I once got a teaching job at an unorthodox meeting in a service station. I’d met the principal informally on another occasion and we’d clicked. He’d asked if I’d read Guy Claxton. I said I had. I hadn’t. I asked him if he had any job opportunities in his school. He said he hadn’t. He seemed like a “great guy” and he clearly thought I was a “great guy”, too. In my blind confidence, in that M5 cafe, I suggested he create a job for me and he did. I suggested what he should pay me and he did.
Later, in post, I found out that it was significantly more than my female manager was being paid. I remember telling myself that I deserved it because I’d had the initiative to negotiate, and that it was a fair representation of my value. Fast forward a few years and I’m waking up to a radio report on sexist behaviour at the Presidents Club charity dinner, and aside from the vile misogyny and exploitative behaviour of the men involved, I’m furious at the exclusive access the event gave its grubby guests to David Meller and Nadhim Zahawi – both senior figures in education and apprenticeships.
I didn’t immediately see the parallel with me and the principal, glancing furtively around in the roadside Costa.