$45,404… I sneeze on your $45,404…

I started this post yesterday… brilliantly I might add, and my cat walked on the keyboard and erased it. After throwing a mild temper tantrum and saying a few curse words, I decided to just… walk… away… That's one feature I wish Vox would put into place – being able to save posts as drafts while you are writing them… Anyway, I digress…

On Friday I gave up $45,404…. Yep…. Forty five thousand four hundred and four dollars….. almost $50K…. Just said "No, thank you" and walked away…

After the shock wore off I started reflecting and here is what I realized… I do not want to go to UConn…

The $45K was offered to me on Friday by the head of the Comm department in the form of a full stipend ($21K), full tuition waiver (~$23K), and health insurance (~$900). It was what I wanted. It was what I was hoping for. But it was offered in such a way that it cemented some of my reservations from my visit and made me realize that I would rather take out loans to pay my way through my first year and hope for funding later then deal with the kind of personalities I got a glimpse of.

This was a big day in my life…

One of my greatest fears is that like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, I will keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. Twice in my adult life I interviewed for jobs and walked away with red flags. Twice I was offered the job, ignored all the red flags and accepted. Twice I ended up in bad situations with people who were so difficult to work with that it affected my health. My greatest fear is that I will do the exact same thing again. Don't even get me started on the bonehead things I do in relationships…

I walked away from UConn with red flags. I tried to explain them and rationalize them like I always do. But when push came to shove and the ultimate carrot was dangled in front of my face…


And I am so proud of myself I could pop. I feel like I have broken a cycle in my life and changed a pattern. This may seem like a small thing to you but it's a really big deal to me.

You may be wondering what was so bad that I would turn down $45K? Well, the woman I have been talking to – the department head – has been doing and saying things since the very first correspondences that are accusatory, jabbing, needling little comments. It calmed down enough while I was actually at UConn that I thought maybe it was just my misunderstanding what she was saying, misreading tone of voice, misinterpreting context, etc. But it's not and I know it's not. She is sharp and barbed and hostile.

The $45K was coming from her own research grant which would mean I would be working with her 20 hours per week for potentially the next 4-5 years and I would rather poke my eye out than put up with her crap.

If I have learned nothing else about myself in 39 years it's that I am at my core a relational person. I need to feel close and bonded to the people I am working with. If I don't reeeeaaalllyyyy like, respect, and care about the people closest to me in proximity or reporting lines it causes me all kinds of angst. It's not a fear of conflict, I do not shy away from conflict and I address poor performance and behavioral issues, it's not that. It's more a need for a strong interpersonal connection and bond that makes it more than a group of people all functioning in the same space – it makes it a team and a group and a "family", for lack of a better work.

If I am already this bothered by this woman, there is no way in hell I could survive 4-5 years. No way. So…


Woot woot and yay for me. To be fair, I liked most of the other people at UConn. If Penn State turns out to be a pit of vipers (which I doubt) I will go to UConn and work my way into the research groups of other faculty members.

I'll be heading off to visit Penn State soon. I honestly expect to love it. It was my top choice from the git go and it's a MUCH bigger and better respected program than UConn in the Mass Comm world. There is a chance I could get funding there and that will most likely seal the deal.

Better respected program.
Better placement rate after graduation.
Better research projects to work on.
Better cost of living.
Closer to my family.

It's looking good! Keep your fingers crossed that I love the people!

Read and post comments


15 thoughts on “$45,404… I sneeze on your $45,404…

  1. YAY!!!! Good for you! "Walk on by…." (good song)If it feels right, it feels right. And the reverse is true, too. sharp and barbed and hostile. gah. PennState — ! There's a satellite of it not too far from me– good place!Vox– whenever I want an "interim save" I use the "hidden" privacy option – works great. But autosaves would be nice, too.

  2. Thanks, RD. After I turned it down I felt this surprising sense of calmness. I was not conflicted at all. $45K is a lot of money to reject, but judging by my internal response, I made the right choice.Great song choice, too… Here's another one… George Jones…I've had choices, since the day that I was bornThere were voices, that told me right from wrongIf I had listened, I wouldn't be here todayLiving and dying, with the choices I made…Today, I listened. Yay.

  3. I feel torn… Should I be happy or sad for you? I know it had to have been hard, but I'm really hoping you get Penn State anyway. It would definitely make it easier for us to see you when we come back east in the future!

  4. It is good that you know yourself well enough to know what you want, and whatyou are willing and not willing to put up with. Good for you!!! Good luck!!!Have a great night/day Stevie 🙂

  5. Good job. Life is one long learning experience and you have learned to listen to yourself. Keep on listening and doing what you know to be right. And don't let the "what ifs" raise their ugly little head. I learned an acronym about ten years ago that I try to apply in situations like this: FIDO. Forget It and Drive On. TIme to move ahead and forge into new territiory. Forget about what you left behind. I wish you all the best at Penn State.

  6. You should be happy! I am… It will work out, I have confidence. And yes, Penn State is much closer. It's 4 hours from Chestertown… that's not *too* bad.

  7. FIDO… I LOVE that – thank you so much for sharing it. I need to repeat it like a mantra sometimes because I tend to hold on to things and fret. Not too much in normal day-to-day life, but if something gets under my skin it stays put.FIDO FIDO FIDO…

  8. Great! I am happy for you, and we can't wait to see you this summer. It looks like we'll be coming out in the last week of July now. Apparently that's our only unencumbered time…Frank's in marching band and so he's practicing all summer. On the plus side, your Mom won't be quite so rushed!

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