I think I have mentioned a few times in the past month that I might have a new job. I have been intentionally vague about the nature of the job to avoid bringing on the Bad Luck Juju, and I have not updated you at every turn, also to avoid the Juju, but now I need some advice. I am still going to be vague about the job itself (seriously people, BAD Juju), but here, in a nutshell, is my dilemma.
In the state of NC, and probably most other states, teachers are paid on years of experience. There are no merit raises, and there aren’t really any opportunities for advancement, unless you earn a master’s degree or PhD and become an administrator. Advanced degrees do in fact lead to a raise in pay–as long as you are working in the area that matches the degree, or you are a principal. After 10 years teachers receive a longevity bonus–1% of their current salary–and there is a monetary reward system built into the state’s testing accountability program.
I have worked in the NC public school system for 12 years. For 11 of those years I taught high school English, and then I spent one year in the library/media center as a school media specialist. During that year I completed my master’s degree in library and information services with a master’s level licensure certification. Shortly thereafter my position was cut, and I was moved into a new position. No one, not even the director of staffing for my school system, could guarantee me I would receive master’s pay in my new position; my administration told me not to worry about it, that the position was temporary anyway, and after the upcoming school year I would probably get to move back into the library (it’s a long story, which I’ve probably already blogged, but I am too lazy to find the link).
Then, on the last student day of the 2007-08 school year (like, a month ago), after a meeting that left me wondering about my principal’s loyalty and sincerity (also a long story, but I’m not telling it, sorry), I got a call from an old friend who works at Possible New Job Organization (PNJO). She started the conversation with, “I don’t know if you’re interested in changing jobs, but….” She went on to tell me about an opportunity she thought I might want to look into–if I was at all interested. I was. I looked. The Hirer told me about the position, and we talked at length. We met a second time and talked some more. We are meeting again today.
I will tell you that the person doing the hiring for PNJO is also someone I know. I will also tell you I am the only candidate, and that PNJO is not advertising for the position. In other words, the job is mine if I want it.
And then yesterday my friend who called originally to tell me about the job called again. She wanted to be sure I was covering all my bases and presented some Really Big Things for me to consider, along with some facts about the department I’d be working in at PNJO. I should note that my friend is extraordinarily IN THE KNOW at PNJO, and I think she would flat out tell me if she thought I shouldn’t take the job. She was just being, in her words, “conservative.” Here’s the lowdown:
- The Hirer at PNJO is in her current position as an interim; the former Deparment Boss retired, and she is Acting Boss for the next year until a New Boss is found.
- The Hirer/Acting Boss was offered an Assistant Boss, but she declined.
- New Boss will probably be offered an Assistant Boss as well.
- If New Boss takes an Assistant Boss, the position being offered to me would most likely be absorbed into Assistant Boss’s duties.
- This department has NEVER had an Assistant Boss.
- In order to make the salary PNJO is offering me, I would have to remain in the public school system for 14 more years (and that is on the master’s pay scale).
- I have not been a particulary happy public school employee for AT LEAST the past three years.
- PNJO is a great place, and I know I would enjoy working there, doing something new and different but still maintaining a connection to the education world (that’s the biggest hint you’ll get).
- I have tenure in the public schools, which pretty much guarantees my job security.
Here’s what I’d like from you: put yourselves in my shoes and consider what you’ve just read. Think specifically about the unknowns in effect at PNJO. Are they scary enough to make you think it would be better to stay in a crappy but secure position? Or is a leap of faith in order here? What’s your gut reaction to all of this? I could REALLY use your brilliant insight.