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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A Lot Of Birds In The Bush

 I'll start with the happy news/milestones portion of this post first.  In late July, I received my certificate of clinical competence (CCC) in speech-language pathology from the American Speech and Hearing Association!  This certificate is a culmination of completing my master's degree, passing a national Praxis exam, and completing a clinical fellowship year.  It is also a requirement for many jobs in the field. It was a long process, fraught with uncertainty, and I was relieved to be done.

I have been on the job market since the school year ended in June. I decided not to renew my contract with the local school district for a number of reasons.  In a nutshell, I felt like I was getting all the stress of working in the schools (high caseloads, etc.) without certain benefits like timely contract renewals, paid time off, and a solid retirement plan.  Also, I had decided in grad school that I really wanted to work with adults.  Graduating into the pandemic as I did, I wasn't able to be too choosy about my first jobs. And it turned out that I did enjoy working with children. But I wanted to see if I could work with adults, and I definitely didn't want to decide my first year out of grad school that a contract position with poor benefits was the best I could do.

I didn't get much interest from employers until I received my CCC, but once I did, I've received more attention from employers than I ever have in my life.  This includes jobs in which I would be working primarily or exclusively with adults. But, moving this interest from a bird in the bush to a bird in the hand has proven challenging. To be fair, I received one offer which I turned down due to a combination of a long commute and their HR rep being shady. But other than that, I have lots of potential opportunities in various stages, from trying to schedule initial phone calls to waiting to hear back from interviews. There are a couple of instances in which in theory I might still hear back, but really I think I'm being ghosted. 

It all makes for an emotional roller coaster, as well as a lot of time spent on things that likely won't pan out.  Interviews take time and energy even when they don't result in an offer.  It has led to a lot of introspection about what I really want.  At first, I was applying exclusively to jobs in which I would work with adults, but I've been wondering lately how much I really want to deal with (low pay, bad commute, odd schedule, etc.) to achieve that.  And if I put in my time at less-than-choice positions, would it even eventually translate to a better job working with adults?  Would a comfortable, stable pediatric position better?  There is part of me that wants to work toward goals I set for myself, but another part of me that just wants to settle on a job and get into a routine that involves earning income again.  An interesting additional twist to all this is that I am in the middle of a multi-step interview process for a job unrelated to speech-language pathology.  No guarantees of course, but it raises the potential question of whether I would be willing to abandon a field I put so much work into if the opportunity arose.

I keep telling myself that there are at least opportunities for speech-language pathologist, and my current level of engagement with potential employers is in stark contrast to what happened when I was looking for work after a layoff several years ago.  So, I feel like I'll be working again eventually one way or another.  I hope to write about my bird in the hand soon.