Today, I wanted to post about what’s going on in my mind in hopes that maybe if you’re feeling this way, too, you won’t feel alone. And if you are feeling this way, we can help each other out in some way
So, this past week has been a bit of an eye-opener for me, career-wise, and I just need to speak out my thoughts and feelings.
In my last post, I mentioned how I spent a weekend in San Francisco for a job interview with the San Francisco Unified School District.
Well, despite my optimism and the total support and reassurance from my family and friends, I unfortunately didn’t get a position with SFUSD.
I’m not sure if I am truly sad about this, though. Isn’t that funny? Even though I really wanted this job and the opportunity to live and work in San Francisco, I was only sad about this news for a second and then I decided to move on with my life. Which is a true accomplishment because in the past, I’ve tended to not take rejection easily and just mull over it for weeks and months. (Off topic: I once was so dejected about missing my subway train my seconds that my heart honestly dropped to my stomach as I watched the subway doors close right in front of me. I waited for the next train in a sad silence for the next five minutes. I felt bad about being rejected by the subway doors.)
I’m not sure why I was okay with not getting a position with the SFUSD. Maybe because that rejection sparked a new motivation in me to try other programs similar to Pathways to Teaching (the SFUSD program I applied for.) I did look for other opportunities like that in San Francisco and elsewhere in the country.
But to be honest, that motivation was fleeting. While I was researching new opportunities – in San Francisco, in New York City, in San Diego – I just felt this switch turn off in my body and mind. It felt like it was saying, “No. Enough.”
And this is a thought I’ve been struggling with for a while now. Why am I not trying out for these programs? Why has the motivation gone? Where did it go? Am I just scared of rejection? Is it because I don’t feel qualified to apply? Am I just over it?
I feel like it’s a mixture of those three feelings – being scared of rejection, feeling unqualified for the job, and being over it. The first two feelings can be invalid, though. Of course I’m afraid of rejection. A lot of people are! It’s human nature! It’s just that I need to learn how to deal with it (which I am. I think age and multiple experiences with rejection help me with that a lot, of course.) And I know there are many people who apply for jobs they aren’t qualified for, but talk so passionately about doing anyway that they do get hired.
So, what, am I just over it, then?
If you didn’t know already, I am not a certified teacher but I have been teaching since 2012. I’ve been in the educational field since 2006 as an after-school teacher and as a Religious Education teacher. I didn’t go to school for Education, though. I always thought that I was a good fit as a classroom teacher, a natural. Everyone in my family supported this notion by telling me that being a teacher fits my mold.
But I wasn’t 100% happy with it.
I loved decorating my own room. I loved teaching students, helping them realize their potential, sharing something new with them, and seeing the “AH-HA!” looks on their faces when they finally understood what they couldn’t before. I loved being instrumental to their learning, being that guiding force behind them. But even though I loved being there for students, I hated everything else that came with it. The meetings, the seniority of being a teacher in a school with tenured colleagues, grades and lesson plans, the parents…It was so stressful for me. I just wanted to teach kids.
When I expressed this to a few of my friends – how I wanted to teach but not at the same time – they always asked me, “Why don’t you find something else? Why don’t you look for a way to teach others but not in a classroom?”
And I’ve put some serious thought into it. I’ve considered maybe being an advisor or college counselor, maybe. My friend who is working as a life coach suggested going down that pathway. My mentor in my fitness internship keeps asking if I am already certified to teach because I could turn that into a possible career as well.
With all these possibilities, though, I can’t help but shake the fear of quitting something I knew and loved (i.e. my comfort zone in a classroom setting, with a stable paycheck and the possibility of tenureship) so that I can jump into the abyss of something so unknown as life coaching, a more modern career path (one that is certainly more popular these days, anyway). Right now, my friend and I are looking into working together in marketing and consulting, which I’m a little hesitant about, still.
It is true that when God closes a door, He opens a window, but it’s hard to personally come to terms of giving up a career I thought I was so fit for. To me, it feels like giving up. But is it giving up, if I already know it’s not the right field for me to be a certified classroom teacher? Am I letting my family down for not fulfilling what they believed would be a good path for me?
Or…am I now finally listening to the signs from God and the Universe telling me that this isn’t the right path for me at all? Is the slamming of this door the final wake-up call telling me that I should stop wasting so much time and energy on something not meant for me and finally put all that effort into something else more meaningful to me?
Some days, I feel so sure that I am done with education (on this level, anyway) and am reassured that classroom teaching isn’t where I am meant to be. Then, there are days when I wake up and go, “What if I’m making a huge mistake in giving up on this? What if I’m just quitting and not fighting enough?”
But…is it even quitting if it wasn’t your dream at all?