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Parker Palmer was offered a job at a university and was wrestling with whether or not to take the job. Parker decided to ask 12 friends to come together to think about whether he should take the job. They began asking him questions. One of them asked, "Parker, why would you want to become president of this college."

He started answering the question with all of the reasons he wouldn't want to be the President. The friend said, "I didn't ask you that. I asked you why you would like to become president of this college."

Parker said, "I know, I'm going to get to that," and then he continued to list the reasons why he should take the job.

The friend said, "Parker, I don't mean to be blunt but you're avoiding my question. Why would you want to become president of this institution?"

Parker writes, "This time I felt compelled to give the only answer I possessed, an answer that came from the very bottom of my barrel, an answer that appalled even me as I spoke it. 'I guess what I would like most is getting my picture in the paper with the word "president" underneath it.' Though my answer was laughable, my mortal soul was at stake and they did not laugh at all. I went into a long and serious silence, a silence in which I could only sweat and inwardly groan.

"Finally my questioners broke the silence with a question that cracked all of us up and cracked me open: 'Parker, he said, isn't there an easier way to get your picture in the paper?'"

At that moment Parker Palmer realized this was not the thing for him to do and he was pursuing it for all of the wrong reasons. He turned it down knowing that it would be disastrous for him and particularly disastrous for the institution had he taken the job.

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