Monday, January 23, 2017

Career Change???

I am burnt out. I know this may not be the best year to judge exactly how burnt out of teaching I am with all the policy changes we faced on top of the changes at home with adding a new baby. Even though I definitely feel leaps and bounds better than I did in October, though I don't believe I still have PPD, I'm not back to being my positive chirpy self.  But I  faced my last year of burnout just four years ago. Twice in five years seems too frequent. That year was definitely worse than this year. Maybe because I just don't have the sense of panic I did then. Maybe because as I get older I know myself better, and I know myself well enough to know I won't stay in a miserable situation for long. I will take action to resolve it. And if that action involves change I know myself well enough now to know though the idea of change scares me and can make me anxious I know I don't let it intimidate me enough to stop me. And the third thing my 35 year old self knows better than my 30 year old self is if I set my mind to something I know if I really want something I can do it. I just have to know what I really want.

I think that's been the biggest struggle with thinking of leaving education. If I leave the education field what can I go do that's not a huge financial hit? At first I haven't been finding anything that seemed worth the hassle of change and facing the fear of the unknown, yet the thought of doing the same thing for my whole working life is just starting to feel like I'm short changing myself. I worked in the educational setting at daycares the four years before I started teaching so that means combined I've been in education for 17 years. I've been a supporter of most education reform these past few years, but recent reform this past year has taken away a sense of student accountability worse than it even was before. I'm so tired of grading, and I know being critiqued and criticized is a part of every profession but I'm just tired of feeling like I'm doing something that I'm really just not very good at.

I've been looking for a way out for probably the last five years as it is. Honestly the things that keep me from leaving teaching aren't the right reasons- summer vacation and retiring in my 50s. Summers half the time stress me out because we don't get paid in the summer and unfortunately I've had to work three of the eight summers I've been a mom as it is. The other concern though is as much as some say teachers don't get paid much, it's been really hard to find a different job that would pay me the same. Maryland teachers make pretty decent money especially with a Masters Degree + and 13 years of experience.

Most of the best possible things I've found has been in sales and that's all dependent on commission which makes me nervous as I'm use to a fixed income that comes from a salaried job. Working in sales is not exactly my dream job. Though I've looked at education related jobs that are not in public school classrooms, again because I'm so burnt out of education in general none of those leave me very excited to tackle change.

Something I read recently about change and the unknown left me asking myself if I wasn't teaching and money didn't matter for a minute what would I really really want to do. I came back to this blog. No, it's not writing. It's actually what I discovered I really enjoyed through writing this blog and what I loved about my masters degree program that I started to formulate a new possible direction.

I went to get my Masters in Counseling ten years ago now this month. However, as it came time for the internship I had just had my first baby, things were tight financially so I was coaching volleyball on top of finishing grad school and it looked like the internship would require me to go part time at work or involve a whole lot of hours I had no idea how I would complete with a new baby at home on top of a full time job. So I did something I kind of regret now. Just short of the internship hours I decide to change my program of study and completed my degree with an Educational Studies degree rather than a counseling though my whole program focused on counseling. I am an internship and certification licensing away from being able to pursue career paths in a variety counseling settings.

Through this blog the most enjoyable thing to come from it, even before the publication acceptances, is the connections I've made with other moms. I love talking and consulting with other moms about the highs and lows of motherhood. I have loved and appreciated how other moms have felt comfortable in coming to me with their own personal struggles and worries with motherhood.

So how could I combine my counseling courses and passion for working with moms and still make a comparable wage to my teaching salary? This was the big question I set out to solve to see if I could even come up with a possible workable solution. Researching all of that is how I've started my new year.

Turns out I am 7 health science classes away, a new CPR certification, an online module training course, and of course an actual internship away from being able to become a lactation consultant/maternal health counselor (the roles vary base on place of employment) employable by private companies, hospitals though they prefer RN certified, physician clinics, and government agencies like WIC. Through further research I also found there is another course training program with a another set of online training and certification exam I could take to add certified childbirth educator  (I would not be delivering babies! Just preparing moms mentally for labor and birth and taking care of a newborn) to my list of credentials in which I would have an easier time working in physician clinics in educating new moms on childbirth, parenting, and breastfeeding. Depending on the actual job assignment with an education background, coursework in counseling, lactation certification, and childbirth education I would have the qualifications to function in many capacities with new moms as a parent educator, lactation consultant, and maternal health counselor as they prepare for labor and delivery and bringing home a baby.

My new career goal is to "retire" from teaching after 17 years, four years from now. Over the course of the next four years I would take my 7 missing health science classes and childbirth educator course, do the online module trainings, and complete an internship to take my two Board Certification exams in April 2021. Once I get my foot in the door of making the change then I may look into completing my official counseling certification if it'll benefit me in some way wherever I end up working.

I have found where to take all the courses I need. If I do this- I plan to start taking my first course in August or Sept. The biggest hurdle would be first in finding a place to log internship hours and second in actually logging those internship hours. Though April 2021 is four years away I would like to start logging those hours possibly as early as this summer.

I am no stranger to the fact that change comes with sacrifice. Not only would there be sacrifice in my time which is already pushed pretty close to its capacity at times to get myself certified to make the career change, but once I was able to make the change there'd be more sacrifices with time and money. Obviously I would work all year round and not ten months, and on top of it I would probably take somewhat of a paycut, possibly because if I could work a 30-32 hour work week in four days I would do it rather than a five day work week. But on the flipside I would be doing something totally different that I am excited about doing and anticipate loving despite the fact that all jobs have their hard, not so fun moments. I would also possibly have different hours that again though I may get to get up after sunrise and see my kids off to school it'll be traded for being home with them right after school; however, because the kids will be getting older I'd much rather leave my then middle schooler in charger for an hour or so after school then in the chaos of the morning routine so at that point in our family life I think it'd be better for me to be around in the mornings and returning later in the day. Then of course I would give up retiring at 53; however, with the youngest still in college at that time I was probably looking at working doing something for another 3-4 years after that anyway so really I'll only be working about four years longer than I would have.

When it comes to the uncertainty of tackling such a big change my biggest worry is that I'll do all this work to get all these certifications and qualifications and then struggle to find a job. I keep reminding myself I've been on uncertain roads before, but faith has always seen me through.

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