Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Saga Continues

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.

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.

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.

1 student.

No job.

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”


  1. Oh man, Theresa, I can see that your post is aptly titled The Saga Continues. Well, at least the lobster was good.

  2. love that film. will ferrel's best

    best of luck landing the right position

  3. You have a lot more patience than I do, especially when it comes to driving. I wish they'd offered auto shop or something like that in high school, because then I definitely would have taken it. I don't even know how to change a tire.
    I'm sorry that the job search has been stressful for you. I hope that you find something good soon. They should really let you know sooner rather than later, so that you don't have to keep waiting.

  4. Oh wow, you really have been on a character building adventure this summer! Hopefully something you really want will turn up soon. I'm rooting for you!

  5. Oh Theresa! I am so sorry. One student? You know - you couldn't make this up even if you tried. Good grief. After all that...

    Hang on in there, Ms Milstein!! This is like publishing - the hardiest, most persistent, most doggedly determined and focused ones always, always get results.

    But of course it's all so very very maddening and heartbreaking too. I'm so sorry and am shaking both my fists and other limbs at the gods who are playing with your life! Boooo to them!! :-(

    I hope you get a break soon!

    Take care

  6. Ah, so that's the whole story. I'm sorry.

    Things could turn around justlikethat. I've got a story for you, and it's true.

    I ran into a teacher last school year. She had transferred schools. When I asked her about it, she said that she put in for it at the beginning of summer, but by the time it was time for the teachers to start, she was still at the old school.

    Then, with the school year just about to start, the transfer came through. She left everything at the old school (she had already started setting up her room) and took the new job.

    Her old job? They hired someone at the very last minute (I met him too when I subbed for him).

    Something unexpected may happen. A job could just fall into your lap. I'm sending you positive thoughts.

  7. Great post and references to the movie. I hope your search finds something fruitful soon. School's have started down here, and, although I am employed now, I still get calls for substitute positions.

    I miss the students.

  8. I am sending you positive thoughts. It is very possible that something might come up. My very first teaching job, I was in your same situation, thinking that I would never get a teaching job, one week before school started, I had an interview. I was called two days later to tell me that I had the job! There is hope!

  9. This sucks. But you are clearly an amazing find because they are stumbling over trying to give you a chance to work. Our economy sucks, our government is failing, it's just b.s. that a qualified, super intelligent woman like you is being screwed over by the system. Have you applied for unemployment? While I was unemployed for a year, my weekly checks saved me. Trust me...there is no shame in unemployment.

  10. Wow, what an ordeal! Both the interviews and the car. But I agree with ichael, you must look great to them if they tried that hard to make a job just for you! Good luck with finding a position you can enjoy that will leave you writing time. Because . . . all of this can work into a book some day. No experience is ever wasted for a writer. :-)

  11. Oh, man. Your luck has to improve soon. Seriously.

  12. Good luck to you, Theresa. The job market is just awful.
    I know you are such a caring teacher. Any school would be lucky to have you.

  13. Wow, Theresa. That whole situation just seriously set you up for a nasty fall. After all the trouble you had getting there for the interview, I was sure this was going to end happily. I'm sorry.

    This is a lousy time to be a teacher. :(

  14. @ Karen, yes, I did have the lobster. I also saw a different way that specialists can be organized to help students.

    @ j.littlejohn, I love that movie too. Thanks.

    @ Neurotic Workaholic, I've learned how to change a tire, but I'm not strong enough to budge the bolts.

    I wish I didn't have to wait to hear a NO, but at least the principal was really pulling for me. That meant a lot.

    We're both in these lovely times of transition.

    @ Karen, 'character building' sounds much better than 'tragic'. Thanks for rooting for me.

    @ Old Kitty, thanks for the smile. "doggedly determined' is my new favorite alliteration. And thank you for shaking your fist on my behalf.

    @ LIz, thanks for sharing that story. I'm nearly in the 11th hour, so we'll see...

    Actually, I keep hoping the principal will call back after a flood of new students pound on the school's door.

    @ Miranda, I remember your story. You had to leave education. I keep hoping I don't have to make that choice. Maybe this expensive Special Ed certification will be the golden ticket.

    @ Choices, thanks for sharing your story of hope. I can use all the stories I can get.

    @ Michael, I love your rant on my behalf. Thank you.

    When I was an instructional aide, I was let go each June and rehired at some point each summer. It was all pretend. Here and there, I collected a few unemployment checks. Now that I sub, they don't fire me, so I don't think I can. I'd have to quit working.

    @ Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina, once the car thing happened, I worried something would go wrong with the job. When I go through this much trouble, somehow the blow is worse. I had a worse saga over an interview back in June.

    "No experience is ever wasted for a writer." Agreed! And I will appreciate any full-time job I can get in education at this point. I'll treasure it.

    @ Carol, I hope so. I keep saying, "I have my health. I have my family. My husband has a job." Because I am lucky in other aspects of my life.

  15. One stinking student! Unbelievable. But it must feel good...yet frustrating...to know they liked you so much they wanted to create that position for you. And they'll have you in mind when something does open. And...and...you don't want to have to change the name of your blog do you?

  16. that's one of my favorite movies. poor Harold didn't know his life would turn out to be a comedic almost- tragedy. i hope yours gets better soon.

  17. Hi Theresa,

    Good luck to you and lot of positive thoughts and vibes toward to you!

  18. Gah. The job search is getting worse and worse. My mother recently lost an opportunity at a job because she was deemed too old for the position.

    I wish you the best of luck with your job search. I really, really hope that you find something you enjoy and love. You deserve it. You really do.

  19. So sorry that you didn't get the job. Who would have ever thought it would be hard to get a teaching job with all the talk awhile ago about how we need to improve our kids education. And we still do.

    I'm sending you lots of positive thoughts for something good that you want to happen.

  20. Hi Theresa, I wish I could say something to lift your spirit up. So sorry about that job. I'm speechless. Can't find the words. There are absolutely no words to make you feel better. I wish you the best...that something will come up. I wish you get a job that you really really like in two weeks' time. I can't believe you didn't get the job because they didn't get 1 more student. That's unbelievable.

  21. Aww, no need to talk to me about job hunting. STRESSFUL.

    Um, but I'm kind of hung up on lobster now. I'll have to see if the Redondo Beach lobster fest is coming up soon...

  22. Ugh. And you seem like the perfect person to teach children because you have the ability to write WELL (this often translates to speaking ability). Wish you were near me because we need a few teachers/aides.

  23. I can't believe that after all you went through with your car and how much the interview team loved you and wanted to create a position for you, you got turned down because of being one student short. This is worse than a query letter rejection by far. Oh, how I hope you hear some good news soon.

  24. Your stomach must be in a state with all the flipping and flopping. Dunno if you believe in prayer, but I hope you won't be offended if I send up some for you

  25. I am pulling for you Theresa. That can't be easy, and having been in that position before, I can remember dreading to have to at anything related to online newspapers after scouring the want ads daily for months.

  26. Sorry about the disappointment. I'll be pulling for you, too. You are a great teacher, something will happen.

  27. I"m so sorry for the disappointments. I hope you find a job in the next two weeks. Good luck!

  28. saga is right. i will pray for you. knowing your perfect situation hasnt been created yet doesnt make the waiting and frustration any easier, does it?

    i tell myself subbing is fine, but secretly i wish i had my own classroom again. i take what i can get and i hope you get the job thats meant for you SOON!

  29. Oh,no! I'm so sorry. I'll be praying that you get good news soon!

    BTW, Stranger Than Fiction is my favorite movie.

  30. OMG, 1 child and no job? Sucks just does not say it.

    Gibberish no, understanding yes! Don't ask me how I know but I know you are going to come out WAY on top. I can feel it.

    In the meantime gibber all you want we all are or at least I am, routing for you. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  31. Oh Theresa...

    My heart sank as I read through this. I was so hoping you'd get that post - I'm so sorry it didn't work out. I have everything crossed that something works out for you.

  32. I'm so sorry. I know how badly you want to teach. On the bright side, they did say you were brilliant and they would hire you, alas for one more student. (Reminds of the fab job I interviewed for back in 2008. My absolute dream job, the one I've been working toward all my life. They tried their best, but the economy crashed and they just couldn't give me the position. Sucked.)

    I know something will come up for you very very soon. Never give up, never surrender.

  33. Maine lobster. Sigh.

    I'm looking for more work too at the moment. So I can kind of feel your pain. Hang in there! ;)

  34. ughhhhhhh!!! I know that desperate feeling of wanting something to go your way so badly that it almost physically hurts! ((hugs)) fingers crossed for you!!!

  35. I'm so sorry you're going through all this! The economy stinks! I heard of yet another friend this week who's watching mass firings where she works.

    We're all pulling for you! At least know you're not alone.

  36. @ Kelly, thank you for the kind words. It means a lot to me.

    @ Dianne, it makes it that much worse the harder I try. Thanks for the comment.

    @ Nicki, I'll keep the name of the blog. I think I have to. I know someone who changed hers and she lost all of her comments. My husband said I can't change the name of the blog because people are used to it. Besides, I'm more than ready for another job with or without this blog name!

    @ Michelle, I love that movie too. So clever!

    @ Nas, thanks. I'll take those positive thoughts and vibes!

    @ Marlena, I worry my age might be getting in my way too. I'm not just out of college and cheap anymore.

    Thank you for the nice comment.

    @ Natalie, literacy is deemed important too, yet libraries are cutting hours and closing locations. Thank you for the positive thoughts.

    @ Len, I appreciate your feelings. I have no words for it either. All I can do is keep trying. And hoping.

  37. Anyone who doesn't hire you is totally missing out and it's their loss! Hang in there! Someone's got to have enough sense to give you a job!!!

  38. @ Sophia, job hunting is stressful. It was a nice break from it when I had the extended term sub job for six months.

    @ Alleged Author, I wish I lived in area that needs teachers. I looked a little more north, in case we were willing to move and there were even less jobs.

    @ Michelle, Thanks for commiserating. I wrote this yesterday when I was at an all time low. Writing it made me feel much better.

    @ J.L., yes, my stomach is often in knots these days. Thanks for offering to pray for me.

    @ Slamdunk, I job search a few times a week. I'm sick of it!

    @ JEFritz, thank you for the comment. I appreciate it.

    @ Ciara, I hope I do too. I know you just had your own job changes.

    @ Tara, when I sub, I often feel like a babysitter, even if it's a good day. It's not teaching, is it?

    @ Connie, thank you. I bet most writers appreciate this movie.

    @ Jules, thanks. I appreciate your nice words. I know you've had your own job woes.

    @ Talli, no happy ending, so far. It would've been a nice ending at the end of a crazy post. Instead, just crazy.

    @ Anne, thanks for sharing your story. Yes, it was nice to know I was wanted. It was a good boost.

    Hope you get your dream job in the future.

    @ LR, I want more Maine lobster already. My dad, on the other hand, prefers fish. Crazy, right?

    Good luck with your job search.

    @ Christina, thank you. You said it exactly.

    @ Mary Anne, your poor friend. Yes, the economy is hurting a lot of people. My cousin can't find a Social Studies job either. She may move to where the jobs are more plentiful.

    @ Susanna, thanks for having confidence in me.

  39. It's their loss! But I feel for you, girlfriend. I am so sorry, but I know that I know this tragedy will pass.

    You have way too much to offer. These people have to realize that soon. Shall I phone them and mention your future famous author status?

    (((Hugs))) Email me with their number. *wink*

  40. Hi Theresa .. I'm so sorry - looking for jobs is so tricky and you're doing everything you can .. I'm sure something will come up - I'm thinking of you .. with many thoughts .. but the lobster does sound good .. and I hope the car is sorted .. another stressful thing ..

    Relax, breathe and these will be stories to be told in the future .. looking forward to reading those .. Hilary

  41. Oh, Theresa, my heart sank as I read the post. I can't imagine what you're going through. How horrible! Well, I hope the reason you're not getting these jobs is because the perfect job is coming up and you need to be able to accept it. Keep your hopes up!

  42. Thinking good thoughts for you and sending positive energy your way. Don't pour doubt and misery any coffee. Keep doing what you're doing and don't close yourself off to any opportunities, even if it's not something you immediately want to do. Fate has a funny way of working things out.

    Hang in there!


  43. I wanted to stop by and say hi since we're in the same YA group for the Campaign. And I'll send good thoughts your way--best of luck finding a good job!

  44. Where is that one student? I am going to grab him/her by the scruff of the neck and drag him/her into the classroom!

  45. Stopping by from write campaign to send some positive writing and job vibes your way-best of luck!

  46. Hi Theresa,

    Stopping by as a fellow campaigner and just want to say that what seems like bad news today might just work out even better in the end. Like Kate, I'm sending good vibes your way and hoping something better is just down the way for you! :-)

    Have a great weekend!

  47. @ Robyn, you make me laugh. My odds of getting published are even slimmer than getting a job. Since this job thing is going so well....

    On the upside, I have interview for another assistant job on Monday. It would be a challenging job. But I'll worry about that if I get it!

    @ Hilary, I appreciate your kind words. Yes, the car is fixed and fine. Between the rental and repair, we had to spend some $, but that's what happens with cars sometimes.

    I have another interview Monday. Let's hope.

    @ Clarissa, that's a nice way to look at it. I registered for a class yesterday and have an interview Monday. Hope that helps change my fate.

    @ Shannon, thank you. I'm trying not to close myself off. That's why I'm willing to do apply for full-time assistant jobs now. It would be steady income and less pressure than teaching while I'm back in school.

    @ Jess, hi campaigner!

    Thanks for the good thoughts. I appreciate it.

    @ Missed Periods, that's exactly what I wanted to do! I appreciate your willingness to use force.

    @ Kate, thank you for the positive vibes. I can especially use them on Monday for a job interview.

    @ Jennifer, hi campaigner! I hope this bad news turns into good news. I have just over a week before having to sub again. Thanks for the good vibes.

    You have a great weekend too.

  48. I hope yesterday's interview went well! Keep us up on what's going on!

  49. @ Mary Anne, thank you for checking in. It did go well, but I won't know anything before tomorrow. And tomorrow I have another interview for an assistant position.

  50. I certainly feel for you. Your situation can be so discouraging. Keep at it--I'm sure persistance will win.
    My life? Comedy--even in the more tragic times. Laughter is good for us and I'd rather be laughing.

    Tossing It Out

  51. @ Arlee, thank you. I'm on pins and needles after some last minute interview this week.