I may have a problem. International teaching job fairs are addicting. After I finish one, I find myself thinking how amazing the next one will be and the things I will do differently. I had such thoughts after the UNI fair two years ago. Now, my plan has long been to end my international stint after my next placement—Guatemala, as it turns out. But after this fair, I find thoughts, unbidden, coming to my mind such as, “In two or three years, I’ll have a masters in International Education and 4 or 5 years of international experience. I’d have a free ticket to practically any school I wanted to go to. The job fair would be excellent.” Oh dear. My family and friends back home would not be happy to hear these nasty thoughts!
But the fact remains…these job fairs ARE addicting.
There are a few reasons why.
1. The people
International job fairs are always filled with great people to talk to and get to know. I think it takes a special breed of person to be an international teacher; they are people who both love to teach and love to travel. What this translates into in terms of personality (in my opinion) is a group of people who both love interacting with people and have a great sense of adventure. So they’re easy to get to know, and they’re really fun!!
2. The competition (against yourself, more even than against other people)
I say the competition is against myself, because at the fair, I truly wish the best for every candidate. There’s no backstabbing, no resentment if someone else snags my job, no badmouthing others or employing “strategies” to give myself leverage. But I do compete against myself. There’s a strategy to gaining interviews, to keeping in contact, selling myself, making a good first impression, and ultimately landing a job. It’s a game, and a really fun one! (And the prize for winning is pretty excellent).
3. Possibilities looming before you and the ability to change your fate in a matter of hours.
Job fairs move FAST. Often in 24 hours or less, you’ve got a new job. In a matter of hours, varying possibilities are placed in front of you, and one decision will influence the next 1-3 years of your life. It’s exciting! The fair is definitely an “emotional roller coaster” (a term I heard used over and over this past weekend), and, in my opinion, it’s certainly a fun one to ride.
Don’t worry, friends and family. Even though I would love to return to a job fair with all the tools to “win the game” in a few years, I don’t really see that happening. I never say never… but don’t fret about losing me to the international world forever just yet. I may try to break the addiction one day, after all.