Clue-by-Four: Ramblings of a Jock Dork

Being Badass and Other Traits of a Man of Action

Posted in Clue x Fours and Other Tools of Sanity, Jock Dork: It's Who I Am by Wingnut on August 5, 2010

It seems like weekly I’m leaving at least one interview feeling really good about my presentation and, weekly, I’m being hit in the mouth by multiple rejections. Yesterday was the latest in this push/pull existence, with two great interviews and three rejections [only one of which called me for an interview].

This post is not about complaining and trying to garner sympathy [though I will never complain when I get it]. It is about being a man of action1.

Yesterday, I interviewed for a position that had over 220 applications for a location in the barrio. I received another e-mail letting me know my application was being reviewed as part of over 200 for a high school position. A friend of mine told me that over 400 people applied for one position at her school.

Yeah, I’m…

With all of these laid off teachers, it’s a shark tank out there and the water has been chummed by politicians and beauracrats. Each open position is a drop of blood in the water and, if you’ve seen Shark Week, you know how that ends.

Being a man of action, I have tried to find ways to rise about the fray. Currently, I pass around my iPhone [No, not because they are wielding a droid and am an Apple snob]. I have two PowerPoint portfolios of student work uploaded to my phone.

Yesterday’s interviews included specific questions about a project displayed. The same student project piqued their interest. Obviously, it is proving an effective technique for displaying the best of what I have to offer. 2 It also proves I’m badass.

Yeah, you heard me. I’m badass3. Don’t believe me? Consider this: I may be the only one doing this. During or after at least five interviews in the past few weeks, panel members have commented that my presentation is a great idea and I am the first candidate ever to use this method of presentation [One of the APs yesterday even said I win brownie points for it].

See how badass I am? It seems so obvious to use Smartphones for portfolios. I’m shocked to hear I’m the only one, but I love being an innovator. [I’m considering purchasing an iPad for this very reason. Next level people?]

Back to the Task at Hand

I’ve been at this a couple months and, as you can read here, I am thoroughly exhausted by the process and feel for those who have been unemployed for far longer than I have. I’m not here to talk about that because I am a man of action. I have already begun formulating a plan ‘B’.

In many places, school is two to four weeks away. I still have some time. But, I don’t believe in waiting until the last moment. Men of action anticipate the future and plan for it.

Plan B for ClueXFour the English teacher involves the following:

  • Keep looking everyday [There will be jobs that come up even after the school year starts. To win, I must be diligent and steadfast in my pursuit]
  • Look for substitute openings in a desired target area [Since I’m already a sub in my former district, I am free to target those districts that I might like to work for in the future. It is all about getting a foot in the door and face recognition].
  • Figure out which CSET I can pass in the next 6-10 months and work on passing it. Be it science, math, social science, PE. Adding more authorizations to my credential opens up which jobs I can apply for next year. I am a quick study and an amazing test taker [In other words, let me see what I can BS my way through].
  • MASTER’S DEGREE. I have yet to decide whether it will be in English or Education. Either way, it will suspend student loan payments for a while and will make me even more qualified for next summer’s job hunt. It will also show that I’m not just sitting around moping about losing my full-time position.
  • Look for professional development opportunities: If there are conferences and seminars I can sign up for on the cheap, I will be sure to attend so that I will be even more prepared to meet the education challenges of tomorrow, or at least BS about them. It will also demonstrate my serious to not just mope jobless.
  • Even if I do get a job, consider any of the previous three options anyway, just in case.4
  • Focus on getting rid of some monthly bills so that I have even more freedom, financially, during the next round of job interviews.

This plan is still in the beginning stages of implementation. I am hopeful that today works out…or tomorrow works out. There is the possibility that my old district may call me back once Congress gets this bill passed to rehire teachers, firefighters and police officers. However, my district has made many poor choices and there is no telling on how they will try to spend the money.

At the moment, that is the future. Today, I’ll take some advice a long-time friend always has for times like them:

Get piss drunk and get laid!56

SIDENOTES:

  • A friend informed me that the minimum GPA for community college transfer students who hope to go to Cal State Fullerton has been raised to 3.7. Yes, you read that right. So much for equal access to education. When a CSU is using such high GPA’s as a screening method, a lot of students will be left out.
  • With Congress set to try to pass the emergency jobs bill next week, it will be interesting to see how districts choose to spend that money on recalling staff. In my experience, politics often get in the way of doing the right thing.
  • I can predict the future. Don’t believe me. I’m about to make a prediction for August/September:
    • Assuming the jobs bill passes, I’m willing to bet a number of teachers who have been hired this summer will scramble back to the security of “tenure” at their old districts. I am predicting at least one district that interviewed me will lose their new hire the moment their previous district recalls them. I’m willing to bet, though there will be no way to prove it, that at least one administrator will think “Why didn’t we hire that guy with the iPhone.”

Footnotes:

  1. C’mon! You know you want to be one too!
  2. No, it doesn’t mean they will hire me. It just means I’m finding ways to display the best of what I have to offer.
  3. Just face it, I rock. You can rock like me too…action people!
  4. Yes, I’m insane. I know.
  5. Any volunteers to help? For the second part…I can handle getting piss drunk on my own thank you.
  6. What? Did you think being a man of action was always about being responsible?
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ClueXMIA: The Job Hunt and Emotional Exhaustion

Posted in Jock Dork: It's Who I Am by Wingnut on August 3, 2010
[Disclaimer: This post is helping me release some frustration. It will not be edited and probably contains tons of errors because, when it comes to freewriting, I often don’t pay attention to exactly what I’m typing]

I don’t understand how some people have been at this whole unemployed thing for prolonged periods of time without losing their mind [Actually, as I understand it, many people have].

When I went through this last year, I had a reasonable belief that I was going to still have a job at my current school in September. This year, I know that there is no job available. The emotions are very different and it has clouded many of my decisions over the past couple months on issues such as dating.

I know the current economy has created this situation for a lot of people, but there is something about the whole thing that just feels emasculating. I know there is less of a stigma today, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when you are actually saying, “I’m unemployed right now.”

Funny thing, a number of years ago, I wouldn’t have cared much about uttering that phrase. I was perfectly insulated in my self-impossed joblessness [largely due to depression]. This is different. I have worked very hard to become a dedicated/talented educator. I have done much to become the man I want to be. [This process contributed to the downfall of Ex-Fiance #1]

Last year, I was on the verge of buying a house [completing the sense of manhood…I understand that it doesn’t necessarily define being a man…it’s how it feels to me people!]. Now, I’m sliding backwards.

I am normally a positive person, but the repeated rejection has been difficult to swallow. After going on about a dozen  interviews and filling a total of 40+ applications, I am feeling drained.

Even when I nail the interview, I’ve been edged out by a slightly more viable candidate.  I sent a “Thank You” note to one principal who wrote back. She explained that I couldn’t have done any better in the interview, but got beat out by a slightly better candidate. She even recommended me to another principal in the district [with which I interviewed Friday] and asked that I consider applying in the future because she would be happy to have me as a staff member.

I don’t know whether I should feel uplifted by that e-mail, or depressed that even best hasn’t been good enough. What I do know, it is a swirl of emotions that I have not experienced in many years and would appreciate going away very soon. It is hard for me to completely articulate everything I feel.

Dating:

  • For the moment, I have called a complete moratorium on dating. I suppose I can still have “fun”, but I have nothing to offer anyone emotionally right now.  I am focused on being the best dad I can be and a good friend, when I can be.
  • I have also had to pull away from viable opportunities because of geographic concerns. My geography is undetermined right now and I have been applying for almost every available position in a 150-mile radius. In my opinion, if I did not take this into account when dating someone, it would be dishonest [I don’t believe in the “worry about it later” approach because then people get hurt]. I’ve had to cut off opportunities before anyone got emotionally attached because it was the right thing to do and the fair thing. I cannot encourage someone to fall in love with me, only for me to move to a distance of 100 miles, especially when they are tethered to geography because of other responsibilities.

Blogging and Twitter:

  • With the exception of the current blog, I haven’t had a whole lot of emotional energy or focus for writing anything. I have a lot of ideas, things I want to talk about, series to finish. I just can’t get up the mental energy to sit down and write.
  • I am finding ways to keep my mind of my current situation, which includes playing a lot of golf, going to the gym, hanging out with my daughters, and playing some video games.
  • Mental time is dedicated to tweaking things about my job hunting process to further gain an edge. For example, I just dropped $50 on two e-books on education that were written about one of the districts I’ll be interviewing at this week. I’m going to read as much of the important parts as I can after my interview tomorrow. If I can figure out what my interviewers are looking for specifically, I can tailor my answers to meet their needs. Basically, I’m cramming [This is what it’s come to]

I am working on shaking this funk. For the moment readers, I ask for your patience with my blog and tweets. I will be periodically MIA for a bit longer while I try to shake this funk and get back to being me.

With any luck, I’ll be employed and back to writing on a regular basis.

But don’t worry, I’ll still be reading and will comment from time to time over the next couple weeks. I may post some poetry or may even go back and post some blogs from when I was a blogger-in-training. 😉

[To those I’ve discussed the collaborative project with, I’m still piecing together my angle. I’ll be in touch tomorrow]