Financial Woes at Work
January 7, 2011 16 Comments
I’ll let you in on a little secret: My school isn’t doing too well.
See, if turns out that when the economy goes bad people go back to school. But what they don’t tell you is that when the economy goes bad people go back to PUBLIC school. Apparently going to private school is considered a luxury. (Expect my post on the benefits of private vs public school shortly 😉 )
See, I work for a private college. Which means – if people stop going to private schools – then people stop coming to MY school. According to what I know (which is what gets filtered by the President down to us lowly faculty) our school is spending more money than it has.
Just like when I realized I was spending more than I had and needed to curb spending – my school has decided to do the same.
And now this is getting personal.
An email from the President of the University outlined quite a number of ways that we would be slowing down our cash flow. Some effect me. Some didn’t. Here are the ones that do:
- Reduced matching retirement. Yup you read that right. Instead of getting 6% matching I’ll only be getting 3% matching. For the next 6 months for sure (possibly longer). I’m tempted to lower my retirement contribution to only 3% now and put that additional 3% income in to debt. I was investing up to the match point. Or I could leave it where it is. I’ve also considered contributing the extra income I’ll get from the tax brakes to my retirement to make up for the difference of what I’m losing. Can you see how lost I am here? I don’t know whether to reduce my contributions, leave them the same, or increase them!
- No staff raises next year. Now, to be honest, I’m not sure if this effects me or not! I’m “faculty” and not staff. But I don’t know if they meant no one that is hired by the University would get a raise or if just the non-faculty employees would not be getting a raise. Either way, that sucks for them! I hope I still will get a raise. We’ll find out when I get my new faculty contract later this spring.
- All of them together have led to: My General Dissatisfaction. When I started my job I was given the impression that the University was doing well. Myself, and the other new faculty members who started at the same time, have felt that we were lied to by the University as to how they were doing financially. Well, not lied to, but the state of the University was intentionally misrepresented to us.
I have doubts about the long-term viability of the University. I know I will have a job for the next few years – but to be honest – I’m scared that in 5 years the University might go under. This leaves me feeling very anxious. Now the University may rebound with flying colors – but an uneasy pit in my stomach thinks I have 10 years here tops.
I’ve talked to BF about this and what this means for my career. I moved to Kansas with the intention that this would be my permanent home. That I would be able to make a life for myself here. Now it seems that I still must plan in the back of my mind for the possibility that in 5-6 years I’ll need to make another big life change to switch jobs again. It makes me very uneasy. I want to be here, doing what I do, until I die. At least, that is what I want now. This makes it all the more clear how important it is for me to A) get out of debt NOW! and B) start saving up a year E-fund. Yes, I said that, a year. In academia you (typically) only get hired once a year – so it could be a long stretch between jobs if I didn’t find something right away.
I don’t like that this is happening. But all I can do is be the best that I can be and try to prepare for the future – good or bad.