Some Really Good Advice…

The recruiting process for international teachers is hard.  It’s a ridiculously long, stressful process that reminds me a lot of Rush (Recruitment) in a sorority.  Will they like me?  Is this school cool?  Will everyone think I’m awesome if I go here?  Why is no one else applying here?  What do they know that I don’t?  Can I really live with all these people, day in and day out?

When the Rugby Star and I started recruiting during our third year in Guatemala, we had no idea where we wanted to go but we knew one thing- we needed more money.  Guatemala was beautiful and we made some wonderful friends there.  The campus was sprawling and green, our principal was a dream to work for, the old city made for a great day trip and the mountains and rivers calmed the soul.  But we were broke.  So we made the decision it was time to leave and find a job where we could save money, plan for the future a bit more and not have to count every penny.

We liked the Middle East- it’s where we met, we had fond memories.  You make good money.  We decided to put our efforts into getting a job back in the ol’ sandbox.

A school in India started poking its’ nose around our profiles and resumes.  We got a request for an initial interview.  We researched and talked and thought about it and talked some more.  We had the interview; they wanted another one.  We had another one; they wanted another one.  By the third interview, it was feeling pretty promising.  We had stopped putting out feelers for other schools, had stopped sending our resumes out.  After the fourth interview, I went out and bought the Lonely Planet guide to India.  We had a fifth and then a sixth interview.  The director wanted us to fly to Portland for an interview over Christmas break.  We considered it.  But it was really short notice and the Rugby Star was going to his first NFL game with my dad…

The only problem with all of this- I did not want to move to India.  I still have no desire to live in 

Well, if Oprah went…
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India.  From everything we read, from everyone we talked to, it sounded like all of the things I hated about Shanghai, magnified.  People, pollution, noise, traffic, heat, humidity.  The school sounded wonderful; the director told us that people spent weekends at 5-star, all-inclusive resorts to escape the city.  That was promising, but I was also tired of living places where you felt like you couldn’t relax unless you left.

He said that the city wasn’t incredibly child-friendly.  There weren’t really parks or places to go for walks.  Well, I wanted to go for walks.  We couldn’t really walk in Guatemala because it wasn’t safe.  I wanted a family-friendly place to live. 

Basically, I didn’t want to live in India and I knew that.   And I kept saying that to the Rugby Star (who did want to go to India- he thought it would be a great adventure and the school did sound unbelievably amazing).  But the whole process of recruiting is so stressful that you worry- if I turn this job down, will I get another?  What if this is my only chance?

During each interview we had, the director kept stressing the hard parts of living in India.  And at the end of every interview he gave me the best advice I’ve ever received, whether in recruiting or life in general- Just Think About It.  He kept telling us to really think about it- could we handle living in the place he was describing?  The Rugby Star assured him that we could… but I think he might’ve sensed my hesitation. 

In the end, we didn’t get the job.  He said he wouldn’t hire anyone until he met them face-to-face.  We were scheduled to meet him at the recruiting fair we were attending in February but he hired someone at an earlier fair.  Fine by me.  Because I had thought about it.  I’m pretty sure I would not have liked living in India.  Maybe one day I’ll visit but it’s not a top travel priority.

My advice to those moving overseas (or making any big decisions):

Just Think About It.  Go with your gut.  You know what you can and can’t handle.  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Don’t be afraid to say no- it just means something better is waiting out there for you!

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4 thoughts on “Some Really Good Advice…

  1. “Just Think About It. Go with your gut. You know what you can and can't handle.” I love this. I'm such a big believer in trusting your gut – deep down, I think we really do know what's right for us, almost all the time.
    And, I'm with you – I just could not ever do India, as many amazing qualities as I know it has.

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  2. Never done the whole international teacher recruitment game, but I can definitely relate to the whole “Will they like me?” “Is this place cool?” Oh man, job hunting is so stressful. I can't imagine being expected to have 6 interviews & they still aren't sure. Geez!

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  3. I could never live in India, either. And I don't know that I could handle having that many interviews (I'm assuming they were phone interviews) and still not get the job. That seems a bit extreme. But I love the advice you give at the end. I find myself worrying if I'm passing up a great opportunity. But you're right. Something better is always waiting around the corner!

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  4. I think the guy was right to continue to interview- I don't know if he really sensed my hesitation or if he just knew how people have responded to moving to India but if he had offered the job in the first couple of interviews, we probably would have taken them…

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