As promised, I’m trying to be more present now and hopefully I can continue to follow through! I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to talk about my new big girl job but that some unexpected twists were thrown my way and I was still unsure as to how it would all play out. I am now happy to say that I have figured out what direction I want to go in and can now fill you guys in!
So I have previously talked about how I was starting the job hunt back in March and that I was in the process of a multi-day interview where I had to do my formal sit-down interview and then later had to be called back to come in and observe and work with the ABA team. A little background on that:
My best friend got hired at that company at the beginning of January as an occupational therapist and was the one who got me the initial interview even though they weren’t officially hiring at the time. Because I dropped her name and was persistent in emailing the HR director, I got an interview. It took place at the end of March and lasted about an hour and went awesome. He invited me back on the spot to come in and observe the ABA team in action. I went back about 2 weeks later and he said the ball was now in his court and to wait to hear from him. Less than a week later, he said they had multiple individuals out on maternity leave that would be returning soon so he didn’t think there was a place for me on the team at that moment but that he and the team believed I would be a good asset and he wanted to keep open communication with me. I told him I would email him back in June to maintain contact and that I appreciated all that he had done.
Fast forward to May. I was desperate for a job having been out of school for a month and not making any money (although I loved all the free time I had to read, watch Netflix, and sleep as long as I wanted). I got hired on as a paraprofessional at an autism school and happily accepted the position, excited about having winter break and spring break without having to use up any of my own personal vacation days. I got hired full time (most people hired at that time were strictly seasonal and would only work the extended school year (ESY) which ran from mid June to mid July), meaning I had secured a job that would continue into the fall and last as long as I wanted. The major downside- the pay was absolutely terrible. I enjoyed my time working as a para but I would honestly never do it again. School days were short (students were there 9am-2pm) and we had community outings one morning each week which was a nice little escape. But we didn’t have our own lunch time (we ate when the students ate and it was 30 minutes and if the kid you were a one on one for finished their lunch early, you had to be done with lunch too), I wasn’t implementing ABA and had to follow what the teachers asked (and quite frankly a lot of it went against ABA principles and I understood why kids were having so many maladaptive behaviors that weren’t decreasing) and the other paraprofessionals honestly just didn’t care about the kids and were feeding into their behaviors which just further frustrated me. My fiancé was a para at a public school in the special ed room this past school year and from what he told me, he had a very similar experience and he is also no longer going to be a para. I have much to say on my experience as a para but I fear I would go on too many tangents for this post.
Shortly after the ESY began, I reached back out to the HR Director (even though I now had an official full time position) and told him I was still interested. At this point, I had gotten a little nudge from my friend who told me she spotted my resume and someone else’s resume at the front desk of the office and I immediately jumped. He responded and said they are in a hiring position and they recently promoted someone to lead ABA and wanted me to come in and interview with her (great, a 3 part interview now). I went in less than a week later and my best friend texted me afterwards saying that the woman said she really liked me and thought I was nice (come on bff, I need more to go on other than her thinking I was nice…). Regardless, I stayed hopeful but kept in my mind that I already had a full time job. I heard from HR that I would have a final decision by the end of the week.
That Friday, I received a very upbeat email with an attached offer letter from the Director of HR. I was so excited that I just turned my phone around and showed my fiancé the offer. Initially, I was told the position would start as part time and quickly grow to full time, but the demand must have been there because there was a salary offer with benefits and a statement that I would be full time right from the start. I immediately emailed him back that I accept the offer and filled him in on my ESY schedule and when I could begin. We settled on starting my training three days during my final week of ESY after school and would begin full time hours the first Monday after ESY ended.
Low and behold, everything was going much too smoothly. I had spoken with the teacher of my ESY class about doing ABA at the Autism Center that was a part of the same company but had blown off the phone call from the woman who contacted me because she didn’t contact me until three days after I accepted the long awaited offer. Well, somehow word had gotten out at the school about me and two days (yes, TWO DAYS) before the end of ESY (one day after I had started my training at my new job), the BCBA approached me right before dismissal to talk about a job in the ABA department (you’ve got to be kidding me right?). I left our 30 minute conversation feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and kind of excited. My dream is to work in a school as a BCBA. This woman just offered me the opportunity to start off my full time career in my dream setting AND she said I could conduct my thesis there PLUS I would have school hours and breaks AND get to keep some of the kids from the class I had been working in. She said to find her the next day to talk it all over and we would go from there, but they were desperate for another person on their team.
Well I went to this meeting/what turned into a 2.5 hour interview and left feeling less than enthused. She said several things that set off red flags in my mind and that I found to be quite offensive (singling out specific diagnoses and not accepting them into the school because they had “bad experiences” with individuals with that diagnosis before). I was a little disappointed that it didn’t seem like it would be a good fit for me and found out today that she would only be able to offer me a similar position to what I had already accepted except worse pay but I would get those school hours still.
Although I will still struggle to find a way to get my thesis done and now work a full time job at a clinic, I am super happy with the decision I made to stay with the clinic my best friend is at. I no longer have to do in-home therapy because they only provide services in their clinic, I will no longer have to worry about financial struggles because their pay is beyond awesome, and everyone there is so welcoming and helpful. I can’t wait for whats in store at this new job, but I am so glad that I stayed consistent and on top of the HR Director because, even though its been almost 4 months since I started my interview process with them, it has been totally and completely worth it.
Until next time,