An acquaintance of mine is a teacher.

Because of a change of rules at his school, all the teachers will have to reapply for their jobs next year. I'm sure he'll get his job back, but if he does not, he'll probably be given a different post elsewhere in the school district.

I've told him that, in addition to reapplying at his school, he should apply to other teaching jobs at nearby schools. With his experience, I think he'd be highly desired and possibly get a better salary.

He says he shouldn't bother. That other schools would rather hire someone less experienced and cheaper. And if he did get the job, he wouldn't have the same seniority.

I've got more reasons. Maybe other schools won't have the problems he complains about at his current place; maybe an offer from another school would give him bargaining power...

...but you know what? I think he's just being pessimistic. I've known him a long time, and it's a trait of his. That's why I'm here instead of Workplace StackExchange.

I understand that filling applications for the first time in years is intimidating and scary, but the upside could be great. Besides, he does have to fill out one this year anyway.

How can I tell this possibly pessimistic friend that he should, at least, try for more opportunities?

EDIT: I discovered that I was unclear about my friend's reasons for not wanting to apply elsewhere. He says that the last time he checked, no other school districts offered benefits as good as his current one. (This is in addition to the seniority issue.) From my POV, I feel he should update his research and see if this is still true. (I suppose I could do it for him, and gently inform him.)

ADDENDUM: The problem has kind of solved itself. I had assumed that this application would be due during the summer vacation, when he'd have only a few months to find another job if necessary. Instead, the application is due now, near the start of the current semester. If he doesn't get the job, he has plenty of time to apply elsewhere. I'll bring it up at that point if necessary.

  • 1
    Welcome to IPS! Unfortunately, asking "how to convince" is off-topic here. We can only help you communicate something to someone but we won't be able to tell you how to convince the other person.
    – Ael
    Feb 1, 2019 at 7:57
  • Are you also a teacher and familiar with the intricacies of that profession?
    – DTRT
    Feb 1, 2019 at 12:51
  • workplace.stackexchange.com would be a lot more suitable and helpful. Also they can tell him how to reapply and keep his job (because not everyone will, and with his attitude I fear the worst for his application). And they will tell him that if he waits to apply elsewhere until his own school gets rid of him, that will be very bad for him.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 2, 2019 at 15:36
  • @gnasher729 That's all good and logical advice, but I'm here because I don't think he's responding to logic. If and when I think he'll be willing to apply, I'll ask on Workplace. Feb 4, 2019 at 5:45
  • @Johns-305 I'm not a teacher. My wife and several friends are, so I have a few third-party insights into the profession. (Maybe I should ask them for help too.) Feb 4, 2019 at 5:46

2 Answers 2


You've already tried suggesting so if you carried on doing this you'll risk coming off as pushy.

If you want to help your friend, the best thing you can do is to back off a little.

Try sending him a couple of job listings that are equivalent or better to his other positions to SHOW him what you are saying is true. Only do a couple, don't bombard him.

Then I'd offer to help him with his search and make him aware your offer stands anytime (just in case he isn't renewed etc.).

From personal experience, people don't do anything about advice given when not asked for. If you provide a legitimate, tangible alternative action people are more receptive.

Most importantly is just to be there for your friend, they might just need someone to complain about their job to and genuinely quite like it overall.

Ultimately though, this is their problem and not yours.

Hope this helps!


When someone has worked for an employer for a long time they can get really stuck in a rut where they stop thinking about the world of employment that exists beyond their organisation. I think this is especially true in certain types of role where people are providing a valuable service to others in the community, such as healthcare or education because there can be a workplace "culture" that makes you feel that your own wellbeing at work is less important than the work itself. I have seen this in several people I know - some of them have been treated really badly by their employers but somehow they justify it and never entertain leaving, or if they do it never goes further than talking about leaving and never develops into action. It is almost like they are suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

Your friend may not want to change his employer for his own reasons, and that may not be a bad thing. There is a lot to be said for job stability, and everybody is different. You commented that this may be part of his personality type, and so it might be that applying for other jobs simply because they pay more is not something that would be good for him anyway. Don't assume that he would be happier if he were to have a different job with a higher salary.

Think about your real reasons for wanting him to apply for more jobs. If it is salary alone then maybe drop it. If you believe that his gaining a new job with a higher salary may be good for him mentally, perhaps boost his confidence or widen his outlook, that is perhaps a little more principled, but still, why do you want to change him? It also occurs to me that you might be concerned about his job stability; perhaps you don't want him to get redeployed and move away? Maybe you think he is putting too much faith and hope in retaining his current job? Although that might be a real possibility, convincing someone without much drive or ambition to apply for other jobs may actually reduce their drive to attain the thing they wanted to. That is, if you get him to spread his efforts a little thinly, he may put less effort into retaining his current job which may be the thing he wanted the most anyway.

Rather than tell him what he should do, talk to him about possible outcomes of his current situation (holds onto job, gets redeployed) and discuss things he could do to shape the outcome into something he wants. Act in a supporting, coaching role rather than tutoring him to become the person you think he should be.

Remember he managed to get a job in the first place, so he is capable of applying, interviewing for, and accepting a job. He isn't hopeless. Perhaps if he gets through this uncertain time successfully then he may have more time to think about other future job options. If he doesn't hold onto his role then perhaps the real situation of being redeployed somewhere random will motivate him to the action of applying elsewhere.

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