Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jeff's New Job

So, I've been tight-lipped about this, but to answer the lingering question my remaining 2.5 readers are all asking, yes, I have finally landed a job. At the end of July, I started working as an assistant editor for the Slovak Spectator, an English language newspaper (which publishes both in print and online) based in Bratislava. The Spectator provides news to expats, foreigners, as well as Slovak university students, an increasing number of whom are learning English. To say that I'm excited about this opportunity would be a gross understatement.

But wait, wasn't I supposed to teach?

Although I came to Slovakia fully equipped with a Cambridge CELTA to teach English, I have never been entirely thrilled about teaching, and felt somewhat ambivalent about my experiences teaching in the past. More importantly, there simply haven't been any English teaching job openings in Bratislava at schools that use CELTA methodology. All the schools that posted job listings, including one for which I interviewed, were - what are considered in the world of teaching English - "cowboy" schools, which are usually slightly sketchy operations set up by people trying to market their own extremely dubious and unproven teaching methods. The schools that do use CELTA methodology, like International House, simply had no job openings. At least in Bratislava, finding a good teaching position was proving to be impossible. (The Cambridge CELTA is one of the most reputable TEFL certifications out there. Schools that hire CELTA qualified teachers tend to be better quality, more legit institutions).

But this job with the Spectator feels like the perfect situation for me, and is preferable to teaching. It's both a pleasure and a fun and engaging challenge to edit the articles submitted by the paper's Slovak reporters. I'm also learning a lot about Slovakia, both politically and culturally, and the staff has been nothing but friendly, helpful, and accommodating. This is an incredible opportunity, and I hope it lasts!

Somewhat related to this is something else that I've been tight-lipped about: back in March I was asked by the Slovak Spectator to contribute several articles to their annual travel magazine, Spectacular Slovakia. The magazine is a really well put together publication that covers practically every corner of the country - a necessity given how most popular travel books only scratch Slovakia's surface. After reading some of my blog posts, the Spectator folks asked if I would be willing to write several pieces on Bratislava, to which I happily agreed. This was another amazing opportunity that allowed me to do something I love (and that I'm actually kind of good at). I believe the issue with my articles should be out by the end of the year. Here is the website, where you can check out articles from previous issues.

Things are going well with Terezia's chef gig for the US ambassador too, which is obviously a good thing. She's been there for just about three months now. She has also cooked a few times for the vice ambassador, and his family loved her cooking as well, which is clearly no surprise.

At any rate, it took a while, but things are finally appearing to come together for us here. After submitting countless resumes to mostly non-responsive employers, we were beginning to grow disillusioned, especially with unemployment here hovering at just under 14%. But now the pity party can end and we can get on with our lives, which of course makes both of us immensely happy.

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