I decided in the fall that after 3 years in Uzbekistan, it was time to move on. Here is my write-up on my experience searching for a job at the Search Associates Bangkok Job Fair last week. For anybody in education interested in exploring this amazing career opportunity, please feel free to message me for more info!
Making the trek back to my current job and finally have time to think. Compared to my first Search fair in Cambridge a few years ago, I had a much more relaxed approach to the crazy. I arrived in Bangkok on Monday and hit the ground running with seeing the city and not thinking about the fair. Everything was ready to go and all that needed to be done was for my hotel’s housekeeping to press my fair clothes. We opted not to stay at the Sheraton, but stayed near the ISS (International Schools Services) Shangri-La Hotel. The place was already buzzing with teachers throwing around the school-speak.
I turned my imaginary earplugs on because, to me, talking about jobs and school-speak isn’t very relaxing. My friend mused that we all sound the same in that “on” mode. LOL.
Day 1: couple of rejections (one from a dream school but I moved on mentally fast) and a few “fast pass” notes. Interviewed with a big school in China a day before signups and that was quite a boost. The last 2.5 hours of the day I hit the presentations. One school I’d never heard of, but since I was rejected by “dream” school - I went for it and was pleasantly surprised. More on that later.
Day 2: sign-ups. Being in a specialist position, there were fortunately lots of jobs posted but only a few areas I was interested in. I prioritized the “fast pass” schools and hit the other tables. Not the long lines I was expecting except for the el nido school in Chile. I even said thank you to the recruiters who said “thanks. But no thanks” in my box. They were all very gracious and spoke highly of my references. I then hit “pleasant surprise” school. I embarrassed myself w/ a big faux pax that I can’t post here for fear of outing myself, but I got an appointment anyway and walked away completely red. Signed up with a few more schools and off I went.
Day 2: interviews. Interviews went well. All schools wanted to move forward. One school I’d visited before on PD and knew all their staff in my department and their director. Tier 1 school in their region by all accounts. Not in the part of the world I am interested in at the moment, but I had the utmost respect for them and incoming 2014/15 head whom I worked for before. I made them all aware of this right at the beginning and they still wanted me to go to the next phase. I even wrote my old boss just to let him know. Another school was SUPER excited and principal wanted to create position for me, but was unsure. I really like this school and was willing to explore it more. I had another interview at 6 with a school I was interested in and did more schmoozing at the cocktails hour.
Day 3: more interviews. A few more interviews out of the way. Follow-up interview w/ the school I was most familiar with. They found me later on and said their head of school wanted me to meet him Saturday morning. I agreed. Faux pax/pleasant surprise school had all their heads, owner, etc interviewing me. I apologized for my most embarrassing moment and they were very gracious. They asked me at the end if I had any offers and I’d honestly replied that I felt some things may be in the works, but nothing solid yet. They asked me to wait for them. I get a call at 10:30 pm from principal at faux pax school while I’m at Asiatique to speak w/ their head of department in the morning. Whew!
Day 4: D-Day. The head of school in my old boss’ soon to be new school makes me an offer Saturday morning. Great package and amazing city. He knows I’m considering other options, so he gives me til end of day. My excitement about the school willing to create a position for me was dashed quickly, but it was largely due to visa questions w/ my being a counselor vs. a teaching position and I appreciated the school’s honesty. I spoke with faux pax school’s head of department and we got on really well. Then the long wait.
I probably went from sane to crazy to sane in a period of hours. Luckily, friends of mine who were done recruiting were staying in the hotel so I was in their room hanging out. I went down and spoke w/ Michael Williams since my own associate was not there. He was very supportive and empathized with having a “bird in hand” and waiting. It was still a bit early in the afternoon so he advised that I wait a bit longer before calling. My boyfriend who was taking care of our Bangkok shopping list, was also on-call the process.
Finally, I call the principal at faux pax school since I had his number from the night before. He asks to call me back within the hour. We have a great conversation and he states that his HR head will call me now. I asked him if he was making me an offer and he laughs for putting him on the spot, but understands the nature of the beast aka the fair. He said that the HR director will be in touch shortly. She calls me and we discuss a few concerns I had about visas due to my state licensure, etc. and assures me it is not a problem. Then, suddenly, she is making me a verbal offer on the phone. I want to start screaming and I do a few fist pumps in the air. Mind you, I was in the bathroom of the hotel room so to have a bit more privacy. She then informed me she was at the hair salon and will be emailing me my contract and contacting Search later. I call the principal I’d be working with and thank him profusely. I dance into the room, high five my friends, and call the boyfriend who is quite relieved that I was not in the hospital LOL.
I pause and take time to try and reach other school. I could not find them anywhere so I leave a very nice card in their box and send an email. I also email my former boss - who happens to be one of my key references. I arrive back at my hotel, wake up my parents quickly in the US to tell them good news, quickly review the contract just emailed to me and confirm my acceptance of the terms in writing, and we head back to Asiatique to enjoy it more.
What a ride. And as they say at Search - NEVER get distracted by the big, shiny schools…sometimes the ones you’ve never even heard about will offer the greatest opportunity.
My destination? An AMAZING school in Southeast Asia - will be writing more for sure! Now looking forward to get back to reality and close out my 2nd semester in Tashkent with a bang!
Typhoon Haiyan (aka Typhoon Yolanda) unleashed her wrath almost a month ago, but the relief effort is ongoing. Above is the link to my take on it as a Filipino American educator and what my school community has done to show their support.