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I've had a few really interesting chats to people over the past few weeks about jobs and careers and long term plans. Needless to say they have really gotten me thinking. As some of you may already know, I have been a high school teacher for the past four years. I went straight from school to uni and then straight back to school again. All very sensible and low-risk...

It is fairly expected that people have more than one career in a lifetime, I read that in Australia our average is around the four mark, and people are working in jobs that didn't even exist a few years ago. In my staffroom this afternoon, the question "Are you a lifer?" (someone who is going to spend the rest of their life teaching) was asked, and I could not have honestly answered yes. I don't think I will be in a classroom for the next forty years. It is a great job and I love it, but I don't think it would be fair to me or my students for it to be the only thing that I do. Being a teacher is something that takes a significant amount of time, energy, commitment, and while I have these things now and am willing to put in everything I need to, I get tired sometimes and look forward to a break. And I think that's ok.

There seem to be so many pictures on various social media sites encouraging people to find their passion and dream and follow it and leave all sense and reason behind... While I agree with the sentiment, my sensible self can't seem to believe that it's so easy to put into practice. Just a little warning, I am now going to discuss the very taboo topic of money, if this offends you in any way avert your eyes... But income is something that has crossed my mind when thinking about a career change. I like my stable, reliable income and I have a mortgage, I think it's important to think about what taking a pay cut will mean for me financially. At the same time, I also think that maybe this is the most sensible time to do something else and see how it all goes, I don't have any dependents and I really only have myself to look after.

So what would I do..? I've been trying to think about the things that I enjoy and the things that are important to me. I really enjoy working with people, particularly women, I'm just a girly girl at heart! During my time as a teacher I have had the opportunity to run a self esteem and body image workshop for young girls and I really enjoyed that. Also, if you are a regular reader of my blog (or know me in the real world!) you will know that I have quite a lot of love for beauty products. I am thinking there might be something in that... I really don't know where all this is going, I have just been doing some thinking about it all lately and wanted to get my thoughts down, and who else to share these thoughts with than my lovely blogging friends!

I'd love to hear about your jobs! Are you doing something that you love? Have you thought about leaving something sensible for something a little more adventurous? Do you have any advice for me..?

Zoe xx


6 Responses so far.

  1. If I knew what I wanted to do with my life I would leave my current job in a heartbeat, unfortunately I am still trying to work out what my dream job is and I also have a mortgage.

  2. This might be a mini essay or I'll keep it short and we can catch up for a coffee. I really think you're on to something with working with women, body image and self awareness and beauty. Perhaps you can do personal coaching (professionally), you could put together a little course, run workshops - and perhaps hanging onto your teaching position. Teach and explore these other areas to see how it goes. You could develop that workshop further and offer it at other schools, at camps etc. I think you'd be an amazing life coach especially if your target group is young girls or the age group you're comfortable working with or women more generally. I'm definitely doing what I love but at the same time I'm not, because there are so many things that I really love doing. I'm doing what I love for the moment and next year I'll be doing something else I love, but that doesn't mean I didn't love what I'm doing now or that I'll stop being passionate about this later on...

  3. Hi Zoe,

    I really liked your post. I thought I would share my perspective as I find myself in the opposite situation. I have been living a somewhat adventurous life since my early twenties and I am now looking for something more sensible. After 8 years of living as an artist in big North American cities, I would do anything to trade in my tiny apartment for a home with a bathtub. I envy people with mortgage and functional plumbing. I can’t afford to buy a car and I often eat the same meal four times a week because cauliflower was on sale. I have to say that I’m really happy I took risks and followed my dream of becoming an artist, but it definitely comes with sacrifices. I am now teaching while pursuing my artistic career (and completing my MFA degree), hoping to find a balance between the adventure and the sensible, the cauliflower and occasional sushi treat. ;)

  4. I have been asking myself the same questions recently. Im a London girl, I studied fashion writing at university, graduated and moved to Cyprus where I picked up a job doing marketing and sales at a financial company. So not what I ever thought I would be doing and definitely not what I want to do for life. I love writing. Knowing I can come home everyday after work and blog keeps me going.

    I too see all the motivational images and words about going in search of your dream job. But I always wonder how it is actually possible. I have an apartment, bills, flights home to London, a dog and a boyfriend in Germany to consider so financial implications are a sticking point for me.

    Your post could not have come at a better time and thank you to Vanisha, because I came over from her blog. But you have given me a bit of a confidence boost to brainstorm myself what I can do to change my situation.
    So thank you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great read Zoe! This is a topic that is pretty close to me a the moment and can I just say that money should never be a deterrent for changing up your life if that's what you want to do. We always spend what we have, regardless of how much or how little that is. If you are enjoying what you do, you make it work. That's not to say that everyone should throw caution to the wind and spend every last cent of their savings on a overseas holiday and come home with no plan, no cash and no career (eh-hem...). Instead dip your toe in the water, take a short course in beauty, commit to establishing a positive after-school activity for girls, start writing a business plan.
    There is nothing more rewarding than working in an area you love but you are allowed to love a lot of things. And while you might not be a lifer, you are a great teacher and I'm pretty sure you'll love teaching for a while yet. nothing wrong with multi-tasking in the meantime. Xx

  6. Anonymous says:

    I've been having this sort of internal turmoil for years now! I entered into my first degree with not a lot of thought other than everyone had told me it was well paying and stable, and it was in health which was my main interest. It didn't take long for me to realise though that yeah radiography is not a bad job - but it's not my dream job. I don't wake up every morning and bound out of bed super excited to get to work and sad to leave every afternoon. So, I pursued a second degree and became a paramedic. I only finished that last year and haven't worked as one yet, but I feel more passionate about it. BUT - the idea of going back to shift work, a decent pay drop and starting at the 'bottom of the ladder' again are putting me off already.

    One of the hardest things I've found is explaining it to parents and older friends and family. 'Back in their day' your job was your career, and that was that, and when I say I don't like my job well 'we all have days like that/there's people like that everywhere'. You worked for 40 odd years without complaint, then retired. I think that's partly because there were less opportunities and partly just because that's what was expected. I read an article the other day about all this and how our generation have unrealistic expectations about finding out dream job - basically it said that's never gonna happen. I refuse to believe that searching for something that makes you happy is unrealistic or a waste of time. You lose absolutely nothing by further educating yourself, in fact you gain so much! And so what if you get to the end of your degree or course and you're still not there - chances are it's opened up even more opportunities and you're one step closer to finding your passion. We're so privileged to have access to all these avenues why not try them out. That's what I think anyway :) xx

    PS I am such a dill, I have your blog saved as a bookmark and kept checking back but no new posts. Turns out I'd saved the bookmark as your tools of the trade entry and thought that was all there was lol! I'm all caught up now and back up to speed haha!!

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