The long and winding road
Posted by Karen | Filed under Karen
Last week I shared with you the leap of faith my husband and I took when he returned to university to get his Bachelor of Education degree. He graduated just over two years ago and he immediately began to search for a job. And he searched. And he searched…
There were a few scattered interviews, and a few ‘you came in second’ comments. Then there were the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letters.
It was heart-wrenching. He persevered and kept trudging along. I was ticked off. He had worked so hard. He deserved to be offered a job. He was supposed to be a good statistic. Everyone said that male elementary school teachers, with the added bonus of a music background, were in demand.
That was when our world felt like it came full circle. It was like our universe had collapsed in on itself. He had to work. He needed to gain experience. We needed to pay our bills. He became a substitute teacher again. But this time, he didn’t have the evening job teaching music lessons. It wasn’t even déjà vu! It was worse than déjà vu! Here it was, three years later, and he was making less money than before.
Are you kidding me?
I was angry for him, and I was angry for me too. It just wasn’t fair! I didn’t want the burden anymore of being the main income earner. I wanted help. I wanted things to be equal. The pressure was getting to me.
And I admit it. I cried like a baby…usually in my car, by myself, with the music blaring. I didn’t want him to see it. I didn’t want him to think I was disappointed in him. I wasn’t! I just felt like we did everything right. Someone cut us a break already!
My pity party didn’t last very long. It couldn’t, and it shouldn’t. How could I say we ‘deserved’ anything? No one owed us anything. And as for being fair? Tough luck I guess! Life isn’t always fair. We had taken a risk, a leap of faith, and it wasn’t paying off…yet.
For the next 10 months he worked (again) as a substitute teacher and he got a part-time job with a tutoring company teaching elementary kids math and reading skills. We tried to turn a negative into a positive. We were, after all, at least making more money than we had the last three years, so we re-budgeted and began to work to pay off the school debt we accumulated. Suck it up. Get it done. What’s wrong with eating noodles for another year? (sigh)
The end of the school year arrived, and with that, another round of job applications and rejections for the following September. The job market was tight. We knew he wasn’t alone in his struggle, but it didn’t make us feel any better. My ever-industrious and determined husband decided to continue upgrading his skills by taking a French immersion course that summer and he worked again as a tutor.
I must say, I intensely admire my husband’s tenacity. He’s no quitter.
And then…the call came! He had an interview at a rural elementary school. The drive to that school was an hour and twenty minutes door to door, which is a pretty long commute for our part of the world. He went for the interview and by the time he was back at home there was a message for him. They were offering him a one year, term, full-time teaching position. Without hesitation, he said yes.
Then mild panic…this wouldn’t be easy. It was a long commute.
Thankfully, the panic was soon replaced with reasonableness. We’d manage. We always do. We could make this work. We had a year ahead of us of guaranteed great income (despite the high transportation costs we’d bear).
It was time to hunker down, pay off as much of the school debt as possible, stash some away for emergencies, invest what we could, and generally be money smart.
We had a whole year ahead of us before we’d be faced the job search situation again. It was time to make hay while the sun was shining.