Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Well, how did I get here?

I may have not mentioned to anybody that I had a job interview leading up to this offer. And that's probably because I was feeling particular cynical and depressed about the whole job thing when the call came in for the interview. In fact, I got the call not half an hour after I was rejected from another job. Such is life.


So College calls me up and says they want to interview me. I would have a talk with the hiring committee. I should prepare a 15 minute teaching demonstration. Topic to be determined. They get back to me the next day saying that the topic is of my own choosing. (Does that make it harder somehow? It raises expectations, but at least you can play to your strengths.)

I choose a topic related to World War I, since my obsession remains unabated. I selected some very fun propaganda posters to get the "kids" to play along. I chose, however, not to dwell on the sex side of things. Figuring that might not play well in Peoria, or in the small town where the college is located.

Yes, the college is not in my hometown. It is a substantial drive away. Enough that that has become the major focus on my decision-making process. Would I be able to handle a long commute? (Granted, it is a beautiful commute...) Would I be willing to relocate, say, halfway between this job and Spouse's job? Would the environmental impact make my guilt overpowering? (Related: would I buy a Prius?) Those questions continue to plague me.

So I prepare my materials and make the drive to the college. I get a little lost on the way, but eventually, I arrive. The committee is not quite ready for me. I wait.

The committee, I should note, is twelve people. TWELVE! And they fire questions at me for almost an hour. Yet I believe that I'm handling it with aplomb. I get the dreaded, "What is your biggest weakness?" question, and while I still haven't come up with an answer I'm happy with, I muddle through it.

After the interview, they guide me to an available classroom where I can set up my slideshow. I give the teaching demonstration to everyone from the committee PLUS a few more people. It goes very well. They are engaged. They compliment me and one requests a copy of the ppt file.

Now I think I'm done. But wait! There's more! The Dean of Something-or-other takes me back to the main building, where he says I'll be meeting with the college president. Eek! Nice guy, history buff. So that goes well. But let me just tell you, I was NOT prepared for that.

Then I get the campus tour. Then I get the talk from the benefits lady. This was shaping up to be more like a University-level campus visit and less like a CC interview. I am duly impressed with their attention to detail and their willingness to expend some energy to make me feel taken care of.

We part on good terms. They said they would contact me in a few weeks. It didn't take that long.

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Blogger Jade said...

Long commutes can be a good time for you to go over lesson plans on the way to work and sum up the events of the day on the way home. Or, if you have an iPod, rock out to and fro.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous kr said...


From N Here, the commute for Spouse over the N Bridge and then the hillsroad would be about 25-30 minutes, with the yuckiest traffic at the job-side of the trip. N Here obviously cuts out two or three HUGE sections of ugly hwy traffic for you. (To your parents you'll want to drive off-traffic hours on the hwy, not the hillroad, for sure.)

On the other hand, you might not like N Here much, culturally, and I am of course happy to talk to you re: my impressions thereof.

There is at least one realty agency that specializes in N Here. With the prices in your current area, you should be able to afford a biggish or maybe very big house in this area, especially if you are a little savvy. Some of the area (eg, my neighborhood) have already hit the top of the local price-freak-out, but there are pockets which should be about to explode; I may be buying in one of those in the next year with hopes of a similar appreciation to what we've caught here (100% over 5 years), although of course I am evaluating that closely. And youall are probably more interested in convenience than investment. But I can talk to you about that too if you want ;).

The mainline public schools mostly ... um ... suck? (The teachers are dedicated blah blah ... but, um, no.) Which is why we are going charter (we got in! woo hoo!).

There, that's probably my only useful input for your decision :).

1:16 PM  
Anonymous kr said...

oh, and sometime in the next 15 years theya re going to massively work on the section of hwy between here and the river on the way to your new job ... new bridge, new lanes, all kinds of stuff

so that might affect commute decisions for you and spouse

they should be adding serious public transpo along that section as well, so if you can park the prius on the other side of the river, you can skip the construction nasties ... the other side was fixed up (supper nice) a few years ago

1:20 PM  
Blogger K-Lyn said...

May I take a moment to offer a solution to the environmental guilt...

PGE has an option called Renewable Future which is 100% renewable wind power, the rate - yes it is a little higher at the moment - will be fixed until 12/31/11! I was just told that switching to this is roughly the equivallent to NOT driving 16,000 miles. Carbon Offsets are a beautiful thing!

Ok, I'm off my soapbox now.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Kr, we talked about if relo becomes our plan, we'd go farther N than where you are. Cross another river.

Klyn, Thanks. We'll look into it. We had a similar program in the Southland. (Imagine that!)

2:16 PM  
Anonymous kr said...

it would make sense

but I wasn't sure (and duh should have asked before spouting ;), sorry)

Spouse then may want to be aware of the hwy remodel : P ... or of course join a shiny new facility up there :).

5:36 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I haven't even finished reading the post yet, but 2 years in HR has taught me the correct answer to the question, "What is your biggest weakness?" in an interview situation: some variation, said with a casual smile and maybe a slight laugh, on "I am a perfectionist" or "I expect too much of myself." Hiring people eat that shit up.

6:13 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Hooray for a good interview and a job you're going to love.

My answer to "What is your biggest weakness?" has pretty consistently been, "That I'm never prepared to answer that question. It always catches me off-guard. And um....expecting too much of myself."

8:19 PM  
Blogger Neel Mehta said...

Interesting (if not necessarily good) answers to that question, "What is your biggest weakness?"

1. Chocolate. The darker the better. Am I right, ladies?

2. My right arm is a lot stronger than my left. Must be the backpack.

3. Puppies!

4. Intolerance for those who show any sign of weakness.

5. "Your overconfidence is your weakness."
"Your faith in your friends is yours!"

So, yeah, I'd say my constant need to quote Star Wars.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we already have the 100% renewable electricity. now we need the prius. lets say thaat will be the gift after one year of happy work!


6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, and the ipod. we must get you the ipod.


6:04 AM  
Anonymous kr said...

Chocolate. The darker the better.

Holy crap, Neel, this is a brilliant and completely accurate answer to that stumper. Unfortunately, now that it has entered the blogosphere, I am sure by that time I enter the job market it will no longer seem original. Tragic.

But brilliant, nonetheless.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Prof Mama said...

Congratulations on the offer! I hope you come to a decision you feel good about.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I had to make a comment because the verification word is


Congratulations! I recommend podcasts of This American Life for the trip...

7:25 PM  

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