Sunday, December 02, 2007

Employee Guide to Playing Human Resources (1/3)

Step One: Acceptance
As an Edmonds School District employee you must accept the fact that at some time you are going to fall into disfavor with your direct supervisor. As Superintendents and Principals come and go, and Directors and Middle Managers change, so will the political waters you swim in wax and wane with danger. You can work years under the same administrator, or even under several administrators, and be considered a rock star in your arena. All it takes is change at the helm and “you know what” will roll down hill. Your once OK boss will turn on you in a second for a minor infraction to deflect blame and attention, or the new regime brought in to “clean house” has you on a target list given to them at hire.

Step Two: Recognition
Take a look at your current boss and evaluate their demeanor. The four personality types most apt to put the screws to you at the drop of a hat are the following:

The Megalomaniac: This is the micromanager from Hades. They are a control freak and micromanage certain operations they perceive as most important to the current regime and their goal is to ingratiate themselves with the Superintendent and School Board. They make what ever the Supe and Board wants happen at any cost. They insult your intelligence by asking you do to the inane, and outrage your at their less than ethical behavior. This manager is a bane on society, wasting tax dollars to build their empire of power. They see their job as influence peddling, not education.

The Supe or Supe Staff Wannabe: This is the manager who has reached a dead-end in their career. They are insecure to the point of arrogance and worry about their reputation. They secretly fret that they aren’t good enough, smart enough or well-liked. The thing is they aren’t and they will turn on you once you do anything to burst their bubble of denial. They are vulnerable with every school board election and change in administration. This manager is particularly dangerous and vindictive because they are over emotional and take things personally.

The Passive/Aggressive Do-Nothing: This manager is a cruising deadbeat. They are either ready for retirement or got their job because one department wanted to get rid of a bad apple before there was too much damage from its rot. They say anything in meetings to appease the powers that be and then retire to their office, bookstore, or coffee shop, to do literally nothing. If you rock the boat in any shape or form, especially if you point out that they aren’t doing their job, watch out. The only good thing about this manager is that they are so lazy they will not have their ducks in a row to actually do you any harm. You will though, be tormented and miserable through the process.

The Unqualified Yet Promoted or Hired: This manager is not qualified to do their job. They have no education, experience, or training to do their work nor are they remotely cognizant that they are in over their heads. They frequently make blunders, engage in unprofessional behavior, and make you roll your eyes once they leave the room. At a distance their antics are laughable, but dealing with them day in and day out is a real drag as you live with their stupidity and the consequence of their mistakes. They are the most likely to be the fall-guy in a shake down in management and will do anything to save themselves. So watch out, when it hits the fan, they will make sure it flies by and hits you because they are desperate.

Step Three: Ask yourself do you really need this job?
Really, do you absolutely have to have this particular job with the School District? There are plenty of jobs out there, even state jobs, you just have to look. While you are still employed you can use Work Source in Lynnwood to help you search. Its free and an incredible resource. Do not pigeon hole your self to one employer and one job. The upcoming "Millennials" do not, why should you? They know there are more jobs out there than people. Follow their lead!

But if you feel boxed in because you’ve given 20 or more years to the District, have kids and like the schedule it affords your family, or are near retirement, take heart, you will more than likely not be terminated when the nonsense starts. Remember, you only get fired if you have sex with a student, know of someone who had sex with a student and not report it, steal, or kill someone AND then brag about it. However, after weathering the process, your chances of advancement will evaporate and you will forever be a “stained employee.” Get used to 3% raises, mid point adjustments, and crappy terms for your union contract or bargained agreement.

The only exception to the above rule is if you whistle-blow. You are screwed. Prepare yourself for constructive termination by having an employed spouse, savings, or a generous relative. It is highly recommended to start a blog or contribute to this one to vent your frustrations as you look for work.

Editor's Note: Thank you to another guest contributor. This is part one in a three part series.


Anonymous said...

Another type of Principal we've seen in the past few years is the "Resume Builder." These people fly to foreign countries to participate in conferences that look great on resumes, but do nothing to actually enhance the school. They also create projects that they expect the staff to get all excited about. (Example: a school-wide counseling-in-the-classroom project or an 8th grade two-night-retreat). These "wonderful projects" last only until the Principal moves on to another job and/or finishes their dissertation.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for a supervisor to be all four personality types? If so, does this assure them a greater chance for advancement? I think my supervisor has all four,and two more that Doug Nathan and him are refining. Would somebody care to look into the pricetag for Doug Nathan? Maybe more importantly, is there a representative in the district that would care to take a crack at measuring his worth. What did the district gain from all of the therapy, and what did it cost per hour? If you factor me in that equation, please note he made my situation worse. Thank You for the poor therapy, and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Mark - This well writen article is so "on target" for many of us who have been forced out; in my case The Megalomaniac is the best description of my situation; the others are well described.
I cannot wait for Part 2 of this series! Well done, Mark! said...

I cannot take credit for this work. Thank you for suspecting me, however.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this needs to be "standard issue" information given out at new employee orientation. That should make people wonder what they've gotten into!! For some time I was unsure of what was happening to me. Was this supervisor a total idiot or very crafty? Perhaps a little of both. However, he certainly wasn't a positive force in the lives of our students. I witnessed him bully students and others reported seeing it, too. It was only at that point that I realized how dangerous s/he was to the faculty and student body. I wondered how upper management could ignore our warnings for over a 20 month period and continue to let the damage continue. If the administration was the driver of a car, they would be guilty of hit and run.

Anonymous said...

Another chapter today, in your illustrious career for the Edmonds School District. Do you wonder why we all hate you? It's straight across the board, in case you are wondering.