Ready for Change

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m 49 years old and ready to change my life. I’ve been working in
public school systems ever since I got an MA and then a PhD, first in
the classroom and then in grant writing and program evaluation. My
son’s about to be a senior in high school. We just got back from
extended travel abroad. I realized when I got home that after he goes
to college I want to move away and start a new life. There’s two years
left in the grant I administer, but while I was traveling my job got cut
to .8 FTE. Whom should I tell, and when should I tell them, that I
won’t be returning next year? Right now they’re piling on more work
(for less pay!!) because of other positions totally cut. I need my time
to find consulting to support us this year and to pay for transitions. I
share an office with my assistant and am part of a professional group
of women I trust. We’re all in the same boat about work, but they’re
married and settled. I know now is too soon but when is fair and right.
Ready for Change

Dear Ready for Change:
Tell no one now. Tell no one, not even your very very very best friend
until the day you are ready to have everyone know. News like you’re
delivering has impacts on everyone who hears it. You go from being
“one of us” to someone who’s betraying and abandoning the group. No
matter that they’ve cut your salary and FTE. Once you’re perceived as
a disloyal outsider you’ll be first on the expendable list for the next
round of cuts.

Best is to keep your job search and consulting activities away from
work, or at least conducted through a separate email account. Turn
your screen so your assistant cannot see it. But know that anything
you do on the work computer belongs to the school district and is fair
game to be read. If you’re asked to do extra, say you’re trying to earn
money to compensate for your diminished FTE. Also to plan because
your son’s headed off for college next year. These statements have the
benefit of truth so you can avow them sincerely. Sing the loyalty oath                             with great commitment and vigor until the day you’re ready to give