The Job Hunt

So Much to Consider!!

So Much to Consider!!     (

Alright.  I’m 58 and job hunting….I admit it, I’m getting old.  My spirit is youthful (some say I’m an arrested adolescent), I’m in solid physical shape (I bike, run, swim), I’m reasonably current with teaching and learning, and I’m flexible about where to go next.  Seems like I’ve got potential.

But, OMG I have an interview coming up!!!!!   I have 25 yrs as an administrator and I’ve spent hours  interviewing candidates for teaching positions BUT I can count the number of times I’ve been interviewed in my life on my fingers.  Not very many, considering I’m almost the big Six – Oh.  Interviewing takes skill and especially interviewing over skype.  Being quick on your feet – at least for me – is always a challenge, especially as I often consider my most insightful thoughts as a series of linked  sentence fragments.  Sentence fragments don’t really sound very impressive in interviews!   I need the face to face conversation, but even then I probably tend to “over talk” everything!

Then there is the brushing up on buzzwords and trends.    I certainly had read about STEM in the US  and the focus upon Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math and the absolute need to build programs that nurture engineering skills in students.  But, recently STEAM has become equally valued – rightly so.  The ‘A’ stands for the Arts and now STEM begat STEAM!  I recently made a comment during the interview about wanting to learn more about inquiry and “digging” into it more.  I made it sound like inquiry was new to me. When, in fact, what I meant was – every school (as viewed through most current position descriptions) refers to  inquiry in their mission, strategic plan, curriculum documents, etc and yet I  wonder how many of them are TRULY doing inquiry.   It takes training and skill to be a really good inquiry teacher, especially at the upper school grade levels.  My point is admitting that you want to learn more about something can sometimes hurt your chances!  A few years ago I was interviewing with a school board for a superintendent position.  I admitted that I hadn’t been a superintendent before (not hard to admit since my resume gave that fact away) and I hadn’t been in a position of the bottom line budget manager……I thought I was stating the obvious, they thought I was signalling my need for excessive help.

Then there is the post interview autopsy.  Why did I say that? What rubbish did I spew with that comment? WHAT WAS I THINKING?  The other day I was asked about recent PD….I rambled on about experiences I had with PD the last few summers BUT I didn’t even mention the hours I spend culling my twitter feed and reading articles, and how much I learn about my profession by my PLN through twitter.  Why didn’t I talk about my use of social media for personal learning?

Sometimes you feel as if you have really hit the mark.  That’s okay until you ultimately convince yourself otherwise.  Or worse, you get the rejection email even though you thought it went perfectly!  Spouses, our “non-opinionated” partners in all of this, have a very specific role in all of this.  Bouncing ideas and listening to the autopsy are both valued. But, any soothing words in an attempt to provide comfort are not really considered neutral…..nice try, but I know I blew it.

So, how does one survive the process and what reminders really matter as I put my head down and barrel through the coming weeks and months? Here are 5 things that come to mind.

  • Always maintain perspective, it’s about the right match.
  • After all these years, experience does matter.
  • Re-read and understand your philosophy.  Is it really what you believe?
  • Understand and pitch your assets.  Know your strengths
  • Cast a wide net and truly know what is important for the next move.  What conditions are essential?

At the end of the day, it’s about a good fit.  If you have the skills, knowledge, and experience, there should be a good match out there somewhere.  Until then, I’ll keep bolstering myself for my next skype conversation… fact, that’s tonight, in 6 hours!   I better get ready, go to the gym and loosen up, cram a few articles, re-read my resume, maybe even take a nap so I’m well rested and my sentence fragments are longer than 7 or 8 words in length.   My palms are  sweaty already!!

6 thoughts on “The Job Hunt

  1. Geoff, You’ve summed the experience up beautifully for those of us who “interviewed in the 50s” – and I don’t mean bobby sox and poodle skirts. Best of luck on the Skype interview. I look forward to the next installment. You’ll get just the right gig. E

  2. Hi Geoff

    Always thinking. At 61 and still looking for work I know the feeling. Hope all is going well for you and Rhona.




  3. I know one of your strengths to pitch, you are brilliant at understanding young minds and giving children the right amount of guidance and freedom to succeed. Best of luck to you, I will always be a fan.

  4. Dear Geoff,
    Ditto I have recently experienced exactly your reflections and this week partake again with the Skype process – in some ways the start of the journey. Though even getting there is a celebration.

    The journey travelled and the journey to come is the essence….beyond age.

    My best journeys were my time at JIS alongside yourself and the many talents of that time.

    Back to the resume, and prolific reading and hope of more than gut reactions to those sudden questions, especially when I would rather engage in conversation


  5. Good luck to you Geoff. Even though I have not worked with you in many years, I still see you as one of the best principals out there! Anybody looking for a great principal would be lucky to have you.

    Oh, by the way, did you know there is a MS Principal opening at IS, Bangkok? Lori and I are moving there in August 2015. How great it would be to see you there too!

    Need a letter of rec? 😉

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