from the desk of... candidate 4

The Final Installment.

A few days of silence passed after my campus interview up in the Pacific Northwest.
I was processing what I had seen and trying to picture myself at the campus. I even made a mental list to consider what I liked and didn't like:

1. The location of the campus is rural, in a gorgeous valley of mountains and rivers. It's isolated, but only an hour and half drive to a major metropolitan city.
2. The supervisors in the department seem like incredible, nurturing people that I could really thrive under. I can't think of two better people or personality types that I would rather work for.
3. The way of life out there is EXTREMELY LAID BACK. This would fit my personality. The job would not be stressful.

1. There is little to no growth available within the department. There's not even a degree plan available at the school that serves Higher Education Administration or Student Development. The people within the department said that most people stay a couple of years before leaping on the bigger and better things. In other words, this would be a short term job.
2. The job only guarantees 10 months of work. I have to find something else to do to support me the other two months, although they assure me other jobs opportunities on campus during that time frame do exist.
3. It's pretty far away from family, friends, and the girlfriend.
4. The staff, although friendly and laid back, seem, hmm....how should I put it...unexciting to me? The energy level among the staff is low. The more I thought about, the more I realized the same could be said about the student population, kids predominately from small towns who are there to study engineering or agriculture. I'm worried I might get bored out there.

I was still unsure how I felt about the university when I got a call a few days later from a different college, this one a small, private liberal arts school in the Midwest. They wanted an interview.

The job I was interviewing for was a mid-level position with fancy titles like "Director of Leadership Development" and "Assistant Director of Judicial Affairs" attached to the coordinator position. I would wear many hats in the position and have more responsibilities. Immediately, I thought all the additional job functions would mean this job would be a better position for my career. And, it sounded like I should be making more money. Maybe a lot more.
The campus didn't seem half bad either. The pictures on their website looked beautiful, the buildings had a regal, colonial touch to them, and the campus was blanketed in a bevy of trees, grass, and rivers.

But then I actually took the interview.

Over the course of two hours, I talked to maybe 8 people over the phone in separate, clipped interviews. A different group would call me every 20 minutes, sometimes cutting off the interview of the previous group.
My phone would ring midway through a conversation and I'd say, "Hey, I'm sorry to interrupt, but it looks like another group is calling me, should I go?"

"Oh, yeah! Get off the phone with us and take the call!"

This weird setup made me especially nervous and anxious, my nerves were reduced to shreds. It didn't help that every group seemed to describe the current position as "extremely challenging," "fast-paced" and "stressful." At one point, I asked the director of the department why the job was only a 10-month appointment.

"It's that way because after 10 months, my employees NEED two months off to recuperate."
Jesus, what was this, some sort of marine boot camp? This job better pay REALLY well. After listening to the high expectations and job responsibilities, I was thinking $45,000, maybe $50,000 a year.

The director must have read my mind and quickly put the icing on the cake. "All I can offer is $20,000. And there's really no room for negotiation. Is that in your range?"
I gulped. "I'd say it's somewhere...umm...in my range."

The first job offer from the job in the Pacific Northwest sure sounded fantastic now. I just needed a little perspective. I felt lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity. When the Pacific Northwest university called back a day later, I quickly (and thankfully) accepted the job.
So that's it. I have a job. It only took 7 months, many applications and interviews later. But I have a job again. I start in August. I'm excited, relieved. It actually happened. My life is getting back on track.

So that's how the story ends, I got the job, no more drama.

Except the story doesn't end.

Twelve minutes after I accepted the job up in the Pacific Northwest, I got a call from a prestigious, Tier 1 university on the East Coast, a university with a 250 year history, a pristine campus, and a long line of distinguished alumni, a university with a hefty salary and a Higher Ed masters degree program. They wanted to interview me...