Time for a change

So as some of you may know I have been training as a teacher since September in a secondary school. I never truly settled into the job and was always very behind, finding myself becoming more and more unhappy as time went on. So after a very upsetting period last week and some serious thinking I've decided to finish my training and move on to something that is more appropriate for me and my skills and most importantly, makes me happier!

So where to go now.... I'm a graduate with a skills in many different areas but definitely a master of none. How would you go about starting to look at your strengths and weaknesses to find yourself a new career?

Also as a side note, do you really know what makes you happy in your job? Did you find it difficult to figure that out for yourself?

Hey Jamba, Well done for making a brave decision. I am a teacher and have worked with many colleagues who are unhappy but have never had the 'balls' to say that it wasn't what they wanted and have a change.

What you do next kind of depends on your personal financial situation. If you ahve the financial stability, then you can take the time to see what interests you...maybe try a few things, volunteer etc. If not, I would suggest making the investment of talking to a counsellor/life coach type person. At the very least, sit and talk to somaeone about which parts of all of your work experiences have been the most fulfilling to you, and which frustrated you. If you can put a list together It will help.

Personally, I am now a Special Educational Needs Coordinator and I love it. BUT I have been through major ups and downs with work to get there. If I didn't have so many financial responsibilities, I would have abandoned ship before this.

Hey Jamba!

I am going through something very similar at the moment, i'm meant to be at a course now but ended up having a massive panic attack! I too need a new direction which this was meant to be but obviously it's not for me.

It might help to ask questions like why did you decide to go into teaching to begin with? What parts of teaching appealed to you and why? Which parts did you struggle with and why? What were you actually unhappy about...eg was there an aspect you found stressful or worrying? Or did you fear you might fail etc? What would you like to do in an ideal world? What kind of skills would someone in that role need and which of them do you have? Of the ones you dont have, what would you need to do to gain those remaining skills?

Thats only a little start but it helps me to put things in perspective and you can focus on certain areas. It's important to be really honest with yourself and do it for yourself.

Know it's harder in real life than on paper. Do you have a certain job that you'd like to do? Focus on what skills you have and which of them makes you happy to use maybe?

Jamba dude, I kinda know the crossroads you're at. I'm nowhere near as qualifed as you, only really having GCSEs. But I've been in my present job for 10 years and need to move on now. I'm not after that amazing job or anything, I have no idea what I want to do and am totally open to suggestions. I haven't the money to go back to college or re-train or anything. I'd like to work closer to home, can't really afford to be running 2 cars any more. Also I like working with people, I really can't handle working alone or in any place where chat is not an option, and that's the only thing I want...a job where there's people. I'm not interested in a career, never have been. Just something stable and enjoyable. If I were you I'd start looking around at what kinda jobs are available, and see if any of them sound like the kinda thing you'd be happy doing. Or there's the other way....what do you enjoy doing? What jobs are there out there where you can get paid for something you enjoy? Easier said than done I guess...

respect to you for leaving a job you're not happy in. i'm a muddler- i "have a go" at stuff- usually fitting around my kids and our home-ed life style. being happy matters. i know that sounds too simple, but whenever our finances take a knock- we realize how little we really need. i'm not career focused enough to give real advice- BUT- don't be scared of a taking time out or a salary drop. it's the thing i see people get hung up on, over and over, when they long to change career. sometimes the numbers sound big, but they're not really, if you look close. good luck. x

I'm in a similar position after finishing uni so I can't really give advice, but I shall be reading with interest:)

I've been there and know teaching is one job you can't grump your way through! Its sometimes best to just take time out and reassess where you can go, sadly a teaching degree really is something you cant take into another profession :(

I went through a rough patch in teaching about 5 years ago now, and actually left the profession with the intention to not return and was going to find a managment job in a shop somewhere!! I took a year out to travel, which turned into teaching English abroad for 2 years when I began to miss teaching little ones and then I ended up going to an international primary school, I then started to miss Special Ed... which brought me to London.

I love my job, I'm a SEN teacher in a Secondary School, and have been through so many ups and downs when I trained (i was leaving every year!) and in various jobs. I am now back in the sector I love which is very rewarding, although I put a lot of work into it including going back to uni to finish my Masters *blah uni*.

Hang in there, its never to late to change job and never to late to try something new! good luck :D

I was going to suggest giving the little 'uns a go. Less likely to be utter bellends, appreciate the teaching and being a fella means you make that extra bit of difference.

What ever path you take I hope it works well Jamba.

Jamba, good luck.

I did this thing before, and it was a bit wild, difficult, but has worked out well in the end. I now feel happy in my job. I am still nutty as a fruitcake, but that's offset by the job satisfaction and massive difference from what I was doing beforehand.

Do some soul searching, be honest, and realistic, but don't think anything is impossible, it might just take a different approach, or more effort.


I agree with the others about being brave and taking control of the direction of your life/career. It really pays to be happy on all levels.

I'd suggest looking into the real career questionnaire type things. There are a number of ones that are very credible and precise. They may help to give you an insight into what areas may really interest you and what is suitable. I have a memory of a fish however and can't really name any on the top of my head... Bleh. I helped my OH do an essay on a career development plan. There's an actual specialist for that too as a career counsellor (don't think it's limited to just Americans). So you might want to pursue that.

Ooh, I actually tried to research one of the tests that I know of- It's the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. It gives a general low down of careers that may suit you as a person. I know it may seems a little erm flimsy to base a career choice on but these things can be useful. Hope I helped.

Also- it's never to late for a career change. Good luck! =]

Jamba, I've got the utmost respect for you - that's one tough decision to make, but I think you're absolutely right to want to be somewhere you can enjoy your work. You and nifty will both be much happier as a result in the long run, I'm sure!

Ideas - not knowing what you disliked about teaching, I'd ask if you have considered other age groups or alternative educational systems? SEN, Adult Ed, Montessori, Steiner-Waldorf - all could build on your existing training but give you a very different day-to-day job.

I know you can get (but I don't know where!) Psychometric Assessments, which give you a battery of tests and process the results to analyse your true strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps something like this would give you a clearer idea of what you could be good at, and you could then look at any options you liked the look of.

Best of luck, and if you find the dream job, let me know what it is, eh?


Jamba, I'm guessing you got into teaching originally either because you like teaching itself, or you like working with kids (or possibly both). If it's just the former, then you could consider moving into adult education, or possibly into training (I know a couple of people who work in IT training who originally trained as teachers). If it's just the latter, then there are a lot of related jobs (you probably know better than me, tbh) - Learning Coaches, SENCos, Careers Advisers, etc. Being trained and qualified as a teacher will prepare you for those careers, but unfortunately they'll generally require further qualifications. If you are still training, I'd suggest giving serious consideration at least to completing the qualification - teaching qualifications are relevant in a lot of other career paths, so it won't be time wasted, even if you don't want to be a teacher.

I know a few folk who are teachers (or former teachers) too, and the school you're in also apparently makes a huge difference. If you're not happy, it might just be the school that's wrong, rather than the career. If it's being in a state school that doesn't agree with you, you could also consider moving into private education, special or alternative provision (e.g. special schools, home tuition, traveller education, pupil referral units).

Regarding looking at your strengths and weaknesses, as Mr Monster quite correctly says there are a whole load of psychometric assessment tools available. Access to those tools can be difficult - some of them you can complete postally I think (there is usually quite a hefty charge). Your best option might be to see your local careers service - if you live in England it's an organisation called Connexions I think. In Scotland it's Careers Scotland (http://www.careers-scotland.org.uk/) and in Wales it's Careers Wales (http://www.careerswales.com/).

There are a few online tools that may help you - http://www.careerswales.com/adults/server.php?show=nav.2950 has a search tool that'll semi-intelligently suggest career paths based on your preferences and skills (even if you don't live in Wales). Ultimately though, although people and assessment tools can offer you suggestions, it's only you that'll know the perfect career for you - you just might have to try out a couple of duds first.

What makes me happy in my job... being challenged, and meeting that challenge. Having the opportunity to be creative. Interacting with nice people. Having the time and opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge. Good coffee. Flexible working hours. An informal work environment. Respect from colleagues. A supportive team. Guess I am pretty luck, when I look at it.

Good luck with your search!

Well, personally, I also feel lost about what I should work. I would prefer a creative work, flexible working hours, also I work better on my own and I like to travel. So far I have a few suggestions for myself:

- interior designer - however, I can't draw by hand - that leads me to the point I can't start such an education - at least not in my country - they require such an exam (or two - not very sure). But for the moment everything in my house is designed by me and people like it. There is one more thing though - I tend to get bored with something pretty easily (no matter what it is).

- wedding arrangements - I can make invitations by hand, and can also be helping for other arrangements. But I guess that would bore me after a couple of weddings.

- coffee taster - yes, I do need some training for that, but I have to say, my taste receptors are very good - I can make difference between the tastes of the different types of mineral water to such extent that some of them I would rather not drink. However this can hardly be a real job.

And still have the feeling that none of the above is the right answer for me, but I have no idea what it is... And I haven't heard for career counselors in my country....

Jamba... on rereading, I know it may be not what you want but have you thought about giving it a year after you get your qualification. I know it sounds really wierd to say but to be honest it is the advice I give my friends who are doing their PGCE as well as the students I mentor! Real teaching is not the same as training, you get much more independance and get to develop your style. I only say this as I HATED my placements and time studying but once I was in the class on my own, I loved it!!

Also as a guy, you would be appreciated and loved in PRU units or SEN... honestly there are so many areas that you can't study for that you would maybe like :)

im on FB if you ever want to yap about it just google adri_jay@hotmail.com (or just drop me an email)

Hey guys thanks for your input and suggestions. I've started filling in a career questionaire type test on the DirectGov website called Next Step. So far it is coming up with mostly things to do with teaching but I'm not finished with it yet... I used to want to work in the games industry as I can animate and model to a level but ended up being stuck doing repetitive work testing work. I'm also quite interesting in developing my IT skills as I'm very maths literate and think that the more technical side of computing would suit me, especially if I got to fix things.

So yeah just a whole bunch of ideas knocking around atm.

As far as why I don't want to teach anymore, it's a multi-part issue. I really enjoy the time in the classroom but I have been getting very frustrated that I can't really give any particular student my attention for any length of time. Also I don't think that I had a realistic idea of what a teacher really needs to do as the job is more about getting them to learn on their own, which is so infuriating I can't explain. You're asking kids to think about things when they don't want to. Building relationships with them is great and I love how funny and energised kids are but so little of being a teacher is about that. Almost all of my time is taken up with admin, planning, tracking progress and just harassing them to do work. So that's why I think the job is not making me happy.

Now here is why I don't think I can do the job (and that's why I'm not finishing my training). I'm not an organised person and I think that this is my biggest issue. For anyone who knows a teacher, you HAVE to be organised. And with having to learn so many skills simultaneously, having to do so many little jobs at the same time, I get snowed under and lose perspective on why I am doing things. Doing the job asks me to do almost everything that I find difficult eventhough it uses some of my skills and it realy wears me down and I feel like I have no drive left at all.

So I think that I thought that teaching was something else. Where ever I go next, I need to be very sure and realistic about what you do as part of the job.

Jamba wrote:

I'm also quite interesting in developing my IT skills as I'm very maths literate and think that the more technical side of computing would suit me, especially if I got to fix things.

Hi Jamba, I'm coming from the other side now. I've been in IT for 15 years, and its totally lost it appeal, thanks to me being stuck at a remote location to the rest of my team for the past 5 years.

I've recently been part of an outsourcing excercise, and the new company now want me to work from their own offices, the nearest of which is 90 miles from where I live. I'm hoping we'll be able to work something out, but I think redundancy is going to be the only answer.

Anyway, getting back on topic, I'm now thinking of leaving IT and starting with something different. I've not had many ideas, yet, but "electrician" seems to be coming up on the list.

IT is a very broad field though, there is a wide range of roles you can do. I've been in infrastructure support for 12 years or so, but there is also desktop support, communications, telephony etc, or software development. I wouldn't consider hardware, as the wages are much lower.

Hopefully you'll find some of my drivel useful.

Thanks TC, I had heard that IT is taking some major changes recently. I'd be quite interesting in development as I would like to feed that into maybe some games development but I have no programming experience at the moment.

I wouldn't mind being IT support, or part of an IT team for a company as it's very solutions based and I would feel like I'd be helping others to do their job. There would be a social element to an extent and people would appreciate new and technology based solutions.

But hey, I know very little about that field but I'm very excited about the possibilities that the "App" generation of tech could bring to everyday life.

I hear thats a issue with secondary teaching. Its a reason I love being in SEN, its 1-1 or max 6 or so in a class and they all get your individual attention. I really feel I help a lot more than I ever did or would in a class as there was always 1 or 2 that would slip through the net.

GRRRrrrrrr... just been taling to my Mentor and looking at my contract. If I resign on this Monday I will have to work until Easter. That's 2 whole months in a job I know I don't want to do anymore.

Shoot me now.

Jamba wrote:

GRRRrrrrrr... just been taling to my Mentor and looking at my contract. If I resign on this Monday I will have to work until Easter. That's 2 whole months in a job I know I don't want to do anymore.

Shoot me now.

If that is the case is it worth sticking it out until the end of the year?

Sorry Jamba!