Tough Goodbyes

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Today was supposed to be my first day back to teaching in almost four months. I was excited to be back in the classroom, and eager to meet a new batch of students. I had two classes prepared and ready to go.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.

The college I worked for contacted me right before we moved to tell me that they were taking away one of my classes to give to another teacher. I wasn’t happy about it, but it wasn’t the end of the world – I still had one class left. Right after we moved, they told me they gave away the other class. Since this happened rather suddenly and without warning, I was devastated.

Now I’m back to square one. I’ve spent the past few months applying to dozens of teaching positions, and other jobs within the college systems here. I have woken up every morning to an inbox full of politely written rejection letters, which I can tell you is not the best way to start the day. I’ve written so many cover letters that they’re starting to blur together. I also think I’ve applied to so many positions that I fear that I applied to some of them twice (sorry if I did that). It’s hard work trying to find work, and it can wear down even the most thick-skinned person. While I’ve always struggled to keep my career afloat, this is different.

After a lot of careful thought, friendly advice, and sleepless nights, I’ve come to a very tough decision:

I am leaving the teaching profession.

It’s tough for me to admit this, but it’s time for me to move on. I gave teaching 11 years of my life, and I truly mean my whole life. Teaching often meant sacrificing friends, family, vacations, and time for myself. I’m 31 years old and in no position to buy a house, have children, or pay off my student loans – all things I would have expected to have accomplished by now. I’ve read more books in the past three months than I have in the past 10 years, and didn’t realize until now how much I missed that. While the stress of not having a new job keeps me up at night, it’s nothing compared to the years of anxiety, not knowing if I’d make enough to pay rent every few months. It’s time for me to choose another path – one that is more stable and allows me to have a life outside of work. I can’t continue to risk my physical and mental health on a promise that never came to fruition. I want to be excited to wake up in the morning and head to work, something I haven’t felt in years.

This is a decision I didn’t make lightly, and I promise it’s not an angry reaction to this recent layoff. I’ve been struggling with this decision for years. This blog exists because I was unhappy in my career, and needed an outlet. Two years ago, I even made a new year’s resolution on the blog to explore other career options, whether it be blogging, writing professionally, editing, or something else. I knew even back then that things were bad, but since I was working consistently, I didn’t feel ready to let go quite yet. Now I do.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, which is scary given I’m an over-planner. Part of me wants to go back to school, but I don’t know if I can handle another round of school, and another pile of debt I may never pay off. I started looking into careers outside of teaching, and while many of the positions I’ve applied for look interesting, I still feel very much like a fish out of water. Breaking into a new industry is hard, especially when you feel over/under qualified and too old. Making money as a blogger would be great, which I assume is as simple as finding a unicorn whose tears are made of money.

So for now, I’m overwhelmed and terrified…but I’m also hopeful and excited to see what the future has in store for me. I’m trying to stay positive, which isn’t always easy, but I’m trying.

For those of you who read my blog, thank you for sticking with me through a very long post! For those of you who write the blogs I read, thank you for the distraction during such a rough time. This community of bloggers keeps me sane, it really does – and I can’t imagine where I’d be without you.

And if you happen to know anyone in the Seattle area who’d like to hire a former English professor, let me know. 🙂

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