Posted by: Kate | August 9, 2011

Cue Theme from Jaws

Three months ago, I had zero plans on returning to any sort of out-of-the-house job anytime soon. Granted, with both of my older kids, right around the 18-month mark, I started feeling ready to get out in the world and have multisyllabic conversations with people for whom there was not just a lack of expectation that I should cut up their food and deal with their bodily waste, but an outright problem would arise had I tried to do so. But, like everything else in my life, this time things are different. (Something about coma, long-term hospitalization, 16 surgeries, blah, blah… you know, just the typical excuses of any housewife in America.)

But then, sometime in June, Willem ever-so-casually dropped some paperwork on top of my stack o’ stuff in the living room, which just happened to be information about the two new majors being created within the next year or so at this school: Psychology and Criminal Justice… both of which I, coincidentally, have master’s degrees in.

So I hemmed and hawed, ruminated and angsted, and ended up emailing him my résumé to pass along (being too conflicted about the whole thing to even submit my stuff directly). Just to see what happened. Willem has been in charge of hiring adjunct instructors for the math department this summer, so I knew there was a process: receive a pile of resumes, cull out the ridiculous ones, conduct phone interviews, request a face-to-face from those who give good phone, go back home and compare the candidates, and then call with offers (and rejections). I figured it was safe enough to submit a résumé, because I still had several steps where I could decide it was all too much.

Then, during that phone interview, I was offered a position. She had met me once at a casual post-staff-meeting reception, I had relevant pre-2010 teaching experience, and (most importantly, I think) she was excited to receive something from Willem’s wife because “we all know and love him, he’s a fantastic teacher, I trust his judgment”, so… *poof*, magically, there was an offer. Not just for one class, but for any or all of the three open courses.

I never had an in-person interview, never even submitted a cover letter. And instead of having several chances to get overwhelmed and back out, the process was abbreviated down to: submit a résumé, answer the phone, get a job. Apparently I decided it was a good idea, or at least not a terrible one, because, well, here I be.

The problem is that, since the dramas of last March, I’ve had ongoing memory and speech problems, and I can’t predict when or how they’ll manifest. And the germ which nearly killed me was simple little Strep A – the sore-throat type – but they didn’t know that for several days, so I was flooded with broad-spectrum antibiotics until they isolated the culprit. So between the fact that I’m apparently violently susceptible to a wildly common germ and the fact that I was told that those meds basically wiped my immune system clean and I would remain immuno-compromised for at least a year or so, I’ve developed a low-grade sort of agoraphobia… I can leave the house, but it’s really hard. Every time.

But, with a few notable exceptions, each time I do leave the house for something bigger than dropping the kids off at day camp or going to the grocery store, it has ended up being a positive thing. The actual experience is so much easier, more fun, just better than all of my worries and fears.  I don’t need to go back to work, but I kind of need to go back, you know? Because in the recesses of my brain, I understand that I somehow do still have something to offer the world – maybe even more so now, having lived through stuff I had read about but never experienced, or never read about, or never even heard about – and that, the longer I stay hidden within the safety of home, the harder it will be to put on grown-up clothes and walk in to any sort of professional setting in which someone else expects me to be the expert.

So I’ll do it. Mostly for me: because I know, kind of, maybe, sort of, that I can not just handle this, but possibly even do it well… and I just need to prove that to myself.  I’ll also do it, in large measure, for Willem, because I was hired based on his reputation and I want to do something positive for him after a year and a half of really big negatives.

And a little because, over the past six months, I have taken two enormous hits to my sense of self-worth: the first, from a self-proclaimed “friend” who decided to cut off a decade-long relationship based on a split-second error in observation and further decided that I wasn’t even worth an in-person break-up, and the second from my mother when she informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I’m not recovering nearly as quickly or thoroughly as I should be and I’m making everyone around me miserable. I need to do something to convince myself – and, yeah, OK, them – that I’m not worthless and pathetic.

Not completely, anyway.


  1. Kate that’s fantastic news! I’d dead proud of you ((((hugs))))

  2. Kate that’s fantastic news! I’m dead proud of you ((((hugs))))

  3. Well Yay! Look at you go!

  4. You are SO far from worthless and pathetic…..millions of light years, actually. 🙂 I’m so proud of you for doing this…..I hope it’s an amazingly good adventure for you.

    Love and miss you.

  5. Yeah Kate, I had expected you to have at least a marathon or two under your belt by now, yeesh woman!
    Ha, but really, congratulations on your new position, I’m sure it will be fabulous!

  6. The ease of getting this job (for which you are so well qualified) means the Universe says it’s your inevitable next step! Hooray for going forth and becoming a whole person again!

  7. I think it is awesome! Way to go. It will be hard at first but I think this will be good for both your brain and your spiritual self. Wahoo. Go Kate.

  8. Hooray! Congratulations! This will be a great change for you. You’ve had a rough time of it and you deserve some rewards.

  9. Go Kate! My heart is happy for you in this leap you’re making. Go prove all of them wrong!

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