How Does Transition Begin?
June 15, 2011 2 Comments
If you’ve had a significant conversation or e-mail exchange with me since the beginning of March, you’ll know that I am trying to find work as an ESL teacher in Korea. If you haven’t spoken to me since March, you’re probably wondering how I got from there to here. Let me explain.
I did a series of pretty soul-searching blog posts in December of 2010 and one of the conclusions I came to, was that I was going to have to take some risks in my life in order to find greater joy. I followed a plan of Micromovements, trying to make tiny changes every day so that there would be constant forward momentum in transforming my life. This resulted in not only actual forward momentum but a much greater sense of calm about the idea that things were going to work out.
One of the things I had written down almost mindlessly in my list of micromovements was to get information about teaching English overseas. On March 1st I went to an orientation session and by mid-April I was sitting in a crazy 9-day course to get my TESL certification. Before I took the course, I e-mailed some friends and got a lot of really helpful feedback, including being put in touch with the hiring manager of a school in Korea. I ended up applying for a position before I even had my certification. For the first time in a long time it felt like the doors to opportunity were opening rather than slamming shut. That was then.
Now, crying every day seems completely normal. The job with that first school–which had seemed almost like a done deal–didn’t work out. The placement service that is part of my TESL certification fee has also proven to be incredibly frustrating. I was put in touch with two recruiters. The first guy was the very definition of on the ball. If he said he’d call between 6:00pm and 8:00pm, he’d call at 6:05. We had a couple five or ten-minute conversations and I was appreciating his almost military precision. People rave about him on ESL job forums. A week ago he said he’d probably get back to me with some interview times this week. This week he e-mailed and said he couldn’t place me and wished me luck finding work elsewhere. WTF?
The other recruiter was much more congenial and we connected really well. I’m hoping that will mean something in how hard he’ll be willing to work for me but I’m not all together hopeful. While charming as all get out, this fella missed two phone appointments that we had, which doesn’t inspire confidence, if you know what I mean.
I’ve contacted the TESL certification organization about both of these issues and I have the feeling their patience with me is wearing thin–that they think I should just be grateful for whatever I get, rather than demanding that people do more. So now I feel like I’m treading on egg shells trying to get my needs met while not coming off as a complete harpy bitch.
As if I wasn’t feeling shite enough, when I looked at a popular ESL job board, I found positions posted just today by the very recruiting agency that told me two days ago that they couldn’t place me. On the same job board, I took a look around the forums and the race issue certainly came up in discussion. And yes, on international resumes, you do have to post a picture. It’s a good thing they can’t tell I”m fat right away.
As if this isn’t enough to stress a gal out, my workplace is slowly collapsing in on itself like some sort of dying star. Since mid-May we’ve been in a complete state of limbo as to whether to the company will fold or not. Before May 19th the company was six people strong. Now we’re down to four. One woman was laid off and the other was in a car accident and her situation is still unclear at this point. Either way I’ve been doing the work of about 2 1/2 people since May 30th and it’s getting pretty damn exhausting. One of the four left is our shipper and he doesn’t help with any of the work that’s fallen to me. More strangely, he’s not required to do so by our managers despite our current staffing levels. The other two people are management; they help but their help is often almost worse than if they had simply left well enough alone. It’s getting better in some respects but worse in others.
I spend most days at work so angry and so frustrated that I when I leave I cry for the sheer release of it. Until now I was intent on getting laid off so I could get my 8 weeks termination pay and unemployment money, but that seems completely unlikely now. There’s too much information in my head, too much experience under my belt, for my boss to let me go easily. According to the woman who was laid off, if other people (a company who owns shares in us) had had their way, my ass would have been grass back on May 19th. I wish it had been. It’s much worse to be a survivor in a situation like this. It’s clear that my boss will keep me there until the ship sinks. And as long as it doesn’t sink, it lurches along in a manner so awful that it’s quickly becoming untenable for me to keep working there–fallback position or not.
I am now careening between just giving my notice and quitting, poverty be damned, giving my bosses some inkling that I’m on way out as I can’t see any possible way in which they could retaliate, or of course, gutting it out. I’m trying to figure out what’s the best thing to do in terms of my sanity. I’ve waited years for a neat and tidy path out of this job, this situation, this crushing sense of inertia and time and time again it does not present itself. I’m starting to wonder if I am meant to bushwhack my way out; if maybe the bushwhack is the only path that the universe has for me. Maybe it’s the risk I need to take.
When I told friends that I was planning to make this move overseas, I was urged to blog about it. I had figured I’d be so busy moving and wrapping up my life here in a sort of joyous whirlwind that there would be no time to blog until I was happily ensconced in my new home on the other side of the world. I anticipated that there would be a time when I first arrived there that I would be depressed or anxious or just feel the weight of the transition. I did not anticipate that the depression, anxiety and weight of just trying to make the transition happen would start on this side of the ocean.
Apparently, this is how transition begins.