The Road to Ruin
Having been told earlier "yeah, I don't think it will be a problem" in regards to getting time off and then being told "2 weeks is about the max," there's a couple of things you can do.
A- No more JMT. Dream is over.
C- Take the time off because you've earned it with vulgar amounts of unpaid comp time and deal with it when you get back.
Shrewd business man such as myself and loyal, hard working employee would never consider doing C. or B. After all, jobs are way too important today. To quit or jeopardize my role would be irresponsible, inane, inconceivable.
So I just stopped thinking about the trail. Hell, I'd been wanting to do it for 5 years, what's another 1-99?
So I'm sitting in a cube one day doing whatever it was I did. Program director comes in, we'll call him Chomley, and talks to everyone else. Doesn’t say "hi" or acknowledge my presence. 5:00 comes around. I'm heading out the door. My supervisor comes in, asks if I'd like to go for a walk. No. I don't want to go for a walk. But I say yes because it seems like the obvious answer. My direct supervisor lets me know that after meeting with Chomley, "they've" decided to not renew my position. Basically my job got cut so that another job that was similar but got paid more could open in Houston (I was told I was not qualified for the Houston job)
If we're calling it straight down the middle, it's a "reduction in force." If you want to be cute, I was "deemed redundant." If you haven't been there…it feels like your fired. Which is liberating, aggravating, frustrating, relieving, and enraging all at once. The specifics of this whole thing, the details, the open records requests that could be done, the FOIA requests that could be made…unimportant. I'll save it for the book deal.
But here's where we're at- I've been told (this happened in May) that I would be done on June 31st. They told me in May that my job was obsolete. My salary was done, my work was through. Last day was June 31. Prime JMT hiking time is Aug-September. So if you're sitting in my cube, sitting in my shoes (which I don't wear most often) then you get a small devious grin because that 15 days you couldn't get off….that just became infinite vacation. Because you got fired. For being better than every single person who worked in your program.
The whole thing is still enraging.
But knowing that I wouldn't be employed doing something I love, I knew I'd have the time off to go do something I only dreamed about. Something I'd been chasing and something that had been eluding me for years.
Here's the catch, if there's to be a catch. (and there is to be a catch. It makes a better story.) The whole time I was employed at my well paying job, I was employed part time at a not so well paying but fun job. I thought seriously of walking in to the not so well paying job and saying "thanks, people. I'm outtie 5000." I came very, very close to doing so. But for whatever reason, I never told the part time job goodbye. And it's a good thing, because it allowed me to still have work after being done.
But, John Muir Trail wise…it was another barrier.
I was free from my government job. Deemed redundant, axed so that a "diversity specialist" can be hired.
John Muir Trail was in reach.
I figure it is no big deal to ask for a month off at my other job. So I go in, fill out the paper work. And then I never hear anything back.