Saturday, February 25, 2006

Travel Broadens

An article in today's NY Times suggests international experience may be very valuable to job-seekers:

"When I went, I was hesitant because people looked at me and were surprised that I would graduate with a degree from Colgate and take time off to work and backpack around Australia," said Ms. DiCioccio, who picked grapes and was a short-order cook at a roadhouse in the outback. "So when I came back and had it on my résumé, I couldn't believe all of the interviews were about my time in Australia."

Once back in the United States, she said, she applied for 10 jobs, received 5 interviews and was offered 2 positions at the beginning of 2004. She became a program assistant at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, Calif.

This article hit home with me. I worked my way through college as a musician, and afterward, in a resolute effort to put off working as long as possible, spent a few years in Switzerland backing up singers. When I interviewed for the 2 colleges at which I've worked, that was the only thing the interviewers were interested in talking about.

I don't blame them, actually. If I ever became an administrator, God forbid, I wouldn't want to sit around discussing the latest articles in whatever educational journal my job required me to read. Discussing whatever trendy new teaching method was popular that week would probably be out as well, as I'd already be required to take that up at meetings.

I would, however, make the candidates teach demo lessons, something I was never asked to do. One of the college interviewers was very frank with me. He said "We'll observe you. If you do well, we'll all be happy. If not, you won't be asked back."

I proved to be very popular, as the other section's teacher opted to teach yoga in lieu of writing. Half his class transferred into mine. This demonstrates that you don't necessarily have to be good, as long as you outdo your competition.
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