Sunday, May 14, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 27

63 days until a new life

[Continued from Post 26]

And we’re getting into our time machine again…
The first of my two on-campus interviews had gone alright…better than alright, I had a job offer and even though this hadn’t been my top choice, I could see myself being okay there.

But when it was time to leave for my second on-campus interview, I was a nervous wreck again. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure if that other school was the right place for me. Every fiber in my being told me that this school that I would be interviewing with the next day was the perfect fit for me. I tried really hard not to let myself think that, because it only made me more nervous. I was putting way too much pressure on myself. What if this didn’t work out? I had to be realistic. I couldn’t get my hopes up before I got an offer. I couldn’t allow myself to fall in love.

But how do you stop yourself from falling in love? I have never been able to do that. With every minute I spent on that campus, I liked it more. I could see myself enjoying my job, was excited about the opportunities I would have, and was just in general very impressed by the department. I also saw myself fitting in with the staff, working with likeminded people who were passionate about what they did.
I probably enjoyed the conversation with the director most. He talked about the values of the department and many of them echoed exactly what I value and believe in.

I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for. Granted, the school isn’t in the location I had originally been hoping to move to, but it had everything else that I was looking for in an institution and a new job: a clear emphasis on bridging the gap between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, a student-centered approach to Residential Life, opportunities for positive interactions with students, and a focus on learning for students, student leaders and staff.

You can probably imagine how nervous I was when I left from the on-campus interview. I had asked about their timeline, explaining that I had another job offer, and was told that it’d take about one week. If the search committee liked me, I would still need to do a phone interview with the faculty member of the learning community that I’d be working with. But after that phone interview, they’d be able to tell me pretty quickly.

All week, I couldn’t think about anything else. It was finals week and I had about a million things to take care of, but nothing seemed to matter anymore. I went through each day in a trance, attending to business as usual but not really paying attention. People – friends, colleagues, faculty, my parents – kept asking me how the on-campus interviews had gone and if I had heard from them yet. I tried to hide my excitement about my new top choice school. I really didn’t want people to know how much I had enjoyed the on-campus interview…if I didn’t get the job, I’d be crushed. I wouldn’t be able to handle others feeling sorry for me. So I kept trying to convince them and me that I really liked the other school, which had already made me an offer, and I was just waiting so that I could weigh out all my options. But I wasn’t able to convince any of them anymore than myself. We all knew that everything depended on that one phone call.

A few things did manage to distract me for a couple hours: There was the planning for our class gift; the graduation reception from our graduate program (which was just wonderful); and graduation (which is definitely a lot more fun when you’re in a cohort program). Sadness started to creep in with the realization that I wouldn’t see the rest of my cohort on a daily basis anymore. I couldn’t and still can’t believe that these two years are really over now. What a ride it has been…

But back to the job search: Halfway through our festivities, I got the e-mail saying the faculty member of the learning community would be contacting me soon. After that, I was hanging on to my cell phone for dear life. I even took it with me to the bathroom…I don’t know what I would have done if it had rung while I was taking a shower. And then, two days later (it was the weekend), it finally rang.

The interview was brief and I thought it went pretty well, even though I didn’t dare to say that out loud. I didn’t even tell anyone that I had already done the faculty interview, because I didn’t want them to ask how it went. Saying it out loud felt like jinxing it. I’m not the superstitious type, but when it comes to job searching, it’s better safe than sorry.

I was walking from the Accounting Office, where I had just dropped off the security deposit for one of my new residents (one of my least favorite parts of the job), toward the main Student Affairs building on our campus. I needed to fill out some paperwork for the summer. Suddenly, my phone rang. “Unavailable ID.”
My hands started to shake. This could be it. What should I do? I froze. Okay, deep breath, then press the talk button. “Hello?”

I’m going to spare you off the most nerve-racking few moments of my life that followed. Who cares about small talk? Just give me the answer I’ve been waiting to hear for over a week now!

I got the job!

For one fleeting second, I thought about restraining myself…asking for a night to sleep on it. Then, I decided that it was stupid. I knew what my answer was, so why not tell them. I’m not the type of person that plays hardball, tries to negotiate salaries or benefits. I’m the type of person that follows her heart. My heart was telling me very clearly to say yes.

I felt like jumping up and down. Instead, I ran to the office where one of my friends works and told her…and then we jumped up and down. :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I've been reading your blog all along, and I am so pleased, relieved, and happy for you! I'm glad that you feel so positive about the institution, too. With the commitment level you've demonstrated from all the work you've done, you are gonna be a great addition to their staff. Just keep that promise to yourself--you will enjoy other activities this summer!


11:04 AM  

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