Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Officially unemployed

Well for 3 days. I have finally been paid my redundancy money, a week overdue, and changed my mind about working an extra month to help them out. Because - I found a new job! 


I wanted to blog my experiences, the applications, the interviews, the rejection (only one)... but I found myself unable to even blog about it. I just wanted to shut everything out, almost everything. I couldn't deal with new things, so I kept in touch with some people and for them, I was normal. But I couldn't handle anything that wasn't normal. I've been fine about the redundancy from the beginning, I knew it was the push that I needed to move into the career that I'd always wanted. I would probably not have made the move easily, after all I was well paid, the hours were cushy, why would I move? 


Well an office relocation 114 miles round trip away, plus increase to full time hours. That's what made me move. I knew this was the time to get into the classroom. I'd been volunteering at my son's school for 18 months and had been promoted from helping out with the fun activities on a Friday afternoon, to delivering a French class, doing group work for literacy classes, and phonics too. 


One job came up, at February half term. I applied - mainly because I wanted to get an application out the door. I needed the kick to start the process of recalling when exacty I started that job in Exeter, and did I do that temping role beore the prison role or after? And where the hell are my certificates? I have found the exam slip sent to me in the post for my O Levels (last year of them, showing my age) but have failed to find my degree certificate! So starts the journey in and around the rip-off merchants that can copy your A Level certificates for £40! Anyway, that job got me nowhere. 


Then 2 jobs as teaching assisant came up at my son's school. I'd have been mad not to apply for them. Feeling not quite as confident as my friends and family, I didn't get either job, but I did get some good feedback. I was (in my own words) appalling in my observation in the classroom. My nerves got the better of me. But I felt confident in the interview, so that was good. And the head suggested I should be aiming to teach modern languages in a secondary school. Out came the whole "Do I teach or be a teaching assistant?" conundrum. I thought I'd got this out of my system, but I went through it all again and came up with the same answers. It's not the right time to do a PGCE. I can't commit to the hours, not with Ben at his age, I have too much to do with him. I am glad in a way that I didn't get the job at Ben's school. I am very familiar with the staff there, and I would've always felt like "Elf's mum who came into help" even though that wouldn't probably have been the case. 


I had applied for a second teaching assistant job in a local school, met the head, liked the school, worked hard on my appliation form and letter, and lo and behold got an interview. This in itself is an achivement, as I don't have paid experience as a TA! I felt the interview went well and I had an hour to spend in the classroom just working informally with some of the children. Two hours later, I got the call. "Well Humdrum, we thought you interviewed SO well, you were such a strong candidate ..." here comes the gut punch "But". But it didn't. It was followed by "And on that basis we'd like to offer you a position!" I was so excited I forgot most of what was said. I am to be a 1-1 TA for a boy with special educational needs, each morning for 3 hours. Then I am covering lunchtime activities and then an hour as a TA with Year 5/6. I was over the moon. 


Expecting to start in September, I imagined a few months off - no the job starts asap! I am starting this Friday as it's an inset day with some TA training. I have sorted out my hours with the head, it all fits around picking up Elf from school. It wouldn't be life without a little wobble. I've had that wobble when I realised my salary would go down by 2/3. But I don't think you do this kind of job for the money. I know I will be satisfied with my job, more than I could have said for my previous one. I will be rich in other ways. I'm grateful to Mr Hudmrum that we have worked out strategies to spend less. No more French Center Parcs, camping in Dorset all the way! 


My health has improved, my little stress rashes went as soon as we had notice to leave. My acupuncturist (reduced to a seasonal treatment now!) realised we'd been managing my stress for the last 2 years. My stress being "Oh my boss is making life difficult, I hate my job but I can't leave" etc. Now I had real stress "Was I going to be able to put food on the table?" but I am not so unhealthy. 


So on 4 May, may the Force be with me as I start the rest of my life! Wish me luck. Until then I'm officially unemployed for 3 days. Now what shall I do? Oh yes I'd better get on with my housework as I had to let my cleaning lady go! You never know, I may end up losing some weight!