On doxing myself

job-huntThe two-year anniversary of my formal resignation from teaching passed without comment a couple of weeks ago.  It took six months of looking before I found the job I have now, and I basically have not stopped looking for work since then, as I’ve never really felt like furniture sales are a viable long-term career for me.  The hours are killing me, in particular; I can count the number of weekends I’ve had with my family in the last two years on one hand, and there are still multiple days a week where I don’t see my son at all in between dropping him off at school in the morning and putting him to bed immediately when I get home at night.  Plus, while I am actually pretty good at my job– I was #61 in the company in overall sales for the year, and this is a company with over 250 stores– the economy is slowly starting to collapse and I really don’t like working for commission.  We get paid on delivery, not on initial sale, and right now a huge percentage of the stuff I’ve sold in the last few months is still backordered to March.

To wit: I made less than minimum wage this week.  I have two Master’s degrees, and I made less than minimum wage for the 42 hours that I was at work this week.  My boss is barely 30 and my two assistant managers are both in their mid-twenties.  I have already been offered chances to move up to management but the simple fact is I honestly don’t want it, because every time I wargame it out it becomes clear that it would actually lead to less money for more hours and more responsibility, and … nah.  I can keep calling the kid who is young enough to be my son “boss” instead.  It’s just not that big of a deal.

I’ve applied for several dozen different jobs in the 19 months or so since I started at my current job.  I’ve had, I think, two interviews.  I did not have a second interview for either position and heard through the grapevine that one of the jobs ended up going to a relative of one of the people who interviewed me, which was fun.  I’m at the point where I’m so deadly tired of writing cover letters that I’m having to scan them carefully for sarcasm before sending them out, and I was so annoyed by a rejection later that I got today that said they’d “evaluated my skills” that I was halfway through a go fuck yourself, you assholes sort of response before I got control of myself.

You didn’t “evaluate my skills,” you fucks.  You glanced at a cover letter and a resume and didn’t immediately see the boxes you wanted checked so you moved on.  If your letter had said that, I wouldn’t be pissed off.  But I wouldn’t have applied for your job if I didn’t have the skills to do it.  I assure you that my skills are fine.

Most of y’all know that “Luther Siler” is a pen name.  I had perfectly good reasons to take some steps to conceal my identity when I started the blog, but while I’m not considering abandoning the name (I’ve written six books as this dude, and have an actual network of real people who only know me by that name) it’s occurred to me that if I really want a different job, this blog and my Twitter following probably legitimately do represent my best networking opportunity for finding one, and I haven’t used it at all because I’ve always wanted to keep Luther’s and “my” lives separate.  I may need to reevaluate this conceit, is what I’m saying here.  Because this furniture selling thing is really getting old, and I don’t seem to be having any luck finding any alternate work as me.


Somewhat related anecdote: we have a Saturday morning meeting every week as a staff, since everyone works on Saturdays, and this week we did this little team building exercise involving our goals and fears.  One of my co-workers noticed that I more or less dropped out of the exercise entirely when the “write about your fears” bit came up, and asked me about it later in the day.

I told him the truth: that damn near all of my legitimate fears right now involve being stuck selling furniture forever, and that I hadn’t really thought that sharing that little detail with the rest of my co-workers was the smartest way to start my day.

What th’ heck just happened there?

HNG04Man, District Four, I just don’t know what to do with you.

I had an in-person interview today; the second round.  The first round was a phone interview that, I thought, did not go very well.  I was, frankly, surprised to hear from the principal yesterday; scroll down and keep reading to see some of the comedy that produced.

Anyway, the interview was today.  I had thought, from my discussion with the principal, that the interview was just going to be with him or, failing that, maybe their assistant principal or something like that.  Ha!  When the AP came and got me out of the office, he let me know that there would be seven other people sitting around the table– himself, the principal, and five of their teachers.  (I’m good with that, mind you– teachers should be involved in the interview process.)

I’ll give you two guesses about what the actual questions were like, and the first one doesn’t count.

Did you say “standardized”?  Good job!  In fact, a number of the questions were exactly the same questions that were asked in the initial screening interview.  I think some of them were different, and there were certainly some that were omitted from the screener, but a lot of them were word-for-word exactly the same.

That said?  I think I did well– certainly better than I did during the initial interview.  The presence of an audience makes all the damn difference; I am so much better when I have actual humans to interact/perform for, even if they’re not supposed to be talking to me.  Again, though, I walked out of the building without feeling like I knew anything about the school or, really, the job itself; there’s a “do you have questions?” phase at the very end, but actually asking anything is kinda weird, y’know?  They’re done with me; I’m not going to spend fifteen minutes interviewing them about a job I haven’t actually been offered yet.

I’ve got two more interviews with other districts next week.  One of them I think may be a non-starter due to salary issues; if I understand their master contract correctly there’s no way I walk in the door with less than a $6000 salary hit, which isn’t going to happen.  The other may be similar but I’m not sure.  Either way, I’ll go in for the interviews, it can’t hurt.

(The weirdest thing?  No building tour.  I have never, never been in an interview in a school that didn’t involve at least a little bit of walking around the school.  I saw the main hallway and the teacher’s lounge and that was it.)

We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

That wasn’t supposed to happen

Had my interview at the other school in my district today.  I know this principal, having worked for him in the past.  I had forgotten what a magnificent salesman he is; the guy had me thinking hey, maybe I want to stay in this district after all after like ten minutes.  There’s a rant in here somewhere about the inequality among our schools; his place has facilities my building simply cannot dream of, which is incredibly frustrating but will be awfully nice anyway once I’m actually there.

Anyway, long story short; if I want to teach fifth grade math and science in his building next year, I’m golden.  On the plus side, for various reasons that I’m not going to go into he can’t actually officially hire me until mid-July, giving me some time to keep looking around at other districts without actually screwing him over.  Then again, if there’s ever been a guy who would accept “Hey, I found something better,” without getting pissy or taking it personal, it’s this guy.  But whatever; I actually prefer having the time before it becomes official.  I’d rather not jerk him around if I don’t have to, y’know?

But, yeah.  An hour of talking and being shown around the building again and he’s got me excited about teaching again all the sudden.  Who knew?

(There will almost certainly be more later.  I’m supposed to be writing, so obviously I’m going to be doing almost anything else.)

Tuesday brain dump

brainAlmost titled this post “Friday brain dump,” which should show you where my head is right now.  I have no idea whether anything in this post is going to be interesting to anyone who isn’t me but I need it out of my brain, so… yeah.  Make yourself enjoy it.

I have… news?  On the job front?  I inquired about a position this afternoon and received a “let’s set up an interview as soon as possible” response within ten minutes, which seems pretty positive.  I know the principal already and got along with him quite well, so it’s entirely possible that in his head this may be done and dusted already, but who knows.

I’m ambivalent about the job itself, though.  I must get out of my building next year; that’s simply not optional.  I would really really like to get out of my district, and a lot of the problems that I have with my current building are going to still going to be problems with the new school.  And at the moment landing a position at this building would not cause me to stop looking in other districts.  Which feels more than a little dishonest to me.  Unfortunately, I’m not certain I actually care.

No word from District Four.  I felt like I didn’t do well on the phone interview, but I also felt like the phone interview was kinda bullshit.  I’ve talked with one other person who has interviewed with them and he felt the same way.  That said, I know they did more than one phone interview and I also know that those interviews have to be shared with multiple other people before second calls go out– and since my interview alone was probably half an hour or forty minutes long, I suspect that I probably ought not to panic about the fact that I haven’t gotten a call back in a week.  It’s a busy time of year, y’know?  And it ain’t like there’s a lot of time pressure there for a job that doesn’t even start until August.  So… we’ll see.  I’ve got several generic “if you end up with openings” types of letters out and at least two applications for specific jobs that I haven’t heard back on.  So, we’ll see what happens.  I’m trying not to stress out about it, as I’ve probably said before; I would be really surprised if I knew anything at all before August.  But, again, we’ll see.

Tomorrow’s field day.  It’ll be inside because it’s supposed to rain for pretty much the entire day.  But still field day.  And then my twelfth and quite possibly toughest year of teaching is finished.

Bring it, goddammit.

Okay that’s enough now thank you

oyster+man_b7dd60_4657736So I’ve been sick since… Friday night?  Saturday morning?  Hell, I can barely even remember anymore.  I’d tell you what was wrong but it doesn’t seem to be able to settle on anything, so take your pick: aches and pains, eye-popping migraine-style headaches, chills, sweats, intestinal/digestive stuff, sore throat, coughing, heart racing, out of breath, but like never more than two or three of those at the same time.  I missed work at my other job Saturday night because it felt like my eyes were trying to leap out of my head and missed this morning just because of generalized suck.  I have no sick days left and may be out tomorrow anyway.  I don’t know what the hell’s going on but for once I’m going to actually make a doctor’s appointment; this shit has gone on long enough.

(My wife thinks, and I think I agree, that it’s entirely stress-related, and that I’ve been having mini panic attacks, thus the occasional out-of-breath moments.  Which means that they’ll probably want to prescribe some sort of anti-anxiety medicine, which will take more time to kick in than there are days left in school.  So… not gonna do that.)

I had a phone interview today.  This should be a “Yay!” moment; I’m not expecting to secure a new job until fairly late in the summer, so even getting a phone call at this early stage is rather surprising.  More surprising?  It was with District Four.  The interview was supposed to be on Friday afternoon initially and ended up getting rescheduled because some sort of hell broke loose at school; it was moved to today at 3:45.  Which meant that I had to do a phone interview sick and in the “out of breath and heart hammering” stage of the illness.  And in the fine tradition of District Four, it was standardized.  The principal asked me several scripted questions involving hypothetical situations with kids who aren’t real, which makes the questions, at least for me, almost entirely unanswerable.  I mean, hell, I said something, but… meh.  The principal even had to inform me that he was unable to clarify or provide additional details on any of the questions, and at least once I could have used some clarification.  Plus the whole thing was recorded and on speakerphone, adding that last little bit of alienation and distance to the conversation.

This is no fucking way to hire people, by the way.  Watch; District Four is going to end up offering me a job after doing nothing right during the hiring process.  I know nothing about this guy or his building; he knows nothing about me.  Blech.

I’ve got another book review coming but I think this is all I can handle today.  Maybe I’ll go to work tomorrow and maybe I won’t; we’ll see.  I’d like my body back to normal now, please.