Knowing When to Take a Job [Superintendents]

Jun 28, 2016

by Bob Thompson

Listed below are some questions to ask yourself before deciding to accept or reject a job offer. There are no “right” answers, but one of the best skills an administrator can have is to know when to pass up a job offer for which he/she is not well suited.

  1. Does the board have a clearly defined direction, what is it, and how well is it supported in the community?
  2. What does the board expect of me?
  3. What skills must I have to be successful?
  4. Do I have those skills?
  5. What is the environment in which this leadership must take place?
    • Internal
      Political (who knows who, is the board united, etc.)?
      Work atmosphere (gossipy, open, closed, etc)
      Management style (does the style needed fit my style)?
    • External
      (i.e. under a desegregation order, growing or declining enrollment, declining tax base, changing demographics, community not supportive of the board, etc.)
      Will my family be happy here?
  6. What are the costs to me (e.g. time away from family, becoming a public, sometimes controversial figure, having to uproot your family, etc.) if I take this job?
  7. Am I willing to pay the cost?
  8. What are my professional and personal options if I take this job and find I do not like the job or fail at the job?
  9. What are the benefits of taking the job (e.g. financial, career enhancement, sense of accomplishments, personal growth, etc.)?
  10. Will the board give me the tools and authority to do the job, e.g.:
    • Let me hire, fire, assign, and reassign staff?
    • Provide legal representation for any and all school related legal actions against me, even after I leave the district?
    • Agree to periodic team-building sessions?
    • Provide an ample budget for professional development of me and my administrative staff?
    • Other needs?