I guess Calum might have had a point when I imagined him rolling his eyes at the blasé nature of my job application. Which is irritating. But I promptly totally forgot about it, until the week before I was due to finish my degree.
I got an email from an address I didn’t recognise, and had to read it twice before I understood what was happening. Not because I’m stupid, you understand. Nuh-huh. The recruitment guy for the school had so lovingly constructed his email with superfluous, underused words like ‘stellar’ and ‘dashing’, and correctly used a semi-colon, and signed off hoping ‘most desperately to hear’ that I was still interested, that I needed to stare at its spell-binding beauty for a minute. And then I quickly fired off, “Okay.”
I’m kinda well-known for creaming my pants over awesome grammar.
My first words to my mother were, “But I don’t want to move to Rome!” because I was tired and cranky and in the library for the thirteenth hour of the day for the two-hundredth day running, and hadn’t really thought my response through. To keep my options open I agreed to a Skype interview. You know. Just to see. I wasn’t really thinking at all. I just kept saying, “Alright then. Why not?”
On the day I handed in my final piece of coursework I informally interviewed online. I rang off feeling like I had essentially gotten the job from the way my Facebook friend had been talking. I was kind of excitable about the fact that I had just ended a three-year chapter of my life by finishing university and so shot off an email to the recruiter saying, “I’ll take it!” He replied by sending me an actual offer. Maybe he felt like he had no choice.
What I thought I had accepted was a general teaching job, though. It wasn’t until a week ago that I got a ‘round-robin’ confirmation of my training dates that had gone to a couple of other new starters too, and then underneath a note saying, “And Laura, in addition we’ll add in extra hours to confirm your extra responsibilities.”
At my training I actually had to ask the question, “I’m sorry, what exactly is my job title, then?” which, I think, should revoke any privileges otherwise awarded. This was then followed up with questions such as, “And I can delegate that?” and “What is that building there?” as I pointed to Vatican out of the window.
And then, on the final day of training, my friend- the one who advertised her job on Facebook, and had been teaching me how to do what she has done- began to say goodbye to her colleagues.
“Wait,” I said. “Your final day of training me is also your last day of work?”
“Yes,” she replied. “I’m now unemployed.”
I looked at her. “And I walked in here unemployed, and am leaving as the Director of Studies for Young Learners?”
The answer was yes.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching all of this unfold,” she told me as we said goodbye over drinks. “Everything is so new and amazing to you.”
Which of course it is. Because all I did was say yes. Now I have to figure out all what I’ve said yes to.
I thanked her for being my fairy godmother and getting me to where I am.
“Just look after my kids,” she replied, tears in her eyes. And then I realised just how lucky I am. She is giving up a department she has worked for two years to grow from nothing. I felt embarrassed that I was waltzing in without a clue, picking up so easily from where she was leaving off, laughing about my good fortune and Peter-Pan desires of forever flitting from one adventure to another. I was treating her job like a game, and it isn’t. For some people, this is Real Life, and Real Life is serious.
I’ve never considered teaching as a possible career path for me, not least because of this blog. It was just something I did to mend my broken heart, to finance my travel. It was an accident. But it doesn’t have to be the end, a Proper Job; quite obviously this is just the beginning. This could take me anywhere. Maybe.
And that was when I decided, as I walked away from my friend with her job title in my pocket. I might see how this grown-up thing pans out.