Boston Bruins

Last year, LeBron James did something I found hilarious.  He  set up a one hour ESPN special where he announced what team he would sign with.  I have little interest in the NBA, truthfully.  I’ll watch it if I’m over someone’s house and they have it on or the Celtics are in the playoffs.  Aside from that, I couldn’t care less about it.  However, I was intrigued by this.   I didn’t watch it (it wasn’t a Celtic playoff game and I wasn’t over someone else’s house), but I appreciated it.  I’m told they also had this over the top introduction in Miami.  I didn’t watch it for the same reasons listed above.

What happened to James?  He got to the finals with his new team, beating the Celtics along the way (I only watched one game that series.  It was game 3.  The Celtics won.  Rondo hurt his arm real bad and still dominated.)  At the finals, his team lost to the Dallas Mavericks.  Sucks.

I can relate a lot to this.  Last year, I had this blog going and was sending emails out to people about interviews and it was awesome.   I kept being named a finalist.  It was awesome.  Then I’d get rejected.  It was terrible.

So why did I do it?  I think it started off as a way to discipline myself.  I knew if I had a blog, I’d want to post on it.  In order to post on this blog, I’d have to apply for positions.  In that respect, the blog was successful.

I think eventually somewhere along the lines, this blog became like LeBron’s ESPN special and over the top introduction.  I get the feeling those were suppose to be pre-championship celebrations.  This blog was a pre-hire celebration.  The thing is, if you pre-celebrate, sometimes it never occurs.  LeBron and I know this all too well.  It is embarrassing.  I wanted to hide from everyone for a few weeks after not getting any positions.  I’m sure LeBron felt similar after the championship loss.

In my favorite post to date, I explained how people were trying to encourage my failure last year.  “You’re so young and you’re a finalist.  Others you are competing with have tons more experience.”  Other junk like that.  No one says that about LeBron.  “Oh, you made the Eastern Conference Finals.  That’s awesome!”

In my favorite post, I quoted Red Auerbach, who liked to make fun of the Boston Bruin’s habit of hanging up division titles.  I compared the complements I was getting to the Bruin’s practice.  I associated myself with the Bruins, and it was flattering to neither of us.

This year, I didn’t blog anywhere near as much.  I tried a few times, but it didn’t seem like it was worth it.  Frankly, I was sick of having to write depressing posts about not getting hired.  If I never posted about applying, I’d never have to post about not getting.  I applied to a grand total of 3 jobs.  Only two were in education.  I seriously considered leaving, as I didn’t want to adjunct forever.  I got the non-education job.  I didn’t take it, as it was in Rhode Island and paid commission.  On average I was told sales people make $10-$15 an hour.  That didn’t seem worth relocating.

The other two jobs were to community colleges in Boston.  I decided I wanted to stay in the greater Boston Area for at least one more year.  I didn’t want to leave my family, the church I’m a member of, or UMass athletics.

In my 26+ years of existence, the Patriots won Super Bowls following the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons.  The Red Sox won the 2004 and 2007 World Series.  The Celtics won the 1986 and 2008 NBA Finals.  Entering the end of my job search last year, the Bruins were the only professional New England team that matters to not win a championship in my lifetime.

The day the Bruins opened up against the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals, I was told I was a finalist for one of those jobs.  I was so tempted to post here, about how fitting it was.  I have a draft still of how I was going to start it saved on wordpress.  I also titled it “Boston Bruins.”  Here is what I wrote:

When this blog went on hiatus, I wrote a post named after the Boston basketball team.  It talked about how Red Auerbach used to make fun of the Bruins for hanging up division and conference championship banners.

As I really enjoy sports, I see everything as a sports game.  There are winners and losers.  This is true of all aspects of my life, from dating to this job search I’m on.  Interviews are starts, being a finalist is like winning one’s conference, getting the job is like winning a championship.  I was the Boston Bruins last year.  I won a few conference championships (three I think) but never could close the deal.  1972 is the last time the Bruins won a Stanley Cup. Since then, they’ve made 3 Stanley Cup appearances, but have yet to close the deal. 

Tonight, the Bruins open up in Vancover against the Canucks to try once again to get that ellusive championship.  I thought it was fitting that today I received a call asking me to come for a second interview with Vice President Brenda Mercomes at Roxbury Community College.  It’s Monday at 2.

I’ll be rooting really hard for the Bruins to win.  

However, watching the end of game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, none of the Bruins touched their trophy.  It was no big deal to them.  Or maybe it was but they couldn’t, as I’m told that’s tradition in the NHL.  However, I decided if the Bruins, a team that hangs banners for everything, didn’t touch the trophy for this, I shouldn’t post.  I didn’t want to have lower standards than the Bruins.

My interview for the finalist position was on the day of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.   The Bruins were down 2-0.  I sat around doing nothing until about 12:30, when I started getting ready.  One of the worst things happened: I couldn’t find a tie.  I searched till like 1, then I paniced.  I have three ties.  I wore one to teach every day.  I wore one a few days earlier to the interview in Rhode Island.  How could I not find one?  I called my sister and brother to see if I left it in Dorchester, there was no answer.  My dad has plenty, but it wasn’t feasible to go to Dorchester and to RCC from where I live in less than an hour.  I was hoping one of them could meet me, but they couldn’t. 

Around 1:15, I panically called my friend Jon.  I don’t know why I called him, he was the first person that came to mind.  I told him my dilemma, and he said he had plenty of ties, he just needed to find them.  And he also needed to figure out how to get one to me, because his wife had their car.  I paniced more.  He found the ties and jumped on his bike and rode like the wind to my house to let me borrow a tie.  I called a cab as he was on his way, and I made it to RCC with a tie 10 minutes early.  At this point, I decided there was no way I could go to Rhode Island.  How can you leave community like that, where friends drop everything and bail you out at a moment’s notice?

The interview went well, as well as it could have gone.  I was told I was one of two finalists.  I was also told I was the only native of Boston in the running.  Obviously, this made me the Bruins and my unknown opponent the Canucks.  My interview was Tim Thomas-like, if I do say so myself.  The only questions were would my offense pull through for me and did my opponent have a sieve like Loungo in net.

The Bruins won their next two games to tie the series up.  Vancouver won game 5 to take a 3-2 lead. 

The day of game 6, I received a call from HR at RCC saying that everything seemed to be going ok, but it would be helpful if I came in as soon as possible and filled out some additional paperwork.  I dropped everything and went in in jeans and a tee shirt.  I also hadn’t shaved in a few days.  I grow a fast beard.  It was unfortunatley in the inbetween stages of clean shaven and awesome beard, so I looked like a homeless guy.  I didn’t care.  I didn’t have time to worry about that.  I was given six sheets to fill out, and I needed to have all the course numbers, section numbers, and credit hours for every course I had ever taught.  I didn’t have my laptop with me, and couldn’t remember section numbers from 3 years ago off the top of my head, so I was told I could bring it in later.  The HR person had a committment the next day, so we agreed on meeting two days later.  The Bruins won game 6 to tie the series and force a game seven.

I filled out the paperwork and brought it in the day of Game 7.  The HR person looked over it and said that it seemed good, and she should be able to get me a contract soon and said she hoped I’d accept.  She’s obviously never read this blog.  I told her as long as I got more than $10,000, I’d sign.  I should have played hard ball and went with a higher number, but I was so excited I couldn’t think straight and went ridiculoulsy low.  She assured me it would be more than that.

Close friends and family knew about the interviews.  No one knew about any of our conversations or the paperwork or anything like that.  At this point and time, I felt like I wanted Jon to know, as he bent over backwards for me big time so I told him.  I also had my parent’s car for some reason I don’t remember, and as I dropped it back off to them, my mom asked me if I heard anything.  I hate lying, so I tried to answer without answering with responses like “I haven’t heard anything official.”  She kept asking and it got to the point where I would have to tell her or else lie, so I decided to tell her and my father.  I told all that I wanted it kept confidential. 

Obviously, someone has tapped my phone line or my parents house, because somehow more that those three found out, and I know they’d never betray my confidence ( 😛 ).  I was asked by several people about it, and I responded “No Comment.”  I didn’t have a contract, it’s state funded, there’s budget cuts, thousands of things could have went wrong.  I hate telling people when things don’t work out for me.  It feels so degrading.  Frankly, I didn’t want to deal with it anymore than I’d have to.

The Boston Bruins won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup that Night.  One facebook, I posted a line to my Boston Celtics post on this blog, and commented with something along the lines of “It’s fitting that the Bruins won tonight.”  My friend Boulat figured it out immediately and asked on facebook if I had a job offer.  I did the safe thing and ignored it.

The last two weeks were stressful.  They seemed like months.  I heard nothing from Roxbury.  I’d call and the HR person either wouldn’t answer or didn’t have any new information for me about it.  She would say things like “Hopefully by (insert date here).”  The specific date would come and go with no contract.  This went on for at least a month, even though it’s apparently been only two weeks.  I began doubting.  Then, after years of waiting (one week in real time), I was emailed a rough draft of my contract.  I had to check and make sure my name and address were right.  I’m sort of lazy and have never updated my permenant address, so it’s still legally my parent’s house in Dorchester.  The contract draft had my mailing address in Brookline.  There was some confusion over which address should be used, but after a few emails that was clarified.   Then I waited.

I called Friday to see what the hold up was.  It had been 2 days since we figured out the contract was ok.  I was worried that I misunderstood and  I had to do something else.  There was no answer.  I called again Tuesday morning, and asked if I should bring in the rough draft signed.  I was told no, that the President of RCC would sign it and then it would be mailed to me.  I was told this might be a week or so.

That afternoon, I was called at 5PM and told that the president had signed and they were going to mail me the contract.  I asked if I could come in instead, as I wanted this done ASAP.  We agreed to meet at 10:30AM on Wednesday.  At this time I signed the contract.

I’m glad that the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup this year.  I was rooting for them really hard.

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Roxbury Community College

RCC has the perfect job opening for me.  It’s teaching and overseeing the math clinic.  I already teach and work in the math clinic.  I just sent in the application.  Hopefully I get it.

As I just said to my friends “It’s in God’s hands right now, and that’s much better than it being in my hands.”

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Getting Results

I received an email today from the Vice President of Academic Affairs at RCC letting me know that I have been selected to participate in RCC’s first annual Getting Results cohort.

I’m excited about this, as this will be the first professional development opportunity I’ve ever been able to participate in.  There are three sessions (2 Saturdays in April, 1 Monday in May).  There are also 3 online sessions whose dates will be determined this Saturday.

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I’m Back

This blog had a lot more followers than I thought.  I’ve had people come up to me in church, at UMass hockey games, and at family functions asking me how the job search was going, as I wasn’t posting anymore.

Truthfully, the job search hadn’t been going.  After I didn’t get the position at North Shore Community College, I began reconsidering things.  Did I really want to teach adjunct again for a year, without health insurance, without any long term security?  I wasn’t sure.

My boss at Bay State College, Jeff Mason, called me shortly after my last post* and asked if I wanted to teach again.  I told him that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through it all again.  Many of my friends had full time jobs and were getting married and buying houses.  Was it worth trying to teach adjunct another year and then trying again, knowing I might be in the same boat?

Jeff told me to think about it for 24 hours and get back to him.  He also said that it was worth it, if it was really what I wanted.  He said he’d been around and he knew there were breaks, and Bay State really wanted me full time but the funding just didn’t work out.

I thought about it, and decided it was worth trying again.  I took three Basic Math classes at Bay State.  I also took an Introduction to Statistics class at Roxbury Community College.

Funny thing happened.  I quit looking for jobs, and I started getting offered jobs.  Bay State asked me to do an independent study with a student in Pre-calculus.  I did.  Roxbury asked me to be a tutor in the Math Clinic there.  I did.  Before I knew it, I had enough money saved up to move out of my parent’s house.  Once that happened, I felt a ton of pressure lifted off my shoulders.

Currently, I’m still teaching at Bay State College and Roxbury Community College.  I’m teaching one section of Basic Math, two sections of College Algebra 1 and one section of College Algebra 2 with Trigonometry at Bay State and one section of Introduction to Algebra at Roxbury Community College.  I’m still working in the tutoring room at RCC too.  Also, I’m working as a Supervisor for the Supplemental Instruction Program at RCC.  Furthermore, I’m on the Professional Development Title III (PDT3) Committee at RCC.  Blessings upon blessings.  I really like my jobs.  To the point where I decided it really wouldn’t be a big deal if I did it again next year too.  I’m able to pay my bills, I’m gaining experience, and I’m enjoying life.   That was my plan.

Then a coworker at RCC told me about four full time teaching positions at Bunker Hill Community College.  The deadline was last Friday.  I missed it.  I think I’m extremely qualified.  I bet if I had the experience in the Math Clinic and with the Supplemental Instruction Program last year, I would have gotten a full time job.  Plus, Bunker Hill is right on the orange line.  Might as well try, so I just sent them a resume and a cover letter as well as my transcripts.

As I just updated my resume, I think I’ll be looking for other full time jobs too.  If it works, great.  If not, I’ll be at RCC and Bay State next year.

I’ll be updating the other pages as time allows me.

*- I just read my last post again.  I’m a much better writer than I give myself credit for.

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Boston Celtics

I’m not really all that big of a basketball fan, which is weird, as I went to a basketball school (the University of Massachusetts) and I’m from the same city as the Boston Celtics, the team that has won a league record 17 NBA Finals (and counting).

The Celtics share an arena with the Boston Bruins, who currently hold the Boston record for longest championship draught.  The last Stanley Cup the Bruins won was the 1971-72 season, 13 years before yours truly was born.

I have a book my grandfather gave me by Dan Shaughnessy called The Red Auerbach Story: Seeing Red.  It’s obviously about Red Auerbach, the most influential man in the history of the Boston Celtics.  He was responsible as either coach or general manager for 16 of the 17 championships the Celtics won, and I guess he had less than a good relationship with the Bruins.  From page 193 of the book:

(Red) particularly liked poking fun at the Boston Bruin hockey team.  The Bruins (owner of the Garden) were not kind to the Celtics in the early days, and Auerback still tells stories about how Garden ticket sellers would challenge customers by saying “Basketball?  Why would you want to buy tickets for pro basketball?”  He enjoys mocking the Bruins’ practice of hanging banners celebrating division titles.  The Celtics would never hang a flag for anything other than a world championship.

It goes on and lists several other examples of Red making fun of the Bruins throughout the years (like for the 60th anniversary of the Boston Garden.  It’s sort of funny.  You should pick up the book).

On the next page, the current Senior Advisor to the owner of the Bruins, Harry Sinden had this to say:

“I loved basketball.  I loved the athletets that play.  Red had mocked our division pennants and all that stuff.  I mean, the reason we had division pennants up there in the rafters is because we didn’t win any championships.”

As those of you who have been to the old Boston Garden or the new Shawmut Center, Fleet Center, TD BankNorth Garden, TD Bank Garden know, it’s worse than that.  The Celtics have tons of retired numbers, and had at multiple banners which have about 8 or so numbers each.  I’d guess at least 3 or 4 banners with numbers on them.  The Bruins have about 6 retired numbers, and each have their own banner.  Gotta do something to seem like you’re as successful as the team renting your building I guess.

The Celtics are the only Boston team to have done that my whole life.  The Patriots, to their credit, changed their practice when they finally won a Super Bowl, and stopped hanging AFC Championship banners (as far as I know, they never had division championship banners).  The Red Sox, also to their credit, no longer hang division, wild card or ALDS banners (yes, the Red Sox were that pathetic that pre-2004 they hung up a banner for winning first round playoff series).  The Sox still have American League Championship banners though, for losing the World Series, which goes against them in my opinion.

I’ve always respected that about the Celtics.  Even when they stunk for all those years in the 90s, they still didn’t hang up a banner when they won a division title in 2005.  I have no way of proving this, but I think only celebrating championships fosters an environment conducive to winning.  You know anything else is failure and will not be tolerated, so you’re less likely to get content with regular season success or even with making it to the finals.

The obvious question you’re asking right now is “John, what does this have to do with your job search?”  Well, a lot of people, including the vice president who interviewed me for the North Shore Community College job told me that I should be proud of my accomplishments.  I’ve gotten interviews at all sorts of institutions all over the country.  I’ve been flown (all expenses paid) to West Virginia.  I was a finalist for a job with three other people, the other two with much more experience than me, and I’m a fairly recent graduate.

Those people, in my opinion, think like the Bruins.  “How about that division championship!  Who cares that you got swept out of the first round of the playoffs by a team with a much worse record than you?  It’s all about the moral victories!”

Moral victories are worthless.  Life is about results, and the results of my efforts are that I’m unemployed.  I was not successful.  I accomplished just as much as if I had stayed at home and played Donkey Kong, except I don’t have a documentary about me.  It’s the cold hard truth, and I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty down on myself the past couple of days.

Then I spoke to my friend David tonight.  I don’t know if you have a friend like David, but you should.  Let me tell you about him.  He’s a law student and this past year he was trying to get through law school and plan a wedding and was an RA and was doing all sorts of things.  I had a problem bugging me to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on anything.  He put me on his back and carried me through the semester.  There’s no other way to put it.

Now, David is a newly-wed and has a brand new job as a Resident Director and his RA staff just moved in and on top of this he just finished up an internship and still needs to finish law school.  He once again put his problems aside, put me on his back.

Not gonna lie, he went all Boston Bruins on me.  I didn’t buy it for obvious reasons.  In fact, I explained most of the above to him.  But then he pointed out to me that there’s things we can’t control and it’s not successes and failures that make someone who they are, it’s how they react to them.  Something like that, but it was said better and made more sense.

The Boston Celtics lost the NBA finals this year to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.  They won’t hang a banner for that.  However, I’m willing to bet that they’re not gonna sit around sulking about it for the entire off season.  They’re probably training right now in hopes of an NBA title run.

I don’t know what the future holds for me.  I honestly don’t know if it’s worth waiting a year and teaching adjunct again for the year and taking a risk that I might be in the same boat next year.  The thing that David helped me realize is whatever I do now with the cards that have been dealt determine who I am.  I am not a Boston Bruin.  I will not celebrate defeat.  However, I am not about to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  I will succeed.  I just don’t know how and I don’t know when.  But it will happen.

I think this blog is going on hiatus for a little while until I figure out what my goal is.  I reserve the right to change my mind and bring it back at any time.  I’m awesome like that.

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I didn’t get the job at North Shore Community College.

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Sorry for the long time between posts.  I had the interview with North Shore Community College last week.  I think it went well.  I really hope I get this job.  It’s everything I could have hoped for.  I was interviewed by a man who holds a BS from Boston College and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.  Therefore, we’re part of the same two alumni associations.  Also, he told me my teaching demonstration blew the first committee away and it was really good.  So yeah, hopefully I’ll be hired.

The one thing that worries me is I was told there were two other finalists who both had a lot more experience than me.  That’s frustrating, because it’s not like I can do anything about my lack of experience.  In fact, I’ve been teaching since before I got my master’s degree.  And in the little over a year since graduating, I taught 9 classes.  From my research, the regular load for a full time professor appears to be about 7.  I’ve done more this past year than most full time professors do (with respect to teaching).  I will be extremely disappointed if it comes down to lack of experience, but I guess that’s life.

Bunker Hill Community College offered me two classes for this fall.  I’m also in discussions with Bay State College and RCC.  If worse comes to worse, I’ll be an adjunct again for the fall semester.

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