July 16, 2004

At Long Last

Originally uploaded by butwait.

Doesn't she look great? And how long have I been whining about the boring old bluejay postcard stamp. Wilma Rudolph puts the zip back in postcard writing, IMHO.

May 12, 2004

We Have a Winner!

After confirming with TCNJ and the other independent school that any offer they would make would be substantially inferior to the standing offer from the independent K12 school (either because it would come much later in the summer or leave me much less time with my family once I took the job), I drove on up to the K12 independent school to hand-deliver my contract to the folks in the Upper School Administration Office. (My little sidekick came with me and charmed everyone he met, as usual.) I'll work the days I want to work this summer, get an iBook and a parking space, and they'll help with both the finding and financing of care for Mr. D during the last week in August.

I am so pleased and grateful. Thank you to the squillionth power to everyone who hung in there with me, passed along leads, served as a referee, and just generally helped me keep my chin up.

Not sure what I'll be doing, blogwise, from here on out, but of course will keep you in the loop!

May 07, 2004

The Homestretch

I tried to call folks at George & TCNJ today to let them know that I have what looks like a pretty good offer in hand...ended up having to leave voicemail messages in both cases. Meanwhile, the contract from Prep arrived and looks pretty good... if I get the Head of school there to agree to a few more things, it's going to be very hard to beat.

May 04, 2004

Thanks for the phone manners, Mom!

Most of my adult life I've been teased at some level or another for my extra-polite (by what passes for standards in these ultra-casual days) phone manners. I always answer the phone by saying, "Hello, [my full name] speaking," or sometimes, "Hi, this is Shelley."

Well today was one of those days that I was grateful to my mom for drumming that into me, because the phonecall that came just as D and I were sitting down to pre-nap books was from the Head at the independent K12 school! After my dependably professional greeting, I was able to manage a "Could I call you back in a few minutes? I'm just about to put my son down for his nap."

No problem. So I finished reading Green Eggs and Ham (which holds up remarkably well over multiple readings, unlike, for example, The Mouse About the House, which I have taking to hiding because I can't stand the thought of reading it again). But I digress. I finished storytime, tucked D. in, and spent about 10 minutes writing myself some notes so that I could remember everything I wanted to mention in our conversation if it was of the job offer variety.

Which it WAS!

There are still a few loose ends to tie down, mostly relating to benefits, but negotiations are definitely underway, and the K12 independent school should be sending me a contract for review in just a few days. Now the other indepdent school & TCNJ REALLY need to get their acts together. I'm trying to stay "in the moment" until things have settled out. But I'll confess to fantasizing about going on a Lands End work clothes spree. Whee!

May 03, 2004

Consider Yourselves Notified

Talked to my contacts at TCNJ and the other independent school today to let them know I think there's a good chance that an offer may be working its way towards me... now we'll see if either of them can pull an offer together in a timely fashion....

April 30, 2004

Best Interview on Least Amount of Sleep

I had SUCH a bad night's sleep last night! Endless involuntary games of mental ping pong... TCNJ (ke-bip), K12 school (ke-bop), TCNJ (ke-bip), K12 school (ke-bop). Then, when I schlepped up to the K12 school (many thanks to good friend Mary and my lovely partner, who together totally saved my bacon with regards to Mr. D care), the first thing the Head did was thrust three juggling balls into my hands. "Okay, first things first," he said with a grin, "teach me!" Luckily for me I wasn't just blowing smoke in my supporting documentation; I've taught so many people how to juggle over the years that I slipped quite easily into juggling instruction mode, and he actually already knows how, just needs a few touch-up tips. Which I happily provided


In addition to the impromptu juggling lesson, the rest of the conversation also went well. We liked each other, had good questions for each other, and are generally interested in making a go of it. I got a lot of my more specific, "nuts and boltsy" questions answered. No offer yet, I think because they still have one last interviewee coming in on Monday, but I got the sense from the Head that the administrative staff was feeling like it would be pretty tough for this as-yet-unknown to unseat me from my current position at the top of the hill.

So now I can give TCNJ a heads up as to their need to step up, and we'll see where this ride is going. Right after I take this nap.

April 29, 2004

A Tale of Two Campuses

Had a great lunch w/ the gal to whom I would be directly reporting if I go back to TCNJ to head up the communication piece of a campus-wide software implementation. Liked her a lot. Could totally see myself loving working on a team with her, and I know that I already like some of the other folks SC has brought on board as well. But the job still isn't posted, and the fact that I can't technically be considered an inside candidate means that they have to go through a full-on search, which would probably take at least a month even if the posting went up tomorrow.

Meanwhile, there's the small matter of a meeting with the Head at a K12 independent school tomorrow. The situations have some similarities: both potential bosses are family-friendly and have demonstrated a historically strong commitment to professional development. But the jobs themselves are pretty different. The TCNJ one is 8:30-4:30, 12-months, and technically temporary (for the duration of the implementation, which is supposed to take at least three years). (That last part doesn't bother me, because if I was there for three years they'd figure out a way to keep me around.) It looks like intellectually challenging/satisfying work, with decent amounts of public speaking and writing, although not about something I'm particularly passionate about. Good visibility, pretty good autonomy. Hard to say what the pay scale would be since it hasn't been posted yet, but presumably they wouldn't insult me, since they can easily access my previous compensation information.

The K12 independent school is a different gig. Still working with a small team of professionals, but with the main focus of my work being counselling rather than translating tech-speak and English into each other and back. A chance to teach. A very high-energy environment within a community that values the arts and technology (two things the school is particularly known for). Shorter work days (even with the slightly longer commute), and LOTS more time off. (E.g. winter break, Yom Kippur, Presidents' Day, Easter w/e, etc. etc. as well as a big chunk of the summer.) Hard to say what the pay scale will be because I haven't talked to the Head yet... that's 12 hours from now! Yikes, better get some quality shut-eye... stay tuned, folks!

April 28, 2004

But I Still Have Thank-You Notes to Mail!

The K12 independent school called; the Head wants to meet with me on Friday. Excellent! The gal I spoke with wouldn't tell me if it's just me coming back or me and someone else, though...

April 27, 2004

Prepped for A Prep?

Just back from my initial interview at a K12 independent school which I'm feeling pretty good about. I was relaxed and liked the energy of both the students and the staff I met. It's a gorgeous campus (although pretty much any campus would look good on a day like we're having today in central Jersey), and not a bad drive. If I ever got really ambitious, I could bike to work up the D&R towpath.

I touched on some key points about how I would be likely to approach the work, didn't say anything that I'm now regretting, and was not really stumped by any of the questions. (Although I may have inadvertently dodged one... there were enough people in the room that sometimes remembering to go back and address something was a bit tricky.) I spoke for about an hour with a group of four people: the person who holds the position currently, the principal and vice principal of the upper school, and the school counsellor (who is also a graduate of Brown and Penn). (Begin singing "It's a Small World" now.)

Okay, stop. :-)

Looks like they have at least one more interview to go. Not sure if they'll have a second round, or if they'll just bring their consensus finalist in to meet with the Head. In any case, I've got four thank-you notes to write tonight and a PFS board meeting, so I'd better go hunt up some nice notecards.

Thanks to Auntie Nish for the "Remember, if they don't groove on you, you don't want to be hanging out with them anyway," reminder. And big snaps to my co-conspirators from Penn days gone by... my conversations with you were HUGELY helpful!

April 22, 2004

My Sweaty Little Hand

I've just returned from my meeting with SC at TCNJ, and am happy to report that it went quite well. She's got two jobs about to open up that she thinks would be a good fit for me, and each has aspects that are appealing to me. I've got two draft job descriptions in my hand now, although she's asked me not to share them with anyone, as neither has been posted yet. How and when they get posted may end up being a function of whether or not I can be considered an internal candidate (which SC will look into), and how fast the conversations at the two independent schools heat up. We would clearly each welcome the chance to work with the other, and she was quite explicit about her "family comes first" perspective as a manager. A fall full-time start would be no problem (although some summer training hours would be a plus for either). I also raised the question of whether either of these jobs might be configured as a 10-month position (she thinks yes on one, no on the other). We've promised to keep each other posted, and I'm going to be curling up with these job descriptions tonight. Fun!

April 20, 2004

How Many Can YOU Juggle?

Whenever I'm juggling in a public place, someone inevitably asks me, "Can you juggle four?" (I can't.) I usually just smile and ask them, "How many can you juggle?" because so far, the person asking the question has always been someone who doesn't know how to juggle at all. Then I explain that juggling four balls is MUCH harder than juggling three, but doesn't look that much cooler or more difficult, so what's my motivation?

Anyway. Finally made myself email TP at TCNJ today, since unlike SC he hasn't reached out to me. Also checked in with GG, who confirmed that he's not neglecting me, just dealing with bigger fires; he promises to talk to the folks in whose area I would most probably be working as soon as he can. Was still at his desk at 8:45 tonight, so... it's a pretty crazy time for him. Afterwards, talking to my sister, I told her how challenged I am by throwing out yet another ball, how I had to push beyond my comfort zone to make myself do these things today, and she said, "Yeah, but that's why you're good at this stuff. You MAKE yourself throw that next ball up. Most people just hang out in their comfort zone."

I have a great sister.

April 19, 2004

Good Choice

Looks like ND has found someone who is a perfect fit for her new opening at PFS; spoke with her about it today and was happy to feel genuinely excited about the match, with very little undercurrent of disappointment on my own behalf. Whatever happens, happens.

April 15, 2004

Is It Just Me...

Or is it getting warm in here? Spring finally looks like it's going to stick around, and ND sent me an email to let me know that she just found out about an opening at PFS in the fall. At about the same time, I got a voicemail from the independent K12 school (I called back but failed to connect with a live human being; good thing I give good voicemail.) Went to the Town Meeting on Marriage Equality in Westfield tonight and got to hear the major of New Paltz speak, and am now going to hit the "send" button on my taxes, where I was once again forced to declare myself "single" despite having been in a committed relationship with the same woman for the past ELEVEN years. Never a dull moment.

April 12, 2004

And Another Thing...

CS+A sent me a referral today for a college counselling position at an independent K12, which I had just been talking with a friend about over the weekend. Talk about your April showers!

I've Got Mail!

Well, well, well, look what just showed up in my inbox:


I hope this is still your e-mail address. I understand through the grapevine that you are interested in returning full time in the fall. As you can imagine there is alot going on in my area and I would love to discuss some possibilities with you. When might you be available? Give me dates and times for two weeks since my calendar is quite packed!"

I fired off a response to SC at TCNJ immediamente. I don't know if this interest is the result of a supportive email from GB or not, but it's a welcome development in any case!

April 08, 2004

A Good One to Have In My Corner

Whew. I was doing just fine with today's appointment w/ GB, I really was, until she called me at home yesterday afternoon. Needed to buy herself a little time and push our appointment from 9am to 10am. Still no problem, at least theoretically, but something about hearing her voice sent my adrenal system into overdrive. And then Terri had to work late. So I spent the second half of yesterday in near-tizzy state, knowing all the while that it was for no good reason.

Sure enough, today's meeting went perfectly smoothly. She's got two possible areas in mind for me, academic affairs and academic support (advising), and will send an email to both TP and SC to let them know that she's recommended that I speak with them. Also found out that someone in SC's area is leaving (previously had only known this as a rumor), which means I'll have a GREAT chance at getting good solid information on what it's like to work for her... nothing like talking with a short-timer with nothing to lose.

Looking forward to talking with these folks, getting back to George School, and shaking the trees a bit at Chapin & Peddie. Hope I can get the timing to work out so that I'll have a long and carefree summer.

April 06, 2004

Quaker Schoolmarm

Met for almost an hour today with ND to talk about how her needs and my skills might match up. It seems unlikely that there will be a full-time position available at PFS next year -- it turns out that OM isn't retiring until the end of NEXT year -- but we talked about other options. The possibility of a 2-day/3-day split with, say, George School, for example... one of the advantages of being covered by T's benefits package is that it becomes less of an issue in my overall compensation. The possible upside to that kind of arrangement is that it would almost certainly mean that both schools would be trying to figure out how to get me to be full-time once they figured out how good I am. :-) The downside, of course, has to do with the old, "No man can serve two masters" koan.

Still, it was great to talk with ND and feel that she is genuinely excited by the possibility of bringing me on in SOME capacity. And we can add her to the list of people who for some reason look at me and think, "Middle school." I theorized that it might have something to do with my energy level, or my combination of seriousness and goofitude, but she says she thinks it's more about integrity. Cool.

March 30, 2004

Creative Job-Making 101

Had a good meeting with GG at George today; they're just coming back from break and he's in "just found out a bunch of people are leaving" mode, which could work out well for me. We had a friendly, free-form conversation, I wasn't at all nervous, and I think I managed to hit all of the talking points I had set for myself as goals. Also found out that George School's Diversity Outreach Coordinator is, as Stacy says, "a member of the corporation," which could work to my advantage.

Two of the people who have been helping out in George's Admission office are spouses of teachers who are leaving. They may have a history of using those part-time positions as lures ("we'll even give your partner a little work") to full-time faculty, but at the same time I have to believe that the director would prefer to have someone in there with my level of experience. That plus some teaching could be an exciting combination.

March 19, 2004

Let's Talk

After getting stymied by voicemail all day yesterday, finally got through to GG at George, who confirmed that the head of the school had passed my materials along to him. He seems willing to engage me in a conversation about how my skills might best fit their needs, so that's just what I plan to do. They're on break next week, but he encouraged me to start a round of connect-the-calendars with his secretary and gave me her direct-dial line. Time for a haircut!

March 17, 2004

Add Another Link, Sidebartender!

Got an email today from my friend NN, who informs me that a full-time position is open (will be opening?) at HiTops. Should I learn from Tracy's experience and run screaming from any and all small non-profits? Or...? Think I'll at least sit down and talk with NN about it... right after we get back from snowbirding it in Ft. Pierce!

March 16, 2004

Who's On First?

Connected with the Head and the director of Advancement at George. The Advancement search won't pick back up again for a little while, as they're doing their hiring sequentially rather than all at once. The Head has passed my information along to someone who is responsible for faculty hiring. (?) Will have to follow up with him, too. Meanwhile, the head of the very first school that CS+A referred me to has dropped off the face of the earth, and I'm inclined to just let her stay disappeared. Weird, though.

March 15, 2004

On Her Radar

Finally spoke to the Head of PFS in person today about my goal of returning to work full-time in the fall. She's not sure they'll have any fulltime administrative positions open, but there will certainly be some reconfiguring of responsibilities, and she was at least interested enough to call me back after her drive home to ask me to keep her posted. All I can do is my best, and whatever works out after that is all good.

March 09, 2004

Rehabilitating the Name "George"

Worked on and mailed off cover letters to both the head and the director of advancement at George School today. Checked with two members of the faculty there with whom I've worked in the past, and they both said, "Sure, use my name, I'd be happy to serve as an informal reference." Will follow up with phone calls next week. Just got back from a book reading of Catherine Clinton's new bio of Harriet Tubman at Friends Select, which made me feel again that longing to work in a Quaker environment.

March 05, 2004

Two For Two

Breaking news... the Head of the SECOND school that CS+A referred me to just called. So at the very least we can infer that my cover letter-writing skills are good. :-) The school is in Burlington, further than I would probably want to drive each day, but because it's tiny the Head is used to having to be creative about how to manage his resources. He called me to talk about the possibility of "farming out" some of his college counselling, as the current arrangement, with one of the parents who is also a guidance counsellor in the local high school doing some moonlighting at his school, just isn't working as well as he'd hoped. No firm plans yet, but he may run a few possibilities past his parents + trustees in the coming months and we promised to keep each other posted. I am pleased with how confident I feel, and I think the part-time work at TCNJ is helping with that. Even before my first paycheck, taking on that job is looking like a great decision.

Trading Spaces?

Just back from a trip to Newtown today for an informational interview with PA, who worked at Penn after I did and is now at George School in Development. She is due to give birth to her first child in a month or so, and after that will be leaving George, as her husband has recently taken a position with a start-up in MD. We had a great meeting at George today, had fun talking about all the things we have in common (her sister is gay and has a long-term partner and two kids), and finished up with her introducing me to the head of George's Development Office, who seems like good people and who shares my grandmother's maiden name. At one point PA introduced me to someone by saying, "I'm trying to recruit my replacement." A nice feeling. PA's friend in the office, Alice, has a son who works at Small World Coffee in Princeton who Mr. D has noticed on several occasions because he wears a kerchief over his hair ("Why dat boy have dat on his head?")... I refrained from bursting into an a capella rendition of "It's A Small World After All." But it is. Maybe PA will become a stay-at-home mom as I turn into a development person...

March 04, 2004

That Was Fast!

Got a call from the Head of the school in Pottersville today saying that she "loved" my cover letter and wants to talk to me about the position. I missed the call (was working on tonight's big Alumni Chapter Kick-Off event at TCNJ, which went pretty well if I do say so myself), but got the message and left one on her voicemail. Let the games begin!

March 01, 2004

Get Out the Map

Carney Sandoe + Associates (CS+A) has referred me for two positions in private secondary schools, one in Pottersville, and one in Burlington. I'll save you the trouble of getting out a map: they're both a schlep. But theoretically "doable," if not geographically ideal, so a cover letter & suppporting documents went out to each of them today. The jobs are different, one in admission, one in counseling, so I'm hoping I get to talk with both schools as a part of my ongoing exploration. Meanwhile, I also finally talked to LT, my contact at CS+A, something that RW recommended, causing me to think "Well, yes, of course!" RW also asked how I had "gotten" LT, to which I replied that I have no idea how the folks at CS+A match clients with "matchmakers," maybe it's just geography, maybe it's random, who knows. Still, LT has been doing this about as long as I've been doing admissions, so I feel like I'm in good hands. And PA at George School is a previous client of his, so that's ANOTHER thing we can talk about in our meeting on Friday.

February 18, 2004

Busy busy busy!

Yesterday was my first day of part-time consulting at TCNJ, and it felt just great. It took me a little while to get settled in -- email account, phone access code, new ID card (with old picture, yay!), etc. etc. -- but once I did I was really motoring along. Left at 4pm because that's about as much kid-free time as I could stand, and of course he was totally fine when I popped into Laura's around 4:30pm.

I found that working in an office environment required much less stamina than full-time care of a toddler, but at the same time I was glad last night that I didn't have to gear up for another all-family exodus in the morning. Seems like this part-time thing might really help us all make the transition next fall.

Meanwhile, with my "I am working for money again" energy boost, I got a lot done this morning and afternoon. Sent out transcript requests to Brown and Penn, finished up a personal statement and submitted that along with my resume and cover letter to PDS, checked in w/ GB to thank her for keeping me in the Newtown Friends loop, sent a thank-you note to CD, and sent an email to Carney Sandoe to let them know that their "upload your stuff" feature isn't working for me. Still have more to do, but I'm definitely making progress.

February 13, 2004

A Positive Outlook

After having had several conversations with well-meaning friends that fell into the "Yeah, you had better get cracking!" category, today's meeting at the Pennington School with CD was a great relief. He came to the area late in the cycle last year, and although he had some help from the powers that be at Princeton, ended up getting the job he has through good old-fashioned work and luck. CD gave me the sense that the folks in the local independent schools communicate with each other regularly, and encouraged me to send him a copy of my resume because, "I talk to a lot of people, sitting here at my desk." Left feeling quite buoyed.

February 10, 2004

Talk Therapy

Went down to visit with BG today at Newtown Friends, a terrific and well-established preK-8 Quaker school which is just down the road from (and something of a feeder for) George School. They're not anticipating any administrative openings, but she gave me a great tour of the school and the name of someone I could connect with at George. During the tour, I got a chance to talk with a teacher whose immediate response to my situation was, "You should find some work you can do at home." I respectfully disagreed, talking about the excitement of being part of a team and a community, and it was good to have a chance to articulate that, to myself as much as to her. The more I talk to people, the clearer I become.

February 09, 2004

It's A Go

Worked out the details of my consulting work with TCNJ today, after having decided over the weekend that I wanted to go ahead and run with it. Grammy made a good point, saying that if nothing else, it would be helpful to have a trial run at a new, "everybody out of the house in the morning," routine. I'm mostly excited, and not too nervous.

February 03, 2004

Zero to Thirty?

I've been explaining to friends that part of our motivation to have Mr. D in care a few mornings a week this year was to reduce the "zero to sixty" effect of his otherwise having to go from no care to full-time care. Spoke this morning with the folks in the Business School at TCNJ about the possibility of my working there a few days a week for the next few months, and if it works out, it may help to serve the same kind of function in my life. Get used to the rhythm of work on a part-time basis so that I'm in better shape to ease in, come fall. The conversation this morning went well, I think, and it seems like it could be a win-win situation; they are very excited about the prospect of bringing someone in who they've heard good things about and wouldn't have to learn everything from scratch. BD didn't want to approach TP about the dollars and cents until he had a better of idea of my level of interest, so now I wait until they confer and get back to me with something that looks like an offer.

January 30, 2004

It's the Little Things

Today was a "keep up with the little things" kind of day. Sent an updated copy of my resume to BG, and a thank you note and "Shelley resource packet" to UR. RH sent me a posting about a job opening -- not sure yet if I'm interested -- and a great piece of constructive criticism about my resume. And I'm starting to work on a master letter to heads of school... in my head. Actual words on paper coming soon!

January 28, 2004

Out of the Blue

I got a call today from BD at TCNJ, who I haven't spoken with since he was promoted. Seems that their Program Assistant of nine months got the job of her dreams and is outta there come next Wednesday. TP -- bless his heart! -- recommended that BD talk with me about the possibility of doing some "stop gap" fill in just for the rest of this academic year; they'll try to fill the position for real in September. BD said that the position is one that they frankly would not expect me to be interested in long-term (it's an entry-level professional position), but they're interested in at least exploring whether it might be a good fit in a kind of part-time, interim way, just so they don't have to let everything go totally fallow for the rest of the year. He sounded quite excited about the possibility, so of course I said I'd look into it and see what I could do. The first concern being childcare coverage. The second being whether I might be able to do a portion of the work for from home. This could be interesting...

January 27, 2004

Damn the Ice, Full Speed Ahead!

Went ahead with a planned meeting with UR today, despite dire weather predictions for the late morning. We talked about the rewards of counseling and the challenges that some parents represent. Also talked about the possible "transferability" of skills from a college-admissions to secondary admissions environment. He mentioned development as an area worth considering, and also wondered about the possibility of a good "fit" with one of the Quaker schools; I hadn't even remembered that Newtown Friends (K-8) existed! He also liked my idea of sending a letter to schools as well as applying to be listed with Carney Sandoe, so it looks like that's my next task. On the way home, my windshield wipers could barely keep up with the sleet; I got out of there just in time!

January 25, 2004

Actually, No, I Wasn't Ready

Worked on my Carney, Sandoe, + Associates (CS+A at left) application today, wanting to get it to an "almost finished" state before working on my letters to local schools. Then, when I carefully hit "logout" on the last page (the one which prompts you to upload your resume, among other things), I got a disconcerting, "Congratulations, you have completed your application" message from them. Ummm.... well, not exactly. Sent them an email to say "What's up with that?" Hope to hear back soon.

January 23, 2004

Snailmail A-Gogo

Sent off thank-you notes to RW and RH this morning, including in one case a resume AND "the rest of the story" type promo, just the less formal stuff in the other. Then I put together a packet for GS of background, memory-jarring info on my teaching work and mailed that off, too. Meanwhile, ML has asked NB to reach out to her husband, who works at Pennington... I want to get as many informational interviews in as I can before I feel I have to register for the search firms used by the private schools. Busy busy busy.

January 22, 2004

Mission Statement

Met with ND today for almost two hours to work -- in concert with some other folks -- on the PFS mission statement. I was nervous about it going in (every communication with her takes on a heightened importance now that I know that OM is leaving at the end of the year), but I think it went fine. I have no idea what the salaries at PFS look like, despite my work on the board. Still, it's good to be thinking about it even in a "pie in the sky" kind of way, and ND is interested in getting together for dinner at some point, which could be really fun. "We live in Yardley," she reminded me. "Terri and I lived in separate states for four years!" I reminded her.

January 21, 2004

Tea for Two

RH came over for tea and conversation this afternoon. Mr. D was asleep, but we ran into her at the chapel while attending a drum concert last week, so I didn't feel as bad about them not getting any time together. I mostly wanted to talk with her because last year she made a huge leap of faith, resigning from her long-time job at Princeton University without having anything firm in place. She's landed on her feet (not surprisingly), and I had this feeling that it would be good for me to just soak up some of that courage. It was. Plus she's a great listener, and got me talking about what my hopes are and how I think we all might weather the transition. She said that at her current school , the folks in the admissions office seem often to be the spouses of teachers, that they bring people in as a package deal. But that she'd talk to the head and see what she could glean the next time they meet. Every time I talk to RH for an extended period of time I am reminded of what a gift careful listening really is.

January 20, 2004

Dipping A Toe In

Had a productive meeting this morning with RW, who works at one of the local private schools and who started out in college admissions. He said that making the transition to the smaller environment had been very smooth for him, that these schools are great communities to be a part of. Did mention that in the case of boarding schools (e.g. Hun, Pennington, L'ville) the expectations in terms of hours and presence on campus (often including living on the campus) might present a challenge, given our situation of my needing to be the primary "at home" parent during the winter reading months. RW mentioned the same search firms that GS & PS had, with the additional note that it can be a cost savings to the school if the candidate sends a resume directly to the school FIRST (thereby allowing the school to avoid covering the finder's fee -- typically 10-12% of the first year's salary -- that the search firms charge). Princeton is a small town with lots of bright, energetic people; it will be a challenge to get to the decision-makers who DON'T know me and somehow stand out in their minds so that when something opens up, I'm one of the people they think of.

January 18, 2004

Just What I Wanted to Hear

I made some real progress this weekend in the quest for references. I connected with GS, mostly because I thought she'd be able to help me connect with RQ, who has retired from Germantown Friends since I was there. She was able to give me RQ's contact information, but, in a surprise move, she also reminded me that she'd seen me teach, and spontaneously offered to write a letter for me herself! Once she reminded me, I remembered that she had observed my class (of course at the time I was focused on the students), and as the head of the department she had some great advice about how to approach a private school search. Boosted by this turn of events, I gave BG a call, and easily enlisted his help as well. I know MM is already on board, so now I'm pretty much set. Need to put together some resource sheets for these folks, figure out a timeline, and put them to work.

January 15, 2004

The Time Is Now

Took advantage of today's snowday to talk a bit with PS about her experiences with her search for a position with an independent school. Learned that many of the schools routinely engage search firms, and that actual letters of reference (as opposed to mere contact info for folks who are willing to act as references) are sometimes required. I need to get cracking on lining up some folks who would be willing to write for me. Also found out that many private schools ask their teachers and staff to give the leadership a "heads up" in January or February if they're anticipating leaving, so I need to be reaching out to the local schools pronto.

January 13, 2004

Crunch, crunch, crunch...

One thing that has definitely changed during my time away from waged work is my perspective on our family's budget. When I was still working for wages, I had a pretty good idea of what our monthly income and expenses were, but now I REALLY know. Something about watching the dedicated "stay at home with Mr. D" savings account dwindle down over these last two years made it all seem so much more real. Today I spent some time sitting down with old paystubs and current expense reports, trying to figure out how much money we need me to be bringing in, as distinguished from how much money we would LIKE me to be bringing in. It was an interesting excercise, and at least now I have some ballpark ideas. Although of course roughly 30% of the value of a typical compensation package is derived through benefits. Which are looking a little more important, now that Gov. McGreevey has signed S2820 into law.

January 11, 2004


Had a meeting with my first private college search client of the year this afternoon, and I think it went well. There were a few points at which the mom in question had to ask me to re-clarify something I'd said, which I think was mostly a reflection of my tendency to unwittingly slip into admissions-speak. Have to work on that. Still, it feels good to keep my hand in a bit (I'm doing some alumni interviews for Brown as well), and good to be reminded of the body of knowledge all those years of work helped to build.