birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Inhuman Resources

Working for a major University usually means red tape at every turn. And nowhere is it more baffling or disconnected from common sense than in the mysterious, off-campus offices of Central Human Resources.

The first Organizational Restructure I survived put me in the distinctly kafkaesque position of having to reapply for the job I had already held for 3 years. The reason was simple. In the new world order, my job would have some expanded duties (which I was already doing unofficially) and the complicated funding sources for my pay check would change slightly (at least on paper). After reviewing the updated job description--which I wrote--Central Human Resources declared that the changes made it an entirely new position. By law it would have to be open to all, and publicly posted. All fair-hiring practices must be adhered to. And, my existing position would have to be eliminated once this new iteration was launched.
So, I applied, and interviewed, and was eventually offered the job I'd already had.

Round 2 came when we wanted to expand our little 2 and half person unit. My boss worked out a way to offer me a promotion, and add an assistant-level staff person. Or so she thought. After weeks of discussion and planning and drafting new job descriptions, she came into my office and closed the door. She told me that the new assistant-level position was not approved, as there was no money for it. Which meant the whole plan was jettisoned. The only option she could offer, according to Central Human Resources, would be to move forward with the new, promoted version of my job separately, and eliminate my current job. Of course, by law it would have to be open to all, and publicly posted. If I wanted a promotion, I would have to yet again apply for an expanded version of a role that I already held and had helped to craft, at the risk of being displaced by an outside candidate. We both agreed that was too ridiculous and not worth the paperwork. But, needless to say, I hardly thought it was a fair solution.

There is a happy ending though, about 2 years later we were able to alter my job description enough (but not so much as to attract the attention of the drones at Centra Human Resources) to get me a new working title, a bit more money, and more exciting responsibilities. No re-application required. This time.

The Disadvantaged

Small farms