Issue with supervisor thwarting job search process!
July 30, 2012 4:24 PM Subscribe
I need to provide supervisor references for a job opportunity, but I do not have many people I can ask. Need help figuring out my options. Details inside:
posted by mdn31 to human relations (11 answers total)
I provided 2 paragraphs of background info which may help provide the best answers, but you can skip ahed to the third paragraph and start there if you prefer (that is where the meat of the issue is - thanks!)
I have been a teacher for 13 years all in the same district. Within the 13 years I have had 4 positions. 3 of my positions were classroom based, and the current one is multi-school based. This current position involves my going from school to school helping students with special education needs. Since I am not housed in one specific building, I do not report to the principals of these schools, but rather to a centralized person. Unfortunately, the person I do report to is somewhat infamous in our district. In the time I have been in this position (5+ years), she has not observed/evaluated me. She meets with myself/colleagues once monthly for a staff meeting, but these are often cancelled. Emails, about highly important issues are not returned, and she does not keep working VM on her phones. With that said, the principals at the schools I go to often do not know me that well either. They are not required to evaluate me. I normally introduce myself, and see them in the hallways, but that is generally the extent of it. Many of my students are serviced very infrequently (1/mo. 1/week, etc.), so it would be hard to create bonds with staff.
I have been wanting to relocate to a different city. This has long been my goal but it is often thwarted one way or another. I regularly put out feelers when an about 4 months ago I applied for a position. It is my long-desired city of choice. However, I did not expect much to come from it and I have a few things I would prefer to do before I move for good. I did not hear anything initially finally mid-June I was called for an interview. I had completed the application previously and listed references of those who know my work and would not fault me for trying to obtain alternate employment. The interview went well, however after the interview, I was told they wanted alternate references than I had listed. I was told to provide supervisors from my different positions. 3 of my supervisors have long retired which only leaves the one I currently work with. I tried to explain at the interview that getting one from my supervisor would be a challenge, and that she has not formally observed my work. However, I offered to do my best.
(Start here if you do not want to read all the background)
The issue: The supervisor I have is highly unlikely to respond to a reference request and if she did, I can see it not being a good one. We are very short on teachers and my moving would really mess things up. I also fear punitive treatment if I do not take the position (or if I do not get offered the position). Since I've had multiple experiences with her not responding to my needs (for matters much more pressing than this) I am not as confident to even try to approach her. Likewise, when asked for supervisor references I was at a great loss. I made attempts to locate former administrators to no avail. I got in touch with one from one of my recent schools and although she was not my direct evaluator, she did interact with me enough to remember me and complete the form. I asked two lead teachers and a mentor I'd had recently and submitted everything. It took over 3 weeks to gather this info and resubmit. Everyone was on vacations and harder to reach so it did not happen overnight. Just yesterday I heard from my interviewer to state that they needed to be supervisory references not colleagues. I wrote, very tactfully and explained, again, that I was not ever formally observed by my supervisor and that the references I had submitted were much more familiar with my skills. She replied today that without supervisor references I cannot be considered for the position. She also indicated in this email that she would like additional clarity as to why I can't get supervisor references (though I don't think this will change the fact that they need them).
We are now very close to the beginning of a new school year and I can't keep going back and forth with this, so I am feeling finally ready to throw in the towel...however, I am hoping for some feedback/help.
1)Do I explain more in-depth the situation regarding my supervisor? (Did not want to do this at first for fear it would seems like I am bashing my employer)
2)Seek legal help (there is limited union support in my state now), since I have no reason to be evaluated poorly there is no reason I should be denied a reference?
3)Ask kindly to withdraw my application from consideration with perhaps the chance to reapply another time once I can work something out for references?
-Another option I thought of was asking if they would try to reach her by phone (rather than the form they require) but not say it was in regard to a job (she may consent to answering questions by phone if she did not think it would result in losing an employee) but this may be a bit of a long shot.
Ultimately, if I ever expect to get out of my current position I need to deal with this supervisor somehow bcs this issue may come up again.
-Any options I missed/ideas?
Again, I am sorry about the length.