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«  Mon.10.16.2000  »
10:17 pm EDT        53°F (12°C) in Ann Arbor

In the four days since my last update, I've done quite a bit of thinking and reflection over my former career at Transportation Services. I've carefully considered the people there, the way I was treated (especially near the end), and my own future. I've decided that at this time, I have no desire to return to Transportation Services.

I have spoken with several individuals still in Transportation Services since my termination a week ago. From what they've told me, as well as what I was able to know while I was still there, it's quite obvious there was a conspiracy afoot for some time to get rid of me. I mean, the department head with whom I spoke last Monday was clearly withholding facts during our talk; it seemed as though he ad-libbed his chief reason for the decision.

I need look no further than my site statistics to have at least partial proof of my conspiracy theory. In the week leading up to my termination, almost a third of my hits were coming from two IP addresses within U-M's Plant Department; sometimes these hits were being made twice, even three times per day. After I instituted the IP block on those two addresses, I had a large flurry of hits (about a dozen) from the U-M dial-up IP pool over the weekend previous to the Monday announcement. Since last Tuesday, I've counted two hits from either the once-blocked (now unblocked, I believe) addresses or the dial-up pool. It's obvious to even a Michigan State graduate (sorry, Sparties, it's game week ) that they were hounding me, just looking for the tiniest slip they could jump on. They "found" one on this site -- I say "found" because it seems to me they made something up.

Even if I were successful in a grievance hearing, and were reinstated, I'd be jumping right back into the frying pan. The same people would simply double their efforts to get rid of me, and it would be just a matter of time before they'd make another trumped-up allegation and get me fired again. Perhaps the decision to terminate me last week was mutually beneficial, rather than only for the good of Transportation Services. I mean, I enjoy the job duty of driving a bus, and I do plan to keep my CDL, but -- as much as I'd like to -- I simply cannot work in an environment where favoritism reigns and accountability for one's actions is next to nil.

I have plans underway to seek another job, possibly later this week or early next week. Of course, if I say anything about it here, I'm sure people within Transportation will call the new potential employer and try to get me screwed out of that job. I absolutely don't trust a few people there any farther than I can throw them. Honestly, there are a lot of drivers with whom I just won't ride anymore -- I have no faith in them personally, I have no faith in them on the roads. (Oops, wait a minute, that's the logic they used to fire me. ) Seriously, though, I only use the buses when I absolutely have to anymore. It's nice having a friend who lets you use his car in these situations.

I may or may not even bother to go through with the grievance at this point. The only reason I'd do that is to be able to leave Transportation on my own terms -- quitting rather than being fired. I hold no vendettas against anybody at Transportation, and there's no way in hell I'd ever even think about "going postal" (i.e., shooting the offices up like former postal service workers have been known to do in Michigan), but I'm keenly aware of how I've been treated by both people within the organization and the organization itself, and that will always be in the back of my mind. Of course, the grievance/no grievance issue depends quite a bit on my upcoming job search, but I think that will go by pretty quickly.

I'm considering adding a stories/novels section to this site, in which I'd add an epic, tell-all novella about my time at Transportation Services. Now that I'm no longer under their control, they'd have no right to sue me, ban the writing, or fight me about it. Sure I'm burning my bridges behind me, but let's be realistic here: the toll booth at the other end of the bridge is never going to reopen anyway. The department head did say he might consider me for an opening in a year or so, but I'm convinced he was just holding out a carrot to get me to do exactly what he wanted me to do. I firmly believe, from what I was able to pick up in our talk, that in his heart of hearts he has no real desire to employ me again. That being the case, I might as well oblige him.

The termination does throw my plans for next summer into temporary limbo -- I wanted to live out here again, but without a guaranteed Ann Arbor-based summer job, I'd pretty much have to move back in with my folks. I'm sure I can find something for the summer, though, and be able to pay the bills -- but that's a long time away. Right now, I just need to worry about getting that 3.0, so I can stay here for the winter term.