Last night I was feeling so excited about the prospect I stayed up till 1am researching jobs and updating my network on LinkedIn (which I admit I've barely touched since joining). Last night I had 38 contacts and now I am on my way to doubling that!
It's really amazing how many people you know when you think about it.
I just let LinkedIn go through my email address and it plucked out hundreds and hundreds of addresses of everyone I had ever contacted. Of course I did not add every single person but I did choose quite a few, even those that I don't really know. I mean, what do I have to lose? They can choose not to add me but so what?!
I guess I've always had a problem when it comes to applying for jobs. I'm not sure what it is. I guess it started ever since I finished university. While I was studying I don't recall having such problems. I just found jobs and applied for them but after finishing my studies, I soon realised that it was much harder than I thought to get a job in the field I wanted. NO ONE TOLD ME IT WOULD BE LIKE THAT. None of the lecturers at my university warned us it would be that hard. Sure, I should have done my own research and I did spend countless hours in the careers centre.. AND I had stints of 'work exeprience' (what Americans call an internship or French call a stage) but... I guess my loss of confidence stemmed from that.. hundreds and hundreds of applications and nothing. Because although I had SOME work experience, I had no experience in the kind of work I wanted to do.
I even have an embarrassing story to tell. I've always been pro-public transport and I was an 'activist' you could say, always writing letters to newspapers and to the relevant transport authorities. I really hated the situation in my area and one day posted up A4 notices on all the bus stops along my route urging other people to complain as well. I drove around late at night (when there's no traffic and nobody to see me doing it) with my sister and we stuck them up, like clandestine thieves...
I also made a simple makeshift website with a makeshift email address if anyone wanted to contact me. Well, surprise, one guy actually did contact me and he congratulated me on what I did, and said it was a great idea for a great cause. Then we got talking (by email) and I told him I had just finished uni and was looking for work... he tells me he used to work in recruitment and has lots of friends who are still in that field and gave me a whole bunch of email addresses. I'm talking about 200.
I was so desperate I kind of spammed the whole list. Unfortunately I forgot to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) feature and so everyone knew that I had also emailed 100+ other people at the same time with the exact same email and cv. Then heaps of the emails bounced back as well, so I was kind of spamming myself. Oh gosh that was an embarrassing and costly mistake! The benefits of hindsight, huh?
Ever since then the whole 'finding a job thing' has eluded me. Up until that point I found it easy to get what I wanted in life. I was a high achiever and I usually achieved.
Sure I've had interviews. I've had lots and lots of interviews. God knows how many but I just can't seem to get over the last hurdle. I've even gone onto 2nd and 3rd interviews only to be told there was just 1 or 2 people 'better' than me which really really sux.
I've been coached on interview techniques and had mock interviews. The whole process still makes me nervous and drives me up the wall. I guess I'm impatient. I mean it can take me 2 hours to apply for ONE job online. I have to tailor the letter and CV for every job. And then they have their requirements for your submission and every company is different.
So after those billions of interviews, yes I did get jobs... but I've never been in a job I truly wanted. I've gone on interviews where I wanted the job so badly and then when they called me back to say I didn't get it I was so crushed. It was so painful because I wanted it THAT badly. I guess it's like having a crush on a guy only to realise he doesn't feel the same way about you (and trust me, I've had THAT as well).
Once upon a time I'd just stay in a job until they didn't need me anymore. I guess this was more the case with part-time or casual jobs. But then one day I got to the point where I was stuck in a job I REALLY hated. I had to quit it before I went insane. I rehearsed with my (then) boyfriend and my friends what I was gonna say to the boss. I was very nervous about it but it actually went off without a hitch. So then I was back to square one again. Yes, I foolishly resigned without another job to go to.
I suppose for most people there's two things in life that they search for: a job and a partner. For most people they seem to find at least one of them easily but for me I seem to have difficulties with both. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong? :(
I don't know why I keep getting stuck in the 'wrong' jobs and 'wrong' relationships. For once I wish I was in a job or relationship that truly made me happy and that I wasn't in for all the wrong reasons, ie just because I think I can't get a better one.
About my job now... It's not a bad job. For the hours that I work (12 contact hours/week) I get paid pretty well and I also get all my school holidays paid for (and as we know there are a lot of those ;) ). It's not that demanding and it allows me to be creative in thinking up exercises for the kids. The problem is that I'm not a 'real' teacher so I don't get any respect from my fellow staff nor from the kids. Even though I do the same kind of work as the other teachers (except I don't set or mark exams and don't attend meetings and I work less hours) they look at me as if I'm an interne or something. I feel like I'm back in high school again when I was 15 and the teacher made us go and do 'work experience' and the staff treated us as if we were getting in the way all the time...
My number 1 goal is to find a job for when my time here at the school finishes. I can't think about anything else right now. It's good that I'll be busy, as it keeps my mind of other certain things...
Even though this blog post seems to have a negative tone I'm actually feeling very positive and empowered :) I've found a whole bunch of jobs that I will apply for this week.
I like to practise the art of gratitude and right now, this is what I am grateful for (in no particular order):
* My health seems to be in check. I still tire easily but I don't get sick often and don't have allergies. I am very very grateful for my good health so far since being in France.
* Abundance of fresh and cheap and delicious food.
* All the friends/people I have met, especially: ... (teachers at the school, surveillants at the school, friends I met online and stayed with, friends I met through CouchSurfing or other sites)
* My friends back home who I stay in contact with.
* That my accommodation (inc hot water, electricity and internet) is so cheap
* That this room/building is so nice and in excellent condition
* That my room is always warm and cosy
* That the canteen food is pretty good with lots of variety and SO CHEAP and the canteen staff are so nice
* That the mountain vistas here are truly breathtakingly beautiful
* That even though we broke up, I had some TRULY magical memorable moments with K that will stay with me for as long as I live. Particularly that weekend of 5-6 Feb when he took me to that place with that AMAZING jaw-dropping view, and to that restaurant in the middle of nowhere where I saw a million shining bright stars. Bliss.
* That I met K. I truly believe that he taught me some things about life, love and the world.
* All my experiences travelling that I even get the CHANCE to travel so often as I want. That I've seen SO MANY BEAUTIFUL cities all over France.
* That I have so much free time and 'me time'
* That my job is not demanding and I get plenty of time for siestas
* That I have my 2 beloved cameras
* That I have my beloved MacBook Pro that I'm typing on now
* That I saw Paris in the snow
* That I tried all those macarons in Paris
* That I met those amazing people (now friends) in Grenoble
* That I met those amazing people (now friends) in Avignon
* Living in a first world country where everything is clean, and in a town where everything feels safe.
* My kids, my students for teaching me stuff about their lives and life/culture in France.
* That my French has definitely improved. I still need to work on my telephone technique and listening skills there but talking face to face I have no problems with at all, no matter who the person is.
Speaking of which, I had a bit of fun on Monday night when I had a mock interview with my friend Y..... in French! Oh gosh. I couldn't stop laughing.