This research grew out of my experiences of being a Head of Department in a large secondary school in New Zealand. I wanted to find out what it was like for others during the first decade of self-managing schools. This research centred on the professional experiences of people in pivotal roles in a secondary school, who, while teaching, also have to be curriculum and pedagogical leaders and comply with devloved school and government regulations. Essentially, their work has intensified without compensatory time allowances. Because of the consequences of edcuational reforms, these HODs'' focus on teaching and learning has been seriously compromised, wich has led to disillusionment and frustration. Emotions and relationships, coupled with the effects of time constraints and complexity, are major concerns. In order to represent these HODs'' professional lives as well as protect their privacy, a short story is constructed from their experiences to highlight the intensely complex role these HODs undertake.