Posts Tagged With: job search

Happy Callie, Checking In

I haven’t checked this blog in two months.  I know, I’m the worst.  I’m like the person that buys a really awesome potted plant, takes care of it, and then forgets to water it for a while.  (Actually, I’m not like that person– I am that person.  Plants are hard.)  But, here I am, dusting off the leaves and ready for sunshine.  And, to my amazement, my blog has stayed kicking without me, getting a steady stream of views through Google and Pinterest.  The roots are still very much alive.

This has been such an insane semester!  I did end up getting a new job; I was promoted to the lead secretary in the counseling department and I was put in charge of the high school’s College & Career Center.  I know, ironic right?  There I was, fresh out of college, ready to help kids figure out what to do with their lives when I’m still not so sure what to do with mine.  However, over the past few months I’ve found a lot of joy in helping kids discover a path in life that will take them where they want to go.  I’ve had to wipe a lot of tears and say, “Yes, the real world is scary, it’s true.  But it’s also awesome.”

Me at my desk. My office is decorated with college pennants, but the Hardin-Simmons one got prime wall space by my diploma.

One of my biggest projects this semester has been helping the seniors find scholarships.  I’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet for scholarship opportunities and talking to local scholarship donors.  I also organized Senior Awards Night, which was a huge ordeal and was probably about as stressful to plan as my wedding was.  Our seniors received $2.5 million in scholarships this year, partly because of my help!  The best thing this job has helped me realize is how much I love helping people.  Even though the job doesn’t pay much, it’s gratifying enough to make it worth it.

This is one of my projects for my students. I researched a bunch of scholarships and put them on slips of paper with the amount, due date, etc. I would remove them after they were due until they were all gone.

In March, I was finally approved to get breast reduction surgery.  This was something I thought about for a long time and I’m so glad I did it.  My chronic back pain is gone, I can exercise more, my clothes fit better, and I feel so much more confident.  The recovery process was difficult, but I feel back to normal now.  I’ve never been the type to condone plastic surgery, but now that I’ve been through it myself I understand a lot better why someone would want to go through that.  My surgery wasn’t for cosmetic reasons as much as it was to get rid of the back pain that often left me in tears after a long day of work.

Ready for surgery, but scared to pieces! I had never had surgery before.

The results have been more than I could ever have hoped for.  I feel 100% better.  I was out from work for nearly two weeks, and that made a stressful semester even more stressful.  However, I don’t regret it one bit.

Before, December 2012

After, June 2013

I spent my recovery surrounded by pandas…

… and a Panda, so I managed to recover just fine.

In other news, spring came and it brought bluebonnets!  God bless Texas.

My parents gave us this great old dresser.  Hopefully sometime this summer I will have a chance to paint it to match our bedroom.  Stay tuned for that!

My hair got super long…

Sam had a Star Wars themed birthday party, complete with a Darth Vader cake (chocolate cake recipe was Revell’s Food Cake) designed by me.

A bunch of friends came in to visit, and that was so great to see everybody and celebrate Sam’s special day.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Renaissance Faire with our friends Autumn and Vincent.

Ian the Korean came to visit!

Also, for the first time ever I got paid for a professional writing assignment!  I’ve been writing for a local magazine called NOW Magazine.  My first article will be published in July or August.  I will definitely post the link for you when it comes out.

Sam officially finished his first year of teaching today!  He cleared out his classroom and turned in his keys this morning.  That means we are moving again sometime this summer.  We don’t know where yet, but we are on the lookout for a Social Studies teaching position somewhere in Texas.  It’s always scary to be so uncertain about the future, but we are searching hard and I have faith something will turn up.  For now, Sam and I are enjoying the adventure.

Now you are all caught up!  I still have work for another three weeks, but after that I’ll be out for the summer and I’ll hopefully have more free time to devote to my little plant.

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Just Call Me “Employed!”

All ready for the interview! Here goes nothing!

So, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog (bless you), you’ll remember that I’ve been looking for a job for about six months.  You might remember the nightmarish interview I recently had, and the devastating phone call that followed.  I’ve applied for dozens (I mean that quite literally… I think the number might be close to 50) jobs and positions, and nothing has come through.  I finally found a shaky sense of peace about it all, but I kept applying to whatever openings I could find.

I was browsing the websites of local school districts looking for library assistant positions, when I noticed the local high school here in Waxahachie was looking for a “copy clerk” to work mornings part-time.  I applied just in case, and then promptly decided I would never hear back about it.  Lo and behold, a week ago I got a call from the assistant principal trying to set up an interview.  I was supposed to go in on Monday, but the interview got pushed back to today (Friday).

I’ve been so nervous this week!  I really wanted this job.  It was the first strong lead I’ve gotten since we’ve moved here.  The hours aren’t great (only 20 hours a week), but that’s all right.  The commute is less than five minutes; the school is just down the street.  Basically, they needed someone to run the school’s copy center, so I’d be making copies for teachers.  I’m more than qualified for it.  Since the position is at a school, all of the days off and holidays line up with Sam’s perfectly.  It would’ve been such a blessing to be able to have time with him during this very stressful time.

I felt great after the interview, although I started second-guessing myself after an hour or so.  They said they might not get back to me until after Thanksgiving Break, so you can imagine how excited I was when I got a call from the assistant principal a couple of hours after the interview.

I got the job!

I kept my cool on the phone, but the second I hung up I started squealing and jumping up and down, probably disturbing my downstairs neighbors.  I told Rigby and he acted excited (it was probably because I was feeding him a pumpkin seed at the time, his favorite snack).  I called Sam during one of his classes (oops) and he answered because he thought it was an emergency.  I might’ve yelled over the phone, I was so excited.  He said we’re going to celebrate later!

I’m so thankful for this opportunity.  Most of my paychecks will go towards paying back my stack of student loans (goodbye, next ten years), but it will feel fantastic to contribute to our family’s income and not pay back my loans with Sam’s paychecks.  Plus, like I said, it’s nice to be home.

Some couples have a easy first year of marriage with no bumps… But we’re not that couple.  Some say, “I hope all of our years are as wonderful as our first year!”  Psshh, no thanks.  It’s not that Sam and I have fought a lot (or at all, really), but we’ve had a rough year with the rest of the world.  My last semester of college ended in an anxiety breakdown that caused me to quit my job.  Sam’s semester of student teaching last spring was anything but easy.  We spent the summer living with Sam’s parents in their spare bedroom, which was hard after having our own house first.  Then, Sam started his first year of teaching and coaching, working 70-hour workweeks coaching sports he’s not familiar with and teaching a subject his students aren’t at all passionate about.  I looked for a job for months and months.  On top of it all, Sam’s mom had a stroke and is quickly declining in health.  All of this has given us the chance to cling to each other and support each other, but it has been hard.

God knew what he was doing!  Out of all the jobs I applied to, this one will give me the most time at home and with Sam.  No, it won’t give me the most money, but there are more important things for now.  I’m excited to start my new job after Thanksgiving and get back into a routine.  Most of all, I’m excited that God always follows through, even when it’s not on my schedule.

Now it’s time to celebrate!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  :)

I have so much to be thankful for!

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Letdowns and Upsides

This morning, I woke up with a huge headache, the kind that makes it hard to stand up and turn on the light.  However, I rolled out of bed and turned on the light anyway because I didn’t want Sam to be late for work.  Every morning I wake Sam up at 6:30 and get him ready for the day.  Sam is not a morning person, and if it was up to him, I think some days he might go to work in his pajamas or just not go to work at all.  (Just kidding, Sam has very good work ethic.)  I mostly like to get him ready for the day because it allows me a half hour every morning to just be with him before the day gets crazy and he has to drive off for 12 hours.  I like putting my hand on his sleepy face and whispering in his ear that it’s time to wake up.  I like helping him button his shirts while his eyes are still half shut.  I just think it’s cute and I don’t like wasting time with Sam.  This morning, though, he saw me grimacing as I laid out his clothes and sent me straight back to bed.

After he left, I had to send my friend Jessica a message explaining why I had to turn down this amazing internship she offered me in Dallas.  I truly felt terrible rejecting the internship, but it was too far away and life is just too rocky for us right now for me to be driving that far for an unpaid internship.  I need something a little closer to home base to keep an eye on things.

Without going into too much detail, Sam is having a rough first year of teaching (I know, I know… what first year of teaching isn’t rough?).  We’re currently facing some big decisions that will affect us and our future family for many years to come.  Sam even mentioned that he’d rather me not work right now and take care of things at home because we have so many things to work out.  I’m glad to take care of our family and it’s my number one priority.

However, I haven’t stopped casting lines to see if I can get any bites.  I had a big bite today while I was in Wal-Mart grocery shopping.  A man from ITT Technical Institute in DeSoto, TX called because I applied last week for a position as a library assistant.  He seemed very interested in my resume.  When he described the job, it seemed like everything I wanted: helping students, conducting research, organizing books… It sounded great, until he mentioned the hours.  12-9, Monday through Friday.

If I wasn’t married, I would’ve jumped on it in a heartbeat, but I made a commitment when I married Sam to no longer think selfishly.  I have to include him in all my thoughts.  We’re “one flesh,” after all.  So, I told him, no, I couldn’t work evening hours because I wanted to spend time with my husband, and he said he understood and promised to keep my resume on file in case any daytime positions became available.

So, I’ve had a frustrating day.  I keep running into dead ends: either flat-out rejections or opportunities that I have to turn down because they’re not right for us right now.  Some of you might be thinking, “You shouldn’t take a backseat to your husband,” or, “You should work whatever job you want to work.”  Those are valid concerns, but that’s just not how our relationship works.  We’re a team, and there’s no room for “me” thinking.  Sam goes to his job every day and works hard to make money for us, and I would do the same thing if I had a job right now.

This whole experience has been a lesson in humility.  I used to be a straight-A student with a great job… Take that away, and who am I? That’s the question I’ve been coping with, and I’ve found some interesting answers.  I’m a creative person.  I like taking care of our house and cooking dinners.  I like reading and writing.  I like playing with Rigby and learning new things.  Those things will be true no matter where I work or how many degrees I earn.  I can’t put my self-worth in money, because money is fleeting and will one day be spent.  I choose to put my self-worth in love and let everything else fall into place.

No job for now.  I’m still looking, but I’m not in a hurry or panicked anymore.  We’re going to be okay.  God has provided us with so many blessings, and he’ll provide the right job when the time is right.  In the meantime, I’ve had time to get to know myself and that’s a wonderful thing.

Here’s a peek at our “Blessings Board” and a few of the people we’ve gotten to see since we moved.

Sam with our good friend Will, who is currently living in New York City. We were lucky to snag a visit with him as he was passing through Dallas.

My friend Morgan who has been a loyal friend through many, many years. Not only is she adorable, but she’s living here in Waxahachie while she’s going to college so I get to see her often.

This is Sam with his mom, Sue, and his sister, Sara. They came up to Maypearl to watch Sam coach one of his football games. It’s always nice to see family, and it was especially nice of Sara to bring Sue up all the way from Austin. Sue is struggling with the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and each visit with her is precious.

This is Jeremy and Rebecca posing with giant chess pieces. They are some of our best friends from college, and we were lucky enough to get a visit from them last weekend.

That weekend, we also got a visit from Jeremy and Erica, some of our other wonderful friends! They gave us some awesome housewarming gifts and came over to share soup and talk. We are so lucky to be friends with these people!

Those pictures don’t even cover the visits we’ve had from our friends Ben and Camille or from Sam’s brother, Scott, his wife Chrissy, and their kids Johnathon, David, and Lizzy.  I’ve never been an aunt before and I love seeing my niece and nephews!  I love Scott and Chrissy and they are definitely role models for Sam and I.  It’s also always wonderful to get visits from Ben and Camille because they love to hang out and have fun with us.

Good news: my headache is feeling better. There are plenty of other upsides to life, and most of them involve the people I love most.  I guess that’s the most important lesson I can learn: happiness in life doesn’t come from money or success, but from the people you share it with.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

“We’re Going to Offer the Job to Someone Else.”

It’s been over five months now since I last brought home a paycheck.  My days are long and quiet, and slightly lonely.  Sometimes, I sit quietly with a glass of ice water and gaze out our apartment window at the factory across the street.  All day and all night, trucks drive back and forth loading and unloading supplies and goods.  It reminds me of an airport, the way the semi-trucks pull up to the loading docks and idle for a while before speeding off towards the interstate.  The hundreds of employees in that factory work around the clock to make sure everything runs smoothly.

It’s surprising to me how my perspective has changed, how isolated I feel not being in the “workforce.”  When I go to the grocery store, I notice the cashiers, what they’re wearing, what they’re doing.  At the bank, I study the teller’s nametag.  I watch our apartment manager ride around on a golf cart handling resident concerns.  It makes me feel cut off from society, not working or going to school.

That’s why I was so hopeful today when I woke up.  Remember that crazy interview I had a couple of weeks ago?  I had lost hope in the prospect until yesterday, when I received a call from their office.  They wanted me to come in for a second interview!  I was so excited and nervous because I was really interested in the job.  It was everything I wanted: friendly boss, good pay, reasonable hours, and it would look great on a resume.  The interview was today at 12:30.  I was worried it would be another group interview, but this one was just me, the doctor, and his assistant.  The interview went very smoothly.  They laughed at all my jokes and I didn’t fidget too much.  I was honest, cheerful, and friendly.  I told them about my optimistic outlook on life and all the ways I would contribute to the success of their business.  They kept saying things like, “That’s great,” and “That’s just what we’re looking for,” and “That’s definitely a plus.”  I left the office on Cloud 9.  I felt like we were already friends and that I had really done great.

But on the car ride home, I started reviewing the interview in my head and thought of what I could’ve done differently.  They asked me about my math skills, something I’m not very comfortable with.  Maybe I should’ve studied more about what a chiropractor’s work truly involves.  I had mixed feelings by the time I got home.

They said they would call me that afternoon with an answer, so I waited anxiously with my phone for the next several hours.  By the time I saw their number on my phone’s screen, my confidence came rushing back.  “This is it,” I thought.  “All this waiting and searching, it’s finally over.”

You know that feeling when you lean too far back in your chair and start to fall?  That’s how the phone call ended.  “We’re going to offer the job to someone else, but you were definitely one of our top choices and we’ll keep your application on file.”  Splat.

[Just a side note: Never judge someone walking around Target crying.  Maybe she just got some bad news on the phone while shopping.  Chances are, she’s not crazy so try not to look at her like she is.  Moving along…]

I was so sure that job was mine!  I even had a celebratory blog post all planned out.  It’s disappointing to hit another dead end, especially after getting so close to the top.  Now, I’m back to square one scouring the classifieds and Craigslist and other job postings.  It’s easy to get discouraged, and I was for a while today, but I’m feeling a little better now.  I know God knows where I need to be, and no amount of tantrum-throwing from me is going to change His mind.  Maybe I need to be home for now.  Maybe the right job is waiting for me in a few weeks.  I don’t know where life will take me, but I have a roof over my head and a husband who loves me, and that’s enough for now.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Proverbs 19:21.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

There Goes My Dream of Scanning Groceries

Last month, There were several days when I decided to “cast my net far and wide” by applying to practically every business in sight. These included a clump of retail stores next door to our apartment complex, every coffee shop in town, anyplace in town that sold books or music, and H-E-B, a chain of grocery stores here in Texas. I thought with my years of experience in retail management, surely someone might want to hire me. If none of them did, then certainly H-E-B would give me a chance. My first job when I was sixteen was at a grocery store. If 16-year-old me could waltz in a snatch up a job, surely 22-year-old me had the same (hopefully better) odds.

Foolish thinking on my part. Apparently due to my combination of limited availability and my intimidating (cough) Bachelor’s Degree, my application was unceremoniously weeded out:

20120928-181821.jpg

So, one quick form letter using my stuffy legal name meant my back-up job was no longer an option.

I was upset at first. It took a very stern lecture from Sam about the importance of counting my blessings for me to calm down. He’s right. We are so blessed. Sam has a great job that pays the rent on our beautiful apartment and allows us to splurge on a half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream every now and then. We have family and friends who are constantly supportive and encouraging. We have a cute (albeit spoiled) chinchilla who listens to my problems while I feed him pumpkin seeds. I currently have tons of free time allowing me to improve my cooking skills, exercise, and dedicate time to my blog to become a better writer. Just being able to be there to greet Sam after he’s had a long day teaching is a blessing in itself.

We aren’t in any way suffering.

You won’t see me scanning groceries anytime soon. I’m sure there will be a point in the near future when I’ll realize that’s a blessing, too.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Survivor: Interview Edition

I made that meme a couple of months ago when Sam was on his fiftieth application and hadn’t heard anything yet.  Now, he’s settling nicely into his teaching job and I’m the one satirizing “Call Me Maybe”.  I’ve filled out 20-25 serious applications so far, and nothing has worked out yet.  I landed one interview with the local newspaper for a reporter position, and that was a complete disaster.  I left that place feeling like I was wearing the Cone of Shame.

So, when I got an email yesterday from a local chiropractor’s office regarding my application for a receptionist position, I was beyond nervous.  It took a lot of guts for me to accept the interview slot they sent me, drive 20 minutes, and walk in there.

But, Sam told me to be brave and, gosh darnit, I was going to be brave.  I braided my hair into a pretty bun, put on some make-up (that’s a rarity for me these days), slipped on a skirt, and stepped into my “power pumps” as I affectionately call them.

On the drive to the office, I easily pictured myself running out in panicked tears.  So, I promised myself whatever happened, whether the interview went well or not, I would go to the library afterwards to look at books.  That way, I would have something to look forward to even if the interview ended up resembling a plane crash.

I took a deep breath, and walked up to the door.  Another woman, dressed in green scrubs, got there before me.  I assumed she worked there, but when I entered the office, I found out how wrong I was.  She was there for the interview… along with nine other women.

Someone handed me a clipboard with an application, and I got to work.  Soon, I realized I was the last one working and everyone was staring at me.  There was an essay question, so naturally I ended up writing a short novel.  Oops.  My cursive got extremely loopy as I started to rush.  I handed in my clipboard and the doctor walked out to meet us.

I had assumed we would be called into his office one-by-one, and was concerned by the number of applicants there.  I thought my slot was just for me.  I was thinking, “We’re going to be here past dinnertime.”

Wrong again.  The first thing the doctor asked was, “How many of you have participated in a group interview before?”

I was one of the only ones that didn’t raise her hand.  I was in so over my head.  We were asked to take turns standing up and introducing ourselves.  Everyone took the opportunity to explain their experience with the medical field and secretarial work and rocket science and curing cancer– Okay, it just felt that way.  These were some pretty accomplished women.  My turn mostly sounded like this:

“Well, I just graduated from college, I just got married, I’ve been out of work for several months but I have experience in customer service and editing…”

Then, the doctor spoke to us for a while about his practice, his business principles, etc.  It was all really fascinating and the doctor was funny and friendly.  It made me want to work there, and I felt a new sense of determination.

At the end of his speech, he asked if, after hearing about the job, anyone needed to leave.  About half of the women apologized and said the hours were too early because they had kids, and they walked out.  I was in it for the long haul and stayed glued to my seat.  The next part was even more intense.  We were given a fake introduction on a piece of paper that we might use to introduce the doctor before a big presentation.  It was a couple of paragraphs long, and we had about five minutes to memorize it and give it back.  Another girl left while I was trying to figure out what some of the more obscure medical terms meant.

After he took back the papers, he talked for a while longer.  Very sneaky tactic.  The ones who had filed the introduction in their short term memories quickly lost it listening to him talk.  I volunteered to recite it first because I wanted to show that I had it memorized from the paper and not from the others reciting it.  I stumbled a little, but I did okay.  Most of that is due to Dr. Bailey’s Public Speaking class from college.  Who would’ve thought that a class I was dreading taking ended up being one of the most useful in the “real world”?

He said we could each ask two questions.  I tried to think of some thought-provoking ones.  The whole process involved way more improvisation than I expected.  Afterwards, I shook the doctor’s hand, feeling numb and a little confused.  However, I feel really good about the interview.  I doubt I got the job just because we were one group of many that they were interviewing, but I didn’t feel like sobbing afterwards, so that’s a huge improvement from last time.

Today, I feel encouraged.  Even though this is probably the first of many tough interviews, I survived the unexpected and I know I can do it again.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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