Well, this is an interesting pic of the white guy with a sign, which I’m sure-generated some lively discussion in the world of social media. My own friends were talking about it and wondering ‘what is this man’s problem’. Maybe he’s not a good networker. Maybe he doesn’t have teaching experience? There are
plenty of jobs out there, right? Well…no-and this discussion has prompted me to throw together my own sign and share a little about my own job search experience here in the great state of Virginia.
I left my job-well, I left everything, in Boston because I felt as though I should be back home in Virginia. I loved my job there and the people with whom I worked and I made a great salary. Jobs came easily for me and I stayed in each of my 3 major jobs (teacher/coach, curriculum writer/researcher, program director) for between 5-8 years. I never worried about finding a job and I didn’t think that I would break a sweat finding one in Virginia. When friends asking about my move they’d say quizzically , ‘do you have a job?’ My reply was a causal, ‘nope. not yet’. I did look and apply for jobs in Virginia from Boston but quickly figured out that you have to physically be present to make any of that work.
I’ve been unemployed for about 3 months now, I’m kinda liking it. I was pacing the floor and going crazy in the beginning but alas, I have found a new routine and have started writing again and Steve Harvey on Family Feud was a total coup for that network. I have time to go to the school bus with Danielle and I’m right there when she gets off the bus. I can spend time with her while she’s doing her homework and while putting dinner together. I am helping out my dad who just had surgery and just generally, taking it easy. I’m about to join the Y tomorrow so I get my exercise back on. So, in short, I’m not in a rush to get a job. I’m no longer defined by my job and I’m enjoying having the free time. In fact, the very fact that I don’t have a job is perfect timing given my responsibilities with my daughter and father.
However, I must say that I have discovered that finding a job is much more than having the ‘right’ credentials, skills and dispositions, at least here. I have given up questioning why and just go along with the program. However, I can’t lie, I pretty much apply for jobs each week sighing after I press send on the computer. I have a cover letter for just about any job (research, coach, curriculum developer, professor, principal, etc). They are all nicely labeled and tucked away on my desktop. I have thought out of the box:
? should I open my own business
? what about working on educational programming in the local science museum
? can I do something with NASCAR and S.T.E.M. work (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)-love NASCAR
? what about being a grant writer or working for a business organization as a trainer
I was told that in North, credentials matter; in the South, who-you-know matters. Little do they know that who-you-know matters …a lot, at least in Boston. But yes, credentials matter there as well. So, as I’m thinking of all sorts of possibilities, I’m also trying not to pay for my own family medical insurance plan forever so I put on my little cute but conservative heels and hit the road and the computer.
met with Provost-check
talked with Superintendent-check
met with Ass’t Superintendent, check, check, check
met with Dean-check, check
met with whole school department-check
met with council person
met with business person-check
met with entire teaching and learning department-check
met with CEO-check, check and check
met with state program developer-check
met with school board member-check
went to political fundraiser and met a ton of people-check, check with a glass of wine
talked with entrepreneurs -check
Whew, I have met tons of people and everyone is very nice and very impressed by me and my resume. Leslie Alexander, Director of the Muscota New School in New York City told me once that I’d have to learn how to smooze at some point instead of grumbling about it. Well, I’ve become quite expert at it and I’m really working it. In fact, I’ve had interesting conversations with lots of folks (my jaws hurt)
Was told that I could very well be the next Dean of a university here-check
Was told that I have a very strong resume-check, check…..
Was told that my resume is too strong-yep, check
Was told that people may very well be so intimidated by my credentials that ‘they’d’ never let me in because of the fear that I would take their job. (seriously, people. I just want to work-at some point)
Was told to talk to XX and YY before talking to ZZ. “it’s all about politics here” and you don’t want to get people angry by going around them
Was told that Southerners are distrustful of Northerners and that ‘they’ are probably skeptical that I will not stay so, please play up your Southern roots….check. ok
Was told to ‘hang in there’, ‘remain steadfast’, ‘don’t give up’, ‘it will happen’ , etc. yep. check.
Whew. What is going on here other than some God/karma thing that is actually working to my benefit? Dunno, but I do know that you can only apply for jobs continuously for a while until you start to feel…well, weird. My girlfriend, also a Ph.D. took a side hustle at Pier 1. I might be right behind her.
But alas, when I do get a job, I will be buff and rested and ready for a new adventure with tons of Pier 1 stuff shoved into the corner of my room.