I am a 39 year old virgin… again!
It has been over 15 years since I was on the job market. That practically makes me a job seeking virgin. Yes, throughout my tenure at Kehillah Schechter Academy (aka South Area Solomon Schechter Day School), I looked at job postings, but that was as far as I went. I felt at home at Schechter. My colleagues were my extended family and the students… they were like my children. Yes, there were days when I swear it was my last or that I would have preferred to swallow a pitchfork, but we all have those days with our family, too. I had… or thought I had… an everlasting symbiotic relationship with Schechter. She took care of me and I, her children.
The day the staff found out that the school was closing felt like we were just told by the attending physician that a loved one was going to die. Except this time, we knew the day/time… June 19th at 2pm… the doors would close… forever.
The day we found out of KSA’s untimely demise, I ripped open a resume template and began composing my cover letters and thrusting them into emails. Not long, I received emails of inquiry, followed by interview requests and within 3 weeks I landed a job. I know it doesn’t work like this for everyone. I was lucky… I was blessed… and I acknowledge that.
On my first day, I pulled up to Hebrew College as the new Director of Makor and Director of Online Learning, I felt this strange nervousness along with the little voice in my head saying, “Hey! This isn’t Schechter!” Thank you, Captain Obvious! That nervous feeling was one of “Surprise! You are the newbie! It’s your first time! Hope you can perform well and that your stamina will last and last and last….”
I remember when new staff at Schechter would come and seeing their nervous faces or the typical eye contact of “I have no freakin clue where to go or what to do?” I would do my best to put myself in their shoes and make them feel comfortable. I would go out of my way and smile. I would check in with them and offer to meet with them. Whether we became friends… only time would tell… but at least I was glad that they felt a bit more comfortable.
Now, I literally was in their shoes. I was the newbie.
As I walked into the entrance of Hebrew College on that first day, I was warmly welcomed by Tanya, the receptionist. And that was the start of what has been a fantastic adventure!
It’s been 10 days… 10 days of meeting new people and taking everything in… from learning which staircase goes where to how individuals prefer to communicate. The culture of Hebrew College is akin to Schechter… where people care about and for one another… and are in the business of educating the future!
Each day, I am feeling more at home here. Emilia, Leah, and Noah – my co-workers – have been gracious in helping me out and as such, I have been more comfortable being me (you know, the caring guy with the quick wit who laughs like a hyena). Michael & Dan – my supervisors – have guided me and given me projects that push me and allow my ideas to take flight – how cool is that??
Each day, I make sure to take walks around the building to say hi, reintroduce myself and ask people to remind me of their names. Each day, I make sure to take in the art and learn the names of the rooms. Each day, I am reflecting on the culture of Hebrew College so I can immerse myself in it as best as possible.
Perhaps that is why the transition has been so smooth… I remember my first job and not doing any of the things I just mentioned. While it might surprise some of my readers, I am shy. It takes a lot of effort for me to put myself out there. I have to quash the judging that the little voice in my head spouts of “No one will like you. You have a big head and your pants are on backwards.”
I learned to do this from my years in the workforce, my coaches (Jane Cohen and Larry Levine) and coaching other newbies… now I put them into practice and Holy Cannoli Batman, they worked!
I walk into Hebrew College each day feeling more connected, more included, more comfortable. I am excited about the work that I have been given. I am mindful that I will make mistakes and will work hard to be kind and gentle with myself. I am open to learning from the mistakes as well as everything Hebrew College has to offer.
The first day has come and gone. Remove that V from my forehead. Now, onward to better things… which way is the bathroom?