly finished I feel like we did a pretty good job. More soon.

VISION! I have this thing going where I either stop paying attention to my eyes or they get noticeably better once about noon rolls around. I’m still kind of frustrated with mid- and long-distance vision, and even close up can be kind of spotty for the first couple of hours after I get up. I had a long talk with a friend of mine who also had the surgery earlier in the week and she assured me that everything was within normal parameters; despite trying to not be impatient about the healing process I think I’m expecting too much too soon.

VAGUEBLOGGING! I hoped I was going to have good news this week. I do not have good news. Strictly speaking I don’t have bad news either, but this is one of those situations where no news and bad news are indistinguishable. I am not very happy with the world right now.

AUGUST! Nobody knows anything. The superintendent’s plan has been radically revised three times in three weeks, the county health department released their own plan, and dominos are falling across the state as more and more districts go to online-only for the first nine weeks, which is the only available responsible decision. Remember: I’m not dying for your child care, nor am I endangering my family, period; and there is no magic switch that flips in August that prevents whatever you’ve been doing with your kids since March from working any longer. We have a school board meeting on Monday and I fully expect to find out at that time that we are online only for the full first quarter, at which point we can reset the clock until we make another last-second decision in October.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS! I’ve been keeping a pretty close eye on noted dipshit Herman Cain over the last few weeks; turns out that being an idiot about masks earned him a final month of his life where he was isolated from his family and struggling to breathe before he died alone and ignominiously. I hope that hour or two where he was courageously owning the lib orthodoxy by not protecting himself from a highly communicable disease that didn’t know or care that he was a Republican was worth that pain for him. I suspect not. I also wonder how many other people that Tulsa rally killed who aren’t famous enough for us to know their names.

BOOKS! I recently finished Lisbeth Campbell’s excellent debut The Vanished Queen, which isn’t actually out for a couple of weeks. I read a very early draft of this and it was amazing to see how much had changed since I’d seen it. There is a review coming, but I’m waiting for a go-ahead from her to publish it. I’m currently reading Alexis Henderson’s The Year of the Witching, which I’m also quite enjoying but am having some trouble getting into because my eyes haven’t been cooperating when I pick it up. This one will probably get a review too at some point.

KAMALA? Word on the street is that Biden is going to announce his VP pick possibly as early as tomorrow and certainly by next week, and word also is that it’s going to be Kamala Harris, which would be just about the only thing about next week that could lift my mood. Please, goddammit, give me this one fucking thing. Well, this thing and that other thing that you haven’t given me yet, but at least one of them.

In which there is an unexpected development

I have recently come across an Employment Opportunity that is worth thinking about and investigating. Don’t get too excited; I haven’t even decided to apply, much less done so and been called for an interview or anything like that. Nor do I know how much it would pay. But for now, just trust me that it’s an Employment Opportunity and leave it at that.

At any rate, I’m bringing it up because my first thought upon discovering of its existence was I’m not sure I want to leave teaching right now. And, more broadly, I’m not certain I want to leave teaching again.

Which is … not the direction I thought my life was heading a few months ago. One of the numerous problems with being a teacher, of course, is the limited window one has to find a new job if one wishes to 1) stop teaching without 2) abandoning one’s current students. And I am finding that I am far enough into the year and I like my kids enough (most of ’em, at least) that the notion of ending the school year early even for a much more lucrative job gives me quite a bit of pause. The most amazing thing is that I’m not currently planning on a mad scramble for a new job this summer. For the first time in forever I feel like if I ended up in the same job next year that I have this year I’d be okay with that. And that surprises the hell out of me, especially since I mostly teach 8th graders who are all going to be gone next year anyway whether I like it or not. One way or another I’m highly unlikely to be in these kids’ lives for more than about seven more months; is it really that big of a deal if I were to leave in, say, January rather than June?

Apparently it is.

I’m going to look into this job anyway, because there’s no harm in looking into it; it’s not like I’m committing to anything by putting in an application, and they may not be interested in me or it may turn out that the job doesn’t pay enough or really any number of things. But it’s odd to realize that I’m back in the position where “Yes, please, now, please” wouldn’t be my immediate reaction to escaping the classroom again, especially since ending up where I have was at least a bit of a last resort anyway.

God help me, I may actually be enjoying my job again. Weird, innit?

In which things happen fast

Welp.

Things happen fast. Within an hour of putting up that post yesterday, I got an email from another principal at a different school letting me know that they had an opening for the same job I currently have and asking if I was interested in it. I went in for a brief interview this morning, and … well, at this point we’re just waiting for dots and crosses, so to speak. Naturally, the first principal called me during the other interview to offer me the job, and to be honest, a part of me really does regret having to turn him down. But this way I don’t have to worry about grading for eight hours every Sunday for the entire school year, and I don’t care what else is involved; I’m just not going to ever miss that.

Of course, now I have to talk to my current boss, something I will happily put off until everything is good and official but nonetheless requires doing. And that’s gonna be a not very pretty sort of conversation, because “I know this situation we’re in is kind of shit, and rather than doing anything to fix it I’m kinda gonna make it worse, and, man, good luck with all that, I’ll be over here, not helping at all” is just not going to be any fun.

Do I feel bad about it? Yeah, a little. Not enough that it matters, though; not enough that I’m willing to put my family through what I’ll be like next year if I stay, but I feel bad about it. I’ll, uh, let y’all know how it goes.