Late November is the official start of the international job hunt season. Those of us who are looking to secure a new positions get our confidential references together and start to apply in hopes of securing a job before the Christmas holidays. When a friend mentioned to me that this time around it may be harder for me because I have moved around a bit and I have only been at my current school two years. I initially thought that principals would be more understanding and sophisticated than this. I thought that they would at least give me the chance to explain in an interview instead of just making assumptions based on the length of my contract at my previous schools. Unfortunately I seem to be wrong.😩 After applying for over 20 positions and only getting two interviews I have to believe in the finicky nature of international recruitment.
Whenever my friends ask me where I want to go next, I sigh and say it’s not that simple. For counselor positions you have to apply where there are jobs and this limits your choices in one way. Then you have to get an interview and that limits your choices again. Then you have to get to the next step of the interview and that limits your choices even further. All of this to say it has been stressful cycle for me. Add to this that I am very very busy at work with university applications and my sleep quality has been horrible. When I think back the only time that I got “my choice of countries/school” is when I applied to Jamaica. All the other times I settled for what was available. When I chose to go to Ethiopia it was because I wanted to move to the Motherland but had no intention of going to Ethiopia but that was the school that chose me. Fast forward to last year when I chose to leave my life in Egypt which was not perfect – a horrible, sexist and possibly racist landlord, too many stray dogs, you can’t flush toilet paper and I didn’t love the drama of middle school counseling. But I had found love – a tribe of people that I loved and access to a vibrant social life that made me happy.
So why did I chose to settle? Did I know at the time that I took this job that I was settling? YES!!!! unfortunately😢 But the optimistic, faith filled, believing that things alway works out for the best Cheryl-Ann thought it would be okay. Because I had done it before and it turned out fine.🤷🏾♀️ Boy was I off the mark in making this decision. 😭😭 I must admit that moving to Cote d’Ivoire has some benefits – a decent school, great students, a great counseling partner, nice colleagues, great food, unlimited access to alcohol, and I got to travel to Senegal, Cabo Verde, and Ghana. BUT The quality of my personal life has decreased in too many important ways especially as it relates to friends and the quality of my housing.😭 And then covid hit and I was emotionally gutted by personal losses.
The universe is sending me a crucial message…not to settle again.🤔 I was forced to reevaluate my life choices and decide whether to stay in a school and country where I am not happy. So this time around I am prioritizing my personal happiness and this has made the job search even more stressful. You see I want to be in a country that I will enjoy living in like I did in Jamaica or where I have friends like I did in Egypt. Which means that they are just some jobs I cannot apply for because those countries don’t meet these standards. They’re either too far away (Asia, Africa), the weather is way too cold (Europe), the culture may be too conservative (Middle East) or I just wouldn’t like living there. I am tired of starting over in new countries and building a new social circle so wherever I go next year has to be a place where I could see myself staying for 4 years #thepressure. It has to offer the level of personal life that I need. And in the year of a pandemic there are limited options because people are staying put. Right now there are 2 possible options in Latin America, 0 options in the Caribbean and a possible 1 option in Duabi. Therefore I am stressed and not sleeping well. Come to think of it, I cannot remember the last time I had a good night of sleep in this country since I retuned in July so maybe it’s not the job hunt but the poor quality of my housing. #butidigress
Yesterday I had a good cry and a talk with God and I started to accept the fact that it may be time for me to leave the international field and return to America. Y’all I am ambivalentAF.😐 Because America is in the middle of not dealing with a pandemic very well and there are lockdowns and remote teaching that will probably not go away by August. Add to that I will have to spend money to restart my life there…get an apartment, a car, furniture, and clothes because my wardrobe consists of mostly summer clothes now.🤯 All of that will cost lots of money and energy. Oh but first I need to decide what state I want to live in….decisions, decisions. Hence feeling overwhelmedAF.😳
As I continue on this journey of deciding, the next phase of my life is loading…stay tuned for my decision. Today I choose to rest, focus on the good but little things in life, eat a healthy breakfast, listen to my favorite love songs and write this blog #selfcare. I know that it will eventually work out for the best because this time I will choose more wisely. 🤩 🙏🏾 #BlackExpat #thistooshallpass #jobhunting #startingoveragain #keepingthefaith #prioritizingjoy #nomoresettling #upnext #decisionsdecisions