As a book end to the previous post, “Get Your Own E-mail,” here is a second practice that can help you avoid self-inflicted career injuries. Get you own cell phone and pay for it yourself.

Again, if the district provides your cell phone or pays for your service, your cell phone call log is public information. So that long list of calls that occur during the day that aren’t business related will come back to haunt you. All the calls after hours and on weekends that aren’t business related will also come back to haunt you. And who is going to ask for the information? The teacher you put on a growth plan is one. The opposition lawyer in a special education hearing is another, as are the crusading reporter, the district business office or your boss. Not one of which you want going through you life with both a fine toothed comb and an agenda.

Now, the first refuge of the guilty mind when it comes to e-mail and cell phone service is the thought, “There is safety in numbers. If they come after me, they have to go after everyone.”

If you are having that thought, I have a one word answer – WRONG! The situations that I have described are like speeding tickets. It doesn’t matter that everyone else was speeding, you are the one that has been pulled over, and you are the one that has to deal with the consequences. On the other hand, own your own phone and pay for your own service and there is no public information, and hence, no problem.

There is another powerful reason for owning your own phone. We are in the people and information business. As such, communication and access is not only vital, but it provides us with a competitive advantage. Like the carpenter and his tools or the lawyer and her law books, the 21st century school leader needs a phone with data access. Anything less leaves you at a performance disadvantage. Yes, it’s an expense, but so is that cup of Starbucks coffee and a manicure. Equip yourself to lead.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…