I’ve written before about my sad history with the workplace. I have a deep aversion to authority figures—an unfortunate side-effect of being micromanaged from birth—and I have a habit of taking jobs that require far more of me than they give back. Case in [multiple] point[s]: I once spent days putting together a portfolio of carefully researched reports only to find out that the job for which I was applying was unpaid. I also spent a few years editing for a company that turned out to be a scam. My last teaching job in the States lost us money. It’s not the most impressive track record, and my experience-fueled sense of logic tells me I should avoid job offers like the Black Death.
In fact, my return to the working world this week started almost by accident. At some point last year, a friend with whom I had collaborated on an editing project (also unpaid; why do I do this to myself?) recommended I call up her former employer and ask if they needed any new English teachers or translators. However, considering that
- my friend hadn’t worked for the company since the ‘80s, and
- polite, people-pleasing American gals don’t just call up businesses hoping to be hired, and
- I wasn’t sure my immigration status would allow me to work,
- the details of which I didn’t feel like looking it up because
- I was hoping to write a novel with my oodles of spare time, and anyway,
- jobs and I don’t have the best history together, so
- I was very unlikely to get hired, and, even if they were to offer me a job,
- I didn’t particularly want one,
I chose not to call.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. A new company in town was looking for English teachers, and I started updating my CV just for kicks. As long as I was applying for a job, I figured I might as well try my friend’s suggestion too. The new company wanted to hire me. My friend’s former employer did not. Yet my gut told me that something was off about the job offer I did receive. Maybe my instincts have grown hypersensitive over the years of poor career choices, or maybe anyone with a smidgen of common sense would know not to accept a position that came with stipulations for age and gender. (That, I believe, is a tactic generally known as illegal.) At any rate, I turned down the job. Aside from the residual people-pleaser guilt, it felt good.
What felt even better, though, was hearing again from my friend’s company—the one that hadn’t had any openings for me. Would I like to come in for an interview? Would I like to attend an informal office orientation? Would I like to meet the other employees? Would I like to start Monday? Surprisingly… yes!
The job seems perfect for this stage of my life. I am now a part-time English tutor with hours that will allow me to be home with the girls after school and even give a little TLC to that erstwhile novel. The staff is friendly, the office is five minutes from home, and I can wear jeans. (My soul rejoices in distressed denim.) After my past work experiences, I never would have thought I’d feel so honored to return to employeedom… but I guess the right job was just an accident waiting to happen.