So, the people have demanded an update. And by people, I mean Dawn. I haven't updated so far because I have nothing new to report. I am still here, still unemployed, and growing queasier about it with every passing day. I still have not told my parents, but then I have managed to handily avoid talking to them for the past week. But I will tell them, probably, the next time I talk to them. Whenever that is. I had some vain hope that I would be able to follow up the announcement of quitting my old job with the happier news of having already locked down a new one, but it's looking less and less likely that that is going to happen.
But here I am going on, when what I really wanted to do was address all the comments and e-mails I received over the last week. If I ever doubted the capacity of humans for kindness and compassion, the outpouring of support I received on the last post alone would have changed my mind. It makes me so happy to know that this little corner of the Internet, at least, is filled with such warm, caring and concerned people. So, thank you, warm, caring, and concerned people of the Internet. There were so many valid questions and comments that, rather than answering them one by one in the comments section of the last post, I thought I would address some of them now.
Re: was I assigned a mentor or a master teacher? A mentoring program for first-year teachers was briefly mentioned at the HR orientation (quickly glossed over and sandwiched between information on when to expect our first paycheck and the difference between HMOs and PPOs), and that was the first and last I ever heard of that. Here is what was stated: "All first-year teachers will have a mentor teacher." Here is what happened: nothing. So, like so many other grand ideas of the Dee Cee Pee Ess that sound nice in theory, in practice I never saw any actual evidence of it.
Re: teaching perhaps not being my calling, or something in my online personality not striking people as particularly teacher-like--Is it because I am not at all a nurturing or patient person? Because I am much too introspective and marginally aloof? In any case, you are probably right. Teaching isn't something I always wanted to do, and it felt like something I somehow stumbled into due to lack of other options. But here's what happened: based on my experiences as a graduate student TA at Boston University (with full responsibility for teaching one section of undergraduate French per semester) and later teaching French as an adjunct instructor at Mythaca College, I found that, surprisingly enough, teaching was something I actually liked to do. Finally, after years of professional wandering, I had found something that I seemed to be good at, and that I actually enjoyed. I enjoyed teaching French to college kids. However, given the treatment of adjuncts in the university system these days, it wasn't a financially sustainable option for me (or for any single and non-independently wealthy person, for that matter). (For an informative and honest perspective on the challenges of teaching as an adjunct instructor, you should read this article in the Boston Globe. I can particularly relate to the part about having to work two or three side jobs, and then living in terror that one of your students will "catch you" (their French professor!) at work at your decidedly un-glamorous second job.) I needed to make a change, and so I thought, what can I do that is similar to this, but pays an actual livable salary plus benefits? I racked my brain and landed on high school teacher, thinking that it would have its challenges, sure, but teaching high school students French full-time couldn't be that different from what I had been doing, teaching college students French, part-time. And now you're all laughing at me. The answer is, of course, that it is completely different, that it is not at all the same thing, and to think otherwise puts you in a very special category of naive or possibly brain-dead optimist. And though it's completely out of character for me, knowing the potential obstacles involved, for once in my life I chose to hope for the best. (Clearly, my brief foray into optimism didn't work out, and so back to prune-faced pessimist I go.)
Re: you should use this time to write a book, or pursue a writing career. First, I mean, thanks. The fact that any of you think that that would even be an option for me is beyond flattering. Though whether or not it actually is an option for me is still not something I'm ready to explore. I wouldn't have the first idea how to go about it, for one thing, and for another, I'm in a bit of a desperate financial situation, as I may have mentioned. At this point I am looking for anyone who will hire me and pay me money (and for a job that won't make me physically ill or give me daily panic attacks, but as long as I stay away from teenagers I think I'll be alright. I must be allergic to 'em or something). And I don't want to be all, oh man, this economy, because that is such a tiresome refrain, but, oh man, guys. This economy.
I'm reminded of something an occasionally wise man named Pete once said, which is, "Fuck doing what you love. This is the problem; we've all been told since birth that we should do what we love, but it's a lie. Don't do what you love. Do what makes you money, and use the money to do what you love." At 22 I don't think I would have listened to him. But knowing what I do now, I don't think he's wrong. Knowing what I do now, I would tell my 22 year-old self to get an MBA, or a law degree. Because no one ever grows up dreaming of becoming an admin assistant. Does the world need admin assistants? Sure. But when it comes down to it, there are admin assistants, and there are people who need admin assistants, and which would you rather be? If your answer is the former, then by all means get your liberal arts degree in the humanities, but otherwise, you might want to re-think your course.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, if that isn't obvious. Maybe too much.
And finally, re: everyone who said "Eat something!"--Don't worry, I've been more than making up for lost time. Lately I can't seem to stop eating, though that's more from boredom than actual life-sustaining purposes.
So, you see, I am fine. Fine! You can all stop worrying now.