Rediscovering Life’s Magic: Tip #3: How to Make a Drastic Career Change Less Terrifying
I was having more bad days than good days at work.
For ten years, I taught high school English, and when I first started, it thought it would be my forever job. In the beginning, it lit a fire in my soul. But then … it didn’t. About six years in, I started to wonder if teaching really was my forever job. About eight years in, I started to feel stuck. And ten years in, I’d lost the passion completely, and it was having a negative impact on almost all areas of my life.
I’d gained weight. I was moody all the time. I was dragging myself to work and coming home to nap on the couch. Joy was reserved for the days I was off work, and that was it.
And that was when I made the decision–I needed a change.
Was it easy? Absolutely not. There were all sorts of reasons I thought maybe I should stay in teaching. Ultimately, though, I knew it was time for me to explore new horizons.
So I did. And that’s the biggest piece of advice I can give you. In order to make a life change, you have to find the courage and take the leap. Along the way, though, I’ve learned some things that I hope will be helpful if you’re thinking about making a change.
1. Know that there is no wrong path.
I had decision paralysis because I was terrified of making a decision I would regret. But
you know what? That’s a risk even if you stay put. The thing is, even though everyone makes us feel like our career decisions are a one and done, you can always change your mind. You can always veer off the path and turn around or veer in another direction. You are not stuck. Ever.
2. Explore many options. We sometimes get stuck in the fact that we are stuck. You are never stuck.
I especially find this with teachers–we think we are only able to teach, that there are no
options but teaching. That’s a lie we’re told, though. You have so many skills you overlook because they’re part of your daily life. Think about what projects you’ve done, what committees you’ve served on, and what skills your daily job requires. Sometimes, it’s just about reframing your experience and using different lingo to describe what you do that will open up new doors. For example, many tasks in teaching relate to project management and human resources.
3. Be realistic in your timeline.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. By search for a new career took about a year from
my first search to landing that job. Don’t be in a rush. Take your time and explore your
4. Set yourself up for success.
Take time to work on your resume and cover letter, and do your research! Be sure to use buzzwords from the field you’re looking to enter, and really assess if you’re using too much lingo from your past job. Even if you’re just beginning to think about making a change, having your tools ready will help you make the leap with less stress.
5. Know it’s going to be hard but worth it.
Change is always, always hard. No matter what. Starting over with new people, new job roles, new tasks–it can be overwhelming. There will be days when you long for the easy comfort of the past. There will be days when you question if you made the right choice. There will be days you miss your old life, the safe life, the simpler times.
Still, I want you to know that it’s worth making the change. Living a life of passion and excitement isn’t easy. You have to fight for it. You have to get uncomfortable and push yourself. But once you’re on the other side of the big change and realize how much more alive you are, there will be no stopping you, truly. Life opens up tenfold, not just from your new job or decision but from the realization that you are brave enough, strong enough, and smart enough to start over. Once you learn that about yourself, life becomes so much more exciting and less fearful.
If you’re specifically a teacher looking for a career change, I highly recommend checking out The Teacher Career Coach on Instagram and online. Her resources really helped me feel like I wasn’t alone, gave me confidence, and gave me very real tips to use in my job search.
If you’re looking for support or have questions, feel free to comment below! I’d love to come together as a community to help each other find the courage to take the leap.
Be sure to check out my blog posts on why finding the spark matters, positive social media, and how mixing things up can bring excitement back into your life.
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, and other creepy thriller books