Teachers in Transition

Teachers in Transition - Episode 26 - "What Am I Qualified to Do?" is the Wrong Question to Ask

September 19, 2019 Kitty Boitnott Season 1 Episode 26
Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 26 - "What Am I Qualified to Do?" is the Wrong Question to Ask
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Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 26 - "What Am I Qualified to Do?" is the Wrong Question to Ask
Sep 19, 2019 Season 1 Episode 26
Kitty Boitnott

Most people who are thinking about changing their job or career start with the question, "What am I qualified to do other than what I am doing now?" This is a question that stumps a lot of the teachers with whom I work. They have only ever been teachers. In some cases, that's all they ever wanted to be. So, they really feel stuck and are unable to fathom "what else" they can do.

 

I contend that this is the wrong question to start with. Instead, ask yourself, what do you WANT to do? And worry about how to become qualified to do it later.

 

Sound counter-intuitive? Maybe at first. But that is how I wound up where I am now doing what I do today. And I think that's where others should start, too.

 

To learn more, watch/listen to this episode of "Teachers in Transition."

Show Notes Transcript

Most people who are thinking about changing their job or career start with the question, "What am I qualified to do other than what I am doing now?" This is a question that stumps a lot of the teachers with whom I work. They have only ever been teachers. In some cases, that's all they ever wanted to be. So, they really feel stuck and are unable to fathom "what else" they can do.

 

I contend that this is the wrong question to start with. Instead, ask yourself, what do you WANT to do? And worry about how to become qualified to do it later.

 

Sound counter-intuitive? Maybe at first. But that is how I wound up where I am now doing what I do today. And I think that's where others should start, too.

 

To learn more, watch/listen to this episode of "Teachers in Transition."

Kitty Boitnott:

Are you a teacher who's feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? Do you worry that you're feeling symptoms of burnout or are you sure you've already gotten there? Have you started to dream of doing some other kind of job or perhaps pursuing a whole different career, but you don't know what else you're even qualified to do? You don't know how to start a job search. You just feel stuck. If that sounds like you, I promise you're not alone. My name is Kitty Boitnott. I'm a career transition and job search coach and I specialize in helping burnt out teachers just like you deal not only with the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day job, but to consider what other careers might be out there waiting for you. Join me for "Teachers in Transition." In some episodes I'll be speaking to stress management techniques and how you can manage your stress on a day to day basis. In other episodes I'll be talking about career transition. What tools do you need to be successful in a job search when you're moving from one career into a totally different track? These are questions that you need answers to and I can help you find those answers. My name is Kitty Boitnott. Welcome to "Teachers in Transition." Hi, this is Kitty Boitnott of "Teachers in Transition" the YouTube channel and the podcast. Welcome back for another episode. This is episode 26, and today I'm going to be talking about the number one question that people tend to ask when they call me for help in their career change or job search. And that is what am I qualified to do? And I contend that that's the wrong question to start with. But let me explain why. Very often when you start with the question, what am I qualified to do? You immediately box yourself in, you immediately block out other possibilities that are outside of the realm of your individual experience. And so I contend that the question you should start with is not what are you qualified to do? What do you want to do? If you could have be or do anything in the world, forgetting for a moment, practicalities and the how, what do you want to do? Now surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly, only two people out of a hundred have ready answer for that. Think about that. 98 out of a hundred people will go, Huh, that's a good question. I haven't really thought about that because they've fucked themselves in all of it . So I encourage my clients and I want to encourage you to consider not what you think you can get or what you might settle for when you think about your qualifications and your past experience. But what do you want to do and why is it that you may be drawn to that particular kind of work? Is it something that you've wanted to do since you were young and you opted not to follow that particular path because you had other considerations like money or family. Lack of money. Those, those things do tend to impact the decisions you make as you strike out on your career path. I've had one teacher in particular to tell me that she never wanted to be a teacher, but her parents forced her to major in education. Otherwise they were going to refuse to fund her education. Isn't that interesting? Her mother was a teacher. They're thinking in their defense, their thinking was that teaching, is it dependable job. People always need teachers. The income is not great that it's steady. The benefits are pretty good. Depending on where you live the pension might be an attractive part of the package. But at the end of the day, if you're miserable in your job, no salary is worth that. No benefits package is worth that. No pension is worth staying with the job that you no longer care to be in. That's my opinion. Life's too short. So instead of focusing so much in the beginning on what are you qualified to do, I urge you to think about what is it that you would like to do and make a list of the things that you enjoy doing in your current job. I'm sure there are some things that you enjoy doing. One teacher told me she particularly liked the lesson planning part. It's the implementation that she's not so crazy about. Some people love the whole idea of curriculum and designing curriculum. And there is an opening for that in certain places. So what is it that you currently enjoy about what you're doing and what would you like to be doing more of? Because in my opinion, work should feel less like you're in a rowboat trying to paddle upstream against the current and you're all by yourself and so you're exhausted. It should feel more like you're going with the current. Being swept along with the current so that it's effortless, easy. Not that you can find a job that's totally free of stress or totally free of strain or or responsibilities. I'm not suggesting that, but I am suggesting that there , each one of us has a specific proclivity toward a kind of work that we enjoy and that we're good at and that's what I urge you to try to find. You can become qualified to do that. Whatever it is. I'll use my own case as an example. When I decided to leave education, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do instead. And I wasn't asking myself questions like, what do you want to do? I was also asking myself, well what are you qualified to do ? The fact of the matter was that I was wildly over-educated and under qualified for just about anything. I might've been interested in doing at that stage over-educated because I have not one but two Master's degrees and a Ph.D. in educational leadership. What the heck do you do with that when you want to leave the world of education under qualified? Because the only thing I had ever done was work in a school library with a short three year stint as in sixth grade language arts teacher. What did you do with that when you want to lead the world of education? I couldn't even get a job in the public library system here in my county because I didn't have public library experience. 33 years as a school librarian, not qualified to be in a public library. So what do you do in the end? I ended up hiring a coach who encouraged me to think about what I wanted to do, not so much what was I qualified to do. And in my case, the list of what I didn't want was probably longer in the beginning than the things that I did want. For example, I did not want a job that would require me to get up at four o'clock in the morning to be somewhere by seven I just did not want that anymore. I did not want a job where I was going to have a micromanaging boss peering over my shoulder telling me what to do. It did not want to be constrained by deadlines. I wanted to be in charge of my own schedule. I've, I admit I'd gotten kind of spoiled as president of the Virginia Education Association. I had a lot of freedom and flexibility. I traveled quite a bit. I was on the road a lot around the state and the country. I had freedom to do a lot of different things. None of them prepared me for another job after I left the VEA, unfortunately. So when I started to think about becoming a coach because becoming a coach kind of fit the profile of being in charge of my own schedule and working from home and not having specific deadlines and certainly not having a boss micromanaging me. That idea cropped up more than once and I resisted it because I didn't know any coaches other than my career coach. I had never met a life coach and honestly I didn't think much of the concept of a life coach. I wasn't understanding of why people would need a life coach. Not realizing that I've been using life coaches for years. I'm a follower of people like Tony Robbins. He's a life coach . I hadn't made that connection so I finally broke down and shared it with my career coach that what I, what I had come down to was I wanted to stay in connection with teachers somehow. I wanted to use my educational credentials in a way that gave me credibility as a professional and I had those in spades, but I needed to parlay them into a new endeavor. I also wanted to be able to incorporate this, the religious science ministries that I was studying and I was getting ready to graduate that year as a licensed minister with the Alliance for Spiritual Understanding and Global Religious Science Ministries. And I wanted to be able to use what I had learned in that study in some positive way. I wanted to stay in touch with teachers because I know teachers, I love teachers. I believe in what teachers do. I also know what a tough job it is and I know that when it's time to leave, it's time to leave. But many teachers don't know how to make that transition. I certainly didn't . Then without the help of my career coach , I'm not sure where I would have landed. But she gave me permission to explore the possibility, but she told me was if that, if that idea of becoming a coach kept coming up for me as I did my meditation work, as I did my journaling, as I did my inner reflection world...that I needed to at least look into it and explore the possibility. Do you know that within the week of her telling me that I met a life coach in person? Someone who had been doing that work for seven years. My first question to her was, is it a real job? And she said, Oh yes. She had clients [inaudible] so a thriving practice. And, oh by the way, there were other coaches in Richmond that met once a month to watch professional development, who knew a whole new world opened up for me once I looked into the possibility. So I became certified as a life strategies and stress management coach. A year later I had an opportunity to take training with the career coach that had helped me. She was offering a six week training program in her methodology of job training, job career transition and strategies, search strategies. And I took that training and then I had an opportunity to work with her and her company for 14 months before I went solo five years ago, five years ago this month as a matter of fact. So no , actually I take that back. It's four years, four years ago this month, 2015. The point of all of that is that you can decide what you want to do and then become qualified. Now, it's not an overnight process. It takes time. You may have to stay with your current job while you get yourself prepared for your next endeavor. That's okay. You can do that. People do it all the time. Do you have to go back to school for a whole new degree? No. Figure out what it is that you want to do first and then figure out what you have to do to make that happen. I compare it to you. Would never book your airfare and hotel before you figured out where you were going on vacation. Would you? I certainly hope not. But people who think about what they're qualified to do and start writing their resume based on their current experience and credentials are being just as foolish and wasting their time, in my opinion, as someone who would book their airfare and hotel before they figure out where they're going on vacation. Before you write your resume, before you start applying for jobs, even as you are creating your stellar LinkedIn profile, you need to think about what it is that you're planning to do in the future. Not only focused on what you've done in the past, a resume that's totally focused on what you've been doing will not get you out of your current field. So you need to translate your skills in a way that translates into what you want to do next. And that is definitely possible. You just have to know how to do it. And that's where I come in. I can help with that . Figure out what it is that you want. Stop worrying so much about what you think you're qualified to do. That's the wrong question and that's it for today. Have a great week. Next week I'll be back with stress management strategy. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please send them to kittyboitnott@gmail .com leaves a review if you would either on the YouTube or the podcast channels or both and offer comments that'll help me to get better people to be able to listen to "Teachers and Transition" and that would really appreciate that. Share with your friends, especially if you have teacher friends who are thinking about leaving the teaching field and are not sure where or how to start. This podcast may be helpful to them. If nothing else that may help them with their stress. Because I talk about stress to. So I have a great week. See you next week. So there you have it, an episode of "Teachers in Transition." I hope you enjoyed the information and I hope you'll plan to come back. Please subscribe to "Teachers in Transition" so that you can be alerted of future episodes. And let me know if you have any questions or topics that you would like me to specifically cover in a future episode. I'm more than happy to help with individual questions as well. So email me at KittyBoitnott@BoitnottCoaching.com. If you are interested in finding a new career or just enjoying your life more, this is the place to start. Hi, I'm Kitty Boitnott and this is "Teachers in Transition."