Resume Bombs

Here's the problem. You can't build an educational leadership resume with the following:

I took over a program that was doing pretty well, so I just kept things humming along in the same general direction. I may have tweaked a few things here and there, but basically I just left well enough alone.

No, to really put some beef on the old resume, you need a sentence that starts with "Implemented..."

And so, the resume bomb.

Someone moves into a new administrative position and starts looking for a way to Make a Splash, Leave Their Mark, or Show They Are a Dynamic Change Agent.

They may consolidate power by taking over functions previously performed by staff or other offices. They will certainly create a new program. And they will develop and start the implementation of the policies and procedures needed to support the new program. Congratulations. You have your brand new resume bomb, and your new administrator will grab his brightly polished resume and get out the door to his next job before the bomb ever goes off.

Some bombs have a long fuse. The program gets up and running without too much incident, and it is only once you get further down the road that serious problems begin to emerge, that the new program begins to create some real problems for the district. But by then, the one person who knows exactly how it's supposed to work and how to keep it functioning and can answer questions about it-- that person is at his next job.

Some bombs have a short fuse, or are set off by the administrative departure itself. "We just need to rip up this system here, and I'm going to create a new policy with software support over here, and we'll just reassign those functions to my office and then we'll be able to-- oh, look at the time! I need to get to my next job." The short-fuse quick-departure resume bomb is the contractor who does the demolition on your porch and then never comes back to build it.

Is every new program and agent of change the sign of an impending resume bomb? Of course not. Many times you'll get an administrator who has a real vision for change and forward motion, and she puts new programs in place, and then she sticks around and sees them through until they are running smoothly on their own. That person is not building a resume bomb. If your administrator is more concerned about the program's success than his own, he's not building a resume bomb.

But if you are standing in the middle of a mess, and the person responsible is nowhere to be seen because they have moved on to bigger, better things-- congratulations. You are the victim of a resume bomb.

Common Core is arguably the largest resume bomb ever-- Coleman and company built it, lit the fuse, and let their "success" pave the way to big money gigs. The revolving door world of government gig and private enterprise is run on resume bombs. But even on the small scale, in little school districts, resume bombs happen and cause unending mess. Almost every district has some piece of related shrapnel stuck in a policy handbook somewhere.

Consequently, change resistance isn't always about being conservative or stodgy or lazy. Sometimes it's just shell shock. You say you're an agent of change, and I wonder, what is going to blow up now, and how much will I feel the impact. But don't expect the people who set the resume bombs to feel too bad about it. Explosions always look prettier from far away.

Originally posted at Curmudgucation

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