Thursday, June 07, 2012
So Much Beauty In The World
"And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."
-- from the film AMERICAN BEAUTY
Or, you know, maybe it's just a plastic bag blowing in the wind.
So, signed, sealed and delivered: I am officially through with this job.
I got my final documents put in and received my last pay check, plus my sizable end-of-contract bonus, after quite a bit of running around to different offices. The people in the offices were helpful for the most part, but hampered by the fact that they generally had no idea what I was talking about, as there are a tremendous number of people employed in government offices just to basically sit around.
Finally we found the one guy who knew the answers -- an accountant in a corner cubicle -- and we got our final paychecks. Then yesterday, after an hour or so of fucking around at the bank, I got all my money sent back to America.
I tweeted, twittered, whatever, about this -- my office mate, a guy who I worked with in Russia in 2002 / 2003, the guy who basically got me this job -- got forcibly retired.
He's 64 -- basically most people retire at 60 here, so they had to get contract extensions for him and a few other guys here -- and every year they seemed to get them with no comment.
But then, a few weeks ago, he got a call from the Big Government Office across the street inviting him to a retirement party.
And he was horrified to find it was his own retirement party. Well, not just his, but a group of teachers who were leaving because they hadn't extended their contracts.
That's the way the world does things east of Istanbul, in general -- getting a direct answer, or straightforward conversation about something negative, including the impending sudden loss of your job, is pretty much impossible.
My office mate spent a lot of his time grousing about how much he hated it here, about how English teaching was beneath him in general -- but every year he adopted the "one more year" refrain that so many aging English teachers spout.
(I myself did it for several years in Russia, although my motives were a lot different.)
So that's English teaching -- leaving with proper notice and under good terms, and getting all the money you earned, is much rarer than a midnight run or losing your job unexpectedly for reasons you can't control.
It's always good to have a plan about what you'll do next, and what you'll do if you lose your job suddenly.
And if you find yourself saying "just one more year!" and then saying it again at the end of that year -- do some serious reflection on your life.