Thursday, September 25, 2008

32-Year-Old Jealousy

Well, it's that time again.  When the weather turns cooler (even in North Carolina), football takes over many lives, talk turns to Halloween costumes...and the little rascals come asking for college letters of recommendation.  It's funny how during the fall of their senior year, students who had you for junior year English suddenly and finally realize just how amazing a teacher you were and how no one else had as much of an impact on them as you did.  Huh.  Interesting.

As the requests roll in from the land of Glenbrook North, I've considered charging $50 per letter.  I mean no skin off their backs, right?

I've written quite a few letters of recommendation in my short career as a teacher, since I taught juniors for three out of the four years of teaching.  When I'd write letters at Payton (translation: when I was still employed), I felt a slight longing and jealousy directed toward all of the amazing things these cream-of-the-crop students would accomplish, toward how much more money they would make than me, and I felt woe-as-me over the fact that I would remain this lowly English teacher while they took over the world.  How did all of that money and time spent on my education lead me to a career writing letters for young people to actually make money and a name for themselves?  Yeah, yeah, yeah, teaching is important work and all of that crap.

I would joke with these students at the end of the year that I hoped they would remember me...and hire me one day.  I was only partly joking.

Well, now it's worse.  Way worse.  I am writing letters of recommendation for students from Glenbrook North -- students who will mostly go on to big state universities and who will join sororities and fraternities and land high-paying jobs based on all of the connections that they had before they were born.  Not that these aren't nice kids or that I don't wish them the best.  The real difference in writing the letters this time around  is that I am no longer a lowly English teacher who decided to take all of that education and turn it into a job that political candidates often put in the same category as nurses and truck drivers (not that there's anything wrong with those professions, but you know what I mean).  No, this time around, I am 100% unemployed.  Looking into jobs that I am as qualified for as a 23-year-old, or, worse, an 18-year-old.  I know, I know -- it's all part of this move and figuring out how I want my life to be and trying new things and getting out of teaching.  But, holy crap, right now, it sucks.  Right now, I hate that I am jealous of these almost college kids who have their whole lives ahead of them.  I know I sound like a bitter old crotchedy person who should have a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.  (BTW, I just googled the word "crotchedy" to make sure I was spelling it correctly, and wouldn't you know it, here is the definition and sample usage according to the online urban dictionary: "Crotchedy: A grumpy person who has no life.  That teacher is a crotchedy old lady."  Well, fuck me.  

Maybe I should start stripping like Diablo Cody.  Maybe I should change my name like Diablo Cody did.  Oh, wait, does that mean I'm now jealous of Diablo Cody?  At least she's out of college.


LivFallsMe said...

My sympathies, Naomi! Trying to find a job is one of the worst things I can think of. Well, not as bad as being dipped naked into a barrel of ferrets, but still pretty bad. I mean, not as bad as having your brain pulled out slowly through your nose, but still pretty bad. I mean, not as bad as having to read the entire "S" encyclopedia, but still pretty bad. I mean, not as...oh, you get the point.

Hang in there - although the Irish in me knows that things can always get worse, the optimist in me beats up the Irish and stuffs it in a closet: in short, I trust things will get better. If noffin' else, Jo-Jo will be down there in a few weeks for a visit!

IdaMae said...

Oh Naomi!! I know just how you feel. Hang in there, it has to suck sometimes otherwise how do you know when things are really great?

Claire Just Claire Like Cher said...

...and having things suck is such good fodder for the creative life, right? I mean, the definition of crotchedy (sp)? You can't make up that shit! Oh. My. Funny. Funny because it's true and painful and so relatable. I HAVE BEEN and am still THERE. Just think of those Old Town kids, even younger, and having their very cool city and creative lives and being in shows and bands and and and and...Heck, my younger niece has a truckload more confidence than I'll have on my very best day. She has no doubt her whole life is ahead of her and will be hers for the asking, no, demanding. Sigh. Much love.