I wrote a short-term goals post earlier this week and hinted that my work situation may be changing. In May, I turned down a four-year contract for a full-time professor position. I also showed the decision-making process I used and included the results matrix for what I thought was a smart decision to leave that position.The decision matrix showed how each of the options I had back in May met the goals I had identified.
The results also showed that for the upcoming (school) year, my best options were “no employment” (due to being FI) or “part-time online teaching and some consulting work in schools”. Another benefit of leaving my full-time job was that it opened up the position for a wonderful instructor I knew. By me letting the job go, I certainly “paid it forward” for him.
And with plenty of employers still contacting me with work, we decided that downshifting to part-time work would be a better option than not working this year.
In this downshift plan, I was going to miss my “first day of school” for the first time in 44 years… But I just signed a contract to be an Interim Assistant Principal in the school district I left just a few years ago to pursue teaching at the college level. And since I start next week and school resumes after Labor Day, I’ll have one more first day of school.
So my original plan for work this year didn’t last very long. Decision-making situations happen all the time. As long as you have tools and strategies to use, you will likely be satisfied with your decisions – while having fewer regrets. Let’s explore how I arrived at agreeing to this position.
You probably noticed my new title starts with the word Interim. I am filling a vacant spot as the district works to hire a probationary tenure-track administrator. It will likely be 6-8 weeks of work and because I was already an administrator in this building, the transition will be fairly easy for me and the staff. My presence should also help smooth the start of the school year for all.
But this is not a part-time position and it is somewhat open-ended and that needed to be considered in my decision-making process.
When presented with this opportunity, the first thing I did was look at the ranked goals I developed when I had to decide on signing the four year contract this spring. (You can see the full post of how I generated these here.)
Maximize My Health/Wellness – Extremely Important (EI)
Meet Financial Obligations/Increase Wealth – Extremely Important (EI)
Commit to Deepening Relationships – Very Important (VI)
Continue Personal Growth – Important (I)
Create a Flexible – “Location Independent” Lifestyle – Somewhat Important (SI)
Keep in mind that these were the end goals and I explained that sometimes we call these our decision principles. These tend to be the things that matter most to you and they can often be used for many different decisions.
I could add the new job option – Full-time Interim Assistant Principal to the decision matrix I created when I gave up my last job (see below) and these would be the results:
Maximize My Health/Wellness – EI – Likely – it’s a different exercise, but I will be walking and plan to track my steps! Some stress, but I know the job and people well
Meet Financial Obligations/Increase Wealth – EI – Highly Likely – I will be paid on a per diem basis and this will help us pay down a mortgage on a rental property, increasing our cash flow and net worth
Commit to Deepening Relationships – VI – Likely – I miss the folks I worked with and that was one of the most difficult parts of leaving. They are some of the finest people around and I am proud to be their colleague! I also left work in the summer and missed the “goodbyes” – so I am excited to be able to strengthen these relationships again. As for my family, the job won’t stop us from being together in the evenings or on weekends.
Continue Personal Growth – I- Likely – I am excited to bring what I have learned teaching pre-service teachers at the college level back to my work as an AP. I have a strong grounding in teacher training and curriculum. I want to blend that with my experience as a school leader.
Create a Flexible, “Location Independent” Lifestyle – SI – Unlikely – This job is short-term but it is not flexible or location independent. With one child still in high school, we are not going far – which is why this is only a “somewhat important” goal at this point.
The reason I accepted the job is that it clearly fit my two most important (EI) goals and the very important and important goals I identified. The only goal it didn’t fit was the last goal, which is again – only somewhat important at this time.
This is a very easy process for me to use because I already did the hard work back in May when I crafted my end goals. After I had all the information about the salary, job expectations, and anticipated duration of commitment, I talked to my husband and agreed to the job about a half hour after I received the offer.
For those of you who may be new to the site or for those of you who like the numbers, here is the same table above with values added to help quantify the decision.
This new job option would have scored out as follows:
Maximize My Health/Wellness – EI (4) – Likely (3) 4 x 3 = 12
Meet Financial Obligations/Increase Wealth – EI (4) – Highly Likely (4) 4 x 4 = 16
Commit to Deepening Relationships – VI (3)- Likely (3) 3 x 3 = 9
Continue Personal Growth – I (2)- Likely (3) 2 x 3 = 6
Create a Flexible – “Location Independent” Lifestyle – SI (1)- Unlikely (1) 1 x 1 = 1
Total = 44
You can see that it was definitely easy to consider this option! And remember, if you ever have questions about how I come up with the values or ranking systems – just let me know!
Well that explains how this new adventure makes sense in terms of the longer-term end goals, but what about those 8 short-term goals I just set?
Fitness– two hours of strength training each week. No excuses here. Add it to the calendar and go do it!
Nutrition–to try two new recipes a week. I’ve just handed this over to Mr. MSD. (He’s a much better Cook anyway!)
Giving –to give away as much of the “extra” as we can. The de-clutter can certainly take a backseat for now.
Routines–to have all the paperwork revised, criteria set, and pictures of units ready to post. Again, no urgency here at all.
Work–my goals may need to change. Being flexible and open to new ideas and experiences can grow your wealth, while still maintaining your focus on your most important goals!
Reading–to try to read at least one book a month. Yep, this one will definitely be moved lower on the list too. (I’d rather keep reading all of your blogs!)
Travel–to do one trip somewhere other than our normal travel destination this winter. We are thinking of sites now! Another job for Mr. MSD…
Fun –to do at least two fun things each week. I am trying a “life is fun and just enjoy it no matter where you are” theme right now! It doesn’t need to be two specific activities.
In terms of take-aways, I hope you see that having spent significant time on my end goals back in the spring made this decision quite easy. It will be a busy two months as I cannot turn down the small part-time location independent jobs I have or they will be given to others (and there are TONS of people looking for them!)
As far as the short-term goals, they can always be adjusted, but they shouldn’t be ignored.
So even though this is actually an upshift in terms of the amount of work I will be doing, it is temporary. I know how to work hard and how to work smart. And hopefully I made a smart decision. And if it doesn’t turn out to be a smart decision, by Columbus Day I will be back out enjoying walks in the middle of the day! That’s the beauty of the word Interim!
Wednesday, September 7th will be my 44th first day of school and very likely my last first day of school. I plan to make it a great first & last day!
School Bus Photo Credit: SamLeVan@freeimages.com