If you notice, this post is dated Friday, even though I wrote and posted it on Sunday. I did this because I wanted, some day in the future, to look back at the gap between my graduation day and the day I received my first job offer, and see it very clearly and visually on the little blog calendar on the right. People who have been congratulating me (and thank you! or them!) have focused on this short span and said things like, “so quick! You must be awesome!” But that’s not really how it was. I look at other lengths of time, like from when I did my first interview (late March) or when I attended my first career fair (early March) or when I sent out my first resume (February) or when I first started to seriously worry about my job prospects (spring semester 2010) or when I took the big leap and quit my job (summer 2009). I think I really use that last one more than anything, because when you quit a job with a good salary and great benefits, and when you leave it without severance or unemployment benefits, to go into a field where you think there will be jobs but who knows, well, you worry. If I’m going to be more realistic, then I’d go with late February when I first sent my application in to the New Teacher Finder for the NYC public schools (it’s still there but I somehow doubt they will be calling me). It seemed like an eternity of fear and worry to me.
My Commencement Day was just wonderful. Amazing, even. For starters, those of us without Big Life Transition Events rarely get a day where it is all about us. But beyond that, I was surrounded for the first half of the day by my cohort and some of my professors, all of whom I love dearly, and the ceremony itself was fabulous. Bob Herbert from the NY Times spoke and said great things and they called my name and my friends’ names, and I sat next to one of the funniest guys ever and he made me laugh the whole time. Then for the second I was with my family and we had a lovely dinner and I got flowers and balloons and gifts. The one downer on my day was that I was stressed about a demo lesson I had to do two days later. If you don’t know the horror of the demo lesson for new teachers (tech specialists do teach some classes even though they’re not titled as teachers), it’s this: you walk into a strange classroom with kids you don’t know and teach an entirely out of context lesson while 3-4 administrators watch you. If you’re in tech, it’s worse, because you have no idea what equipment they’ll have or what the layout is and very often, something will break (three of the kids’ PCs kept going black during my lesson, for example). But it went OK, mostly. And they don’t all. Some day when I’m over it, I’ll tell you about The Disaster. When people tell me things went so easily for me, I try not to mention The Disaster. You know that job interview that Elaine has on Seinfeld where she just gets up and says, “I have no chance, do I?” and the woman smiles broadly and says, “no” and shakes her hand? It was kind of like that. The Disaster convinced me that I am not ready quite yet for what I had planned, that is, to work in a public or charter school with kids who need the most help. But that day will hopefully come once I get more experience.
But this demo and interview did go well and I knew I had a shot, but just a shot, because, quite frankly, this school is one of the best in New York. I know this because the parents on Urban Baby, who have together built the worst, most obnoxious forum I could ever imagine (if you know me from a forum, it is worse than the one you are thinking of), even they always agree that they’d kill to get their kids in to this school. So I really have no idea how I got this job. Really. It’s not false modesty, I really just don’t know. But I’m not complaining! The school is fancee, even fancee’er than my placement school (who, by the way, liked me very much but still wouldn’t give me a job, so you can understand my amazement now) and will herein be known as Fancy Pants Prep, or FPP. I even started a new category for it! (And last time for the Student life category – I think.) Every time I wake up and realize they want to hire me or that once I sign a contract I will officially work there, I can’t stop grinning. Is it really happening? All I wanted was a job. I didn’t ask for THE job. I should say that the position is awesome for all kinds of other reasons: the people I’ve met are fab, the school is open to new technology use, and I get to be part of the community of tech people which includes the fine folks from my placement school plus lots of others.
Right now, I’m having a tough time focusing on what the job entails, because it doesn’t really start until the end of the summer. That’s right, I have the summers off! I’m not even thinking about that yet, though. I am just thinking about how lucky I am to have hit the scenario I wanted the most: to know that I have a job in three months so that I can enjoy this summer and actually do fun things. I still have my part-time (ugh) job through the end of June. Or July, but I’m saying June. I’d also like to take a class in July, since I’ll be dealing with kids younger than I really trained for. Then in August I hope to take a trip I’ve been planning for a long time, to Western Canada to see some special things and some special people. And then I come home to my new job. Yikes! Yay!
But the stuff I am focusing on is weird and surreal, too. Finally, after two years of keeping a bastardized version of my analfinance spreadsheet, I can put back the cell where the income goes, rather than calculating how much I have to pull out of savings. I can turn on the A/C and not feel bad about it. I can restart Netflix. I can order the sushi deluxe. I can buy an unlimited Metrocard. My whole mindset is shifting and each thing I remember that I can do makes me happy all over again.
The past few weeks, when there were periods of no job listings or no one responded or an interview went nowhere or I got a rejection email, I’d have dreams about going back to my old job at The Record Label. Really! Just right back to my desk as if nothing had happened. You don’t have to be Freud to get that. But I think I’ll stop having that dream. And I can unsubscribe to all my job listing feeds. And throw away my extra resumes. And hide the label “Job Search” in my Gmail. And plan. I can finally plan. For a person like me, knowing what I’m doing next month and next year is the greatest relief, even though the details will be slowly uncovered. If this were a movie, like Working Girl, they’d end it here. Girl quits unsatisfying job, drops out of rat race to go back to student life, graduates and gets prestigious job. But it isn’t really like that. It is more the end of Side 1 of the concept album (remember album sides?) and now we’ll start with Side 2. I hear it’s complex and has its ups and downs but is totally worth a listen.
Title comes from:
M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up The Volume