I was looking for a job, and then I found a job…

And heaven knows I’m actually not so miserable now. More like conflicted.

I went to a teacher job fair about a month ago, which was the usual depressing meat market of hungry, desperate wannabe-teachers trying to impress school administrators. If you’ve never been to a teacher job fair, and don’t know what it is, just imagine hoardes of people lining up like drones to talk to representatives from schools, hoping they’ll be interviewed and offered a position. Everyone is dressed to kill, and too nervous to talk to the people around them because they are the “competition”. Of course, people do make small talk, but it’s always uneasy because you can tell that the “competition” is wondering who the fuck you are, how much experience you have, and if you’re more qualified. If we were all allowed to bring knives or guns into the arena, I’m sure the place would be a bloodbath within seconds.

Here’s a picture, but it does nothing to depict the tension and generally depressing nature of the event:

I wouldn’t mind going to these things if they were actually worth my time, but they always seem so pointless. You stand around for ages waiting to speak to a school district, and then when you finally do get to talk to somebody, they seem completely uninterested but take your résumé anyway, saying they’ll call you for an interview. Of course they never do. The only reason I go to job fairs is because it panics me to see how many people are looking for teaching jobs, so it puts me in a more ruthless job-hunting mindset.

At this particular job fair, I was more depressed than usual. I had been mailing out résumés left, right and centre in the previous weeks, but hardly ever got any response. I had been to two interviews, and the interviewers couldn’t even be bothered to contact me to tell me I hadn’t got the job. This is apparently the norm these days. Whatever happened to fucking manners? Are people really too busy to send a simple rejection email? Or are they too cowardly? Don’t they realize I would rather be rejected than waste countless hours checking my email to see if they want me?!

My state of mind hadn’t been helped very much by this New York Times article which stated that teachers in 2010 are “facing the worst job market since the Great Depression”. It was becoming more and more obvious that I wasn’t going to find a teaching job. Why would anyone hire me? I’m getting certified through an alternative teacher certification program so I don’t have a nice shiny BA or MA in education from a university. I also have zero teaching experience unless you count the pathetic two weeks of student teaching I had in 2009. Back in the good ol’ days, I’ve heard that this didn’t matter; apparently all you had to do to get a teaching job then was have a pulse. These days, though, with countless experienced, university-educated graduates looking for jobs, I was hardly an attractive candidate.

Back to the job fair, though. Right at the very end of the day, just as I was about to skulk home, tired and dejected, I noticed another school district right at the very back of the hall. I had ignored them before because I didn’t recognize the name, which meant that it must be miles away, and my teacher certification program wouldn’t let me take a job out of the district. “Ach, what the hell”, I thought, and went up to speak to the principal anyway. I liked him immediately, and he told me to come for an interview on Tuesday! The catch? The high school is in the middle of fucking nowhere – three hours away from where I am now, and an hour and a half from any other decent sized city. It’s in a town of about 3,500 people!

MM and I discussed this job, and we both decided that we would never be able to live in such a rural environment. I was just about to email the principal to tell him so, when I checked my inbox, and found an email from him checking if I still wanted to come to the interview. “Well”, I thought, “if he’s so keen to interview me, I might as well go for the sheer hell of it”. Also, I had never been to that part of the state before, so I thought it would be interesting to see it.

To cut a long story short….I got the job, and will be moving down there in around a month! Yikes! The idea of living somewhere so small is scary (everybody – and I mean everybody – knows each other, or is somehow related) but the town is way cuter than I imagined, and I’m so fucking ready for a change of scene. My life where I am now is going nowhere. There is nothing for me to do here. Also, I’ll be teaching in a very low-income, minority school district, and this is what I always wanted.

But why did I say I was conflicted about the job in the first paragraph of this post? Well, let’s just say that MM is not exactly thrilled to be moving somewhere so isolated. There are very few jobs in this part of the state, so now he’s going to have to apply for art teacher positions in a high school. He thinks teaching is “selling out” and would much rather stay here and work on the graphic novel that he never seems to fucking finish. He thinks that moving away will deprive him of a glorious career in art, which seems to have curiously eluded him although he’s lived here for five years.

MM has a very bad habit of being passive aggressive and being resentful towards me, so I’m nervous about what the move will mean for our relationship which, to be honest, has never exactly been perfect. And, if I’m honest, I’m feeling resentful towards him also. He’s thirty-three years old, and yet refuses to get a real job despite the fact that his art career is going nowhere. God knows why he can’t finish his graphic novel (fear of failure? Fear of success? Crippling perfectionism? Or just simple disorganization and laziness?) but whatever it is, he needs to realize that what he’s doing now (or not doing) just isn’t working for him. I find him to be an overgrown spoiled brat, always harping on about how a real job will take so much time away from his precious art. What makes him so special that he can’t find a relatively well-paid day job like every other single fucking creative person out there? Ugh.

Sigh. Will there ever be a day when things will go completely smoothly for me?


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25 thoughts on “I was looking for a job, and then I found a job…

  1. SilverTiger July 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm Reply

    Congratulations on getting a job, and I hope it works out for you.

    • petrichoric July 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm Reply

      Thanks, Silver Tiger. Yes, I hope it works out also. Let’s hope my colleagues are nice.

  2. xul July 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Aha! That’s what happened to ya! Firstly, I think job fairs are bullshit. I’ve never ever ever gotten a job by filling out an application or handing out a resume. It’s always been a “who you know” kind of a deal. Secondly, it’s true that back in the good ol’ days they seemed to hire anyone for teaching positions. I had an aunt who had no degrees and no experience start as a teacher’s aide and then was bumped up to a teaching position. Thirdly, a guy with whom I went to high school just published his first graphic novel. He’s in his mid-thirties but he’s been very dedicated. It’s more about vision rather than just a dream. He was never as naturally talented in art as I was but that was always what he envisioned for himself. Just goes to show that if you want something and bust your balls you eventually get it. Tenacity, lass! And good luck with teaching out in the boonies! Might be nice for a change.

    • petrichoric July 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm Reply

      Hello, Xul. Yes, I think it will be good to teach somewhere more remote. There is absolutely no culture (and I mean *no* culture) where I’m going, but it will make a nice change. I really need a change of scene. In fact, I can’t wait.

  3. LazyBuddhist July 12, 2010 at 10:24 pm Reply

    Congrats on the job. Even if it doesn’t turn into a long term gig, at least you’ll have actual teaching experience on the resume.

    As for the issues with MM, well, I don’t know what to tell ya, darlin’. I’ve been with the Boyfriend for twelve years now and we still don’t even live together because he can’t/won’t get his financial act together. He refuses to work for “the man” so he gets by with doing handyman/contractor/building gigs usually found through friends of friends. Great work when you can get it. But when you can’t? It’s not the brokeness I mind so much, but it’s the whining about it that kills me.

    Good luck with the new gig!

    • petrichoric July 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm Reply

      Yes, I know what you mean when you say you don’t mind the brokeness but the whining. “MM” is kinda the same. Always bitching about money, counting every penny, being stressed out about not having enough of it. I don’t know why he thinks he’ll have less time for his art if he gets a teaching post. It seems to take up an awful lot of time and energy being broke! And, yes, you’re right about getting some experience on my résumé. Not sure how I’ll stay in this new place, but at least a couple of years, I think, as it would be form to leave after a year, I think.

  4. yogurt July 13, 2010 at 1:08 am Reply

    Second thought about your move … MM might find the small town isolation inspiring. I mean, some writers seek out the under-stimulating environment. Forces them to sit the fuck down and write. Out of sheer boredom and restlessness.

    First thought — congratulations! I’m excited for you. A much anticipated transition. Those kids are so lucky. They have no idea how great their year is going to be!

    But yes, I can see why you would be hesitant to relocated to a rural area. Thankfully, the internets will keep you connected.

    Husband and I were talking recently about longterm plans and I said I definitely want to downsize someday to make room for the expense of some traveling (we are too house poor and kid poor to do shit!) and we talked about moving from the city to a lower property tax, and likely more rural, area. One minute I can embrace the idea, the freedom of space, the freedom from ever-growing traffic … the next minute I freeze in fear of the unenlightened elements, neighbors, surrounded by small-fundamental-churches with obscure names. Mostly I have decided to decide when the time comes.

    • petrichoric July 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm Reply

      Well, if you are going to move somewhere rural in this fair state, I would suggest going south where there are very few annoying white bigots. The town I’ll be in is mainly Hispanic, and according to the voting records I checked online, the county it’s in has pretty much always voted Democrat. That doesn’t mean there won’t be annoying Mexican-American bigots, but somehow I find them a lot easier to stomach than the Christian, white ones.

  5. Reluctant Blogger July 13, 2010 at 6:40 am Reply

    I suspect not!

    But that’s great re the job. As for MM, maybe becoming part of a smaller community will be good for him. Maybe he’ll see something he actually wants to do or be part of?

    Good to see you back.

    • petrichoric July 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm Reply

      Who knows what will happen to MM and I in that small town? Whatever happens, I think it will exciting. I also think that it will be a good test for our relationship. We’re going to *have* to get along living in such a small place, and if we can’t, then better to find that out sooner rather than later.

  6. amjustme July 14, 2010 at 2:13 am Reply

    Hey! You are back! Good to see you. And with exciting news too. Go for it. Its not like you actually like where you live now anyway. And as to the relationship issues….well…. definitely better to find out sooner than later….

    • petrichoric July 14, 2010 at 3:50 am Reply

      Hey, Manda, I was also glad to see that you are back to blogging, even if only sporadically. You’re right – I don’t really like where I’m living now. It’s not a bad place – I’ve grown to appreciate certain things about it – but it’s just not home, and never will be. The time is definitely right for a change.

  7. Arekino July 14, 2010 at 4:43 am Reply

    Hi there Petrichor!

    Cool! You found a job! As a teacher! Hurrah!

    Those kids are so lucky to have you as there teacher. To them, you’ll probably be this worldly wise wonder from beyond the town limits. Fascinating and beautiful.

    Does MM have some of his art to show as examples, a little taste of what’s to come, so to say?

    Good luck on the job!

    • petrichoric July 15, 2010 at 11:48 am Reply

      Hi, Arekino. Hmmm. I don’t know how lucky those kids are. Ultimately, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. They say that it takes 5 years (5 years!) to become a really good teacher. As for MM’s art…the trouble is that I never get to see any of it. He could be sitting in his studio wanking off to porn instead of finishing his graphic novel for all I know.

      • Arekino July 17, 2010 at 3:57 am Reply

        He must have shown you something at some point? And unless he’s a chronic masturbator he’s gotta get stuff done now and again. But I guess you don’t want to be too confrontational ATM. Oh, well, no matter. Exciting times are afoot. What’s a *really* good teacher anyway? Sounds a bit like the True Scotsman fallacy to me. But then what do I know.

        • petrichoric July 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm Reply

          Well, strictly speaking, a “true Scotsman” wouldn’t wear anything under his kilt, and, as far as I know, most Scottish men don’t. Maybe if it was blowing a gale outside they would… 😉

  8. Selma July 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm Reply

    I have been to teaching job fairs in the past and they are absolutely terrifying. The only thing worse is a publishing job fair. When I retrained as an editor I went to a few and they weren’t pretty. Never again.

    I am glad you have a new job in the type of school you wanted. I am sorry to hear MM isn’t too keen on the move. I have a few friends who live with would-be musicians and/or artists and it can be hard to get in tune with their ‘artistic vision’ for their life.

    At the moment though, the focus should be on this new step in your career. It is very exciting and I wish you well!

    • petrichoric July 15, 2010 at 11:49 am Reply

      I had no idea there were job fairs for editors! Do you write professionally as well as edit? I was impressed with the writing on your blog.

  9. Christianne July 23, 2010 at 10:01 am Reply

    If you don’t have any kids, you should really start thinking about showing him the door. If you can financially do it. Some people just don’t have a clue and life can like pass over them. Unless they are lead by the hand to a good job.

    Once you get sick enough of not going anywhere, doing nothing, and living on the cheap, the love starts to crumble.

  10. Andrew August 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm Reply

    First of all, congratulations! In this job market, in a profession as competitive as teaching, finding a job is no small feat. Best of all, it doesn’t sound like you “settled” or “sold out”–you found a job teaching an underserved minority population, something you’d always wanted to do. That’s incredible. Even better, it sounds like you and your boss (the principal) are off on the right foot, which in my experience, is crucial.

    As for the small town, well, I find that even small towns have their charms, especially in the Southeast. I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Southeast myself about ten years ago, and the culture shock was a bit overwhelming at first. And then I adapted. And, yes, Internet access definitely helped.

    Finally, if I had any advice for you, it would be this: write. Write your ass off. When you get home, and you’re dealing with students, and grading papers and tests and dealing with your husband, it may be difficult to find time to write, but take some time to do it, even if it’s only stealing ten minutes a day, every night. Write even if it’s only a few sentences. Write even if it’s a personal, private journal. It’s good therapy, and I bet if you try to put something down and build up a journal, after a few months, you may find a memoir on your hands. A Scottish woman from erotic masseuse to teaching in a small, poor Southeastern town? Yeah, I’d buy that and read that. And I bet I’m not the only one.

    (And don’t say it can’t happen because it can and has happened. You should pick up “The Water Is Wide” by Pat Conroy.) 😉

    Good luck to you!

  11. williamx August 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Hey sunshine here I am a month late to the party, but your parties are such airy, spacious affairs that it seems like weeks and months pass just moving between rooms . . .
    Ha yeah I am being wierd, because I test video games for a living now, and maintain databases and build websites and wikis and basically all techie stuff I really like to do, for not that great of pay, minimial benifits and a hour commute each way . . . and yet it’s no matter because working? Way better than not. I feel better about myself and my place in the scheme of things, yes better but still not great, as all the same old dumbness follows me around.
    I hope you can find new and different dumbness, because you kind of rule and I am really put in a good mood seeing this month old post. Ha! Strange. Seems like I am glad to know you, if only as a collection of words traded via web.
    So Dish! Hows things? Old man X inquires

  12. yogurt September 17, 2010 at 10:26 am Reply

    Hoping you haven’t gotten lost in the wilds of your new classroom adventure! Post here! Post here!

    • petrichoric October 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm Reply

      Yes, I am somewhat lost in the wilds. I’ll find the time to post again soon, I hope!

  13. The One September 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm Reply

    A teacher…join the club! I teach between my writing gigs! Literacy for adults who can’t or won’t find work…but thats the British welfare state for you! God Bless the Job Centre!

    • petrichoric October 30, 2010 at 7:32 pm Reply

      Hello to a fellow teacher. Thank your lucky stars that you’re in the UK, and not teaching in the American public school system. It’s crazy over here.

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