I've worked in the Review office for about 7 1/2 years but a couple years ago the Bush Administration started pushing to contract out jobs to reduce the federal workforce and my job as a Grants Assistant was on their potential hit list. So NIH had to submit a bid to try and underbid the contractors and prove it was cheaper to keep government employees and in doing so shot themselves in the foot with a low ball bid. They formed what they called an MEO (for "Most Efficient Organization" - not!!!) and budgeted so low they had to pretty much drive out the higher paid employees. Many older worker took the $25,000 buy out option & ran if they were old enough to retire, those of us too young were in limbo & had to re-apply for our jobs at a lower salary. (and then deal with their completelly idiotic management acting like the corporate Stepford Wives while everything started falling into chaos and ruin with most of the experienced people gone or leaving as fast as they could and being replaced by off-the street folks who knew nothing with very few left with any institutional knowldge to train them!)
So basically my grade & salary would be retained for two years at which point they'd be permanently cut so I had two years to get the fuck out & find a better one. And that's been tough with some hiring freezes in there and a LOT of people competing for jobs and at the year & a half mark I started getting panicky but I finally got lucky with a good match AND at a hefty promotion. Plus since its a transfer within NIH I keep all benefits and existing vacation time etc. I'm still kinda stunned - I was so focused on trying to tread water & keep what I made that I almost forgot that there was potential to make more!
So as of May 1st I'll be working in the director's office as their meeting Liason as the go between between them & the contractors to set up all their meetings and keep track of all the meetings and budgets - its close enough to what I'm doing now that it shouldn't be a very difficult transition to learning the new job plus I'll have a great woman teaching me who was one of the ones pushed out of my current office due to the re-organization, took the $$ and retired only to be hired back as a contractor since she was one of the folks with the most knowledge. I'm a bit nervous in starting a new job but at the same time I am SOOOOO relieved that I will be out of the current spot between a rock & a hard place. I feel bad for the scientists I work with because they will have less staff who know anything & will end up doinga lot more of the work themselves but at least they understand my position & how I had to leave or take a big pay cut.
I feel like a huge boulder has been lifted off of me & I'm sure the reduction in stress will really help my health!
Meanwhile good thing I'll be making more $ as part of that is already spent.... sigh...yesterday I was having some popcorn & bit down & thought, wait a minute, thats too smooth for popcorn & spit out half a tooth that cracked when it hit a kernal - ouch!!! Called Dr Hackley's office & thankfully they were able to squeeze me in that afternoon (I would have been in a lot of pain over the weekend otherwise as it was pretty darned sensitive!!) and they put a temporary crown on & I'll go back soon for a permanent one. Gave Dr Hackley a good laugh tho - the kernal was still wedged in there & she had to remove it. It was an oldie that had been filled several times back when I begged her to try & make that last though I knew it would eventually need a crown but I couldn't afford that then and I'm glad she at least bought me some time. But $684 is a lot for some popcorn, sigh!
On a happier note, went & saw Alkaline Trio at Nation on Wednesday night & had a fun time! After work I'd taken the metro down to Union Station & met up with Joe who I'd met last month in Oklahoma at the Morrissey shows. He lives in Philly and since the AK# show there had sold out decided to come down here. Went over to Nation from there & we met up with some of his buddies who were nice guys who live down in Arlington. Alkaline Trio were GREAT - since it was called the "Occult Roots of Alkaline Trio" tour they concentrated on old stuff & started off by playing "Goddammit" in its entirity!
But it was right at the end that they really made me happy - Matt Skibo asked the crowd "Hey do you like the Misfits? Not that shitty new band but the REAL Misfits with Glenn Danzig? " (Crowd roared) "Well this isn't a love song, its more of a hate song" and then they started into "Some Kinda Hate" with everybody singing along. Sadly not the whole thing but it was still great to hear. Skibo you rock :) My only regret is that Philly is sold out so I can't go it it all again!