It's not the right starting point for teachers considering a career change.
Doom-scrolling after a bad day in the classroom
Has this happened to you?
You have a bad day at school.
You are convinced that you should look for another job…again.
You spin your wheels all the way home trying to figure out what else you could do for work.
You sidle up to your laptop and spend a regrettable amount of time binge-searching job alternatives on Indeed or LinkedIn.
You emerge from the rabbit hole of browsing job postings feeling discouraged, lost, and no clearer about what you want for your career.
You feel angry and annoyed that you just spent so much time on this when you could’ve been binge-watching your favorite show, chillin’ with your bestie, or sleeping instead.
It’s not just you. This is a very common reaction to a crappy day at work for teachers who are considering a career change.
LinkedIn, Indeed, and other online job search sites are great when you already have clarity about what you want to do next and/or you’re ready to apply for jobs.
But job sites can actually work against you if you don't know what you want and are trying to discover the possibilities that exist for you beyond the classroom.
How job sites can work against you
Browsing job postings when you're just starting to consider your options…
--Limits you to jobs you already know about because you’re using search terms that you’re familiar with and therefore, your results reflect the terms you choose, nothing more.
--Limits you to jobs that are available right now. What you find in the moment is what you’ll assume is “out there.”
--Bores you to tears. Job postings aren’t written to inspire. They’re written to get the point across in as few words as possible. The job might be great, but you wouldn’t know it by the description.
--Focuses your attention on what you “can get” instead of what you want. What you want becomes shaped only by what you find, not by what you’ve determined is a good fit for you.
--Focuses you on applying for jobs prematurely. Applying for jobs you're not even sure you want can be a huge waste of time and energy.
--Excludes you from jobs that you might actually qualify for because you assume you have to meet all the requirements (you don’t!)
--Confuses you. Job descriptions are written in the “language” of the company and field, and if you don’t understand their language, you won’t get a good sense of what the job actually entails.
Phew! It sure was therapeutic for me to write out this list! I have really BIG feelings about how discouraging and limiting job sites can be for teachers. I see so many of you starting your exploration on LinkedIn or Indeed and floundering. You wonder why you can’t find anything that feels like a fit and you get stuck.
The alternative strategy that will work for you
Now, let’s be very clear. If you’ve been spending a lot of time browsing job sites, it’s not because you’re an idiot. It’s because this is the strategy you know about, and you’re doing your best to make it work for you.
In other words, the problem isn’t you. It’s that reading job postings doesn’t work for most people who are in a phase of questioning and wondering.
Fortunately, there is a better strategy that I know does work!
I call it career exploration...with an emphasis on EXPLORATION. I obviously didn't make up the phrase, but it's the approach to career clarity that I hang my hat on. I believe in it because I see it work.
Career exploration is a more effective, joyful way to check out your possibilities beyond the classroom and discover careers that align with who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer the world.
I’m gonna tell you aaaaaaall about shifting your strategy and mindset to exploring career possibilities (instead of searching for them) in my next few blog posts. But here's a sneak peak: it’s about following your interests, strengths, and curiosity and uncovering jobs you never considered or even knew existed. If this sounds good, stay tuned.
What to do the next time you have a bad day at work
In the meantime, the next time you have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and you're tempted to jump onto LinkedIn or Indeed, don't. Instead, start a chart to track how you feel about your days in the classroom.
At the end of every day before you leave school, add a tally to the category that best captures your experience that day. The categories could be: terrible, fine, awesome or any other way you'd like to describe them. Over time, you’ll start to see what your teaching experience is really like for you. This is good information as you consider your next steps.
I'd love to hear what you think!
Share your thoughts in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What has your experience been like browsing job postings?
What have you done to explore your career alternatives that has been most helpful?