Friday, November 03, 2006

Money isn't everything: Do what you love and the money will follow


roedean school
Originally uploaded by featherboa.
This morning, I heard from an old Trinity classmate who is an administrator at a small boarding school. She provided me with some great information and insight, and re-affirmed for me that I'm making the right move. Not like I've had any doubts, but she reminded me why I'm doing this: to make a difference in students' lives. She had this great image of working with students and the type of students she wanted to work with as she was looking, so many years ago. She wrote that she "could really HELP struggling, disenfranchised students instead of just dusting them off and sending them on to Harvard." I love it: "instead of just dusting them off and sending them on." Indeed.

She also had this to say about my candidacy with so many years outside of the independent school world:
One thing that always makes me hesitate is looking to try to hire someone who has been in the public sector for a number of years. Small, young schools like mine simply can't offer salaries that are attractive enough to candidates wishing to more out of the public sector to private school. Obviously, there are plenty of well-to-do schools out there for whom salary figures are not a concern, but you will want to perhaps address the knowledge that you know what you're looking at salary-wise, so that schools without a major hiring budget will overlook fears that they would eventually lose you because of salary limits, and instead can focus on your candidacy with a real idea that they could make you an attractive enough offer to actually get you to sign on.
Yes, that could be a concern. I'm a federal servant and, yes, it's decent middle income money (as a GS-12 the range is $62,291to $80,975), and, yes, I know that I'm not going to make that sort of money at a boarding school. I know I'm going to take a salary cut. I also know there many benefits of working in a boarding school -- room & board... free tuition for children -- that make working in a boarding school much more attractive than at first blush.

So, yes, I'd like to make a living wage, and I'd like to be remunerated for a my experience and education, but I know my take home pay is going to be severely reduced. That comes with the territory. Money isn't everything, though. I'm mature enough to realize that.

So, dear hiring authorities, don't fret about the money. I'm not. And, I'm sure we can work it out. I'm sure nearly any school can make an attractive enough offer to actually get me to sign on...

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