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Finding the Perfect Job For You

Thursday, May 3, 2018
I went on a job interview last month and, while I was super excited about the prospect, as soon as the interview began, I realized it wasn't the job for me.


At first, I was super disappointed.  I thought that, even in the rare case that I was offered the job, I'd have to accept it.  Why should I turn down a perfectly good leadership position?  Then I remembered: because it's not the job for me.

It's hard being patient when you want something so badly.  But I'm here to tell you that you need to wait.  Over my teaching career, I've taught in two different schools, with four different principals, two different grade levels, and four different teams.  And while I absolutely love teaching and working with students, that's not always enough.  Not every school, not every grade level, and not every team is the right fit for you.

Even if you're not in education and you came across this post by accident, you should remember that not every business is run the same way.  Not every boss has a personality or philosophy that matches yours.  Not every job is for you.

Please realize that this doesn't mean that those people are bad or that they're doing anything wrong.  They're not.  People, by nature, are different.  It's a fact of life and, for the most part, diversity is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

But when beliefs and philosophies clash in the workplace, when two parties are working towards two different causes... it can be disastrous.  Not only for the effectiveness of the organization but for the well-being of the people involved.  In this case, it's okay to "not for me" or "not right now."  You have to know yourself well in order to find the perfect job for you.

In this post, I'd like to share four ways to know from an interview if the job is not for you.  Hopefully, this will help you from accepting a job where you'll be miserable and find something that fits with your purpose or personal mission in life.



1.  Be very clear about what you believe about education (or whatever field you're interviewing in) and share that during the interview.

In education, what you believe about how students learn is vitally important to how you're going to do your job.  Your philosophy of education isn't just something you're supposed to think about during your undergraduate or graduate education program, but rather should permeate every part of how you interact with students and colleagues.

Even if your interviewer doesn't come right out and ask, be prepared to find ways to share your philosophy.  It's probable that they'll pose a question like, "Tell us a little about yourself and why you think you're a good fit for this position."  The people who are interviewing you need to know what you believe, not just about education, but about the world in general so they don't hire you for a job that's in contrast to your belief system.  This will save you a multitude of headaches down the road.

2. Pay attention to the body language of those who interview you.

You can gauge the personality of the people who are interviewing you by paying attention to their body language before, during, and after the interview.  You can learn a lot about people by how they act.  For example, if you walk into an interview and smile at someone with zero smiles back, that should be a red flag.  Interviewers who are distracted by a phone or computer, fail to make eye contact during the interview, make you wait long periods of time without reason, or cut you off mid-sentence are also reasons to reconsider accepting a job.  Also, pay attention to whether or not they seem disorganized or flustered.  You can tell the first time you meet someone if they are kind, respectful, and responsible people.  Think about who you'd like to work for and consider that before you accept any job.


Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

3. Ask questions before, during, and after the interview.  


Interviews can be very intimidating, especially if you're a new teacher.   When you arrive for an interview, be polite and engage the office staff in conversation.  Ask them if they enjoy the school and the area.  If you're not Interviewing at a school, ask them if they enjoy the company.  Be careful not ask about the interviewers or the position you're interviewing for specifically.  You don't want to seem like you're fishing for information, only engaging in small talk.

Just like paying attention to body language, you can get more information about the vision and mission of the school or company and the position you would be filling by asking questions.  You will usually be given the opportunity to ask any additional questions you may have at the end of the interview.  Take that opportunity to find out more about the school or company.  Some questions you might ask are:

  • What role do you see this position playing within the school?
  • What are some expectations for this position?
  • What do you believe are the next steps for the school or company in fulfilling your vision and mission?
  • What qualities are you looking for?

4. If you are offered the job, follow up with a visit and more questions.

Let's say you are offered a job, but the interview left you with something to be desired.  You might ask if you could visit for a couple of hours to see how things are done or ask some more questions that came to you after the interview.  If they are willing to answer your questions or accommodate your visit, it's clear that they really want you to be a part of their community.  If not, maybe that's a sign that you should keep looking elsewhere.

In one of his videos on YouTube, Principal Kafale made the point that you need to be interviewing the interviewers as much as they interview you, just to make sure that this is the job you want.  You want to find the perfect job for you, not just any job.  

If you don't jive with the personality of a school, community, or person, don't be afraid to turn down a job offer if you get it.  I know that it can be difficult to wait for the job for you, especially if the job market is scarce, but it is not fun to work with people whose personalities clash with yours.  It's worth waiting if you can.

I hope these strategies will help you in finding the perfect job.  It can definitely be discouraging to go on interview after interview with no luck, but it's even worse trying to drag yourself out of bed every day for a job you don't love.  Take it from someone who's been there.

Good luck job hunting!  Please share this post with someone you know who may be struggling to find the perfect job.  I'd also love to hear your job hunting success or failure stories.  Be sure to tag @TeacherLadyKY on Twitter or comment below.






Be Savage Not Average: Why It's OK to Fail and Not Feel Bad About It

Saturday, April 28, 2018
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you've probably seen me post on the #BeSavageNotAverage hashtag or post a picture with that phrase on it.  When I saw that phrase on Pinterest over a year ago, it immediately stuck out to me.  It has driven a lot of my passion and projects over the last year and a half and I want to share with you exactly why I love it.

Be Savage, Not Average: Why It's OK to Fail, teacherladyky

The phrase itself exudes power.  Savage, by its Google definition, means fierce, violent, and uncontrolled in regards to an animal or force of nature.  My mind first travels to the thought of a lion hunting down a gazelle.  It's fast, it's strong, and it's uninhibited.  The word savage can sometimes have a negative connotation, but consider it in a positive light.  The savage lion gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

In education, that means that a savage individual attacks the problem, issue, or project with such intensity and focus that it's almost near impossible to stop them.  Being savage in a classroom means that you are doing the right work and doing it with such passion that no one will question your intentions.  You have a goal and you are going after it.

Consider the second part of the phrase, however.  "Not average."  According to its Google definition, average means the typical or central value in a set of data.  Within the context of education, that might mean what's happening in most classrooms.  It might be referring to what's happening in a typical school.  It's not to say that average is bad, by any means.

But it's not savage.

Personally, I love the message "Be Savage, Not Average" because I believe it gives you permission to fail.  In order to escape average, you have to step outside the box.  You have to live outside the norm.  It's not easy and it's not always effective.  But it's necessary.

In order for change to happen in schools, we must dare to be savage.  That might mean that you're trying new teaching techniques, incorporating technology in ways that transform the classroom or designing schools that truly meet the unique needs of learners.  Whatever it is that you're doing, it's different.  It's daring.  It's savage.

And the intention behind that - to be different and to change the status quo - that intention gives you permission to fail.  It tells you, it's ok that this might not work, as long as you tried.

Be savage, not average reminds me of another one of my favorite quotes, "Ask for forgiveness later, instead of permission now."

Do it.  Go for it.  Make it happen.

Be Savage.  Not Average.

Be Savage, Not Average:  It's OK to Fail

Guest Post on JCPSForward Blog

Friday, April 27, 2018
I am excited to announce that I've published a post on the JCPSForward blog titled, "Do Teachers Make a Difference?"  I'd love for you to head over to the post and tell me what you think!

You can access the post here: https://jcpsforward.org/2018/04/26/do-teachers-make-a-difference/

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