After a recent opportunity to upgrade my position for one with more money, more responsibility, and more clout – I’ve come to a realization that fit is possibly the most underrated aspect of job satisfaction. I’ve been in education for almost 20 years. In that time, I’ve worked in a lot of different situations and had some great experiences along the way. As I look back on all those experiences I can remember where the fit was good and where the fit was bad. In a good fit situation, I was thrilled to come to work every day love the people and kids I worked with we shared vision and I felt like we were leading the charge and being the educational rock stars we all want to be. In the bad fit situations I dreaded going to work, worried about my future in the organization, feared specific individuals who may hold surprises/problems for me, struggled to find colleagues to confide in. When you’re in the bad situation, it’s so easy to be consumed with whether or not you can keep/defend that position that there’s no way you can focus on the higher levels of educational leadership.
Good fit is a gift. When you have it recognize it and realize that it makes the team’s journey so much easier and increases the odds of doing great things. Good fit pays dividends in terms of stress, quality of life, and personal satisfaction with your position.
Bad fit is a curse or a destructive tool. Either you’ve ended up in the wrong place and your days are numbered or you’ve been selected to disrupt the place and you are headed towards battles and a fight. If you have been hired for a specific purpose; to shake up the culture, to pick the weeds from the garden, to clean house – then I have some cautions for you.
The cleaning house perspective is a high stakes gamble. Even with support of administration you will be pulling the organization into very visible turmoil. This can have negative affects and some collateral damage on the entire staff. There’s a cycle of grief, change, and major turmoil in a school-you’ll have to nurture that and take the time to protect people and mend wounds. This is a tough position for any administrator to be in – it requires strong vision and incredible personal people skills to recover from the trauma of cleaning house. It can wreak havoc on stress levels, personal life, and overall happiness.
So, take stock! Look around and appreciate the fit that you may have or find ways to increase your fit by developing strong relationships with your team. Promotions, raises, and status are all things that we desire-but don’t underestimate fit!