Thursday, November 15, 2007

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I have had this song stuck in my head the past two days. It seems that my life is spinning cliches the past few weeks and it is starting to get annoying.

It all boils down to the fact good things will happen to you at the most inconvenient times. This can be said of my pregnancy. Giving birth in February should not be such a big deal, but it is turning into one. I wish I was giving birth in July. Do you think little dude could wait it out a few months? Probably not. Why July . . .?

In September I started to worry about my business a bit. Many of our company contracts were starting to run out and not too many people had signed up for our fall general classes. The general classes problem is my fault. I set the price-point too high. Setting a price on things so that is cheap enough that a customer will buy it AND you can still make a profit is not easy. Try it some time.

Therefore, the New Yorker and I were faced with finding new customers. Besides trying to get existing customers to pay on time, sales is probably the part of my job I hate the most. It really is an art. I have learned quickly not to take rejection too personally and that follow-up is the key to closing the deal. Unfortunately, I can spend months to a year (!!) chasing a client down.

We made a few calls and had a couple of inquiries and a few jobs started popping up. Then in October, the jobs started falling from the sky. We have had 5 new companies contact us and 3 of our old companies decided to sign contract extensions. Sounds great doesn't it?

However, the New Yorker and I are faced with a tough question, "Who is going to teach these classes?" We are interviewing new teachers now, but finding qualified native speakers is difficult in this part of Germany. (Ch-ard, please come back to me!!) This is where the part about my maternity leave becomes difficult. Turns out that "maternity leave" is going to turn into a brief "maternity pause/interlude." And that pisses me off.

Most women in Germany begin their maternity leave 2 months before giving birth. After giving birth a woman can take up to three years off and their employer must give them their job back. Now this three years is not paid mind you, but part of it is. If you are a civil servant your pay is even higher. The German says that when many of his colleagues at school get pregnant, you know that they will be gone well over a year.

Not every woman takes advantage of this. A good friend of mine only took six months off and then went back to work part-time. She did not do it for financial reasons, but because she wanted to get out of the house a bit and actually communicate with adults. For this she was shamed by many people (I have a whole other post about this).

My frustration has lead me to make a list of the things that I want, but are just out of my reach. Any help?

1. I want a qualified native speaker teacher starting in January.

2. I want to be able to pay my bills and stay home with my child for more than a week.

3. I want to go to Dresden this weekend and commiserate with other ex-pats.

4. I want little dude to stop kicking me in the stomach and giving me acid reflux.

5. I want to stop getting bigger in the back. (What is my body trying to balance itself out with the front??)

6. I want to stop feeling so anti-social (sorry to my friends whose emails I have not responded too) and start enjoying my friends again.

7. I want to be happier about my pregnancy than I really am.

See, frustrating isn't it? I sometimes feel like people expect me to be dancing on the ceiling about my pregnancy, which I am not. I worry about so many other things that I get distracted and frustrated.

Last night something did change. I had my first dream about my baby. In my dream, I held him in my arms and we rubbed noses. He was so tiny and had a head of dark, thick hair. I woke up with a smile on my face for the first time in weeks. Perhaps February is not such a bad time to give birth after all.


Carol said...

You're looking for a native American speaker who has experience teaching English and also speaks German fairly fluently... and lives where??


hexe said...

I hated being pregnant. I know that is not politically correct to say, but I was giant, also had acid reflux, was on bedrest with kid1 and vomited for nine months with kid2. That said you know how important being a good mother is to me. It's okay to feel like crap about pregnancy; it certainly is not an indicator of the type of mother you will be. Do what you can now to find a teacher to take your place for a bit because as much as I love being a mom, the first couple weeks were hard for me as my whole frigin' life changed. You might want a little time to adjust. Good Luck!

Juanita said...

February is a great month to give birth! Both of my boys were born on February 19 (three years apart).

Christina G said...

Just remember, giving birth in July in a stuffy room with no air conditioning is not a ball of fun either. ;-)

Have you tried posting something on German Way Forum? There are always expats on there looking for English teaching work. No idea if any of them are up your way, but it can't hurt to ask.

ian in hamburg said...

You mentioned the ex-pat weekend... your name did crop up from time to time and let's hope you can make it to the next one! It was quite fun.