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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hanging in the Balance

Since even before I graduated, I've been looking for a position as a guidance counselor. Easy, right? Um, I wish. Unfortunately, the field is extremely competitive and there are major hurdles to getting that first position in a public school. I'm basically playing a waiting game at the moment, because schools often don't hire until the very last second. And it sucks.

I have been on a bunch of interviews, and have not heard back from a single one. Not a phone call, not an email. I've left messages with nothing in return. This could mean they are still interviewing, or it could mean they just aren't interested. But all I know is that I am frustrated.

I think part of my frustration is just because I have been so lucky in the past - I have been working full-time for 10 years now and I have never had trouble finding a job. This is a completely different type of position, much more specified and also much more fulfilling, than anything I have done before. But I had no idea it would be this hard.

I have tried and tried to have a good attitude about my job hunt, but I am really feeling the pressure as the summer goes on and I have yet to get a job offer. People keep reassuring me that something will come through - but I have absolutely no guarantee of that and there are plenty of applicants just like myself, just as qualified, just as smart, who will not find a position. So why will I? So the empty assurances don't really make me feel better. Not to say that I don't appreciate that people believe in me, but it just doesn't make things easier to bear when I seemingly have no real reason to believe them.

And whenever I reach out, or someone offers to talk to someone "in the know," all I get is disappointing advice on how to go about looking for a position (mainly things I've already heard) or critiques on my resume (hardly helpful concrete info about available positions). No short cuts, no good, real contacts who can actually help. Sigh.

The thing that bothers me the most is the prospect of having worked five years towards this goal. Working full-time, taking classes at night, limiting my social life because of papers due and having to study. Going into debt due to student loans. And all for naught. The thought is unbearable and kinda heart-wrenching.

I have a few friends who really have been understanding and supportive and have let me whine on their shoulders, and I appreciate them a lot. As I learned in my counseling classes, empathy goes a long way. I know I haven't been the happiest and easiest person to be around lately. And I hate that, because it's not like me. But I'm scared.

So that's my life du jour. I am hoping that my next post will bear better news, unexpectedly good news. Until then, if anyone needs a guidance counselor, let me know.


  • Oy. Best of luck.

    By Blogger Shira Salamone, at 7/29/08, 4:40 PM  

  • Guidance counselors for Public Schools is a very specialized field. You should broaden your horizons and see a career counselor.

    I've alsd mentioned many times you have a very unique niche in the Bais Yacob system, as you can bridge both worlds. L-rd knows those girls need you desperately.

    By Blogger SemGirl, at 7/30/08, 7:24 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Noph angel, son of Georgiel, at 7/31/08, 12:32 AM  

  • You don't want a counseling job. Ask any k-12 teachers and they'll tell you that counselors do only administrative work. It's the teachers who speak to students and counsel them. Students don't know enough to seek help from a counselor.

    By Blogger Noph angel, son of Georgiel, at 7/31/08, 12:36 AM  

  • Semgirl - I am trained as a career counselor. I have been looking at other options also, but this is my preference. And I would work in a Bais Yacov if they could pay me a living wage.

    Noph- No cursing on my blog. I have experience being a secretary. I don't want to do that anymore. And students do go to their counselors, I did an internship, I saw it. But thanks.

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 7/31/08, 6:20 AM  

  • Shoshana - it might have appeared to you that students went to their counselors, but looks can be decieving. They might have really been going to get their snacks, and sort of walked passed by their counselors. Did you consider that? Also they might have popped by just to look at you and not to actualy talk to their counselors. That's possible too. Most students are morons anyway.

    By Blogger Noph angel, son of Georgiel, at 7/31/08, 3:40 PM  

  • I'm so sorry that you're finding it impossible to get a job as a guidance counselor at a public school. Unfortunately, the public school job market is one where so many people are going to be qualified for a given job opening that it's really a game of who you know. Except for positions where there's a shortage like ESL, science, or special ed, there is almost always an inside track candidate. In the case of getting a job as a guidance counselor, I feel that a principal or dept head will be more likely to hire a former teacher from that school who is changing roles or someone who did his/her internship at the school, rather than a well-referenced, well-credentialed stranger. I have been involved with several NJ public schools, and unfortunately for you, the guidance counselors were always former teachers.

    My advice is to take ANY guidance job you can get, no matter how poorly it pays. Think of it as another year of internship where you'll be paid in experience and references. By building your experience you'll make yourself a more attractive candidate for the few schools who hire without an inside track candidate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/31/08, 3:49 PM  

  • Crack cures all ills.
    Except becoming a crackhead.

    By Blogger fwengebola, at 7/31/08, 6:24 PM  

  • Fweng -
    Excellent advice, thank you :)

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 7/31/08, 8:13 PM  

  • Why not hedge your bet? Look for other jobs, but keep applying for ps counseling positions?
    Lifes a bit crazy...

    By Anonymous $forbrains, at 8/3/08, 2:06 AM  

  • I agree with Anonymous. Take anything you can find, even if it doesn't pay a living wage and keep looking for something better. You should be able to use the poorly paid job as a stepping stone into a job that pays a decent salary eventually. Experience will only enhance your resume.

    I worked for peanuts my first three years in my field and it eventually turned out okay. :) Good luck!

    By Blogger Ahuva, at 8/4/08, 10:10 PM  

  • um, thanks everyone for the advice, but there are expenses such as rent to be paid. i kinda need to be able to cover those. otherwise, i'd be happy working for nothing.

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 8/4/08, 11:01 PM  

  • "I have experience being a secretary. I don't want to do that anymore."

    "there are expenses such as rent to be paid. i kinda need to be able to cover those."

    Everyone in the stuffwhitepeoplelike generation wants a job that's fulfilling and high-paying and that's the problem, when everyone wants something there isn't enough of it to go around.

    I'm sorry, all I can say is that if a school does hire you that you will be an excellent guidance counselor. I hope a school gives you the chance to help.

    There's nothing wrong with working as a secretary, but if that's not for you then you should take any guidance job that comes your way. A Bais Yacov job may "pay off" in friendships, personal satisfaction, and resume strength.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/5/08, 1:02 PM  

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