I have good news! I started a new job about a month ago. Yay! As much as I loved the idea of being ‘funemployed’ and whiling away my days in creative, blissful freedom, it’s really not as fun as it might seem. At least not for someone like me who enjoys being industrious and, as much as I hate to say it, needs a routine to keep me productive and sane.
Many of you had asked, before and after my move, what I planned to be doing for work here. And much to the surprise and maybe even dismay of some, I had no earthly idea. I was looking at this big life-changing move as an opportunity to also change my career. I wanted to use the transition time to really figure out what I want ‘to be when I grow up.’ You might have heard me say that I was interested in floral design and what better place to do that than Holland. Or maybe you heard my thoughts on possibly teaching English as a second language, but I really had no idea. And honestly it just sounded better than, ‘I have absolutely no idea.’ That was all just good, old-fashioned lip service, guys. My sincere apologies.
My hope was that I’d get here and during the four or five months I planned to be unemployed in an effort to adjust and acclimate, I’d somehow have an epiphany and figure out my purpose in life and the key to my very bright future in one, quick ‘aha moment.’ That hasn’t happened. No lightbulbs have gone off. No Eureka.
And what have I figured out in the last five months? I’ve found that I still really enjoy writing, though I hadn’t done it in years. And I’m glad my time off has allowed me to create this blog. That has certainly been fulfilling. But to be honest, I was really starting to go nuts without a purpose or routine. It certainly wasn’t conducive to figuring out my future. Anxiety about money flowing out of my accounts but none coming back in started to creep into my mind. And once that started, I felt a heaviness I can’t describe. Almost a depression really.
So I started to think about looking for a job one gray and rainy day in mid-July. The only thing I’d really figured out in my time of reflection and independence (read: unemployment and non-stop meal-planning) was that I certainly didn’t want do a 9-5 job in a corporate environment. And that I really wanted to take advantage of the healthy work-life balance in the Dutch culture by working part-time.
Time and time again I’ve continued coming back to my long-held desire to work in a school. I’ve always felt most at-home in an academic setting. As nerdy as it sounds, being a student was always natural and fulfilling for me. School was always my priority and my favorite pastime. At 15 years old, I had an English teacher that kinda changed my life and I decided that I wanted to be an English teacher or professor, too. That was the plan. Until boys. Boys ruined all my plans. Well, that’s the quickest answer anyway. In college I made one too many decisions based on my relationships at the time, and it really did me no favors. In some ways I regret that, but in other ways I think things have turned out just fine. Maybe even better than if I’d taken a less circuitous route. You live, you learn.
So imagine my delight at quickly finding a part-time position working in the AP (Advanced Placement) / IB (International Baccalaureate) office at an international school near The Hague. This position would allow me to work with the best and brightest students, something I’ve always dreamed of doing. And at an international school I wouldn’t have to rely on my not-quite-yet-there Dutch skills. I immediately wrote a way-too-sappy cover letter and sent in my resume. I felt like this position really was made for me.
Two days later I got a call from the school asking me to come in for an interview with the principal. The interview was great. I felt completely prepared and confident (one huge plus of conducting hundreds of applicant interviews at my last job). The school and people I met gave me such a great feeling – that feeling of ‘this is right.’ It was enough for me to overlook the hour-long commute I’d be making twice a day, four days a week. Soon I was doing a second interview via Skype and not long after, I was offered the job. I gladly accepted.
So now I’ve found myself the Assistant to the AP / IB Coordinator at the American School of The Hague. It’s an absolutely incredible school that accommodates students from 3-18 years of age. It truly is an international community, hosting over 76 different nationalities. It’s so incredible to hear Swedish, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and countless other languages all spoken under one roof. I don’t know yet if this will be what finally pushes me into a teaching career or not, but I do feel that I’m one step closer to my ‘aha moment,’ and I’m very much looking forward to the school year ahead.
PS…I should have known it was a sign – their school colors are blue and gold (my high school colors), and their mascot is the Trojans (my university mascot). Go Trojans!