Filak’s getting furloughed, so let’s have some fun with this…

This was expected, thanks in large part to the media coverage that explained UW-Oshkosh was going to be $18 million in the hole this year. That said, this wasn’t the best email to get before a holiday weekend:

(If you’d like to see a master course on sterile jargon, enjoy reading Patient Zero here…)

All faculty members are getting some degree of furlough, while the folks who are in the academic staff, administrative staff and other non-tenured spots on the campus await layoffs and other levels of anxiety-provoking announcements.

(Some of us sat through an hour-plus event that included the explanation that to close our $18 million budget deficit, the university would be using the $5 million remaining in its surplus fund, furloughing faculty to save $3 million and then relying on $1 million in cuts. Even my journalism brain realized something was wrong with that math.)

Given my use of humor to deal with darkness, the jokes on this have come fast and furiously through my brain:

  • “Welcome to UW-O, home of the furlough!”
  • “It’s UW-Furlough, where the customer comes… into an empty office at least a few days this month.”
  • “You can’t spell furlough without F-U!”

I also liked the line of “You are not to  be performing any work for UW-Oshkosh” as I’m trying to imagine the enforcement mechanisms that will be employed:

(Sound of SWAT officers kicking down my front door, annoying the dog and scattering the chickens)

Cop: “Filak! Are you GRADING PAPERS? Hands off that laptop now!”

Me: “No! Officer! I swear, I’m just surfing for porn!”

Cop: “Yeah… you BETTER BE!”

In any case, this isn’t a pity party for me but more of an opportunity to go out Irish-Wake style on this thing, so here’s what I’m pitching:


I’ve basically got 11 days to kill, so let’s do something positive with those.  I’m putting out the Bat Signal for anyone out there who is teaching journalism at the high school or college level, anyone running a student media outlet at any level, any group of students who need help in journalism or basically anyone who is looking to take advantage of a journalism professor/blogger chimp with a desire to help you in  any way I can while making a mockery of the system.

I am ready, willing and able to do pretty much anything you want me to do for your classroom, your newsroom, your student media organization or whatever for one of my 11 furlough days.

  • You want me to hop on a Zoom call and teach a topic? Fine.
  • You want me to drive out to your school and meet with students to do some brainstorming for the next issue of the student publication? Totally cool.
  • You want me to come out to your student media conference and teach a dozen sessions on stuff that people want/need? I’m there.
  • You need me to go through resumes, cover letters, copies of your student newspaper, last year’s yearbook and your relatively weak “break-up poetry” from sophomore year? Sure… Hey… Let’s do it!

In addition to that, I’m willing to kick in the following things:

  • A blog post about whatever we did, promoting your place and giving the readers a nice bit of information they can use in their own classroom/newsroom/journalistic lair
  • A copy of the latest edition of any of my textbooks. (I’ve got your choice of Media Writing, News Reporting and Writing, Media Editing and Exploring Mass Com, all of which are suitable substitutes for Ambien.)
  • One of my personalized, hand-burned wooden baseball bats for your office or classroom

(I’ve done some pretty cool bats…)


And, if I sell out the tour on all 11 dates, I’m getting T-shirts with your class/team/organization as an official tour stop.

So, what do you need to do to get in on the hustle? Hit me up via the contact page linked here and tell me the following things:

  • Who you are, what you do and where you are located
  • What you want me to do for your class/group/organization
  • When you want this to happen, as apparently I can only take a certain number of furlough days in a certain set of pay periods for reasons past my understanding
  • How you want to do this (in-person, on Zoom, via the Pony Express, whatever)
  • Why you want to do this

Let’s turn a truly stupid thing into something awesome for you and your folks, which I think Is the unofficial motto of this blog.

Blog lines are open. Operators are standing by.


Vince (a.k.a. The Doctor of Paper)