So as many peeps will know I had my first interview for perspective, post uni, jobs this week. I was terrified about it… It was my first proper interview…what was there not to be terrified about?! What I later found out was, the thing that was most terrifying was how different a job and a place could be in real life compared to how it read on paper….
I was being interviewed for a job in a MASSIVE school in Kent. This school has just gained academy status and is at the cutting edge of many education techniques and ways of doing school…. But at the risk of using a rather tired catchphrase, “Am I bothered?!”
Having spent the last three years going in and out of loads of schools, I’ve realised that I’ve seen lots of the smoke and mirrors that schools put on to show how amazing they are. And because of this, I tend not to find the smoke and mirrors very impressive anymore! This was an interview for a brand new role, I didn’t want to hear all about the cutting edge way that they taught key stage 3, or the amazing way they taught key stage 4, or even the amazing way that they taught key stage 5 (!)….. I just wanted to hear about what would be expected of me in the role, what space there would be for me to dream big dreams for the school and what support there would be for me from staff. I unfortunately didn’t get any of that… I just got a lot of boasting, empty buzz words and a really uneasy feeling. (Don’t get me wrong, I know that the is a certain level of boasting from both parties during an interview process… But on their part, that was all the was!)
This reason paled into insignificance however when it boiled down to learning more about the job, the local area and the actual interview itself.
Those of you who knew me back when I was looking into gap years might remember how strongly I reacted when I went to an interview at Lee Abbey. It was there that I realised just how much of a city chick I am, how much the idea of living in a rural community scared me and just how freaked out I got at the fact that my phone had no signal!! Well the last two days have been a slight retelling of that same story. I didn’t realise how rural Tenterden was, I didn’t realise that I would have to drive about half an hour to even hope of finding a church that had any young people in it (let alone more than 30 in a congregation!) and I didn’t realise that communicating with my support network here in MK wouldn’t be as simple as just dropping a text (as the adventure to find signal would have to happen first!!)
In short, me moving to Tenterden at this stage in my life wouldn’t just be a matter of me moving house, pulling up the roots I’ve put down here and replanting them in a new community. It would be a matter of completely changing the way I live. Moving out of your comfort zone is one thing, but completely destroying that comfort zone is something completely different!
So I’m not ready for rural, could that not have been something to get over?! Yes, I could have looked past it, if the job had been perfect… It wasn’t!
I’ve already said how massive the school is, well to put that massive in context let’s look at some numbers. This school already has: 2 school counsellors, 2 Connexions workers, 1 full time secular youth worker and for each house in the school a dedicated, non-teaching pastoral carer.
A large part of the job description spoke about this new person giving vital pastoral support and care to students and staff. Now I don’t want to be a defeatist, but with all those established workers covering pastoral care in the school, where and how would a new person fit in?! And if the pastoral care is vitally needed, perhaps the 10 people whose job it is need to be asked why it isn’t happening… Instead of employing someone new!
For our interviews we were asked to give a short presentation on our visions for the role and how we would achieve them. I, trying to be clever and the perfect interview candidate, took every single vision either from the job description, person spec or the school’s website. During my tour round the school on Thursday it be and apparent that the school was already doing all of these things, and to be honest doing them well!! I was so confused at how developing something got on to a job description if it’s already happening, to be honest I got a little angry at them for wasting my time…
But then I thought, what would it look like if Bridgebuilder decided to place a single worker into one school, and wrote the Job description with the one teacher we had links with… It would be exactly the same situation. In short, they didn’t know what they wanted in a worker because the Christian head had gone forward with the appointment process with the Christian trust without talking to the other staff members and getting a picture of what it’s like on the ground.
So this morning I heard that I didn’t get the job, one of the main reasons being that I apparently don’t have enough experience in schools (that made me giggle). Am I devastated that I didn’t get it? Not at all!! I’d basically decided by the time we hit the m25 coming home yesterday that I didn’t want the job and if they actually offered me it, I’d turn it down.
Am I gutted that it worked out like this?! Honestly? Not really, it’s all experience. And this experience, having such a strong sense of it not being the job for me has given me a massive load of confidence to look for what actually is the right post for me. I want to thank the 4 wonderful people who text me in the week leading up to the interview telling me that it was just as much about me seeing if I liked them as it was about them liking me… Remembering those messages gave me the confidence to question and pursue the uneasy feeling I had.
And ultimately I thank God, for making this decision so clear… For being with me during the whole process. And for continuing to be with me now as, the morning after, I start to regroup and dip my toe back in the pool of adverts and applications.