How to Wait out the Wait Without Going Crazy
February 7, 2017 2:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a waiting place and I suck at it. I need tips for becoming okay with the uncertainty, how to get out of my own head, and how to stop mooning after employers. Details below.

I left the practice of law last year because it was a soul-crushing gilded cage. I'm now going back to school to become a teacher. So far, I've been very excited and interested in my classes and I am fairly confident that while I won't like some aspects of teaching, most of it should be a great new challenge (which is what I want). I'm not doing it for the money.

I'm due to start student teaching in the fall. However, ever since I started my program last year, I have been told numerous times that I will probably not find a job in the district I want to work in and in my content area (high school social studies) and general gloom and doom. Contrast this with what I hear from the student teaching coordinator and the principal at one school, but I digress.

My problem is thusly:

1) I'm still applying for quasi-legal/education jobs to hedge my bets on finding a job. I found two jobs that were really interesting, spent a lot of time crafting the perfect cover letter and sent them in. I have had exactly zero response from either. I'm fairly certain this means I am not in consideration. But, I cannot let go of the need to know if I am "good enough" for the job. This comes in a long line of rejection/ghosting from potential employers which has been very demoralizing for me.

How do I stop pining after employers waiting for them to call? And, then how do I not get emotionally caught up in the ghosting/rejection that comes?

2) I have a very specific set of criteria that I have to have met in a job (mostly geographic) due to my status as a single parent during the day (husband works an hour away, leaving at 6am and getting home at 6pm).

How do I get used to the uncertainty that I may not find the job I need in the place I need it?

3) How do I stop think about all of this crap and use my limited spare time to write a book or be crafty?
posted by tafetta, darling! to Human Relations (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a history/social studies teacher. I asked a principal at my ex-wifes school about it (she taught music, and her employment status, despite tenure, was threatened every single year... just FYI).

He told me that the best way to get a job in that subject, besides the usual required stuff, is to do original research, try to get something published, or otherwise engage with the field in a way that college professors (or would-be) do. It struck me as over the top at the time, I knew a bunch of people who (like me) didn't quite excel in school yet became teachers anyway. Though the one history teacher I know (and actually one of the only people I know who has remained teaching after nearly 15 years, really does have a passion for the subject). But it makes sense.... lots of competition, and lots of folks in social sciences that did the groundwork for academia already, applying for the same jobs.

One thing I would say is that no one I know who taught got to pick WHERE they were teaching. It ranged from soul-crushing inner city desperation to mild suburbia (which paid less since everyone wanted to work there). I think you might want to reconcile the fact that employment in the subject you want might require some geographic flexibility.

Sorry if none of that's helpful, just had some thoughts.
posted by tremspeed at 3:10 PM on February 7, 2017

You are opening yourself up to being a workaholic again unless you take command of your time. You're restless because you've kept yourself busy since you were a kid. Now you are forced to wait. Truth is most career changers go back within a year because they can't adjust to being patient with what they now have. You need to call your grad school and seek assistance about what you can be doing. Is there somewhere they might need a legal hand that could let go when classes begin? Seek help from these professionals, they are trained to help (I hope).
posted by parmanparman at 3:26 PM on February 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

I had a very similar experience -- I practiced law for 17 years, and towards the end of that, decided to go back to school while working to get certified to teach drama and English. I ended up not finishing the education degree, because my husband and I decided to relocate from the US to Canada in the middle of it, and I would not have been able to transfer my credits to a new program (I am also not qualified to practice law in my new location).

I ended up ultimately finding work in drama education, but not as a school teacher. I manage education programs for a theatre company. The work suits me very well and it's geographically desirable. It's not what I planned, and it's not terribly lucrative, but I was able to find something that fit me in a good location.

Re: your first question -- From time to time I do look at other positions, some in non-profit management and some in legal writing and education, but I think this applies to lots of people regardless of field. It's pretty natural to start imagining yourself in the job you've applied for and to get excited about it. It is fully lousy that employers across the board very rarely so much acknowledge an application, much less give useful feedback if they don't hire you. (I mean, I once was recruited by a headhunter to interview for a high-level legal job in a major company and after meeting with the international general counsel, I never heard from them again. It's appallingly rude.) But in terms of dealing with it, I honestly think it's OK to let your mind explore what it would be like to get the job if that's what it wants to do. Rather than fight it, just know that it's not a done deal, and prepare yourself to move on.

Re: the third question -- It's important to make space for your craft, but you do sound like you have an awful lot on your plate. To me it's a form of self-care, but you also don't have room in your life to start feeling guilty if you can't fit it in. If it isn't something that gives you pleasure to do, it isn't helping.
posted by gateau at 4:47 PM on February 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

"How do I stop think about all of this crap and use my limited spare time to write a book or be crafty?"

Write a book (or article) about your job search. Then you could do both at once.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:31 PM on February 7, 2017

Learn about the Bhuddist concepts of acceptance, nonjudgment, and non-attachment. Then practice them. If you are open to meditation, learn about mindfulness and come up with a routine that you can follow.
posted by Mr. Fig at 6:49 AM on February 8, 2017

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