The Grinning Buddha Seeks Work

I am currently looking for employment in the United States, preferably in Texas. I’m just wrapping up a seven-year stint as Instructor of Rhetoric and Composition at The American University in Cairo. Yes, that Cairo, the one attached to Egypt that you keep hearing about in the news. (By the way, a full listing of my work experience can be found on my résumé.) So, as you might guess, I’ve got tons of international experience. All that’s been good—living as an expatriate has been incredibly enriching in a myriad of ways—but my parents have gotten older, and ties, with family members, have frayed despite my best efforts to prevent this from happening. It’s now time for me to return to the place of my birth and become the grandson, son, brother, uncle, nephew, and cousin I’ve been unable to be in recent years.

I’m also looking to return to the States because my Azza, my lovely Egyptian wife, is mere weeks away from being issued one of those proverbial “green cards.” Once that happens, we’ll need to pull up tent stakes, pack our kit and caboodle into a cargo container, and jet across the pond. Shortly after landing on terra firma I’ll need to be able to muster the financial wherewithal to feed, clothe, and house the two of us. By the way, I’d be a crappy husband if I didn’t go into a bit more detail about what sort of person Azza is and about how happy she makes me. For one, she is a professional foodie who does magical things in the kitchen. (At which point I wave my magic wand and make all her goodies disappear.) As a result of all this conjuring, I’m looking more and more like a chubby grinning Buddha.

So far, I’ve been guilty of beating around the bush. I’m really writing this to engage in a shameless act of self-promotion. By that I mean, I’m composing this to send an important message to all potential employers out there—if you happen to come across my résumé floating around in the zero gravity of cyberspace, you should immediately rush to the nearest telephone or computer and contact me for an interview. You’ll certainly thank yourself afterward if you do so.

I’ve spent a large chuck of my professional life working as a teacher of critical and creative thinking. I say “mostly” because I’ve done other things. Again, my résumé spells it all out. But being a teacher means a lot more than most people realize. It means, for example, that I’ve got tons of management experience. After all, I am the manager of the classroom every time I step into it. During each lesson I have to move our little company forward toward well-defined goals that relate to clear “corporate” objectives. I have to make sure everyone is on task and on message. I have to pay attention to pacing and I’ve got to do on-the-spot troubleshooting. What if my computer and projector fails or if the students aren’t getting it? What do I do then? I can’t just throw in the towel. I have to model those problem-solving skills I keep telling my students all about.

As a teacher, I’m also a master salesperson and persuader. Each course I create is a product I have to sell to my “consumers,” and they have to buy into the process we’ll follow to reach our educational goals. I have to convince them they need to get what I have to offer. I have to pay attention to “packaging” and quality. In fact, I have to be my own Manager of Quality Control. To make matters even more complex, I often face buyers who are downright resistant to what I have to hawk.

When you hire a teacher, you get a heck of a lot for your money. You get a philosopher and a psychologist. You get a life coach, a motivational speaker, and a program developer. You get a learner—a teacher is expert in knowing how to acquire new knowledge and skills—and someone who finds value in the process of intellectual struggle. What more could an employer hope to find in a potential employee?

Of course, I could go on and on about why I’d make a good addition to just about any sort of team. But, right now, I’ll leave it at that. I’m always available for a much longer chat. Just pick up the telephone or send me an email…

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