If you told me 5 years ago that I was going to become a Career Coach- I would have thought you were crazy!!!!
From Teacher to Career Coach: A Little about my Story
Five years ago – I took my first career break to travel to South America. The previous school year had been tough for me – challenging classroom behaviour and my expectations of myself were high, paperwork, corrections and colourful displays, spending evenings and weekends on school stuff – early mornings and late evenings in school – meant that by the end of the school year 2014 I was burned out. Nothing new there, huh?
After 7 years teaching and by March 2014, I was terrified. I was playing around with the idea of applying for a career break to travel and rest. It was just an idea at the time – but I felt that I couldn’t face into another year like I’d just had. I wasn’t happy. I felt stressed. I had no energy or enthusiasm left for teaching and my personal life was suffering too.
I was worried – how would I cope with not having an income for the year? What would other people say? Where would I go? What would I do? Could I do this alone? 7 years teaching – Teaching was all I knew.
A few days before the cut off date to apply for a career break, my principal asked in a throw-away question as he was busying himself doing something else – was anyone on staff thinking of taking a career break? I was stumped. I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself, much less – declare it to my staff but…. here goes…. I submitted my letter and was granted it (cue fear and questioning my actions!) but I began planning my trip. Things came together when I made my first big step – booking my flights – and I HAD THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME!
One year later, lying on a beach in Brasil, once again I was struck with fear – to apply for another career break or not??….. but the sunshine and caipirinhas made it a little easier this time! I applied for another year to further my career break adventure – and each year after that it became a little easier to apply for one. Each year brought a little more clarity for me – telling me I was changing and that I no longer wanted to return to that school, the paperwork and the stress of full time teaching. Five years later, in February this year, I resigned from my permanent job. It was scary, but I know it was the right decision for me. What helped me make that decision?
- Personal Development – During my time on Career Break, I invested in myself and in courses of interest to me and I now have further skills that I can use for my future career/s.
- Acceptance that outside of the Public Sector (especially the teaching area) there is no such thing as a career for life. People reinvent themselves and their careers all of the time.
- A greater value on happiness than security – I want to be happy. Yes, my life is not as secure as it one was with my ‘permanent, pensionable job’ but I am happier and helping others in a different way.
- Networking – I met with others from a wide range of backgrounds (from who helped me realise that I have a unique insight into change, employment and innovation. That means that the strengths of persistence, ‘bouncebackability’, communication and service mean that I am suitable (right now!) as a self-employed coach.
- Learning about the latest Job Seeking Skills – I attended courses, workshops and I volunteered with a job seeking charity while I was finding my path. I learned best practice in creating CVs that get noticed, how to use LinkedIn as a self marketing tool and how to network effectively.
In 2016, I asked that same question to a career coach that you’re now asking – “What should I do?” It’s led me on an interesting journey to do exactly what she helped me to do.
Read on to find out what I’ve learned since then….
In 2017, I qualified as a Career and Life Coach. I now help others to find their path from teaching to alternative careers – in which they feel happy, valued, successful and make great use of their facilitation and communication skills. When clients come to me these are important stages in their career exploration:
In my next blog, I outline how can you find your best alternative career for you. In the meantime, If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you – simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org