There’s a reason they call this season “the fall.” It’s not the leaves – it’s often superintendents’ jobs. Summer is over, in many parts of the country the prime playing season is winding down, and members’/golfers’ frustrations are boiling over, and supers are taking the brunt of the criticism. Out with the old…
So there are many golf course superintendents losing jobs, seeking new opportunities, upgrading their current positions. Which is all well and good unless it’s at the expense of someone else’s misfortune. And this year is likely to be an especially busy game of musical chairs in employment thanks to the awful weather – hot, wet, or both – that blanketed the country almost coast to coast.
No surprise, my phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from supers who’ve been dismissed. Of course, without cause (or so they say). Right or wrong, the revolving door will be spinning faster than usual this year. If that door is hitting you in the rear end or offering you a chance to move up the ladder, a few words of wisdom and caution.
First, if you are actively searching for a new job, remember that your opportunity may be someone else’s misfortune. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out a new position, but before you get too deep into the hiring process, try to learn if the opening is because someone resigned, retired, or was let go. Just that little piece of information can tell you a great deal about the situation you’d be entering.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your employment situation, and there are lots of perfectly good reasons: a new opportunity, a new place to live, upward mobility, family concerns, etc. But every job has its good points and its bad points. And every job will have its politics. Here are some factors I’m hearing far too much about, and which you should be careful of crossing:
Something else many superintendents tend to forget: Sometimes a firing is justified. How do you know your job is in jeopardy? Members (and especially those who sit on committees) stop talking to you. Meetings are held without your knowledge and attendance. Outside consultants unexpectedly show up to evaluate your efforts. Other superintendents unexpectedly show up to “look around,” or play golf with the pro or members. (The professional thing to do is to call the superintendent and let him/her know that you’ve been invited over, even if it’s possibly for his job.) And sometimes it’s just a feeling that things aren’t right.
Can you turn around a bad situation? Probably not. And given the message that the club is sending, do you really want to? Maybe it’s time to take the initiative and go, before you can be pushed out. But if you do leave, and expect to get another job, remember how you felt when in that awkward situation, and don’t put a fellow member of your industry in that same situation.