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In which Cziltang gets what he asked for and an opportunity to pretend to be a normal person

I had intended to pick up regular posting a few weeks ago, but I’ve been trying to get my head around some impending changes here in the Ratlands.  I’ve been trying to decide what to say, and have been having a hell of time, partly because I’m not sure exactly what I think, and partly because everything I’ve started to write sounds like whining.  Everybody has to deal with changes in their life at some point; it doesn’t make us special, it makes us human.  That said, having a normal life scares me.

But first, let’s talk about the “getting what I asked for” part.

For some time I have advocated for smaller government.  I think governments at all levels spend entirely too much money doing crap they have no business doing, wrecking the economy by trying to control things that shouldn’t be controlled, and interfering with the exercise of individual liberty by regulating stuff they have no business regulating.  I believe the answer is to get government out of most of what it does, cut off most of the money and reduce the size of government significantly.  So, I’ve been asking for smaller government, and that’s what I got.

The governmental entity I work for is managed better than most and is more responsible than most.  In the face of reduced revenue, they are eliminating some services and eliminating some jobs.  It’s the responsible thing to do and so far it’s been done in a reasonably (as these things go) non-partisan, business-like manner. That’s the big picture.

On a smaller scale, one of the programs being cut back is the residential correctional facility where I work.  One of the jobs being eliminated is mine.  The manager in me knows that this is the right move.  And, I was actually expecting to be terminated.  If I was doing it, I would get rid of me.  Having been with the organization for 25 years, I’m one of the most expensive employees in the department.  Getting rid of me probably saves the jobs of two line staff, something we desperately need to do.

I was quite surprised when the powers that be didn’t terminate me.  I’m being transferred to a different unit, one that has more funding sources and appears to be better funded at the moment.  And, I’m grateful for the transfer.  Some of the folks in the department (some of whom I hired originally, including the person I’m replacing) weren’t so lucky.  The kicker for me is that, after 31 years of working exclusively in residential correctional facilities, beginning this coming Monday I’ll be working in juvenile probation.  I’m still trying to get my head around the idea.  For someone as arrogant as I am, it’s quite humbling to realize that every last person in my new office, most of whom weren’t even born when I started at the Boy’s Home in 1980, knows more about my job than I do.

As for the “opportunity to pretend to be a normal person” part, that’s even stranger than the idea of the job.  I’ve been on call for almost all of the last 25 years.  I’ve worked evenings and weekends and gone in to work in the middle of the night, because second and third shift is where all of the weird stuff happens.  I did it because I liked it and it needed to be done and, all false modesty aside, I was reasonably good at it.  I liked the flexible schedule.  I liked going to work at 10 or 11 most mornings.  I liked the rush of showing up in the middle of the night, not knowing what I was walking into.  I missed a lot of family dinners and messed up a lot of family holiday plans responding to situations at work, and I did it because that’s what the job was.  Several years ago one of our former directors told me I was a “Residential Beast.”  I took that as a compliment.

Monday morning, that all goes away and I become a regular 8 to 5 kind of guy.  I’m no longer on call.  I’ll have a regular work schedule.  I can make social plans.  I can have a beer after work because I know I won’t get called back in.

Weird, huh?

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