I've got about 36 minutes to kill until my next interview, so I thought I'd jump on here and briefly post my impressions of the Carney, Sandoe and Associates NYC job fair. Pretty much it's an assemblage of desperate semi-professionals (educators can't ever really erase that harried air from their appearances, which is why I say semi-professional; no matter how closely the men hew to the groomed, bluc-blazer-khaki-pants look, the women to the inoffensively presentable (more black pantsuits than, well, an election party hosted by DAR 30-somethings), there's always something askew, like radical, radio-tower jewelry, or suits that fit just a bit too tightly) trying not to appear desperate. There's this whole row of slot-files along one wall, where schools leave interview notices. Everybody, and I mean everybody (me, too), check these "mailboxes" with sickening regularity, all while trying not to appear as if they're checking their mailboxes. Just like their appearances, it lends the giant convention room in which we huddle a nervous, hen-like feeling. I've seen more forced smiles here than at the dentist's office.
In short, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. The interviews attempt to be personable (except for one interviewer, who shouted at me for twenty minutes about his school's history and then, without leaving any time for answer, plunged into a description of the school's benefits. It was like being bought a series of drinks by someone whom you don't know and think you don't like (and the drinks are bad, too)), but are conducted at one of several hundred slim picnic-style tables. People do all the things people do when they're trying not to be nervous but can't pull off any serious work or reading (crosswords, the sports pages, chatting emptily, chewing their nails off and staring malignantly at the floor, blogging). I just returned from a soulless meal at one of those ubiquitous New York "Gourmet" delis, of the botulism-fraught salad bars, where other desperate teacher types rubbed elbows with construction workers who swore happily and talked about money.
The guy in the chair next to me just fronted like he was going to nap (!).
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