Thursday, April 07, 2005

On waiting for transition...

It sometimes seems like we may never leave St. Louis! The latest change has been in the works for a while, but I'm only now starting to get the word out.

With the extension of our graduation to December, I began to explore what my work options were for the summer and fall. I have been teaching full-time at a small Christian school to pay the bills, and they are, understandably, unexcited about me leaving mid-year. While this makes sense, it also would leave me without work-- that is, without the “counter-offer” I received from the school.

The current Head of School, who actually started it, is quite a visionary, and is ready to move on to new projects (within the school), as well as return his focus to working directly with students and teachers (rather than focusing on administrative responsibilities). The school board has asked me to step into an interim administrative role, with (among other things) an evaluative role for what they will need in administrative staff to supplement and/or replace the “head of school” role. I will also continue to teach two of the classes I now teach.

As we've thought about this and sought counsel from a few folks, a key idea has emerged that strikes me as significant in considering a transition: is there some sort of unfinished business? If so, perhaps that is an important reason to delay the transition.

[As I reflect on this now, I must give credit to those wise men who affirmed, strengthened, and expanded on these ideas-- thanks to those of you who were my counselors through this decision.]

In my case, the school where I've taught for these four years has worked very hard on my behalf, at times even finding work for me, so that I could earn the pay I needed to pay the bills. They have taken such great care of me, and thus my family, that I have a keen sense of gratitude to the school, especially the board. I'm looking forward to this work for them, but even if I were not especially interested in the job I would be doing, I would probably still do it as a debt of gratitude to them.

A sense of gratitude toward the organization you are working with, or a similar consideration (such as the amount they have invested in training you), may be a good reason for you to delay, too. Some other “unfinished business” that comes to mind, which may delay a transition, is:
  • financial debt-- transition can be costly; if you have a significant financial debt that you could alleviate in a reasonable amount of time, it may be prudent to wait.
  • family concerns-- is your wife pregnant, your child about to graduate to the next level of school, your mother sick? A transition during these times can have a big impact on family matters, and often can make circumstances worse.
  • unfinished ministry-- I'm a big believer that God gives us duties, projects, and obligations that we can, and should, see to completion. If you're not convinced that God has finished His work through you in your current circumstances, you should definitely re-consider a transition.

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