Actually, it found me.
I received an email from an old friend of my husband’s that I had recently met while participating in a social science research study at UCI. She was a Professor in Education at Cal State Long Beach and we had similar interests in culture, Mandarin, and education. My husband had lost touch with her for over a decade and recognized her immediately when picking me up from the study.
My husband’s friend asked if I was interested in supervising pre-service Mandarin teachers doing their teaching practicums. The teaching credential program at Cal State Long Beatch had supervisors in World Languages, but no one who could speak Chinese. I had always wanted to work with university students and I could draw upon my Mandarin, my teaching experience and graduate training. I was very interested.
Due to a communication error or a clerical mistake on my part, I had arrived an hour late for the interview. Not a good start. When describing my background in second language teaching and learning, I mentioned a professor who had deeply impacted me as a credential student at UCI. The coordinator who interviewed me told me that me that the professor I had just mentioned was a close friend, mentor, and colleague of hers, and that she had recently passed away. I was saddened by the news and did not know what to say. Before I could respond, she offered me the job. I accepted!
It was a part-time position and just made a tiny dent in paying the bills, but I knew this was a perfect fit for me. I still hold this position and really do enjoy it. I have the opportunity to encourage and counsel students and use my analytical skills when it comes to evaluations. It is rewarding to support future teaches who will be impacting the future generation.
There were so many serendipitous events that lead to my finding this job. If I hadn’t noticed and responded to a small slip of paper on a table at my Moms’ group one Friday morning asking to volunteers to participate in at research project at UCI, I wouldn’t have met my husband’s friend who referred me to the position at Cal State Long Beach. If my husband hadn’t picked me up at the moment he did, he would not have run into his old friend and we would not have exchanged phone numbers. If I hadn’t mentioned the former professor who I had trained under at UCI, I may not have made a good enough impression since I was an hour late to the interview. Finally, luck was on my side.
Questions for Thought or Discussion:
Have you ever found a job just because you were at the right place at the right time or because you knew somebody or somebody knew you? What is your job hunting strategy?
My job is rewarding, but I need additional work to make ends meet. What are some trade-offs that you might have to juggle when it comes to work?