It’s Complicated

Can I tell you how much I don’t want to be applying for this job right now? It really complicates things.

First off, this application requires a few things my past applications have not. Luckily I have copies of all my transcripts to scan, but I’m not sure when last year’s assistant principal will get around to sending me a finalized copy of the third letter of reference that I need. I wrote a draft of a letter Friday night, in the hopes that she could edit and return it by Tuesday. We’ll see. I still haven’t heard from her.

I also spent an hour on Saturday getting pricked for a TB test that will be read on Monday (yay for random urgent care clinics in my neighborhood!). I have an up-to-date TB screening at work, but I don’t want to ask for it because it will look suspicious (and also will probably take them a week to get it to me).

Acquiring and putting together all of this stuff is not easy, especially when I still have to make a review and test for my 6th graders, grade a ton of papers, AND pack my classroom.

As for packing my classroom, I would be doing a totally different job if I knew for sure I wouldn’t be returning next year. Since I’m not sure how this will play out, I’m keeping my own personal resources separated from the school’s resources. I don’t know if I’ll have to repack my own stuff into my own boxes once I know I’ll need to take them with me. That would suck, but I would understand. If I do get the job, I’m hoping they will let me return the boxes at the beginning of the school year, as my old high school (where I am applying) is literally RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from my current school–we hear their bells ringing, and announcements blaring, all day long–so it wouldn’t be hard to return them.

This job is also not as exciting as the one I interviewed for before. The Spanish program at my old high school does not have a stellar reputation. In the past they have been very strict about how, and from what, teachers were allowed to teach. I might be stuck with a textbook if I get the job, and that would not be good. (This was 12 years ago, so it’s possible the department has changed.)

They also don’t have block schedule days, which I was really looking forward to. The other high school district has two block days a week, and our school will be having them next year. I was really looking forward to teaching with block days, and it’s a bummer that opportunity would disappear.

There are some pros to this job. Their pay schedule is higher than ours (but lower than the other high school district I applied to – though they are about to get a raise). They take 10 years of experience, instead of five, which is awesome. Also, they start at 9am, which means I wouldn’t have to negotiate when my prep falls. That is very good news.

I feel like I have to apply, because I have a bit of an “in” there. My leadership teacher remembers me and really wants me to get the job. He promised to put in a good word for me and I plan to visit him Wednesday, when he’ll hopefully introduce me to the instructional vice-principal. At that point I hope to have my application submitted. (They had a minimum day on Friday so I couldn’t visit him then.)

So it’s not necessarily a job I actually want (specifically), and the timing could not be more stressful, but it’s an opportunity to get my foot in the door at a high school that I can’t pass up. Also, the only reason I know about it is because a colleague’s wife works in the district and mentioned the opening to him, and he remembered I was looking around so he passed the news along to me. I haven’t even been checking the job site anymore because posting this late are rare. I’m definitely a sucker for that whole, “maybe it’s fate,” feeling, even though I don’t really believe in fate. I guess I’m more superstitious than I like to admit.

So yeah, this is inserting a whole lot of stress and uncertainty into an already stressful and uncertain time. I also don’t know how well I will weather more rejection. What if, despite my connections, I don’t even get an interview? What if I get the interview but they don’t ultimately hire me? I feel like it will hurt even more when I have to face my leadership teacher with the news that I didn’t get the job.

The last rejection was really hard for me. I was so unimpressed with my performance during the interview; it took weeks for me to stop berating myself for how horribly I did. These feelings were compounded by discovering that a friend had another friend put in a good word for me, which is probably why I got the interview in the first place. To know that I did a shitty job when someone else’s reputation was on the line was more than I could bare. (And to realize I most certainly wouldn’t have gotten the interview without that recommendation had me spiraling back into feelings of general unworthiness).

The other shitty aspect of this situation is that I was starting to feel pretty positive about next year. Yes, not having a classroom is going to suck, and commuting between schools with so little travel time is very stressful, but I really like the classes I have next year. I find myself disparaging my current job to boost my enthusiasm enough to apply, which I absolutely cannot do since I need to feel good about next year if I am ultimately rejected.

Man, I was so ignorant about job searching; I had no idea how much time and self-confidence it required. I didn’t realize that every failure to get an interview would feel like a rejection of me professionally. I didn’t realize that I would worry about asking others to put in a good word for me, for fear of my own failure reflecting poorly on them. The whole process is a total mindfuck. I really, really dislike it.

I do appreciate that I am in a relatively good place about next year. That will soften the probable blow, which I’m assuming will eventually come. The truth is I don’t expect to be offered the job, but feel I can’t ignore the opportunity–I suppose I’m more weary of regret than rejection. I guess that’s a good thing; I’m still standing on the right side of resignation. I don’t know for how many years that will be the case.


  1. That sounds really stressful, but it also sounds like you know that applying for this job is the right decision for you. So, good for you for making it work. Thankfully it’ll be over soon!
    I’m not trying to tell you what actually happened in the interview, cause I wasn’t there, but it really really sounds like you’re overly harsh on yourself. Not getting that job does not mean that you did poorly in the interview.
    When I’ve been in a situation where I have beaten myself for failing, doing a bad job etc. I’ve gotten some comfort from the thought (from a psychotherapist friend) that “I could not have done any better at that time”. Simple, but not really, because accepting this thought means accepting that I’m not as good as I thought I should be. For me (and this may be completely wrong about you), intense feelings of failure and “should have done better” seem to be rooted in a deep belief that I should be really, really competent/perfect to be loved and accepted. The mere idea that I actually *couldn’t* have done better, that I actually was not that competent, was really scary. But accepting it is…sobering. I’m not perfect. I’m not as good as I think I should be. This has very slowly led to the idea that I don’t need to be.
    Sorry, I have rambled here about my own issues again. It’s just that…your thoughts resonated with me.

  2. Job hunting is stressful for all the reasons you stated. It’s hard not to embody the rejection and failed applications, especially when you know others are rooting for you (been there, done it again and again). What helped me was taking out the choice. I knew my position as a postdoc was temporary and I had to transition. Even with my current position, there’s an attitude of training, so networking and getting myself out there is still the norm, even though it uncomfortable.

    Finally, I do want to counter that you have failed at the last interview. You don’t know how you did unless you got direct feedback (as an aside, I would contact them to ask for that feedback as it will allow you to identify the areas you need improvement on). It’s very likely you gave an excellent interview, but the other person was either already selected or just had more of a connection with those hiring. This doesn’t say anything directly about you.

    Good luck with getting yourself out there while finishing the year.

    1. I agree 100%. I think you likely performed just great, and maybe just weren’t the fit they were looking for or, like Cristy says, they easily may have had someone pegged for the position already. My husband’s company does that a lot, which is aggravating.

  3. Oh my goodness it IS complicated, and so stressful sounding. Wishing you lots of luck/peace/strength for the next few weeks. It seems that you are quite sure in your decision that applying for the job is the right step—maybe you’ve determined your “path” to be a new job, and you can focus your energy there.

  4. And yes, I agree with Cristy that the fact that your weren’t hired doesn’t necessarily mean that you were terrible in the interview! Obviously you can see the faulty logic there, your brain is fooling you into self-doubt.

  5. Job hunting is like dating. Lots of frogs that are princes for other people.
    Having worked lots of years on the hiring side of interviewing I know it is lots of things that add up to a hire or not hire decision … and much is not about a specific interviewee. One job’s prince is another job’s frog.
    Hang in and keep practicing and looking. Really impressed with all that is on your plate that you are managing this in addition. It will happen as it happens and you will soon be on a plane and off to a different adventure.
    Very good wishes, thinking of you all the time and sending good wishes for your happiness.

  6. Whether you are offered the job or not depends on two things, how well you do in the interview AND who else walks through the door to be interviewed too. All it takes is ONE person to be a better fit/ more qualified / more previous experience than you and that is it. Nothing to beat yourself up about. You know nothing about the other candidates so it is totally just luck who you are competing with………you win some you loose some. You have some control over how you do in the interview absolutely none over who else applies ……doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or that you did a ‘poor’ interview just that one person fitted better. Your time will come.

  7. I agree with the other comments. While we weren’t there in the room, it’s likely something other than that you interviewed poorly. In my experience working for public agencies (although not in the teaching system) there have been times when I thought I did just terrible in the interview and I ended up getting a job offer and then other times where My resume, background, skills etc. were a perfect match and I either didn’t even get picked for interview or interviewed fine and never heard from them again. Usually in those situations they’ve got someone in house who’s applying who’s pretty much got a lock but they have to post the job outside.

    That said, I absolutely loathe the job search process, all of it, so I sympathize with you and I hope that you soon find a new position that you really love.

  8. I would agree with the previous commenters that it wasn’t necessarily your interview that made the difference in getting/not getting the job. Lots of places need to interview a bunch of people even if they have someone already pegged for the job. Use the interview to help you prepare for the next interview. If you haven’t interviewed in a while, then you could be rusty. Chalk it up to a good learning experience and move on. (Agree that you should contact them and ask how you could have made your application/interview stronger).

    If you don’t have confidence in yourself for this next interview, then you need to fake it. How can you argue that you are the right person for the job if you don’t think that you are?

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