Increasingly teachers and other education professionals are leaving the profession to seek more realistic working hours and expectations. But is this really wise? Should we just slug it out until we get our golden pension pot?
I’ve been working with education professionals amongst other professionals too, now for over 15 years, to help them transition through changes that emerge in their work and wider life. Stress, relationship difficulties, divorce/dissolution, ill health or just a nagging feeling that life is not fulfilling affect many people in the UK. Fear-mongering is rife amongst the “stay where you are” camp. However increasingly, scientific evidence from researchers like Bruce Lipton and Candace Pert, and suggesting that long term low levels of satisfaction, high levels of stress and poor quality or insufficient sleep cause significant long term damage to our health. The inflammation response in you bodies to sustained negative stress and poor recovery from stressful periods, is literally shortening our lives.
So are there alternatives? Experts in the field of mid life career change seem to agree on a few things before you make a move, and they agree on one fundamental: if your job is not fulfilling you AND it’s causing you negative stress on a sustained level, it’s probably contributing to later ill health and early demise.
So here are some tips:
- Get clear about your priorities: Who are you and what do you want? What doe you need from a career change? Is it another high pressure career – ie you want a change to be as good as a rest? Or is it a down shift to a simpler way of life? Are you looking for a complete change or a portfolio-type career where you did smaller amount of teaching and then other things through your working week? Jeff Redmond of US career change firm New Directions, says that “you have to take time to decompress before making a change”. Significant research is needed to make good decisions.
- Use online tools like Strengths Engagement Track to take a fresh look at your talents, which can be hidden from you if you are currently in a stressful and frazzled state. Profiling tools can give reassurance and insight, as well as confidence and direction
- Look at the various eras of your life from your early years until now, what are the activities that you found most rewarding and most absorbing. Look at the clues they leave about what might make you more fulfilled going forward
- Get support. A life transitions coach can really help you. Look for one that’s qualified as a coach and also has been through career change themselves. It’s also a crucial step to call in a financial planning professional and get clear about your situation and your planning needs. However, remember what’s the good of a fabulous pension aged 65 if you live 18 months because you are burned out and in poor health. So there is much to weigh up.
- Research suggests that lots of analysis is ok, but the real clincher is experiencing a new career or job role before you leap. What are the ways you can try the job? Perhaps its through training, volunteering, shadowing, talking to others who do it or who have made a leap and walking along side them for a while. For most education professionals, longer holidays do offer an opportunity to take blocks of time to find out about and try new career avenues. Life simplification is increasingly popular too. Looking at how you might cut down on spending, down-shift, or reprioritise your needs, can be a very positive and sustainable way to live your life. Becoming more aware of the presence of any status anxiety you might run in your psyche and working on ways to become more contented with less “stuff” and status in your life can be hugely enriching, and perhaps ties in with other values and ethics you have in your life.
Will Thomas, in his capacity as Life Transition Coach is offering 30 minutes life review calls over the months of July and August for those who are interested in exploring the potential of career tweaks whether it be promotion in your existing role, down-shifting, wholesale career change or developing a portfolio career, employed or self employed. He is a qualified coach, and has successfully made the career shift from teacher/leader to trainer, coach and writer, himself. For a FREE, no obligation 30 minutes session please contact Will at: firstname.lastname@example.org– Coaching Courses
STOP PRESS – Coaching Courses Running Soon
16th June and 1st July 2016 – Level 1 Coaching for Leading One day course – with Chris Giles, Licensed Coach Trainer
12/13 November 2016 Level 2 Advanced Coaching Skills Course Two day course – with Will Thomas