Both of my Spanish teachers keep asking me if I think things will be better now, if I think there will be change, if I think the financial crisis will begin to end soon, if I think the US will become a different country now … and on and on. The joy of Election Day isn’t even two weeks past and already I’m feeling a mountain of pressure on my chest. And if I’m feeling it this powerfully, what must Mr. My New President be feeling?
Last week all employees at my job got some news. And when I say ‘all employees,’ I don’t just mean the people who work in my program or at my community center. I mean all employees in the health care system that is our parent organization — about 3,000 people. The first piece of news was a letter from the president of the hospital. It was very dire, very stark, very not uplifting in terms of our financial stability and what’s going to happen moving forward with all the budget cuts that are being made at the city and state level. The second piece was an email from the executive director of the health center telling us we’re going to have to make a 7% cut in our expenses for the current fiscal year, and that this is only the beginning.
And all of this comes on the heels of a round of layoffs in both the hospital and the health center, comes on the heels of seeing one of my friends and colleagues lose her program and be shifted into another position that seems pretty much like a demotion to me, comes on the heels of me having just fired half my teachers and only barely escaping the need to fire another, comes on the heels of me trying to figure out how I’m going to hold onto two other teachers beyond December 31st.
I rarely want to see the future, not really, anyway. I like living things as they come. But right now I’m feeling very shaky, running around with a steady stomach ache, feeling the ground tremble and shift beneath my feet with every step, and a little window into the future sounds like a nice idea. Not even that far into the future. I think I’d be happy with six months. When Martín and Gustavo ask me about change, I have no answers.
“All signs point to …” I have no idea. Maybe you can tell me!