Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reality Check

I had a big, bad one today, at least in my book. In thinking about the economy, going to a union meeting and listening to them talk about massive budget cuts, and talking to a few colleagues who know their stuff, I realized, quite bluntly, that a position at my current job may well not exist for me next year. [J from work, if you're reading this, please, PLEASE keep this between us and the blogosphere. I know I don't need to ask that, but I do anyway.]

I've always known, somewhere in the back of my mind, that my tenuous situation may not work out the way I wanted it to. I've got other people vying for a position as well, but the fact still remains that we may have nothing to compete for. I can't go on taking others' maternity leaves for the rest of my life, and I can't wait around for others to retire. So, as frustrating as it may be, I may well have to start over at a new job once again. I can't tell you how disheartening this makes me feel, like some sort of glorified placeholder. I also worry because the more years of teaching I have under my belt, the more expensive I am to hire. Now, not all districts care about this, but it may narrow options a tad.

I got home today, assessed my feelings, went through one handkerchief and several tissues, and reassessed. I am very qualified to do what I do. Even in this economy, someone will need a teacher with my background. Circumstances may make it so that I can stay in my current district, though I'll still look elsewhere; it would be pure foolishness not to do so. I can get good recommendations and find something. It will do me no good to wail and gnash my teeth and complain about the unfairness of life. Whoever said life was fair? All I can do is give my 100% and make every single effort to secure myself a probationary (more permanent, with the chance of tenure) position...somewhere.

I still have some growing up to do. I did some of it today. Nobody owes me anything; I know this. Nobody will give me anything: I have to earn it on my own, based on what I do. I have no control over anyone but myself, and if I don't control my own actions, I don't control my destiny. I also have to accept the fact that I'm human and I make mistakes. However, I still need to listen to the inner voice that tells me how best to help myself; that other self-sabotaging voice needs to go on the back burner, the one who tells me to read a few more pages in my book or that I've earned a rest and don't need to grade those papers until "later". No regrets, no cursing myself for not doing what I could have done to help myself. There's no room for it.

So wish me luck. This being a grownup thing is awfully hard, but I think it's worth it.


Strongmama said...

Oh sweetie, I really feel for you and know exactly how you feel. Teaching is not only one of the hardest professions because of what you do every day, but also because of what you have to put up with and worry about all of the time. I anticipate going through the same thing once I am done staying home with kids. I'll basically be starting over again despite all of my experience and my continued efforts to stay current. I can't worry about it right now though because I have made a choice that I know is very important to me. Still, it will be hard.

I've been on the opposite end of the spectrum three times where I have left a job to follow my husband. You wouldn't believe how that turned people into vultures-- even when I hadn't resigned yet! It was downright hurtful; they couldn't wait to get rid of me so they could pounce on my position.

You just have to keep in mind that you have to do what is best for you. If you find a job offering that is permanent and tenure track, take it. Have faith that all of your hard work will pay off because any school would be lucky to have you. And while you may feel loyalties to the job you have now, it's really important that you come first and if something comes up before you expect it to, you'd probably be wise to jump. Because in education, once the budgets get cut, it's every woman for themselves. Sucks, but it's true.

die Frau said...

No, you're right. I just have this problem in that I'm ethical and I won't become a vulture. Maybe I have to? Stupid conscience. :-)