So, about a month ago I was fired (wrongfully) from the non-profit with which I worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Quite honestly, even though it completely screws up the plan that I had for my future not to mention leaving me in a financial lurch, it was the best thing that had happened to me since I got to Reno. You see, if you’re like me you thought that working with a non-profit you would be working with really great passionate people whose main aim was to do some good. Welp, in a lot of cases I’m sure that that’s true, but for me that was nowhere near the case (and I have also discovered that many VISTA’s experiences are similar to mine). From the beginning I knew that there were many inherent flaws with the program; after 8 years in operation the program was still being “run” out the Director’s/Creator’s house who also went unpaid for doing the “work”.
I guess I should tell you a bit about the Director. Well, to start off the Director is an 82-year-old control freak experiencing memory loss. Her only professional experience is serving as a VISTA for 3 years and in the Peace Corps for 2 terms all done when she was already a senior. Plus (and this blew my mind) she is a Director of an adult ESL program and doesn’t speak Spanish….
Anywhoo, after being accused of not doing my job by not providing her with information, I responded by relating that I had indeed sent her the info and had the emails to prove it. She then insinuated that the phone conversations I referenced never happened, and didn’t address the fact that I re-sent her the emails that proved my competency. She responded that she didn’t need my back-talk, and the next day I was informed by AmeriCorps that she had requested my removal. As a result of her treatment of me, she lost a partnership with another non-profit as well as receiving letters from co-workers stating how effective I was in my job and how the program would ultimately fail. Afterwards, the Director sent an email offering me the position again “with conditions”, and when I did not respond she sent me another email saying she had made a mistake and “offering an olive branch”, siting that she should have been mentoring me (how her influence would have helped I have no idea….but her ego is the size of China). Needless to say, I refused (nicely) and was looking forward to serving the community with a different organization.
The way AmeriCorps works is that when one leaves/is removed from one’s program one has 30 days to get another program in the area to hire them, and if one is not hired at the end of 30 days, then one is no longer a VISTA. Welp folks, I’m no longer a VISTA and I’m stuck out in Reno…which I don’t enjoy. So….now I have to decide if I want to apply again to other programs as a VISTA or if I want to get a “regular job” or if I want to try to move. People….I have no clue what to do! I’m hesitant to sign on as a VISTA in the area again because that would mean I’d be in Reno for another 13 months…the thought of which doesn’t excite me. Also, moving (whether to take on an other position as a VISTA or any job) would prove difficult simply due to logistics of an actual move not to mention the financial aspect of breaking my lease, etc. I could get a “regular job” in Reno to finish out my lease, but what would I do? At least I would be making more money with a normal job; let me tell you…being paid at the poverty level is no fun! These are my options, ….and I have no idea what to do. I’ve never really known what I “want to do when I grow up”; I studied languages because I found them interesting, and that was a decision I made in the 8th grade! So now I have grown up decisions to make and I simultaneously feel very much an adult and very much a teenager. I keep vacillating between all of my options, and the end result is that I haven’t made a decision. If only I had a Magic 8 Ball to make all my important decisions for me…all my problems would be over. Though, knowing my luck, the response would be “Check back later”. At this point I really want to leave Reno, I just have no idea where to go or what to do next. Currently, I’m exercising my right to denial and procrastination by visiting a friend in California for a few days. Though I am overjoyed to see her, I was quick to jump at the opportunity to run away from my problems; I guess I’m not as strong a person as I thought I was.