Day 163 (of 188) the vulnerability of reference checks
Don’t tell anyone but…
That’s usually how it goes when I am asked to be a reference or have asked people to be my references when exploring new jobs.
Especially when thinking “Hey – there’s no openings in our district!” Or “why would you want to leave?”
It can be very uncomfortable to make it known that you are thinking about doing something ‘other’ than what you are currently doing – especially in learning communities where relationships are SO important. The vulnerability is starting thinking around “you don’t like us anymore”. Which more often than not could not be further from the truth.
My own moves around the province have been predicated on one key idea: the work was interesting, but I was always sad to be leaving – but after having lunch with one of the gurus of change theory, Andy Hargreaves, I learned that change can be good. And for me it’s been expensive but professionally very rewarding g – so I grudgingly pass on job posting I hear about to people who want change, and agree to be references (sometimes teasing that I’m going to give a horrible reference because I don’t want them to leave – but I know that it’s not always about me [though it sometimes is :-)])
Am I thinking about a different job? I always am – I’ve held a district principalship and once you open your eyes to how an entire districts acts and reacts to itself, it’s fun – like the shift from viewing learning scaling up from classroom to whole school to family of schools to district to region to province – it’s important to have leaders looking at different areas – no one can do it all! And yes, I am considering a job that has the term “innovation” in its title. And the vulnerability is that I know there are other very talented educators giving it similar considerations and many will feel …. not great when it goes to another person.
Do I know others who are also applying for other jobs too? Of course. Some from my district thinking about outside and some from outside hoping to get where I am. And we are all at different levels of vulnerability. I am ok sharing my thoughts in large part because I am loving what I am doing and where I am doing it and have an amazingly supportive family. Am I nervous about confirming people’s suspicions when asked ‘are you applying?’ Absolutely! But I have learned – when people ask if you’re applying for something, it’s because they think you can do it – and sometimes it’s worth modelling risk taking when that’s something you value and encourage others to do….
Good luck to everyone ‘taking a chance and putting their names forward’ for new possibilities!