Dr. Jules Hilbert: The thing to determine conclusively is whether you are in a comedy or a tragedy. Have you met anyone who simply might loathe the very core of you?
Harold Crick: I'm an IRS agent. Everyone hates me.
Dr. Jules Hilbert: Well, that sounds like a comedy!
- Film “Stranger than Fiction”
It’s been another summer searching for jobs. I spent the spring through July looking for Social Studies positions. Back in June, I told myself if I didn’t find something in that field soon, I’d begin applying for Instructional Aide positions in Special Education and return to school to obtain a Special Education certification. Something had to give, right?
Well, by the end of July, no calls, no interviews. I applied for 2 Special Education jobs. Within 2 days, I received a call to interview for 1 of ‘em. The call came an hour before I left for Maine to visit my dad on Friday. OF COURSE I could make it. I scheduled it for the following week. My dad agreed to watch my children while I returned home to interview.
That Sunday, we had dinner at Young’s Lobster House in Belfast, Maine. Highly recommended. They steam your lobster. They also make corn (optional). You bring the rest and picnic on the deck overlooking the water. Lovely.
When I went to leave, my car wouldn’t start. I jiggled a few things around and it sprang to life. YaY! Figured it was because I parked on a steep hill. For the next couple of days, my dad did the driving in his car.
You see where this is heading, don’t you?
Late afternoon on Tuesday, I went to start my car to drive back to Cambridge. Same problem. Wouldn’t start. I pulled and prodded and jiggled and cursed. It took longer, but the car again sprang to life. I drove with trepidation. The car started with ease at the gas station.
I drove for four hours, hitting walls of rain and hail in between stretches of sun and clouds. It was raining when I returned home. My husband tried the car. It would only start after jiggling.
He suggested I rent a car for the interview and return to Maine. I agreed. We checked at least 6 places on-line all were out of cars. The exception: Logan Airport. Groan. One more search revealed an Enterprise in North Cambridge. Cars! I booked it.
The next morning, my husband started the car. It turned on 1st try. We both figured it probably would start with trouble here and there, but why take the chance? Something was breaking slowly.
We arrived at the rental place as soon as it opened. They upgraded me from a small car to a cool Dodge Avenger. Things were looking up!
I returned home and prepared for the interview.
I had said interview. I loved the team. I think they loved me.
At the end, one of the heads of the Special Education Department said, “You should be a Social Studies teacher.”
This was clearly a compliment, but did it mean she thought I shouldn’t do the assistant job?
The principal told me he’d contact me the following week.
Driving back to Maine in my Charger, I felt good.
I returned to Cambridge, got my car fixed, and waited.
Suddenly, every question I answered was horrible. And their comments really had dual meanings. I’d bombed the interview. Obviously.
On Thursday, I missed the call from the school. I left a message after school hours.
I received the return call on Friday. Another employee at the school requested a change of jobs and was placed into my potential job. The principal was hoping student numbers would be there for another position. They were impressed with my resume and interview. Was I still interested in a job if he could create one? Could I wait until the following week?
I visited family in New York and waited.
On Friday afternoon, I received the call. They lost 3 students. They thought they were gaining 1 student. If they got that student, I’d be hired. They had a meeting that morning. They didn’t get the student.
I had braced myself all that time, but it didn’t lessen the sensation of my heart sinking into my stomach, along with all my hopes.
I applied for 4 jobs that afternoon.
The following Monday, I applied for several more, all of them Instructional Assistant jobs. I worked more on my college application.
I have 2 weeks. 2 weeks to not walk into a school as a substitute teacher.
2 short, desperate weeks.
“This may sound like gibberish, but I think I'm in a tragedy.”
- Harold Crick, film “Stranger than Fiction”