Physics Tutor Kate

On the same day that I applied for my teaching job, I also applied to a few tutoring services. Within days, two of these companies called me. One of them was a tutoring service near York University, which, you may imagine, caters to first-year students at York. I went to an interview, trying to look as much a professional as possible. (And yes, as pretty as possible too, because, well, I like being pretty dammit!) My supposedly 15 minute interview lasted close to an hour. I got along very well with the manager, which I think is why I was hired at the end. I also got the feeling that the manager found me attractive; I think it was when he unintentionally gasped when he saw me. (That may be a whole different story for another time. Sufficed to say, I don’t feel creeped out when working alongside him.) Since the beginning of this month, I’ve been working 6 to 10 hours there.

About the same time I also got a phone interview with a second tutoring service. I was contacted by a young woman (their recruiter) who eventually recommended me to the owner of the company, and everything seemed reasonable. Then came my “orientation” session. I met the owner at a Starbucks near home, and he walked me through the whole business: who they cater to (the richest 1%) and what was required of me. I was certain that he didn’t want to hire a transwoman, and that he was only trusting his recruiter. I was okay with that, seeing that I wouldn’t have to deal with him very much. Then came a question from him: what happens if I walk into my first session with a new family, and they ask me how long I’ve worked for the company. He made it very clear that I was not allowed to say that I was a new hire (he thought that since the family would be paying a handsome amount of money, they should expect “the best” rather than a newbie) and that I can’t dance around the question (“because they’re professionals that can spot those answers  from a mile away) so I must lie. I told him that I have a lot of trouble with that, and he agreed to give me time to think about it, then he left.

A woman who has been sitting at the next table leaned over, and told me that he came across as a “used car salesman” who cared more about the business than his staff, and that I shouldn’t work for him. Soon her husband joined and she repeated our entire session, verbatim, to him. (She was an incredibly intelligent woman) He nodded and reminded me that if he would ask me to lie the very first time we meet, it said a lot about his character. I also wondered aloud why my Ph.D. and past experience as a tutor and teacher meant so little compared to experience working for him. I eventually decided that this tutoring service isn’t a place that I want to associate myself with, and I declined to continue with the rest of the orientation.

So at the moment, I am working 3 jobs: my private consulting service, the private school and the tutoring service for York University students. I’m still underemployed, but I at least I’m not woefully underemployed.

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