Parallels

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!

2 Comments

  1. You really are holding it all with both hands and honesty. It isn’t easy for anyone to do. You are doing really well, and seem to know when you are hitting false thinking which is impressive. You will hear when you hear is all I can say. Beyond that, teaching jobs CAN open at any time for huge variations of reasons. If we all need to keep holding good wishes and hopes for you on this subject we simply will. Baby dust and job dust have much in common … and unpredictability is certainly part of the commonality.
    Hang in. The school year will end for you. You will leave your classroom. Summer and adventures will find you all. Reality is always different from dreams but dreaming is important anyway. Stay centered you are doing it all.

  2. I think you’re being too hard on yourself, the job waiting game sucks for everyone. It’s not a personal failing that you’re anxious about it. It truly does suck. I especislly hate when people don’t deliver on promises that you’ll hear by a certain day. Hang in there!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *