Monday, April 09, 2007

WGBH Eye On Education

For those of you in the Boston area, WGBH radio (89.7) will be re-airing my interview with Tony Kahn and the podcast version of The Purple Stapler tomorrow morning (4/10) at 6:34am and 8:34am. They are airing it as part of their Eye on Education series.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

You can checkout any time you like, but ...

I've been trying for over a year to resign from the New York City Department of Education. I haven't actually worked for them since early '06. I'd been under the impression for the past few months that I had finally succeeded in resigning and was free from the Court Street beast.

Then, yesterday, I took on the terribly frightening task of making human contact with the Teachers' Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS). I wanted to try to get a few thousand dollars of mine out of the city's low interest pension fund. I needed to be sure I was mailing in the right forms, so I called TRS.

My call was clearly annoying to the woman who answered. She pulled up my info on her computer and told me she could see that my resignation date was listed as March 5, 2006. She then went on to tell me that I hadn't actually resigned, so I couldn't access my money. My status with the Department of Ed was still listed as "active."

Here's how the conversation went:

Me: But you said I have an official resignation date listed in your system.

TRS: I see the resignation date, but above the date, it says "status, active." According to our system, you're an active employee.

Me: With a resignation date of over a year ago?

TRS: (Losing patience with me) Ma'am! It says you're active.

Me: I resigned. Your database shows I resigned on March 5, 2006.

TRS: As long as you're active in our system, we can't mail you a check.

Me: How do I become inactive in your system?

TRS: You need to send the Dept of Ed an official resignation letter.

Me: Done. Three times.

TRS: Well, they never got the letter.

Me: Ok. Ok. It's not your fault, I know. But I just have one more question. If the Dept of Ed never got my letter of resignation, then why is there a resignation date listed for me in your system?

TRS: (Puts me on hold for ten minutes.)

Me: (Downloading and then memorizing Styx, Mr. Roboto, while on hold.)

TRS: Here's the Dept of Ed number you need to call.

Sooooooooo ... Monday morning, I'll call the Dept of Ed to try to resign. Again.