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Where to start when you want to change careers

A career transition roadmap for teachers

Heart on a stick with a black background

You want to leave teaching and transition to a new career

But every time you start thinking about what's next or start "working on" your career change, you realize you have no idea what you're doing. 😬

You feel totally lost and completely overwhelmed. And maybe even little self-critical. Why can't I do this? What's wrong with me?!

My friend, it's not your fault you don't know what you're doing.

Chances are, no one ever taught you how to approach a career transition or tackle a job search. There aren't any classes on this in school (though there should be).

And since it's not something that happens all that frequently, folks just tend to struggle through it when it's necessary.

But y'all, it doesn't have to be a struggle.

I have a roadmap you can follow to work toward a career transition that's right for you!

A career change roadmap for teachers

Spinning in circles, hitting dead ends, falling down LinkedIn rabbit holes, and banging your head against a wall is really normal in a career change.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Here's how to get started...

Step 1 - Make a list of the other career options you've considered

Get all your alternative career ideas outta your head and onto paper. Or a Google doc if you're like me and your hand hurts after writing a single sentence with a pen and paper.

If your list of career possibilities has less than five options, you need to expand your list. I don't want you to feel pigeon-holed as a teacher (you're not!), so let's begin with an abundant list.

Do not censor your list for what's most "realistic" because honestly, you don't know yet what's possible or not.

If you can't think of other career options, discover what else is out there. The internet and other people can expose you to heaps of new jobs and careers!

Step 2 - Take stock of your skills & strengths

I wish more teachers knew (and believed) how incredibly talented you are. The work you do all day, every day is hyper sophisticated, highly nuanced, and full-on.

In other words, you've got mad skills.

But I know you're still worried that you won’t qualify for work beyond the classroom. And it is important to know what you have to offer to other roles and industries.

So sit down and list out your skills. Think through your day and write down what you know how to do. It doesn't matter how good at it you are. If you know how to do it, write it down. Even better - do this with another teacher!

Next, reflect in writing or with another person about what you're particularly good at doing. What comes easily to you? Where do you shine? These are your strengths. If you're not sure what you're good at, ask someone else what they think.

Step 3 - Shine a light on your career narrative

You've got a story about your career and what's possible for you, even though you might not be aware of it or think of it this way.

Your "career narrative" is the story you tell yourself and others about your work as a teacher.

It's the dialogue you have running through your mind on repeat saying unhelpful stuff like:

  • "I'm not qualified for other jobs."

  • "I failed as a teacher."

  • "I'm stuck teaching because I can't leave my retirement pension."

  • "No one is going to want to hire me."

These are your barriers to finding a new path forward.

They are the thoughts you habitually bump up against when you're considering a career change.

And it's going to be hard to transition to a new career if you have thoughts like this working against you. If you're not aware of them they'll likely sabotage all your beautiful efforts for change.

So write down or record your most repetitive thoughts as they pop into your head. You can even share them out-loud with someone else.

Step 4 - Notice what brings you joy

Say whaaaa? Yep. Joy is 100% relevant to your career change.

The simplest way to transform your career from work that drains you to work that energizes you is to look for work that brings you joy.

If you don’t know what brings you joy, you run the risk of spending tons of time and energy (and maybe money) transitioning to a job that bums you out just as much as teaching. That ain't good.

Noticing what brings you joy now is an important part of figuring out what you want next.

Ask yourself the question "What brings me joy?" and then actively pay attention to what comes up in the moment throughout your day.

Where NOT to start when you want to change careers

These four next steps in the roadmap are just starting points.

They won't get you all the way to a new job. But they will move you forward on a path that's right for you.

Here's are a few steps to avoid when starting out on your career transition journey...

DON'T waste your time thinking harder

My friend, you've already thunk all your thoughts and churned over all the career possibilities you know about again and again.

Overthinking is not part of your roadmap to career change.

DON'T search for jobs on LinkedIn (yet)

LinkedIn, Indeed and other job search sites can be discouraging, overwhelming, and a huge waste of time unless you already have clarity about what you want to do next.

Searching for jobs is not part of your roadmap to career change until later.

Which next step feels most important for you?

Share which step feels right for you as a starting point for your career transition in the comments or email me at I'll respond with a resource or two to help you accomplish it!

My career change course for teachers can help!

Taking these action steps is easier said than done.

If you want a coach and a group of other teachers to walk through these and many more steps with you, check out my online course for teachers at a crossroads in their career.

Laura with glasses and long brown hair standing in front of a spring shrub

I'm Laura, a career transformation coach for teachers feeling stuck.

I help you explore career possibilities beyond the classroom so that you can make a confident choice about what's next, based on your strengths, values, and what you want most for your life.

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