In October, I wrote about my big endeavor to try and become the new director of my school. That endeavor was not fruitful. It took a lot of processing to deal with it, because parts of the process ended up being a bit distasteful and publicly embarrassing (not only for me, but also for other candidates who did not get the job).
After a few weeks of let's-call-it-anger, I sat down to try and deliberately process things to figure out my next career move before the whole thing damaged my health. I made a specific list of parameters that seemed perhaps impossible, but that I insisted on because why not, it's just a fantasy list. A certain increase in pay. Retaining a faculty appointment. Commitment (for now) to this institution. Radical change in day to day operations. Potential stepping stone up to more impactful leadership here or somewhere. Staff support. And a unicorn to ride to work.
I didn't write it all down, I just spoke it out loud. The day after I did, I got an email.
I had been nominated for a new position, one that I'd actually seen posted but ignored because I didn't know what it was, and I was focused on getting the director job. The new position was for a "faculty principal" for a new "living learning community" centered around information, design, and computing. Jargon. It means first year students of all majors who are interested in nerd stuff come and live together, do stuff together, and take classes together. The faculty principal leads that group, plans the programs, and more. There's info here. [Spoiler at that web page: I got the job.]
What about that list I spoke into the void? Pay bump—check. Still faculty—yep (with release time to do the work). Still at current location—yes. Radical change—and how. Stepping stone—definitely. Staff support—seriously I can't believe this one, but yes. I didn't get the unicorn, but instead I get to renovate a facility to be my new office suite and makerspace lab for the students who'll join up.
And more than that. I get to work directly under the Provost's office on something that's actually a funded University priority. I get to select the students who participate. I get to hire multiple full time people to make things happen. All the admin/budget stuff that I wanted control of so that I could execute badass decisions? I have all of that and more, but without inheriting all the restrictions and baggage. This is bananas.
I couldn't be more fortunate that I failed to get the job I really wanted a few months ago.