Well it all started a long time ago - back in January actually. I decided that I should look into jobs in the wonderful world of US colleges, mainly because Canadian colleges tend to require a PhD for no particular reason. I found 4 nice sounding colleges in California to apply to, all of which were hiring geology profs for the fall term. Why California? Why not California!
The applications were long and confusing and my resume was totally catered to Industry and not Academia, so I sought the assistance of one of the most patient, wise and wonderful people I know: Jane Good. There was a lot of pointing out the obvious and only one drawing of a boot during our meeting, and the end result was an awesome sounding resume, a skeleton of a cover letter, and 4 complete applications. The next step was to gather up 3 reference letters in the next week and courier off packages at great speed before the impending deadlines - the first of which was at the end of January.
The end of March rolled around and I had heard from 2 of the colleges, one was an expected PFO and the other was one of great apology that they were delayed and would reply in a couple of weeks time. Shortly thereafter I was napping on the couch when the phone rang:
lady: hello, may I speak with Ms Bursesestein please?
me: Bursztyn, and speaking (thinking arrgh, a stupid telemarketer interrupted my nap)
lady: hi, this is someone-or-other calling from Bakersfield college
lady: I'm calling from Bakersfield college in California, I'm calling to invite you for an interview for the position of geology instructor
me: are you serious?
lady: did you apply for this position?
lady: can you confirm that you will be attending this interview?
Anyway, you get the idea...
The interview was set for early April, which was really a very short time away. Too short to properly organize a flight, rental car, place to stay, clothes to bring, haircut, etc... but we managed - me and my giant network of helpful friends that is! My dad hooked me up with a $400 return flight to LA, Janel hooked me up with a sweet ivory suit, brown leather purse, and orange scarf to wear for the interview with my brown and orange shoes, Jennifer hooked me up with great new haircut and summery highlights, and my aunt Patricia hooked me up with a home in LA - perfect commuting distance to Bakersfield.
On the day that my travelling began, I stopped by the house to get my mail in the cab on the way to the train station. There was a letter from Bakersfield informing me that I "may" be asked to give a teaching lecture on one of the following topics. So here I am on a train with no resources whatsoever and thanking my lucky stars that I decided to bring my laptop with me (naively thinking I would work on my thesis or something). I started planning out my lecture on "igneous rock textures" on the train to Toronto, and upon arriving at Union station, I took advantage of the free internet access and downloaded images like mad until my train to Brampton arrived. The next day was fun-filled with Stephen and I hard at work on our respective projects, and early the following morning I headed off to the airport and finished my lecture on the plane.
The day after that I headed up to Bakersfield all spiffed up and looking as professional as I could muster and promptly got hopelessly lost upon arrival into the city. Fantastic! I had to ask directions, in "my" suit, and eventually made it to where I was supposed to be. I was also thankful at that point that I had decided to leave myself a good solid hour grace before my interview, 'cause I used up 30min of it by getting lost. The remaining extra time I spent socializing with another geology candidate, a history candidate, relaxing, drinking water, and then at the last minute in a bit of a panic when I was informed that I would actually be giving my lecture. That meant that I needed a cd to burn the presentation onto - since of course I use a MAC, which needs a special connector to attach to a projector... There was not a cd to be found in the President's office (how is that possible???) , so Wayne, the knight in shining armour prof, ran down to his office (in the rain) to get me a cd to burn my presentation onto. Minutes later I was whisked off to my interview (part 1).
After interview part 1 I gave my unprepared lecture and chatted with the panel some more. I asked if I was going to get a campus tour, "oh no, not yet" was the response - why? Because I was being whisked off to interview part 2. A second interview immediately after the 1st? Who ever heard of such a thing? Well, this was not by a panel, but rather the VP of the college. It too went well, and after that I got a campus tour. Finally, a good solid 3 hours later, I got taken to dinner, which was yummy, and then at 8pm I got back in my rental car and drove back to LA. At noon the following day (Friday) I missed a phone call on my cell (I sure didn't want to pay US roaming charges!!!) And then Sunday night, as I got off the plane in Toronto, I checked my messages. Shortly thereafter I was employed! Woohoo! I'm going to California!