I was offered a job that I did not apply for the other day. The person emailed me because I was recommended from someone else. I have been emailing the person back and forth obtaining details about the job, and now the person keeps asking if I will take the job. I feel like I’m being pressured to make a decision now. This has all happened in less than 24 hours. How do I professionally tell this person I need to take tonight to think about it and get back to her tomorrow. I would really like to take 2 days to consider the job, but I’m nervous to say that. Any advice would be appreciated.

Edit: It’s a real job offer. I’m a teacher working a .4 job and a principal from a different school within the same district emailed me with a .2 job offer because I was recommended from someone in the district. She is really pressuring me to accept the job and it’s a little weird.

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    "I need to take tonight to think about it and [I'll] get back to [you] tomorrow" - seems fine. – Dukeling Sep 26 at 0:30
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    So a stranger contacted you and offered you a job after just emailing for a bit, and they're trying to pressure you to accept? Are you sure this isn't a scam? – Dukeling Sep 26 at 0:40
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    what is a .4 job and .2 job? – さりげない告白 Sep 26 at 1:38
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    @さりげない告白 From searching, it seems to mean a 40% work week, and 20% respectively. That is, you only work 20% of regular full-time hours, and get paid 20%. It's not clear if OP is being asked to leave their current 0.4 position, or if the 0.2 would be an additional job. – Bilkokuya Sep 26 at 9:35

Working as a teacher

  • To explain to others, ".2" and ".4" refer to full-time equivalence (FTE). It is usually expressed as a fraction or percentage. A complete full-time position is 1.0 FTE or 100%.

  • For teachers, the employer is the school district, not individual schools. This question makes it clear that it is a change of schools within the same district. The employer remains the same. It's like changing divisions within the same company.

  • There is no need for an interview. You were already vetted and hired by this employer. During that interview, you were probably asked a series of generic teacher interview questions provided by the HR department. Another interview would be exactly those same generic teacher interview questions provided by the same HR department. Then they would want to contact people from your past and current positions; that's already been done. No need for an interview.

  • It's up to you if you want a classroom tour. Since you're already in the district, maybe you already know the other building and fellow teachers, maybe not. Don't ask to sit in on a class; that just comes across as bizarre and unprofessional.

  • If this is happening after the school year has begun, consider that you are being expected to jump into a teaching position with zero preparation time.

  • If this new principal is pushy when she's not yet your boss, consider how bad she could become as your boss.

  • Forget about renegotiating salary. Many districts have little or no discretion on salaries (set directly by legislature, spending capped by legislature, bound by collective bargaining, no money to give you, etc.). Your "worth" to the district is already reflected in your base salary. This is multiplied by the FTE to get your actual salary, so your hours worked are already accounted for. Pushing for a higher salary is a great way to get tagged as someone who should be replaced.

  • On the other hand, moving to another district (or another state) is the only way in this age for a teacher to beat inflation. This particular questioner is working part-time; if your district does not offer you full-time next year, jump ship. Also, find out who is saying nice things about you, so you can use them as a future job reference.

  • If you are a union member, no matter which route you plan to pursue, talk to your building representative.

If this is a reduction of your FTE

  • You and the school board signed a contract. It is legally binding until the end of the school year. Even in a "right to work" state, they can't reduce your salary. Human resources is very much aware of this and know they would lose in arbitration/court. However, use this fact as a last resort.

  • Begin by sending an e-mail reply to this other principal. Be sure to Cc your current principal.

    I am flattered by your offer for (position). However, I am happy with my current position.

Hopefully this ends the matter. If it continues...

  • Keep you current principal on your side. This other principal is just dumping her problem onto your principal. Your current boss will then need to find a replacement for you. So, keep your current principal on your side. That's why you Cc'd him on the e-mail.

  • Human resources is probably also on your side. (This is a rare exception to "Human Resources is not your friend.") Besides the fact that they know you already have a contract with the district, the move will make extra work for them. Your old position will become yet another position for them to fill. So, they're inclined to keep you where you are.

  • Should you accept the transfer, expect your old principal (if he's less than ethical) to give you a sob story about how he needs you to help your replacement get up to speed. Refuse it; you aren't being paid to prepare for two jobs.

If this is an expansion of your FTE

You may be tempted by your increased salary. You may also be eligible for more benefits, as you are closer to full-time. However, consider the following:

  • You now have two bosses, twice the duties, twice the meetings, twice the evaluations, etc. unless you get this in writing. Specifically, insist that you be excluded from extra duties (e.g. bus duty, cafeteria duty, open houses, and so on). Parent-teacher conference hours should be pro-rated for your FTE at each building.

  • Consider that this means traveling. Get in writing that you will be reimbursed for mileage. If it's already written in board policy, collective bargaining agreement, or employee handbook, then you're set.

  • Before accepting, get the daily schedule for the new position. Are you being asked to be in two places at the same time? Are you given adequate time for travel plus lunch? Consider that you have two classrooms to prepare for the next day; when do you plan to find time to do this?

  • In this age, principals get all pissy about you photocopying things for the other school, because it comes off "their" budget. It shouldn't be that way in one big happy district, but it is. So expect extra time doing this at each building. Same thing for supply budgets.

  • If one school changes their daily schedule (e.g. assembly, "block days"), who is responsible for finding and paying for your sub? Do not accept the position without this being put into writing, otherwise you will be stuck with finding your own sub. Even then, expect this to strain your relationship with other teachers, as they will be likely to be tapped into filling in for you. They will despise you for something that is beyond your control.

  • You still have the right to say "no". You already have a contract.

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    An answer by someone who knows what they're talking about instead of someone just guessing? +1! – mxyzplk Sep 26 at 17:29
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    There seems to be some regional specificity to this answer and the question both. I think this answer would be a lot more valuable if it said which region this is. I'm assuming US, but since i'm not from there, I don't know. All I know is that it's not like this in the Netherlands. – Jacco van Dorp Sep 27 at 7:41
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    @Mast "expansion of FTE" = more hours and "reduction of FTE" = fewer hours. The hourly rate is probably the same either way, so the salary would scale linearly. – stannius Sep 27 at 15:23
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    "How are teacher salaries determined?" would make a great Workplace.SE question, and answer many of the things raised in the comments. – Dr Sheldon Sep 27 at 22:06
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    " find out who is saying nice things about you, so you can use them as a future job reference" should be a major point on its own. – freedomn-m Sep 28 at 8:09

If you're weirded out by the situation, trust your gut and decline.

If you're not sure, then ask the principal for an opportunity to meet with her in person to discuss the opportunity at length. Make a decision based on your ability to determine if the other position, responsibilities, environment and coworkers are right for you.

It appears that she believes you are the solution to a problem she has. Her desperation to hire someone is not your problem. You need to decide whether this is a solution to a need you have.

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    To be pressured to take the offer after a succeful job application and interview process is not weird, not in software development anyway. It is weird if the OP did not interiew, which is unclear to me from the question. – Ivana Sep 26 at 11:27
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    @Ivana given the timespan of 24 hours, that seems very unlikely. Still, even if there was an interview, 24 hours is still very short to make a desicion on a job in general. – Mixxiphoid Sep 26 at 11:38
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    If the US Teacher situation is anything like in Germany, then the pressure is not weird. Teachers are rather sparse and schools understaffed, so a principal putting in a lot of work to get a good teacher would not be strange – Hobbamok Sep 27 at 8:53

Hi (person), I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the position of (position). Given that I was recommended for this role and not actively seeking a new job, I need a few days to consider the consequences of such an important decision. I will follow up with you by (date).

Regards, (name)

You were not seeking a new job, so you have every right to take an extra few days to consider whether you want to accept it. You should reply soon as a basic courtesy, but don't feel rushed into anything.

Give it a few days. If it's something you want to pursue then go for it. If not, then decline it and don't look back. Go with your intuition and ignore everything else. Only you can decide if this is right for you.

To expand on my comments, if the head is prepared to hire without even talking to you face to face, no matter crisis of a teacherless class, that should be a huge red flag.

You should absolutely not accept this job without visiting the school, sitting in on a class, talking to the head about HR related matters and probably get as much inside info as you can from whomever recommended you.

Try also to talk to other teachers without the head around while you are there.

No one should take any job without visiting the site. There are so many unknowables, things like old/new building, parking spaces, length of commute, nearby shops, even lunch. In your case, is the school in a bad part of town? Will you enjoy teaching the sort of kids who attend?

Remember that you are in a great bargaining position here, which will vanish as soon as you accept, so push for a big raise. Next year, you will get the same as everyone else. Right now, when starting a new job, is the only time that anyone really has a chance for a decent raise, and you hold very strong cards.

As to what to actually tell her - others advocate for taking a few days to think. I say you tell her you will give her a decision after attending the school (for an interview). I simply cannot comprehend the mentality that would accept a job otherwise, unless you are incredibly dissatisfied where you currently are.

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    Many school districts are union, and teachers are paid on a set schedule, with no opportunity for negotiating salary. That said, you can negotiate some things, like classroom assignment, getting a permanent desk even though you're only there one day a week, which day you're there, etc. – stannius Sep 26 at 16:01

NOTE: I'm going to believe this is a legit job based on your edit. My very first though was it's a scam

I was offered a job that I did not apply for the other day... This has all happened in less than 24 hours.

It is completely reasonable to ask for 48 hours to think it over. This seems unprofessional for several reason, one of which is the short time frame.

If they're pressuring you this much for an immediate yes, how do you think they'll treat you once you accept the offer?

If you have a significant other, you can use them as a reason to delay:

I'll need 48 hours to to talk it over with my SO. They'd be mad if I accepted a job without getting their input first.

If you don't have a SO, then go with:

You've given me a lot of information. I really need 48 hours to review all this. Can I give you an answer by 5PM Thursday (or whatever today + 48 hours is)?

Go ahead and ask for more time

You aren't going to get fired from your current .4 for asking for more time. There is a chance the principal won't be able to hold the offer open; since you didn't seek it out and aren't sure you want it, that doesn't seem like a bad risk to take.

Ask the principal why she is in such a hurry

Straight up ask why she needs an answer so quickly. Try to probe if there is some kind of problem that would affect you if you took the position.

Do your due diligence

I wouldn't worry overly much about the principal being aggressive once you are in place. Odds are you won't interact with her all that much. However, you want to be sure of that. Use the two days to talk to other teachers in the school and get a sense of how it is to work under that principal.

How do I professionally tell this person I need to take tonight to think about it and get back to her tomorrow

How about "Thank you for the information. I need to take tonight to think about all of it and I will get back to you tomorrow."

There's really absolutely nothing wrong with thinking about a job offer. You don't need to apologize and you don't need to give reasons. Not if you need one or two days. If you want to think about it for a week, yeah that would be unusual.

I disagree with other answers that you should ask why they are in such a hurry. If they do have a valid reason for needing an answer today (say, there's some deadline) then it is their job to volunteer that information.

Simply state that you are thinking about it, that you will answer tomorrow, and then do exactly that.

"How do I professionally tell this person I need to take tonight to think about it and get back to her tomorrow. I would really like to take 2 days to consider the job (...)"

Tell the truth.

"Dear X, 

I need 2 days to consider the job. I will get back to you by aa/bb/cccc

Best regards
Michael"

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