Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Wright Decision

Please allow me to make a very long story condensed and readable because I know that no one wants to spend more than five minutes reading a blog post. In March my quickly approaching graduation started to weigh on my mind which prompted me to start looking for post graduation employment. I applied to a few universities and community colleges during my last semester at school, but it wasn’t until I got to Portugal and had loads of free time that I really started to get serious about finding a job. After hours of and hours of searching and filling out applications and dozens of emails with my résumé attached I still had no job. And then a high school teaching job in Washington became available. They seemed really excited to hire me and I was pumped to work with them. Unfortunately, just hours before my graduation from BYU they told that I didn’t get the job. It was a little upsetting, but mostly just surprising.

The night of graduation my mom and I immediately started looking for other job possibilities. My mom found a middle school position available in a city in the Seattle area. I called the district offices, told them that I was awesome, but wasn’t certified to teach and the kind lady on the other end told me that I had very little chance of being hired, but that she’d patch me through to someone else’s voicemail. The old “don’t call us, we’ll call you” routine. I expected never to her from that lady. Three weeks later I’m in Washington and I get a call from a number I don’t recognize. I answer and the lady on the other end said, “Hi, this is Jackie returning your call from a few weeks ago regarding the Spanish position we have available.” I was then expecting her to say, “Thank you for your interest in this position, but you’re not qualified for it so how dare you waste my time?!” What she really said was, “We’ve had trouble filling the position and were wondering if you would still like to apply.” I was shocked, stunned and nearly speechless. I told her I’d apply.

The position was to teach two periods of Spanish at two different middle schools. Later that day one of the vice principals called me in for an interview for the following day and I accepted. As I pulled in to the parking lot for the interview my phone rang and it was someone from the MTC calling me in for an interview for a job I’d applied for there. They wanted me to come in the next day, but I told them I was in Washington and they kindly agreed to let me come in the day after Labor Day. I was mostly stalling the MTC people because I wanted the teaching job in Washington more and was actually qualified for it. You see, the MTC job required being fluent in Portuguese. Am I fluent in Portuguese? Well… that depends on your definition of “fluent” and I wasn’t sure what the MTC’s was. So the MTC job became a backup plan if I didn’t get the teaching job in Washington.

The interview was the Wednesday before Labor Day and it went well. Later that day the school district started calling my references which is a VERY good sign so I was confident that I’d get the job. School started the next Tuesday so I was expecting to hear from the district really soon so that I could get to work preparing. Thursday passed in agony as I waited for a phone call that never came. On Friday I started to get really worried because if I didn’t get this job I’d have to go to Utah and I just wanted to know what their decision was. Friday afternoon around 2:00 pm I got a call from the vice principal informing me that there had been four applicants, I was one of the final two, but they picked the other guy because he was certified and I wasn’t. He went on say that blah blah blah I was awesome and that blah blah blah I should apply in the future and that blah blah blah they were impressed with me. I didn’t really want to hear it. I thanked him for his consideration and hung up. Once again I was stunned that I hadn’t gotten a job that I was sure I would get. However, my disappointment didn’t last long because I was thrilled to be going back to Utah.

I made plans to stay with my friends the Wrights when I got to Utah and I was pumped to see them. I was also pumped to see my grad student friends, friends from former wards and just to be in Utah again. I was sure that things would work out they way they were supposed to. So Labor Day morning I packed all of my belongings into my car yet again and started on the 14 hour drive to Provo. As I was ascending the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon I got a phone call from Jackie the HR lady informing me that the guy they offered the teaching position to ended up not being certified either and they would like to offer the position to me instead. Once again I was stunned. I said, “Can I call you back?” and she said, “Of course.” I then entered the mountains and for 40 agonizing minutes I didn’t have cell phone service. I really had to talk this decision over with my parents and yet they were unreachable.

I really didn’t know what to do. I had wanted the Spanish teaching job, but I was already over it and had moved on. It’s like how you really want to eat chocolate after eating Mexico food, but if you wait for an hour the craving goes away. I didn’t really crave the job anymore and I was set on going to Utah. I finally entered a place with cell phone service and stopped at a McDonald’s in La Grande, Oregon to call people for advice. Everyone gave me the same advice: take the job, you dummy! I called Jackie back and accepted the position. I then got in my car and drove back to Washington.

This decision was tough to make because I knew it meant that I wouldn’t see my Utah friends for a long time. I was going to spend that night in Orem at the Wrights’ house and I was particularly bummed to not be able to see them. You see, when I left Utah for the pie party I was fully intending on returning to Utah. The Wrights were the last people I saw and I said something to them like, “Goodbye! I’ll see you in a few days.” Jackie had told me that I could continue driving to Utah and start work a few days late. That seemed really tempting. I was then faced with two decisions: the right decision and the Wright decision. On the one hand, it would have been great to see everyone in Utah, if only for a day. But I knew that they right thing to do was to head straight home so that I could be there for the first day of school the following day. It was the right thing to do.

After 30 minutes of internal conflict at a McDonald’s in La Grande, Oregon I got back in my car. I looked at the odometer and I had traveled exactly 360 miles from my home in Washington. It seemed like the perfect mileage to turn around. On Labor Day I drove about 720 miles to end up where I started, I gassed up twice at the same gas pump in Prosser, WA and I finally got a job. To all my Utah friends, I’m sorry that I didn’t make the Wright decision because I would have loved to see you, but I did make the right decision.

Oh, and thank you for indulging my love of puns. And that’s the story of how Ben got dental insurance.


Malfisio said...

That took me 5 minutes and 1 second to read.

Ben said...

That's a respectable length of time. Although, I bet Craig will read it faster.

Allison said...

Loved the puns. It's too bad you couldn't come back to Utah, but I'm very happy for you and your teeth. I look forward to a time when I, too, can spend an inordinate amount of time with adolescents.

emilie s. d. p. said...

Hooray for finding jobs!
Glad that it all worked out in the end despite your fun day driving through Washington for no reason.
Hope we get to see you soon.

Joleen said...

I almost wanted to cry after reading this. It's real. You're not coming back :(

Michael said...

Ben, you are great writer! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the WA gig!

Ben said...

Joleen, I'm really sorry that were aren't in the same ward and can't hang out all the time. No need to cry, we still have phones and Skype.

Shannon said...

Such good news! Congrats, Ben! How did the first day go?

Marcindra LaPriel said...

1) The penultimate paragraph is my favorite with the 360 degrees. Isn't it ironic that we often go so far only to come full circle? It's a lot like asking how many years must a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea. The answer is blowing in the wind.


3) If you won't come to Utah, maybe I'll just visit you on a sweet bike ride.

Ben said...

Shannon, I answered your question by writing a whole blog post. M. Glad, you're welcome in WA anytime.

Breann Johnson said...

Hey! Brice and I are so excited you got a job! I'm sure you're a great teacher! Next time you are in Utah though let us know!!