This week has been… difficult for me. It seems that I am not nearly as accepting of uncertainty as I want to be. Not shocking but still disappointing.
It’s not that I’m disappointed in myself, or think I should be able to manage the week after an interview better. It’s more that I’m upset to realize that when I apply for new jobs in the future, I will struggle so much in the days and weeks before I know the final answer. It’s just a shitty way to live life and I wish I could handle it better.
The experience, especially the counting down, transported me back to my TTC days. God, those two-week waits were the fucking worst. I found my thoughts cycling through very familiar patterns of pure, unbridled hope to cautious optimism, to crippling dread, to stomach-churning anxiety, to dark depression and then back again. When I got the email from the other school, detailing why I wasn’t being considered, it was like a cycle when I’d missed the best days to have sex and was sure it wasn’t going to work. When I realized the school hadn’t contacted any of my references (despite talking with me about them for a long time at the end of the interview, and assuring me they’d be contacting them soon) it was a cycle with absolutely no symptoms, no sore breasts, no fatigue, nothing.
And tomorrow my “period is due.” They are supposed to let me know if I got it or not.
Of course they might not. Just like periods can be a day or two late even when you’re not pregnant, I might bite my nails all day for nothing. I hate being out of control.
And there are feelings of self-worth on the line. Is this my last chance to get a job? No. Just like I never had to endure a final attempt at getting pregnant, I know I can always try again. (Of course, I’ll have to wait a year to do that, which does up the stakes a little.) Failing to get pregnant always felt like failing at some basic human process, the result of which all my friends managed without issue. Failing to be offered a job feels like a similar failure that so many friends haven’t had to face. Last year 13 staff members left, five of them to go on to high schools. Why can they do what I can’t? What is wrong with me?
Being thrust back into a week of waiting reminds me how grateful I am to be past the TTC era of my life. I always vaguely remember what a complete basket case I was during that time, but I haven’t felt that kind of batshit crazy in years. Lordy, am I glad I don’t have to play this game every month anymore.
Recognizing the parallels between this experience and TTC, also reminded me of some of the lessons I wish I had learned before trying to start a family. I thought parenthood would make my life perfect, but it has been very challenging for me to adjust to life as a mother. Motherhood was not the panacea I expected, and I have wished many times I could have known that during my struggles. I’m employing the lesson now to remind myself that even if I do get the job, my day to day life won’t necessarily be “better.” Especially not at first. Working at a high school is a goal I have for a lot of reasons, but it will not, in and of itself, make me like teaching more than I do now. It’s a goal that I can still pursue in the future, and in the meantime I can make a lot of choices that improve my quality of life without that change.
Honestly, there are times I think about next year and wonder if I really will be happier at a new job. I get just as anxious assuming I will get the job as I do assuming I won’t.
Mostly I’m worried I won’t get it because it will be another professional rejection, this time from a place where I have some history and even a (albeit weak) connection. There is also this idea that if I don’t get this, I’ll be less likely to get something in the future. Like this rejection will foretell future rejections (this was also how I felt when I was trying to get pregnant, every negative was further proof that it was never going to happen).
Of course, that is not necessarily the case. I have a solid plan to make myself a more compelling candidate next year. Just because I don’t get this job, doesn’t mean I can’t get something in the future.
The reality is, with such a specific position, in such a small area (I think there are only 7 high schools that fall in the area I am able to consider for salary and commute reasons), I may have to be ready to play the long game. I’m only on my second year of applying, and in many ways it was my first, as I only applied to two jobs at the end of last year and neither was really accepting applicants (both ended up being in-district transfers). I need to be patient, and ready to keep improving until I am the teacher high schools want me to be.
Next year I will be okay, not matter what the outcome. And I do know that. I just wish I could tap into whatever fuels my latent anxiety so I can stop feeling nauseous all the time.
Hopefully tomorrow I will no either way, I can move forward with a little more certainty about what next year will look like.
Also, only one more week of school!