Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wait, I Thought You Were A Music Major? Part I

I mentioned in this post that I have a degree in music and then I talked in this post about the dashed dreams of a lucrative career, among other things, so you must being thinking this does not compute. Nobody majors in music expecting a lucrative career. And I surely did not.

I graduated in December so I didn't intend to actively look for a job until after I got married the following June. Dave found a job in a nearby county at the midterm and I moved back home. Dave's job wasn't a great situation and definitely not a long term place to be, but sufficed for gaining experience and making his resume more attractive for better jobs later. We got married and I fully intended to find a job as a band director somewhere.

It just so happened that a job opened up in the same county where Dave was working. The job was supposed to be a travelling job between two middle schools. Half the day would be at one school teaching band to 5-8 graders and the other half of the day would be at the other middle school doing the same. It wasn't ideal, but these were small schools and splitting the day between them was doable. I applied for the job and got an interview.

This interview was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. It began as a normal interview where they ask me questions and I answer them, but then over the course of the conversation it became clear that their job requirements were quite a bit different than what they had advertised. After they secured my interview, they had apparently talked to the high school band director, who was also the chorus teacher, and she saw an opportunity to create a better position for herself. She wanted to dump the high school band and only do chorus. The position for which I was interviewing was now going to be a travelling position between three middle schools bands and the high school band. This information was never clearly presented to me and I had to piece together what was going on from my questions and the conversations between the interviewers of which there were four or five. Four bands at four different schools with marching band on top of it was a lot of responsibility for a new graduate with no experience and it scared me. Even though it was at least double the work of the original job description, the pay would be exactly the same, under 20K a year. But worse than the change in job expectations was that they expected me to unconditionally accept the job on the spot. No, they didn't expect me to accept on the spot because they never asked me if I wanted the job. Acceptance was a foregone conclusion. They began immediately filling out paperwork during the course of the interview and then when they finished talking to me, when you would normally expect to exchange pleasantries and leave, they walked me over to the personnel secretary and walked away. I am now alone with the secretary who asks for my identification and my address and lists the forms I need to bring back to her. I am standing there stunned. What just happened here?

I return to my car where Dave has been waiting for me wondering what was taking so long. I promptly meltdown. Over the next 24 hours, I basically have an existential crisis. I said I wanted to be a band director, but this job completely frightens me. It is so much responsibility and I know there would be zero support from the school. I would have to do it all, all the time, for four schools! I had no confidence I could do it or that I even wanted to do it. I looked at the challenge and only wanted to run away. After a long and late discussion, Dave tells me that if this isn't the job I want to take, it was okay with him if I call and decline it.

The next day I called and told them I would not be accepting the job. The man I spoke to was not happy and I got a lecture about professionalism or something which was particularly galling considering the nature of the interview the previous day. How dare I not allow them to railroad me into an overwhelming job in terrible working conditions!  This position was a job for two or perhaps three people and they expected that the new college graduate with no experience would be desperate enough to take it and they could fill all these openings on the cheap. They thought wrong.

It soon became clear that Dave was going to reap the ire of their discontent with me and we decided we needed to get out of Crazyville.

Here's Part II.

1 comment:

Melanie Bettinelli said...

That is crazy. Talk about a lack of professionalism-- on their part!