Sunday, June 19, 2011

Do You Believe In Signs?

If I could pick one motto to describe my life, it would be "everything happens for a reason". 

I've used that motto a thousand times when talking about every aspect of my life - and the life of others.  I believe I've spoken about it here, on this blog, too. I mentioned in a recent post how I believe everything happens for a reason - and sometimes the reason isn't known at first... it takes time for things to come into light and reveal themselves.

Because of my belief in this motto - I often make rash decisions, don't let many opportunities slip by me, and often take chances....because I don't want to regret anything.  If it turns out that something isn't supposed to be - then I accept it and move on... but at least I can say I tried.

That's happened a lot this past week. 

I've mentioned my trying other avenues in finding a job - DHS, working for an early childcare center.

The childcare center thing?  Well, I spent two days writing up a very basic grant proposal - and never heard back from them after submitting it.   That was one of those "I tried, and obviously isn't meant to be" scenarios.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine that I graduated with told me she had found a teaching position at a private Catholic School.  I was happy for her.  I was surprised, because she isn't Catholic - but happy that she'd found a job doing what she wants to do.

Friday morning, she gives me a call.  She was out with one of the teachers she's going to be working with, and found out that there was also a 3rd grade position open at her school.  They were talking about the kind of teacher the principle was looking for....and my name came up.  Her teacher friend told her to call me and have me contact the principle.

At first, I think - urm..well..I'm not Catholic.  Well - neither is she.  Then I think, well..urm..I'm not really that religious at all.  She tells me she's not either.  I then think...well, I could give it a shot... no harm in trying, right?

I call the school.  No answer.  Then a recorded message that says the school is closed for the summer and to leave a message.  I hung up. I tried to call my friend back.  No answer.  UGH!!  I take this as a sign.  Then, I think that's not fair - call back one more time and leave a message at the school. 

I call the school again to leave a message - and this time someone answers.  It's a woman that tells me she had just stopped by the school to gather a few things, and decided to answer the phone.  We get to talking - and she reveals that she is the assistant principle.  She tells me that she's not sure if the position has been filled, but she wanted me to send her my resume - and that she would personally call the principle to speak to him.  She told me that it had to be some kind of sign for her to be there to answer the phone.  I, at that moment, had to agree.

Not even ten minutes later, I get a call from the principle - asking if I can come in for an interview.  He sounded very nice - had a great sense of humor (didn't want to interview on Friday, because he "needed a nap" LOL).  He asked me if I'd be available Saturday morning because he "wanted to get this position filled as soon as possible - so he could enjoy his summer off".  I, of course, agreed.

The interview went very well - at first.  We had a great conversation about the school's curriculum, the beliefs of the school - including not necessarily hiring Catholic teachers in order to get the best education for the students - and the requirements of the job.  He told me about the benefits and gave me a tour of the school.  I have to admit, I was very excited...I really could see myself teaching in the school.

Then...I think I made a big mistake.  I told the principle that even though I wasn't Catholic, I thought it only fair to study Catholicism - so that I knew the foundation and beliefs of the church.  I'm not sure why, but his demeanor changed a little after my professing that I would dedicate some of my time learning about the Catholic faith.  He then explained that it wasn't a case of "knowing how to be a Catholic" that was important - but giving children a good education, while allowing them their religious freedoms in the classroom. 

He spoke of other Catholic schools that he'd taught in where there were Muslim students, Jewish students, Christian students, etc.  It was about community, fellowship, and instilling good religious morals into each of the children.  I had seemed to have missed the point. 

After hearing him speak, my heart sank.  It appeared I had somehow offended him.  It wasn't intentional, of course, and I understood what he was saying.  What I thought to be a good gesture on my part - ended up being, in my mind, the worst thing I could have said.

He told me at the end of the interview that he had to pray about what to do with the decision.  He escorted me out - while we chit chatted.  It was his last statement that resounded inside of me.  "Well, Joanna, wherever you end up just remember that it's impacting the children that's important."

That was it.  The nail in the coffin.  The famous words I have heard many a time in my journey of finding a teaching job.

Unlike previous let downs, I wasn't emotional or distraught.  Disappointed? Yes, a little. 

I am still a firm believer in everything happening for a reason - and signs.  I mistook the signs associated with this opportunity wrong, apparently - but I had to try.

Now, I'm back to living one day at a time - there are a few new openings that have appeared on the public school websites.  I applied - again - now, time to wait - again.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waiting for a Door to Open

Well, it's pretty official.  All of the jobs I've applied for in the public schools are gone - and I didn't get one of them.

Don't panic - I'm OK.  Surprisingly, I'm more OK than I thought I'd be. 

My best friend got an interview at the last school I was waiting to hear from the other day.  I was so upset when she told me, I didn't even congratulate her...and I felt terrible.  I gave myself a little pep talk, told myself it wasn't the end of the world, and then called my BF and apologized profusely.

Now that the doors to the public schools seemed to have remained firmly locked, I've started to consider some different avenues.  I'm considering the possibility of working for DHS as a family service worker... I still get to work with kids, get good pay...something to think about.

Something else I'm working on right now is the possibility of working for a early childhood education center as a development manager.  The development manager is the person responsible for retaining all of the funds to run the place.  It includes grant writing, lobbying, public speaking.... right up my alley, right?

OK, so it's not teaching - but it's working with and for education.

So, I interviewed for the job on Tuesday.  It was a long interview - and very informative.  I got really excited about hearing what the job entails...and it's a lot of work.  A. LOT.  Basically, my responsibility would entail securing 1.5 to 2 million dollars in funds, and rallying the state's capitol to get early childhood education a spotlight.

As a follow up, I've been asked to write a mock grant proposal - so they can get an idea of my writing skills.  Well, immediately I got excited...then nervous.  I've never written a grant before.  I had no idea where to start. 

In my professional career, I've dealt with all kinds of business proposals and legal contracts - but writing a grant?  Nope. Never.

I could of gracefully bowed out and said "thanks, but no thanks".  I mean, why would they give a job to a person that has absolutely no experience in grant writing?  But something inside of me told me to give it a shot.  Yes, I'm shocker there.

I immediately headed for Barnes & Noble after my interview and picked up the one book that I hoped would be able to help me out:  Grant Writing for Dummies.

So, I don't have time to read the whole book - but it did help in giving me the basic tools on where to at least start.  With a few pages read and a few clicks of Internet research, I was on my way to the bare bones structure of a grant proposal. 

I've been working on it, now, since yesterday.  I have no clue if what I'm doing is even on the right track... I've learned that it's very hard to write a grant proposal for a company I really know nothing about to a company I invented about a project that I'd envision possibly being a benefit to both said companies.  It's a daunting task...yet, I still continue on.

I figure, I might as well give it a shot.  I have to admit, when I worked for the nation's biggest retailer - I loved the corporate world.  I was good at my job.  I was good at communicating with people - both in person and via written correspondence.  I was organized, yet always busy.  I like jobs that are demanding, challenging, and time consuming.  I don't know why, but I've always been happiest when I'm extremely busy.

I will admit, though, it is a lot of work just for an interview.  I mean, I've been researching and reading for hours...and only 3 pages in to the grant proposal.  It's going to be very upsetting to do all of this work just to get those magic words "We're Sorry".  Although, I realize that I'm the one that took on this daunting task - knowing full well I have absolutely no experience writing grants... so it will be my own fault if they decide to keep looking for someone else.

Alright, that's enough stalling... back to grant writing I go.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hello Adventure!!

I still feel great. 

Apart from my usual browsing the school websites each morning to see if any new openings are available - I really haven't given much thought to finding a job for the past few days.

I've found a new me.  No, that's not right.  I've found the old me.  The me that's happy, calm, cheerful.  That's who I am - always have been...for the most part.  It feels good.

Now that I'm back to my old self - I want to try some new things.  It's summer break - which means I'm free to do whatever I want..cost dependant.

For some reason, I've really wanted to go camping the past few weeks.  Maybe it's because it was brought up in a discussion with some girl friends.  I've never been camping.  Well, that's not completely true.  I went camping - once - when I was in high school.  I slept in the car, because I was too freaked out to sleep in a tent....Bugs!! Ewww!!

Now, I'm past that.  I want to experience the outdoors in a tent.  Wake up next to a lake or river.  Cook on an open fire.  Sit around a camp fire and talk, share stories, eat S'mores.  I want to hike, and fish, and do outdoorsy stuff like that.

I love going on vacation.  Don't get to very often - haven't had a vacation in a couple of years, now.  Money is always a problem.  Only having one income coming in kind of puts a damper on being able to travel.... but camping?  The costs involved are minimal - and it's still a vacation.

I want to do it alone, first.  Not because I don't want my kids to experience the "great outdoors" - but because I feel it's important for me to know a head of time what I should expect.  Going to a hotel in a new city is no problem.  Going to a camp site in the middle of nowhere?  Yeah, a little more daunting...especially for I want to have tried it first before dragging my kids along.

When I say alone - I don't mean alone, alone.  I mean with some friends.  Yes, I know that a bunch of 20-something people camping will be TOTALLY different to a family going camping... but it's a way for me to experience it, first.

Now, I just need a tent, a place to go, and people to go with me - and I'll be set!!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's a New Day...A New Beginning

I woke up this morning, feeling different.  Different to how I've woken up for the past several months.  I woke up free.... free from stress, free from

Did I find a job?? No.

After writing my post yesterday, I read it over and over.  It was like my mind was sending me a message, I just had to read it.

I really feel like my future is out of my hands now - and I need to embrace it.  I need to take charge of the here and now... not the could be's, the hope to be's...just what I can do at this very moment.

I will say out loud something I've been scared to admit.  I think I was on the verge of depression.  There was a part of me that was so sad, so lost, so frustrated...and it was taking over...consuming my mind, my body, and my life.

It was causing a negative impact on me... and I won't let that happen. 

Today, I'm taking a stand.  No more negativity.  No more worry.  No more stress.  I throw my future to the wind, and hope that someone finds it and gives me a chance.  Until that happens, I am going back to being me.  Fun. Happy. Cheerful.

Goodbye negativity.  Wish I could say it was nice to know you - but it wasn't... Good riddance!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Out of My Hands

I've made in person visits.

I've dropped off resumes.

I've sent emails.

I've made phone calls.

I've in some way reached out to every school in a 1 hour radius of me that has job openings - and now there's really nothing else I can do, but wait.

It's really hard to explain what I'm feeling right now.  It's not sadness.  It's not anger.  Not even frustration.  I guess, it's more on the line of uncertainty or doubt... a mixture of both, maybe?

Four years ago, I walked in to my first college class with one thing on my mind - in four years I'll be a teacher.  You don't think about anything else.  You think about doing your course work, passing tests, and studying -so that you can become the best teacher possible.  You certainly don't think about putting in all that work to realize that you might not get the job you want... or any teaching job for that matter.

Even as little as a year ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I would finish school and find a job - even though at that time, it was common knowledge about how hard it was to find a teaching job.

I've never been the kind of person to doubt myself.  I've always worked hard for what I wanted - and ended up getting it.  Is this some form of punishment for being so confident?  Probably not.  It's more the simple fact that it's very hard to get a teaching job.  Simple as that.

Does it make me feel any better?  No.  But I'm not the only one in this situation.  There are so many people that haven't gotten jobs yet...some have...but not many. 

I've decided that I've done what I can do - for now.  There's no point in dwelling on it any more... if I'm meant to get a job, I'll get one.  If I don't - it won't be from a lack of trying. 

I'm not going to waste my summer away sitting in front of my computer or clutching my phone hoping that a call will come.  I'll keep checking the websites, I'll keep looking for new openings - but other than that, it's time to start letting go and enjoying my time off.

It's been four years since I've had some time off...away from work, or studying, or both.  My kids have missed me - and I've missed them.  It's time to spend some time with them, having some fun, letting go of some stress, and just enjoying the moments.

It's just out of my hands what happens next.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Maybe a Silver Lining?

It's no secret that my last few posts have been anything but happy or cheery.  They've been sitting on the verge of down right depressing.

It's very hard for me to write like that.  On my other blog, I do everything in my power to be cheerful, motivational, and confident.  Then, I come here - and the other half of my personality comes through.  There's a part of me that has doubts - about myself.  There's a part of me that hurts, feels pain....that is usually built up with no where to go.

In real life, not everything can be a bed of roses.  Everyone has problems, everyone has doubts...I just can't believe that there is a person out there that lives in a place of happiness and sunshine 24/7.  I usually live in happiness and sunshine about 95% of the time....I know you wouldn't think so from this blog, but it's true.  For the most part, I am a happy and cheerful person.

One thing I do continue to tell myself - despite the sadness that I sprawl across these pages - is that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes it can take days, months, and even years for the reasons to show through....but they come...eventually.

The time in between is terrible - gut wrenching.  I live with a "WHY?" inside my heart every day...and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, things come in to focus and I get that A-HA!!  The explanation as to why things happened the way they did - and why I wasn't supposed to get something, do something, or receive something.

Not getting too ahead of myself - but, I may have had a glimpse of that yesterday.

Not going in to too many details, I had a visitor from DHS yesterday afternoon.  Yes, while I'm sitting here drowning in my own self-pity, crying hysterically...there's a knock at the door.

To back track a little - my son, Butter, has behavioral problems.  That's putting it mildly - he has EXTREME anger and behavioral issues.  It's so bad that last school year, he was placed in a special school because public school could no longer tolerate his behavior.  Also, when Butter doesn't get his way - he starts getting violent, angry...or down right mean.  One day, a few months ago, he got angry at me because he'd called his sister a nasty name.  I got on to him about it - and he was grounded.

The next day, he went to school - infuriated because his grounding meant he wouldn't be able to attend the baseball game that he was supposed to go to - and told his counselor that he was beaten at home.  As a mandated reporter, myself, I know that even if I think the child is lying - I have to report it...and that's what the counselor did.

OK, so back to my story.  Of all days, the DHS investigator decides to show up on the day that I'm an emotional mess.  Not just that, but the house is an absolute DISASTER!!  There's toys everywhere - and Jelly has decided to make the living room look like a war zone...complete with empty juice boxes, Popsicle wrappers, and a bag of chips that she thought would be easier to eat if they were all dumped on the table.  UGH!!

I had meant to clean up after my little crying session - that I was doing, alone, in my office... but no, DHS guy had to show up in the middle of all of it.

So, I go out on the porch to greet him.  He introduces himself, looks at me and says "Are you OK?"  He can see I've been crying - awesome!!  I tell him the very condensed version of why I'm crying.  I also point out the fact that the house is a mess, and I just can't believe that he shows up that day - of all days.  He laughs, tells me not to worry - he has no intention of going in to the house...he wasn't there to "check things out".

He had come to tell me that he had interviewed and investigated Butter's allegations - and found absolutely no reason to pursue the investigation any further.  He tells me that everyone he's spoken to has told him how much of a handful Butter is - and how well I've done in being a mother, going to college, and raising two girls on top of that.  It was nice to hear some kind words....I know I'm a good mother, but it sure is nice to be reassured every now and then.

We get to chit chatting about my degree, looking for a job, etc.  He asks me if I've ever considered working for DHS as a family service worker.  At first I'm like - urm, no thank you...I know how much people dislike those people.  Then he says "you'll get a chance to work with troubled kids, help them, it's hard work - but so rewarding".  Then a light bulb goes off in my head.  Is this what I should be looking in to? Is this the reason I keep getting doors slammed in my face from schools?  Is my purpose really to be a family service worker and help kids??

It's been on my mind ever since.  I haven't given up the hope that I'm supposed to be a classroom teacher - that's where my heart and passion lie.  I, also, can't deny that a job like a family service worker wouldn't fit my personality or my passion either.  I'm not about to let a "possible reason" moment slip me by - so I went ahead and applied for the job online.

I'm not going to go gung-ho about pursuing it.  If it's meant to be, then I guess I'll get a phone call or an interview or something.  I have to throw it out there and let things take it's natural course.  Who knows what will happen.  Maybe, it's just another way of the universe telling me that there are always other options out there...if the right one isn't available now.

It's something to think about.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Changing My Name to John

Well, I received yet another Dear John letter...not one, but two in one day.  One was for the job I interviewed for last week, the other was for a job I applied for - but didn't even get an interview.

As I'm writing this, tears are flowing from my eyes.  No matter how hard I tried to fight them, they won - they came.

It's crazy - because I had a feeling I wasn't going to get the job...I don't know why I'm so upset about it.

Maybe the tears come from disappointment....maybe it's fear....maybe it's both.  I've never wanted anything more in my life...for four years I worked every waking minute on fulfilling a dream I've had since I was 5.  Now that I am finally able to have the dream - it's quickly becoming a nightmare.

The fear comes from knowing that the past four years didn't come for free - no, I now face having $22,000 in student loans that I have to pay off... but how can I do that with no job?  I know I can find work somewhere else... it's just so frustrating to have spent 4 years working towards something that may not come any time soon.

I want to scream in pain.

I want to yell in frustration.

Instead, I come place of solitude.  The one place I can say exactly what I feel - but in silence.

It's funny.  As I sit here typing this, I'm working on a project for the school I interned for.  The school I spent almost an entire school year working for - for free.  The school that when job openings became available passed me by, found someone else...I wasn't good enough.  Despite that, I volunteered to help with this project - for free - on my own time.

Why?  Because that's just the kind of person I am. I love this field so much that I will volunteer my time to help.  Not because I think it might help in getting me a job, I know that's not going to happen - not there - no, I do it because I want to.

It's so hard to talk to anyone about how I'm feeling.  I put on a brave face - try to hide the disappointment.  Not because they don't care - because that's, also, who I am.  The people I do want to talk to are in the same situation I am in - so they don't want to hear about it...they know exactly how I'm feeling.

My family are being supportive - but, to be honest, I'm kind of sick of it.  I'm tired of hearing "you'll find something" or "it's there loss"... NO IT'S NOT!! It's my loss...they found someone else..I'm the one left sitting here, alone.

They don't understand what I'm going through.  They don't know how much I want this...the pain that comes from the rejection.  To them, it's just a job.  To me - it's my life.  With every Dear John letter I receive, a little of me dies inside. 

I don't understand what I'm doing wrong.  What am I saying that makes them pass over me?  What do I have to do to show them that this is everything to me - more than I've ever wanted....the single most important thing I've ever set my mind on?

I just want the nightmare to end - and the dream to come true.