Author's note: Be sure to read "Why go?" the first post on this somewhat episodic journey
The disappointment about not getting a position on my first try lasted only a short time. I knew that my chances of getting a position would be better if I applied before April, when teachers are given their contracts for next year. Those teachers who didn't get a contract would be entering the job market, and I had to be ahead of them.
I started with increasing the numbers of resumes I was sending out. Instead of 5 resumes on a weekend, I was now sending 8. Just as quickly, however, notices came back from the schools that the jobs I was applying for were cancelled. As this was in Feb and March, towns were just beginning to feel the budget pinch and were beginning to cut positions.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an ardent feminist and human rights proponent. The decision to work in an Arabic country was one that took a lot of time and consideration. I remember one Sunday afternoon when I sent out applications to Kingston, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Qatar, Barain, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia. Within two weeks, I heard back about the jobs in Qatar, Saudi Arabia who both wanted to do online Skype interviews. I really thought long and hard about living in Saudi Arabia, a country where they cut your head off for infractions of the law. I think that was beyond my normal scope of acceptability.
One Sunday morning I woke up to find an employment offer for Abu Dhabi in my inbox. I was so excited. Not only had I wanted to work in Abu Dhabi, but most of my research centered on AD as a destination. In the same few minutes of being excited about AD, at the same time, I also got an offer from Saudi Arabia. My son, Jake (age 19) was home for spring break, and I told him, first. His response to me "Is this what you want to do?" I thought to myself, wow, that is a very mature answer. When I responded in the positive, his reply, "Then you should do it."
The job offer from AD was a little unexpected. This position was with a private, technical school. I really thought I had blown my midnight Skype interview. This particular position I had found on my own and had received a phone call from the school one night after I had gone to bed. As I answered that call, I thought to myself, "Oh, gosh, it's the school. I had better act wide awake." As the woman on the phone began to speak to me, she asked me if this was a good time to talk. I responded affirmatively. "Well, I don't want to call at a bad time. What time is it?" She asked politely..."Well, it's 3:30 am." I responded. Now, I don't know how many people have answered a phone call at 3:30 am for a job, but it has to be small. As we talked, she informed me that the school would like to do an interview the next morning. At this point, I held the phone away from my ear, and thought, this has got to be a joke. Who in the world is this? Then she clarified, they would do an interview on Skype with me at 9:00am. Well, as I was mentally ticking off all the things I needed to do to be available for a morning interview, she again clarified, "That will be 12:00 Midnight, your time. Would that be ok with you?"
Well, sure, I'm so used to giving interviews at midnight.
Now, as timing will have it, 12 midnight would be within the same day as this early morning wake up call. As we said "Goodbye" and I lay back on my pillow, my head was whirling a million miles a minute. As a result, I never got back to sleep and got up and went to my subbing job as I normally would, the next morning. Arriving home from school, I thought about taking a short nap in the afternoon, but I had a lot going on, and I wanted to get ready for my Skyping. Having never Skyped, before, I thought I had better practice. I sent a Facebook message off into cyberspace, asking someone to please contact me via Skype. Within the next two hours, I had 4 different Skype conversations, from as far as England and Australia, and as close as Connecticut. I was very glad I had taken the time to do this as I realized my Wi-fi signal wasn't strong enough to pull in enough power to keep the conversation going. I moved my computer to another location where my conversations weren't interrupted.
By suppertime, that night I had prepared myself and my Skype interview location on my couch for this late night showing. I was tired, as I hadn't slept since 3:30am. I had gotten dressed in the same dark top I had worn for my first in person interview in New York. But I had my pajama bottoms on, because, well, they couldn't see them and I had to get to bed sometime.
At 12:06am, the Skype rang up and I began the strangest interview of my life. This was the most nervous I had ever been for an interview. Usually, I am poised and composed. Not this time. My brain was telling me that everything was too strange and as result, I became overly self-conscious. Additionally, my eyes started to water. I had put on make up because I don't look that great at midnight after being up since the wee hours of the morning. My allergies had decided they didn't care for the make up I had on and I was watering big time. I had put some kleenex next to the computer, so had to reach for a kleenex. Of course, 2 men are watching me very closely, through the camera. I was pretty sure I had lost that position right then and there.
A month later, when Jake was asking me if this was really the job I wanted, it felt right. I had gone on so many interviews that had seemed perfect in every way, that had fallen through, that this job, which had seemed so tenuous on Skype, which I thought I had bombed but instead had actually passed, this was "MY JOB" and I had better take it.