An Empty Mailbox Tells a Story


#sol17- November 28, 2017

Today I walked with a colleague through the faculty room and he stopped to pick up his large, white envelope. Contract day was yesterday, the Board had approved the details of the new employment package, and new contracts were ready for signing. Although every school does it differently at this school contracts are renewed for two years usually, with people who are trying to keep their options open opting for a one year renewal. Contracts were issued yesterday with a due date back of December 4. This is when the whispered conversations at may go into high gear. We already know who used the “early tell” deadline in October to get a $1000 bonus if they announced at that early date that they would not be returning next year. The interim period between then and December 4th is fraught with nerves. Some people know they are staying (always the great majority), but who would be seriously looking for a change vs who would be sending out feelers “just in case”?

This year I opted for “soft recruiting”- which meant I would be having a look around but was not willing to commit to actually leaving. I knew I could be perfectly happy staying another year at my current school, even though some people I really value were likely moving on (including a couple who used “early tell”). Recruiting in international schools is a huge process and starts with the decision of how you are going to look (there are various agencies you can sign up with that offer services that include hosting recruiting fair, giving you access to lists of schools with openings, online portals for references, etc.).

As luck would have it (and helped along by a colleague with some knowledge of my wants and needs) my short list was short (but so was my timeline as I was not willing to take a chance on a job happening after the contract due date at my current school).

So today, as my colleague retrieved his contract from his mailbox there was no white envelope for me. Two weeks ago I signed a contract with another school- my future home- and although it feels good and right, it feels a bit sad too for sure. It is a time of mixed emotions- some colleagues are still looking for their next job (and may decide to stay in the next few days), while others are already sorted (heading to other parts of Asia, North America, South America, Europe, and Africa), or staying right here happily. The good news is that this is all way in the future shifting and we have more than 6 months left together. But today my empty mailbox gave me pause and made me think about how much I need to cram in these “last 6 months” to soak in all the good that is here. I am not ready to be gone yet!

1 thought on “An Empty Mailbox Tells a Story

  1. Jennifer Laffin

    I know EXACTLY how you feel about the empty mailbox. When I decided I was leaving the classroom earlier this year, every event was seen as my last. It was hard at times because I felt left out, even though it was a choice I had made. Congratulations on your new job though! Looking forward to hearing more!


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