ON BEING FIRED
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, pepinsky.blogspot.com
February 5, 2011
This week I was fired once more. During training to be a volunteer child advocate in a neighboring county, hours before I was due to be sworn in by the county judge, I received a phone call from my trainer. There had been a senior administrative meeting, and she was the one to call me to tell me that I was out of the program. The trainer explained that it was my position on the big biggest drug problem of the moment in the county, heroin use. We had a training session with the enforcer for the local “treatment”=”drugs”+”mental health” court. I spoke out against wars against opiates. I just got frustrated with demonization of the latest local non-prescription demon drug, heroin, to put in my two cents after prolonged shared stories of the horror of heroin use.
I was fired from major public universities twice before I survived at Indiana U. As I was about to retire I managed to get fired from an online university that paid me, and in the last year, ended up disqualifying myself from service in a raft of local criminal justice/mediation services I have explored. It is a miracle that I got my tenure and promotion on the same irascible terms on which I was repeatedly fired before and after IU.
I am of course disappointed. I wanted to be a volunteer advocate for children. On the other hand, I learned from the time I was politely but firmly fired by my first full-time criminal justice professorship nearly forty years ago that it was a blessing to learn earlier than later that I was not a fit. Jill worries that I will just sit at home and rot if outside work doesn’t keep me busy enough. She sighs once again as she comforts me one more time for saying another wrong thing to hold onto a job. Her continued concern and patience with my “stubbornness” mean the world to me.
I am unfit to be judgmental. I have gotten away with being an unacceptably nonjudgmental, salaried, adeduately pensioned nonconformist. I’ve flunked enough of life’s tests of social acceptability and gotten away with it into retirement to deepen my faith in honest, open, respectful disagreeableness. Could be I have something in common with Sarah Palin. I am grateful for my extraordinary blessings. It is a miracle that I ended up being paid at work and in retirement for simply being myself. Still learning, thanks. Even in re-firement, I live in personal luxury. Love and peace, hal