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Posts Tagged ‘job’

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, not there haven’t been lots of issues I’ve thought about over the last months, too many to go into now.

In the midst of doing day-to-day things, God manages to send me messages that all will be well, even about the most turbulent things that may be going on in my life. I’m sorry to admit that I think He probably sends way more messages than I actually “hear” as I flitter and float around and spend way too little time being quiet and meditative.

Anyhow, I’m making chocolate bark (dark chocolate, cranberries, coconut, almonds, rice krispies – yum) to take to a friend’s 60th birthday party tomorrow and all of a sudden I was thinking about the quote I put at the top of many of the application letters I sent out and how that might be a good quote to put at the top of the webpage I need to create for my new job (I’m going back to teaching high school and will be developing a brand new course to boot.)

It’s a very ancient saying, but a true and honest thought, that if you become a teacher, but your children you’ll be taught.

With that, my brain immediately switched gears to Pandora, the on-line music service, wondering what would happen if I put in Rodgers and Hammerstein as a search string – picked up the iPad, launched Pandora, put in Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the FIRST song to come up is Getting to Know You from The King and I.

Is that God’s way of saying, “That’s a good idea. And don’t worry about fall, being in a new situation, teaching a new cours. All will be well.”? I sure hope so.  I guess even God uses technology.

(BTW, those who know me know that I love Broadway tunes. The playlist for the first 15-20 minutes of Pandora was: Getting to Know You (King and I), Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz – OK not Broadway but they put it in there), Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (Oklahoma), One Day More (Les Miz, about my favorite show), I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miz), The Surrey with the Fringe on the Top (Oklahoma), The Music of the Night (Phantom of the Opera), and One Hand, One Heart (West Side Story). Poor husband Bob had to listen to his usually off-key wife singing her head off.)

If you’re not familiar with Pandora, you need to check it out! (Pandora.com) It plays even better on the iPad or iPhone than on the computer!!

God is good all the time; all the time, God is good. And singing is good for the soul!

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No matter how slowly it feels time is going through the summer, something happens near the ides of August. For the education community, in general, it is gearing up time for the start of school with opening days occurring from then through the day after Labor Day, depending on the district.

The buildings are usually in major disarray, clutter abounds, there are last-minute registrations, often times unexpected changes in staff, phone calls, papers, meetings, lesson plans, class schedules – an avalanche of activity as a group and as individuals.

In addition to the usual flurry of activity I’m engaged in during the last few days before school starts, my personal avalanche has often involved finalizing getting a job. That happened in 1982 when I was hired during a phone conversation, left for a planned family vacation, and returned the night before the first day of school. It happened in 1993 when I worked for a week without a contract altogether. It happened in 1997 when I had a job but didn’t know where it would be located.

And it is happening again in 2010 as I return to the Kittery School system to take an 80% Technologist position. Oh, yes, I signed a contract back on June 23, but that was for a 60% 7-12 Integrator position working in two buildings, the details not defined at that time.

Fast forward to August 17 when the Superintendent and School Committee restructured the technology department which included eliminating the position of coordinator. My 60% position went to 80% and was to now include grades 4-8 hardware and software support in addition to integration. I’ve been part of a 4-hour meeting assigning roles for this new team (two positions remain unfilled) and prioritizing what MUST be done before the kids come in and what can wait. There’s more work than time, surprise, surprise.

Staff returns to district tomorrow at 7:30 with students arriving on Wednesday, September 1.

It’s been two years since I’ve traveled this road. Some of the road signs have changed since I was last here from a new principal to more students and fewer hours to get the job done. There’s lots more equipment and new software, staff that I don’t know and staff that I know well.

Part of me feels like I’m in Groundhog Day – most of me feels like I’m going home – and that feels wonderful.

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Gratitude is an attitude that hooks us up to our source of supply. And the more grateful you are, the closer you become to your maker, to the architect of the universe, to the spiritual core of your being. – Bob Proctor

My husband Bob went to check the Powerball number in Sunday’s paper. Lo and behold, whose face should greet him below the fold but mine — yet again. Fame is so yesterday. Yawn. Tee hee. Those of you who have been following my story know that I have been mentioned in a number of articles during the two years I’ve been out of work.

Seriously, along with a young man with a few years of teaching experience, I had been interviewed because of losing our jobs. According to the article, Laid-off area teachers scramble to find work, some 200 teachers had been laid off statewide this year with the southeastern and northern ends of New Hampshire the hardest hit. Fortunately, Lee Sims (the other teacher in the article) was able to quickly find a position at a local private school. Others, of course, are not so lucky.

Even more unfortunate will be the students who will bear the brunt of the loss of teachers and programs.

It was mentioned in the article that I am returning to work in my former school district. A position was created this spring for a K-12 Technology Integrator. Funding was sufficient for a 60% position that would deal with grades 7-12 to support the Maine Learning Technology Initiative one-to-one laptop program. Because I had the experience, education, and certification, I was offered the post.

While it has some components of my former job, it is not the same. Instead of responsibilities for integration, small group instruction, staff support, hardware and network for grades 6-8, I will be working with solely with teachers in two buildings facilitating technology use in their classrooms.

While I would not have turned down a full-time position, I have come to realize that part-time is a good thing at this point in my life. It allows the best of both worlds. I am working at something I enjoy. Yet, I’m hoping to be able to have some time with Bob when he’s not working and also continue doing empowerment group facilitation with Seacoast Peers for Careers.

Things have changed in two years, including me. There are new applications and new expectations. Some teachers I don’t know at all; some know me very well. That’s both good and bad. There’s a new superintendent with her own vision for the district.

What hasn’t changed is my enthusiasm for my craft and gratefulness for all these new blessings in my life.

It’s a new day and a new school year! Here we go!

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For the second time in my life, I’m sitting in beautiful Castine, Maine, but not as a vacationer sitting down near the water nor cruising on one of the boats moored in the harbor. I’m inside at the Maine Maritime Academy attending a four-day conference relative to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI for short), the one-to-one laptop program that has been in existence since 2002. My first training conference must have been in 2003. Now, like then, I am among peers and experts in the field and have much to learn.

For those unfamiliar with the program, MLTI transformed middle level education in the State of Maine by giving each 7th and 8th grader an Apple laptop, installing a wireless network in each building, and providing some exceptional professional development.

Shapleigh Middle School, where I used to work, was selected as one of the nine exploratory sites around the State and received two class sets of laptops a semester before the full rollout in September 2002. In fact, Governor Angus King (the visionary leader who came up with this plan) used Shapleigh for the kickoff of the program. Its location in Kittery (referred to as the “Gateway to Maine”) seemed the logical spot for telling students, “The world will be watching you,” as this was the largest technological implementation ever. I consider my involvement with the program one of the major highlights of my long educational career.

Over the years, Shapleigh played host to educators from other states, a town in Quebec and a delegation from France. Between laptops, a culture of high standards for kids and cooperation and sharing among staff, along with the leadership of Principal, Greg Goodness, the school was given Blue Ribbon status and its administrator was Maine Principal of the Year.

But that’s history. So why is Diana here when her technology job was eliminated two years ago?

It’s simple:

I’ve got a new/old job!

“What’s a ‘new/old’ job?” you ask. The district Advisory Committee for Information Literacy recommended the creation of an integrator position for fall. After two years of providing support with a coordinator, an ed tech, and a technician, the reality that technology was falling behind without someone to facilitate integration. Originally proposed as a K-12 position, funding was authorized at the 60% level. It will be similar to my old job but will not include all the hardware and network responsibilities.

I’ve been away from this world of technology, so I’m feeling a bit rusty. I’ve been away from the conversations in District as well, so I’m not sure what the teacher needs are. I’ve been away from the jargon, so have definitions to learn.

As always, I am not only learning new things but also having to think about how they will be used in the future after I teach them to others. Being learner and integrator is not always easy but is just part of the game. I’m in sponge mode trying to absorb as much as I can to bring back to my colleagues.

Two summers ago, I was 100% unemployed. As summer 2010 comes to a close, that percentage will reduce, though not be completely eradicated.

In some ways I have come full circle.

The long journey ends as a new one begins.

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It’s been quite a while since I have blogged. After reading today’s entry, you will understand why.

The sun was streaming through my bedroom window last Sunday morning. It felt so good on my face as I lay there in the quiet. I immediately started singing John Denver’s words in my mind: “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely. Sunshine always makes me high.”

While far from a “sun worshipper,” I find being in the warm sunlight so restorative to my spirit. So I was disappointed when the recent trip my husband and I took to Florida during spring break in March proved to be pretty cold and windy. While it was good to get away, not getting to spend some time just relaxing with a book while sitting outside in warm sunshine (oh, and maybe taking a nap there too), left me unable to truly pull back from the cares of my life and really relax.

And I so needed to do that. Relaxing had become foreign to me …

You see, the events of the last couple of months converged leaving me in the darkness. Anxiety had become my constant companion. I’ve been nervous each morning before I head to class and each time I have to be part of a group. My confidence is shaken and my self-esteem is low. While I have been in some new situations for sure, this is so uncharacteristic for me. Added to those feelings and exacerbating them were some medical concerns. Some meds I had started shortly before the start of the new year made my blood pressure go crazy. This, of course, created anxiety of its own. As my primary care provider worked with me to adjust meds and get my BP down, I found myself falling into a depression. I found myself at a very low point just as we came back from Florida.

My birthday that next week was celebrated back at the doctor’s office where I arrived in tears. While relieved to learn that one of the meds being used to control my BP and also relieve some of my anxiety can cause depression, I realized that hitting a second birthday without full-time employment was also contributing to my downward spiral. I was not feeling sorry for myself but was unable to stop those feelings of inadequacy and failure that had surrounded me, also pulling me towards the abyss.

As I write this, I am not completely out of the woods. However, my BP is under control, my newer meds don’t appear to be causing any issues, and I feel less nervous. I’m still a bit unsure as I leave the house each day, but I have not cried in a number of days. I am still very tired a good part of the time, but I am laughing more and finding joy again in those simple pleasures of a husband and family who love me and all the other blessings in my life.

It’s cold and rainy in Dover again, weather so different from the first day of spring almost a month ago and the beautiful warm Easter weekend of two weeks ago. But this, too, shall pass. This is New England after all, where the weather changes regularly. It is because of that change that I so appreciate the warm sunny days when we have them.

And so it is with life.

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I HAVE LANDED!

That’s how Tim Ashe entitled a recent discussion on the Seacoast Peers for Careers Group on LinkedIn as he announced his good news. I share his words, used with permission, and my comments posted there as well. Hopefully, there will be something you can take and apply to your own job search.

Tim and fellow alum Amy start their new positions March 1.

Tim AsheI have accepted a position to be the Sales Manager at the Laconia Citizen, which is part of Foster’s Daily Democrat. I will be responsible for the revenue generation of 5 sales people. This is a direct result of Liesl Malone and her Hidden Gems series in Seacoast Sunday. The Advertising Director at Foster’s saw the article and reached out to me. Since I have an advertising background and management experience, it seemed like a natural fit. I worked at Foster’s a long time ago for 2 years, so it feels like I’m going home.

I have already contacted Liesl to let her know how much I appreciate her featuring me in her series. What she does for those of us who are unemployed is invaluable. I think we have to keep in mind that, she too, is unemployed, yet she continues to try and give us a voice that can be heard. Thank you again Liesl for everything you have done and continue to do.

I also want to thank Diana Schuman for starting the group. Once I found out about Seacoast Peers for Careers, I attended every week. I found the group to be very comforting and extremely helpful in getting all my ducks in a row. This is a different job market than we have ever experienced before. I think groups like this are essential in helping people focus their energy in the right direction. I learned a great deal about the job search that I never knew before. Groups like this one don’t run themselves. They need people like you and me to participate in order to stay relevant. I hope to stay in touch to see how things are going for everyone. I will be watching for future landings. I will miss seeing everyone on *Wednesdays, but hope this is a sign of things turning around for everyone. Stay positive.

Best of luck to everyone, Tim Ashe

Thank you, Tim, for your kind words for Seacoast Peers for Careers and for me.

This winter season in our lives has resulted in many examples of “paying it forward.” Liesl’s twist on that concept allowed your generous spirit to be viewed by others and had a great result.

Each of the networking/empowerment groups that we have all attended has its own personality; but all of them are comprised of folks willing to share from their experience, their expertise, their knowledge – some of that being acts of paying it forward within themselves. We are the richer for the camaraderie that developed from our sharing and working together.

As you experienced recently, there is much “hoopin’ and hollerin’” at the good news of a landing. While there is, of course, sadness at no longer having the wisdom that you have brought to the table, the joy that we all feel for you is most earnest.

Vaya con Dios, my friend.

*Seacoast Peers for Careers meets Wednesday, 9:30-11 AM, St. John’s UMC, Dover, NH.

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Gosh, there was more exciting news at this week’s meeting of Seacoast Peers for Careers! AR, who had been offered a job last week, met with HR to discuss salary and benefits which ended up being better than expected. No negotiation was needed! And Tim, who had two interviews last week as a result of his Hidden Gems article, was offered a sales manager position at a branch of a company he had worked for early in his career. He told us, between smiles, that it felt like he was “coming home.” Both start March 1.

While there was much cheering, it is also bittersweet knowing that these two folks who have become dear to us are off on new adventures. And as much as we earnestly wished them ‘God speed,” there was a momentary sadness that we weren’t the ones sharing the good news. But such is the ebb and flow of life.

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