It's funny how much difference one year can make. It's scary just how quickly your view of the future and your status can change.
Exactly one year ago today, I was in Europe. I had saved and saved and saved to pay for the three-week trip that I'd dreamed of for years. I actually had the nerve to think that international travel was something I could start doing on a fairly regular basis once I graduated and started my career.
My prospects are entirely different now. Back in May, I was offered and denied a teaching position that would have provided entrance into my chosen career path.
When the school's department chair emailed me and another candidate to inform us that we'd both gotten the job, he offered two possible teaching assignments: one was in-class instruction and the other was an online course. He then asked us to tell him which one we thought would suit us better. The chair told us that he had each of us in mind for a particular assignment, but was very open to placing us according to preference.
Honestly, as soon as I saw that he'd emailed the offer to both of us, meaning I now had knowledge of the other candidate's private business, I knew the situation wouldn't end well. My family members were happy about the prospect of me teaching again, but I wasn't going to get caught up in the excitement. The chair's correspondence just seemed too unprofessional.
I was right. I responded solely to the chair and told him about my preference for in class instruction. I made certain to be clear that I was thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of the X College community. I also let him know that I was confident that my education and training would make me a wonderful instructor and that I was enthusiastic about teaching his students in an online or in-class format.
He replied to both of us, a week later, that neither of us (the original two candidates) seemed enthusiastic about the online class and that he'd decided to cut me from the part-time group of candidates and offer the job to someone else who was already teaching a "brick and mortar" course. He did let me know that he tried to get the third person to switch his brick and mortar course with me. Surprisingly, in this economy, Mr. Brick and Mortar was willing to take on an online course that he could easily teach at home while sitting in his underwear.
In that email, Mr. Department Chair then went on to tell candidate number two that he looked forward to working with him and that they should schedule a luncheon or get coffee together at some point. Yes, my rejection was not done with a private phone call or even with a form letter, but in an email with a third party. I was angry and shocked at the level of unprofessionalism. Previously when I'd taught part-time at a state university, each semester I received a personal letter detailing my teaching assignment, hours, and rate of pay. Perhaps I was wrong to expect the same treatment at another institution.
This breach of my privacy caused me to take a three month break from job applications. I decided in late May to consider the summer of 2009 a break typical for college students. I didn't even attempt to find part-time work. I figured I wanted to have some type of employment by the first week of September, even if that meant working at a cash register. During the summer months, I also worked on applying for PhD programs for Fall 2010. That long-term goal made things a bit easier and allowed me to really think about what I wanted to write in my college essays.
Eventually, I came up with the three-prong plan I detailed in a previous entry. More on its successes, failures, and the hilarity of it all tomorrow.
Guest blogger Anasa D. Sinegal hopes to find a long-term career in teaching or public affairs. She's blogging tales from the job hunting front lines all week on WorkforceDevelopments.com.