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.