Help me apply to the same job where I screwed up big-time as a teenager.
April 10, 2007 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Help me apply to the same job where I screwed up as a teenager.

When I was 17, right out of high school, I taught some SAT prep classes for Kaplan. It was a great job and I was good at the teaching for what that's worth, but I was also pretty slack and unprofessional — it was my first "real job" ever and I just didn't know how to behave. Ultimately, though, it was one big mistake that did me in: I agreed to teach a class at another location, got lost en route, showed up late, and then lied about it to my supervisor. They fired me, obviously, and that was that.

After almost ten years in the work force it's perfectly clear to me why that was a dumb thing to do, and I sure as hell wouldn't pull it again. I'm also pretty sure I'm on a list somewhere as "not eligible for rehire." Once or twice during college I tried to apply for Kaplan jobs (at different locations, in another state) and despite good test scores and solid interviews I couldn't even get a phone call returned.

Now I'm moving again for grad school and a part-time job teaching GRE classes would be just what I need. There's a Kaplan location on campus, my scores are good enough, and I'd love to apply — but for all I know, I'm still on that list. What can I do to demonstrate that I'm not that flaky kid anymore and at least get my application considered?

Yeah, I'll probably apply to Princeton Review too. But Kaplan's got a more convenient location — and, silly as it sounds, it would be nice to be able to clear my name. So while I know the odds are against me, I'd like to try anyway, and I'm wondering what I can do to improve my odds.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
try explaining your situation to them just as you did here. be up front about it before you even apply. see where that gets you.

honesty will likely negate some of your past flakiness in their eyes.
posted by dawdle at 8:19 PM on April 10, 2007

i dont really know what kaplan is like, but telling the truth is pretty disarming and memorable, so maybe it's worth a try. since the truth is bad, though, take care to supplement the application with extra goodies- great reference letters from highly credible / well-known sources are a MUST.

is kaplan, or the interviewer there, funny/cool? if so, when you share the story, stress that you were 17, make funny cultural references (i was probably all distracted thinking about the breakfast club), maybe even be ridiculous and add a horrid teen photo.

you could even solicit a cheeky reference letter where the vouching person nods to your sordid kaplan past and makes reassuring jokes about your much-improved navigation skills and punctuality. then they regain cred with a segue into a heartfelt "i wouldn't write this if i didn't earnestly believe it; anon is awesome as an adult and is worth a second chance."

good luck.
update after, if you please- i like stories like this!
posted by twistofrhyme at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2007

I recently applied to teach at Kaplan (I have my "audition" in May), and when I did the web-based application there was a place to enter comments or include a resume. I wrote a short note there about something that I thought they'd like to know that might not be clear from my application. If you really think you're on a list somewhere, you could write a note in that box about how much you enjoyed working at Kaplan before, and how you're not 17 anymore, and all the jobs you've held since then without being fired. I'd be surprised if any reasonable person held a ten-year-old mistake made by a 17-year-old against you ten years later.

You could also drop into the office, resume in hand, and ask to speak to someone. Let them see how cool you are before they check the dreaded list.
posted by not that girl at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2007

I'm really surprised that they hired you at 17. They must have been REALLY in need. (Kaplan employee for many years speaking here.)

Might as well give it a shot though....
posted by k8t at 8:52 PM on April 10, 2007

Princeton Review
posted by jne1813 at 9:08 PM on April 10, 2007

You could also drop into the office, resume in hand, and ask to speak to someone. Let them see how cool you are before they check the dreaded list.

Explain in person. Be serious about it, not too jokey -- the point is to demonstrate that you are a responsible adult now. You've also graduated from college and done well enough in the intervening years to be accepted to grad school, right?

Also, when you drop in, be engaging, so they can see how great a teacher you would be for them.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:16 PM on April 10, 2007

There's Sherwood Test Prep, too.
posted by Skwirl at 11:02 AM on April 11, 2007

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