It’s All About Who You Know

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You’ve heard it over and over again but your young positive self laughs it off. Everyone tells you it’s all about who you know. This applies for things you need in life like a new car or going to events. This is especially true when it comes to jobs. No matter how qualified you may be or how much you stand out it doesn’t mean a damn thing when there’s someone else who wants the same job and they know someone. Well, what happens when you don’t know anyone?

Do you want the real truth or the fluffy truth? If you know me you know I’m not pessimistic I am realistic. Coming from me you’re going to get the real cold hard truth because honesty is one of the few things I have and I am proud of that.

Reality: when you’re looking for your big girl job and you don’t know anyone you’re basically screwed. The girl who’s dad plays golf with the big guy who signs your paper work is getting that job you want even though you have the grades and recommendations to prove you deserve it. Now, I know you’re saying what does this girl know what jobs is she applying for? Let me offer some insight I am speaking about education jobs, but from talking to my friends with other career paths they are all experiencing the same thing.

Here’s a little bit about me so you know where I’m coming from with this realistic attitude I’ve got. I went to school to become a teacher. Worked my ass off taking 6-7 classes a semester just to finish in a reasonable time all while keeping my gpa up and also majoring in English. I was not only writing about 100 pages a week, but also working and doing field placements in schools. I did this all with a smile on my face and a crap load of caffeine! On top of all of the nonsense assignments I was doing I then had to take a giant test in order to be certified to teach. That itself was hell because myself and my classmates were the Guinea pigs for a new test. This test was a nightmare with 4 subjects. No matter how much you studied the test was different every time. Now, I’m saying every time because you have to keep taking each subject until you pass it with a qualifying score. Oh and you have to pay for it. Not to mention without passing these tests your degree is put on hold and you can’t student teach until it’s done. No problem right? Wrong! You have to wait a month between each test round and the test isn’t offered every month. Ha well there are only 2 semesters in a year and they don’t let you in once it starts. So your plans are put on hold until you deal with this asshole test.

Now the test is done you’re set to student teach months later! You get a supervisor who you and fellow teachers refer to as “the raisin” to come observe your lessons and give you feedback. Anyway, I did a great job my supervisor was amused and my cooperating teacher and teachers around me were impressed. I was also working with special education students who have multiple disabilities. Enter new student who refuses to stay in a classroom and screams all day. For whatever reason the kid and I had an understanding. When there was a problem in my class or another I was able to calm him. This was on top of doing my work and teaching. So this earns me respect because I am able to control situations as well as actually educate students. I volunteered my time and participated as one of the staff where I shared ideas and new technology. So once again more respect from those around me and I’m treated as one of the staff not a student. After finishing as a student teacher I was working everyday as a substitute because the teachers in the building trusted me. Earned even more respect, so as a new grad I’m obviously proud. Jump ahead a few months and I’m asked if I applied for an open 3 month position and have to do a demonstration lesson in a regular classroom. Remember I said I was in special education so this is a new ball game. I do the lesson and get ripped apart, but why wouldn’t I? I didn’t know the class or the content. I was nervous and choked on my words. After crying for days at that experience I get the call that the job is mine. That’s 3 months of salary pay! Woohoo! For those 3 months I not only learn as I go but my kids are learning. I ask for help from fellow teachers and deal with horrid behavior problems. Bla bla bla we will skip ahead. At the end of the day I walk away with recommendations from a very critical principal who is well respected  as well as other staff members.

So I worked my ass off and did a great job. Come September I should have a teaching job right? NOPE! I get hired as an aide. This is after the principal recommending me for an open position elsewhere. Guess who got the open positions. Any guesses? The girl that knew this person or she knew someone who knows the people in charge. The aide job was nice because I was still with kids and staff that I loved but the pay was horrible because it wasn’t salary. I was paid through a grant. I would apply for positions on my lunch and when I came home at night. I get the opportunity to take over a short leave in poor district so I leave the comfort of a school I love to gain new experience. That experience comes to a halt because of personal issues. This also resulted in me turning down future opportunity in that building. I do not regret it because I was unhappy there anyway, but I do wonder if that was my one shot. I try not to think about that too much because money isn’t everything when you spend your days crying.

Now we’re back to the present. Back to being a substitute and working after care helping kids with homework many peanuts for pay. At least it’s money and experience! I keep applying and using my awesome recommendations and wait for calls. Most of the times the calls don’t come, but because I worked with such amazing people in often informed of filled positions. Who do you think gets these jobs? That’s right, the girls that know people!

And we’re back to that lovely question, what happens when you don’t know anyone? You cry a lot! You question your credentials and abilities. You doubt yourself and wonder if your time will come. Will it come when you don’t know someone to get your foot in the door? I really don’t know and that is something I’m going to have to find out. I know there’s plenty of people in the same position as I am in so why would I stand out among all of these people when there’s no one in my corner to help? ll, what happens when you don’t know anyone? yes she’s young but she is eager to learn and smart. So all I can do is do what I’m doing now, apply and try. I know education is a tough field but so is getting into any career.

That brings me to the idea of other careers. On top of my education degree I do have an English degree. I have great speaking and people skills and I know education and sales from working retail. There’s plenty of jobs I can do! Umm, where are these jobs? Where do I look? Who do I contact? All of the ideas of had I’ve been told I need to know someone! Like I said before I don’t know anyone! I’m 25! My circle is small and so are my resources. Where do I go from here when I don’t know who I need to know? 

The only think I can think to do is take it one day at a time and keep doing what I am doing. Keep working, keep applying, keep researching, and keep hoping. If you happen to stumble across this post and can offer insight or assistance please do. I’m too young to be cynical and I want the best for myself. Whoever wants to take a chance and help me reach my goals, well you are my kind of person. This post is me venting and hopefully there are plenty of people who can relate. Like I said I am a realist and this realist wants to know the people out there who want to help the underdog. I wear my heart on my sleeve and lately that sleeve has grown and encourage me to write in hopes to gain perspective on this thing we call life.

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