What Is Burnout And How To Identify It At Work Before It’s Too Late

Have you ever felt exhausted from work on a regular basis? Does it take a serious pep talk with yourself to get out of bed to continue with the commitments in your life? If so, you may very well be burning out.

Burnout is a term used to describe someone that is feeling tired and mentally exhausted brought about by a buildup of stress. This can come from several different commitments, such as school, work, and parenting. Although the specific reasons for burning out may differ from person to person, there is a simple pattern we can identify to help us better manage it.

Here’s my story:

When I first started teaching, I was so excited to be a positive influence in every single one of my students’ lives. I created great lesson plans, executed them well in class, tutored, held parent meetings, graded papers in a timely manner, and I coached sports.

It was great seeing my students succeed with everything I was a part of. All of these commitments, however, began to take its toll on me. I would come home late after work and coaching, and I would still have to grade papers. I would’ve graded papers during the day, but I left all of my available time open for my students just in case they needed help with something we covered in class.

During the weeks where we have assessments, my students would take advantage of my open hours to meet with me for tutoring. So, I had to put off grading papers until I had other time available, which happened to be either late at night or on the weekends.

At this point, I would spend the week teaching, coaching, and attending meetings, and on the weekends, I would grade papers and plan lessons.

I didn’t really have time for much else after I added in errands that had to get completed over the weekend. A couple weeks of this schedule, and I was exhausted!

I would arrive at school tired, and my energy level teaching wouldn’t be in a place for my students to get excited about the material. If I couldn’t sell what we were learning about as being exciting and interesting, my students would have a hard time getting excited about it.

Once school was over for the day, I would still have my coaching commitments in the evenings. After that, I would be so tired that I would only want to go to bed. The next day I would have to do it all over again until the weekend came along, where I would spend the greater part of both days grading papers and planning lessons.

The stress got so bad for me that I would have to take personal days off work just so I wouldn’t fall too far behind grading papers. Eventually, I lost the motivation to do my best work, and instead opted for ways that I could just get the work done.

From a psychology standpoint, there are 12 accepted steps that lead to burnout. However, within my experience teaching and many others who have experienced feeling burned out, there is a simpler pattern we can identify that makes it easier to remember.

  • New task
  • Stress buildup
  • Continual stress
  • burnout
  1. New Task

When you’re presented with a new task, such as a new job, project, or promotion, the prospects are exciting. You want to do your best, so you take on the challenges associated with the task headfirst and put all of your hard work and effort into it. This is an exciting time. You really want to show that you can do well.

2. Stress buildup

Over time, the stress from that task can build up. This can result from your need to work harder in the task as your responsibilities increase. It can also come from neglecting your own needs in the process.

As an example, if you’re in the middle of a semester and all your professors have exams happening on the same week, this would be an event that builds stress for you.

You have to figure out how you’re going to do well in all your classes that week, so you decide to dedicate your free time to studying leading up to the exam week. And that’s all you do. You don’t dedicate any time for yourself or doing anything you enjoy, which can build up your stress levels.

So, at this point, stress will show itself here and there in different forms, but it’s manageable. You may also neglect some things that give you a sense of recharging. An example of something that I find recharging is spending time outside on a nice day. This is an important thing to do if you’re looking for a way to manage stress.

3. Continual stress

Continual stress happens when you find yourself stuck in your task. It may not feel like there’s anything wrong with how you’re feeling because it’s all part of your task. You may feel that if you continue to work hard, maybe there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and the stress will die down.

Even with all these feelings, the one constant is the stress that continues to grow from your task. At this point it may feel like you’re carrying the stress around with you even after you leave your task for the day.

You may also withdraw yourself from other commitments, like spending time with friends and family, so that you can dedicate more time to tackling your task, or the continual stress from your task makes it to where you’re unable to enjoy some of the things you used to do. From your withdrawal, you may start to feel depressed about where you are with your task.

4. Burnout

If we equate the stress buildup to blowing air in a balloon, the burnout stage is where the balloon pops.

This is where you feel exhausted and mentally drained constantly. You question yourself often on whether you should have taken on the task, and you really have to build yourself up to continue doing it. You may even dread having to go back to your task to continue with it.

Burnout can affect your performance in the task, and it can leave you feeling unsatisfied with where you are in life as well as feeling empty inside. It can be a difficult feeling to overcome, especially if you’re committed to the task that caused it.

I loved teaching. It was a rewarding career, but I didn’t manage my commitments or take care of myself well enough to prevent feeling burned out. And once I hit that stage, it took a serious action plan to build myself back up again.

Whether it’s school, work, or parenting, you’ll want to do what it takes to avoid burning out for your social, physical, and emotional well-being, not just for you, but for your friends and family around you as well.

Conclusion

Through this article, my hope is that you have a better understanding of burnout and how to identify the progression to burnout before it’s too late. If you see anyone else going down this path, it would be important to provide support for them as they may not realize it. Because once you’re feeling burned out, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of it.

If you enjoyed reading the article, and you feel like it’s been helpful, make sure to like, subscribe, share, and be on the lookout for more ways to feel empowered and confident in your career and education goals!

Career Spotlight: Software Developer

In my Career Spotlight series, we dive into different careers by answering common questions people have about them.

This edition of Career Spotlight focuses on my current role as a software developer. A software developer is responsible for designing programs and applications within a software development life cycle.

But what does that mean? Let’s take our phones, for example. Just about all the applications, from the navigation app to your favorite games, were created by software developers. The same goes for most, if not all, of the programs on your computer.

Have you been asked to update any applications on your phone? Software developers are responsible for that as well. Not only do they create software, they also have a responsibility of maintaining it after it gets to the customer.

Depending on what job search site you use, the number of open software developer positions can vary from 50,000 to over 200,000 jobs. It is a career that is in high demand all around the world.

According to a U.S. News report, software developer ranks as the number one job for salary, jobs, future growth, salary, and work-life balance. All of these factors make software developer a highly rewarding and satisfying career to pursue.

Let’s get into some questions.

Q1. How did you get into software development?

It’s interesting how I ended up going down this path. My first career was in teaching. I loved it because I felt I could make a positive difference in my students’ lives.

There was one school I taught at that put an emphasis on the students learning computer concepts. So, every grade took at least one computer class throughout the year.

One day, I decided to spend some time with my students in their computer class as a way to bond with them. In the class, they were working on learning to build code through a game, and I instantly got sucked into it. It was so fascinating to think that what they’re working on could lead to creating so many things that I use daily.

From there, I took a few free coding classes online to see how I would like it, and I was hooked.

I considered going back to school to study something involving coding, but it was hard for me to commit to pursuing a different career when I already put so much time and effort into teaching. I was torn.

I had one of those light bulb type moments one day in the middle of the school year when I was sitting at home after teaching all week, and I felt mentally burned out from it. I couldn’t see myself being happy long term feeling this way. As much as it hurt to leave my students, I made it a goal to return to school to change my career path.

Q2. How did you get a software developer job?

I got into my current position by chance, really. I did an internship with a company over the summer between the first and second year of my program. I worked with a team that assigned me a task of automating an application to create less manual work for people using it. Through this task, I found that I really enjoyed the work.

At the end of the internship, I was presented with a job offer by the company, but I wasn’t informed on what my job would be. I ended up accepting the offer because I loved the company, and I felt that I could develop my career with them.

Fast forward to the next year where I’m about to begin my orientation, and I get an email saying what team I’ll be on and what my specific role would be. As luck would have it, I got placed into a software developer position. Some other areas I could have ended up in were information security, quality, or data science.

Q3. What did you study when you returned to school?

I studied computer science. The school I attended offered both computer science and computer engineering, but because there were more requirements to graduate for computer engineering, I opted for computer science.

I took many math courses like calculus and linear algebra, but most of my time in the program consisted of computer science courses. Some of the classes I took include java, data structures, algorithms, operating systems, and a yearlong senior project.

Q4. What is the difference between software development and software engineering?

This is one of those questions where the answer you get depends on who you ask. In my industry, both titles are used interchangeably, and that’s how I treat it.

If we’re looking for a difference, it would be in the engineering part of software engineer. software engineers use a set of engineering principles in problem solving and creating software just like other engineering professions, but a software developer may not necessarily use these same principles when creating software.

Because of this, it’s common to hear that a software engineer can do what a software developer does, but a software developer may not be able to do all of what a software engineer does.

Q5. What does a typical workday look like as a software developer?

One of the things I love most about my job is the variation of what I’ll do in a given day. One day I could be writing code for functions of an app that operate behind the scenes, and the next day I could be learning about user interface concepts.

My workday starts when I get into the office. The layout of the office is open with no assigned seats, so I can sit anywhere to work. Think cafeteria style, but with more defined spaces for people to work. I’ll spend some time checking my emails and seeing what meetings I have scheduled for the day. These meetings can vary from meeting with members of my team to taking time to learn something new through my company. I could be in meetings anywhere from 30 minutes to all day depending on the day and time of month.

When I’m not in meetings, I work on assignments that I am responsible for completing in a given time frame. As a software developer, usually this involves writing and updating code for the application I am responsible for. These assignments update every couple of weeks, so there’s always something to work on.

I work as part of a team, and we all have responsibilities that are geared towards completing goals that we set in increments. We meet daily to discuss what we’ve done for the day, what we plan to do the next day, and anything that may be holding us back from completing our work. There’s a lot of accountability and checks in place to ensure we are on track to reach our goals.

On the job, I am always learning. If I get stuck with my work, I have a mentor that I can reach out to for support. Compared to teaching, the stress level is very reasonable.

The work time is flexible as well. I can arrive anytime in the morning before my meetings and leave when I feel that I am at a good place with my work. I also have the flexibility to work from home, which is a huge benefit for me when my son has to stay home from daycare, or if I have other things to take care of outside of the office.

Conclusion

This was Career Spotlight, where we focused on common questions people have about software development.

If you have any other questions about the profession or want to learn more, leave a comment!

If you enjoyed reading the article, and you feel like it’s been helpful, make sure to like, subscribe, share, and be on the lookout for another Career Spotlight article!

How I Got Multiple Internship Offers While In School

Getting an internship is an important milestone in a student’s college career. Internships open the door for career opportunities by giving you a chance to show your employer that you’d be a great fit with the company after the internship ends.

If they like you, they’re likely to either offer you another internship if you’ll still be in school next year, or they’ll offer you a job for when you graduate. It’s an amazing feeling to have a job secured before you finish with school because it’s one less stress you have to worry about.

An internship also gives you highly valuable experience that you can put on your resume to show other companies that you’re serious about what you want to do when you get out of school.

When I went to school for my first bachelor’s, I didn’t bother getting an internship anywhere. I was confident that I was going to a health profession school after completing my bachelor’s, so my college career lacked any real-world experience outside of my part time job.

I didn’t make that same mistake during my second bachelor’s degree program. Through 5 key steps, I obtained multiple internship offers, and I interviewed with even more companies. Having multiple internship offers allowed me the opportunity to decide where I wanted to go as well as consider potential job offers after finishing the internship.

If you’re trying to obtain an internship while you’re in school, here are some things I did, and I hope you find them useful in your search.

  1. Utilize school resources

Most schools have a career center, or something similar, where you’re able to inquire about job opportunities, networking events, and professional development.

I utilized my career center frequently whenever they hosted events such as resume workshops or mock interviews. Their job is to be a resource for students, and they can provide a wealth of information to help you land the internship of your dreams.

They were also a lifesaver with regards to getting my resume presentable for companies. There are many people out there who charge for services like this, but your school more than likely offers this service for free.

Tip: If you haven’t already, check out your school’s career center and see how they can help you succeed.

2. Go to all company hosted events

Different companies often visited our school to meet with students and share information about the company.

I highly recommend attending as many of these company hosted events as possible. It was through one company meet and greet that I received an internship offer on the spot.

If you struggle with meeting new people or networking in general, I wrote a post addressing some things you can do in these situations called Networking As An Introvert.

3. Attend Career Fairs

Career fairs that are organized by your school are great opportunities to put yourself out there and network with other companies. Many times, companies are looking out for students graduating soon as well as those seeking internships.

Tip: Research what companies are going to be present and see what they’re looking for at the career fair. Look for companies you’re interested in networking with, and print enough resumes to cover those companies, plus a few more just in case! This will save you time on the day of the fair.

Make sure you do your research ahead of time on what each company does, so when you get asked why you want to work for that company, you’ll have a stellar answer ready to go!

Also, have your elevator pitch ready to present! This is a quick rundown of who you are, what your interests are, and what you bring to the table. It’s a way to spark interest in the people you’re networking with and a great jumping point to talk about why you’d be a great fit with the company.

4. Reach out to the department head of your college

The department head for my major was an incredibly valuable resource. Companies would email him job and internship opportunities, and he would send them to the students.

Try to set some time with your department head to talk about internships and see how they can help you. Or if they’re busy, you can always reach out by email to see what opportunities he’s come across.

It’s important to know that for every successful student that leaves the college with a job, that’s one more student that makes the college look good. So, it’s in their best interest to help you find success in your internship search.

5. Attend your classes and be engaged

This is an important part of how I got multiple internship offers. When you attend your classes, engage in what’s going on in the class, and show you care, the professors will see that. The professors themselves have valuable insight into opportunities for students.

I had a couple professors who would ask students who were doing well in their classes what their summer plans were. If they didn’t have any plans, the professors would provide themselves as a resource to obtaining one, if the students were interested.

Going to class and doing well also puts you in a great position to ask for a reference letter if a company requires it. The more time you spend with the professors in class and show you care, the better the letter will be. And, you’ll definitely want a stellar letter of recommendation.

6. Prepare for interviews

This is probably the single biggest factor in obtaining an internship. When you receive an opportunity to interview with companies for internships, it’s important to prepare for each interview.

To prepare for your interview, take the time to do background research on the company and figure out why you would want to work there. Look up reviews from other people who interviewed with them for the same position to get an idea of what questions you may be asked. The better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be when you’re interviewing for the internship.

Summary

I went back to get my second bachelor’s degree in my late 20’s. As a nontraditional student, I was able to secure multiple internships by doing these 5 key things:

  1. Utilize school resources
  2. Go to all company hosted events
  3. Attend Career Fairs
  4. Reach out to the department head of your college
  5. Attend your classes and be engaged
  6. Prepare for interviews

I hope these tips help you in your internship search like they’ve helped me. Remember to like, subscribe, and share, and I look forward to hearing from you!

I Became A Father While Still In School. Here’s What Surprised Me The Most

It is such an amazing feeling becoming a father. When your newborn holds your finger for the first time, and you’re holding them with all the love in the world, you realize that you would do anything for them.

My son was born one year into my second bachelor’s degree. My goal, at the time, was to complete the program in two years. With him added to our family, I was wondering if it could still be possible.

My wife and I took the whole summer leading up to my second year to plan how our family will function while I was still in school and we were both working. Once the semester started, we implemented our plans.

There were many ups and downs with raising a newborn during the following year, but here are the things that surprised me the most about it.

  1. Daycare is ridiculously expensive

As new parents, we could not believe how expensive a traditional daycare costed. I’m talking second mortgage or vacation every month type expensive. This was probably our biggest concern while I was finishing up school. Adding an expense like this on top of everything else we had to pay was incredibly stressful.

At one point, we considered having my parents help with babysitting, but they lived over an hour away from us. Taking two hours out of our day traveling for our son on top of driving to and from work and school wasn’t feasible for us.

Instead, we decided to research the different daycare options in our area, and select the one that fit our budget as best as possible and one that we were comfortable leaving our son with.

Tip: Daycares will fill up fast for newborn care, so it’s important to research your options and get your name on a wait list for when your child reaches the minimum age that the daycare will accept.

Our budget during the year was tight, but thanks to some solid planning over the summer, we made it through to the end.

Aside from the traditional daycares, another option to consider is in-home care. This is where people take children into their homes and care for them. In-home daycares vary, but a reputable one will be licensed in the state its in, and will have good reviews. They don’t take in as many kids, but the ages of the children can vary widely. They will typically be cheaper than a traditional daycare as well.

Tip: Research all your options before deciding on care for your child. Keep in mind these options:

  • Traditional daycare
  • In-home daycare
  • friends/family

2. I felt like a natural caring for my son

This one was weirdly surprising to me. My experiences with babies and small children were very minimal. In fact, I couldn’t remember ever holding a baby prior to holding my own son. But, whenever I held my son, my heart felt full and my life complete.

I was told a few times in my life that I’d be a good father, and although I know it’s something I’ll continue working at for the rest of my life, with my son, I feel like a natural.

3. Changing diapers and cleaning weren’t an issue

When I thought about changing diapers before my son was born, I would always cringe. I’d think about the kinds of things I’d find in a diaper, the smell, and then cleaning it up. I couldn’t help but feel a little queasy.

Once he was born, however, all those feelings went away. I don’t even remember his diapers having any sort of foul smell for the first few months.

Changing his diapers was a part of caring for him, and I’d do my very best to make sure he was receiving the best care.

4. People are much more comfortable talking to you with a baby

It’s amazing to me how many strangers strike up conversations with my wife and me when we have our son. And while I’m not at my most comfortable when people engage in small talk with me, it’s easier when my son is there being the center of attention.

Other dads are incredibly supportive, too. I remember going into a men’s restroom to change my son one time, and other guys that going in and out of the restroom offered their support and words of encouragement. It’s not something I expected with my son, but it’s a great feeling.

5. My professors were incredibly supportive when it came to my son

I almost tear up thinking about this point. While I tried my best in school and got to know my professors, I didn’t expect them to be so supportive and understanding when it came to things going on with my son.

Whenever he got sick or couldn’t go to daycare for the day, I notified my professors saying I wasn’t going to be in class that day. Often, I would get a response wishing my son well or giving me an update on what’s going on in class and what I should do to prepare for the next class.

Tip: Always communicate with your professors and be proactive whenever you find out you’re going to miss class.

My grades never suffered because I missed a class due to my son. My professors were always flexible and wanted me to succeed. I am still grateful for their support, and I hope other students in my position have the same luck with their professors as I did.

Summary

Becoming a father is an incredible feeling. I learned so much about him and myself, and I continue to do so. During the first year of his life, there were 5 things that surprised me the most:

  1. Daycare is ridiculously expensive
  2. I felt like a natural caring for my son
  3. Changing diapers and cleaning weren’t an issue
  4. People are much more comfortable talking to you with a baby
  5. My professors were incredibly supportive when it came to my son

If you enjoyed reading the article, and you feel like it’s been helpful, make sure to like, subscribe, share, and be on the lookout for more ways to feel empowered and confident in your career and education goals!

Does Your Company Offer Tuition Assistance? 5 Things To Consider Before Taking It

With the increased concern of being able to pay off student loans affecting millions of people nationwide, companies are adding tuition assistance to their benefits package to attract and retain talent.

Whether it’s to help pay down student loans you already have or to help pay for any future classes you’re thinking about taking, tuition assistance is a great benefit to consider taking advantage of. But, should you accept the assistance if it becomes available to you? Here are some things to consider before signing on the dotted line.

  1. Is there a commitment to the company attached to the offer?

This is something everyone must ask their manager or human resources department before accepting tuition assistance from their company. Some companies require a signed statement saying that an employee will work for the company for x number of years in exchange for accepting the aid.

If you’re fully committed to the company and see your long-term future with them, then this isn’t so much of a problem. You can accept the tuition assistance and develop your skill set to reach your goals within the company.

If, however, you’re on the fence about your future with the company offering the assistance, then it’s important to find out if there is a time commitment attached to the offer. You wouldn’t want to be stuck repaying the assistance with your time if you find that you want to be somewhere else.

As an example, my wife accepted tuition assistance from a company she used to work for. She received $5000 to cover tuition costs, and in return, she had to commit to working for the company for 2 years. In the second year of the commitment, we started making plans to move because I received a job offer from a company out of state. We had to consider our options at that point because if she didn’t fulfill her obligations, she would have had to pay back the entire amount she received from the company. This brings me to my second consideration.

2. Would you have to pay the amount back for any reason?

It’s important to get a clear answer on this question before taking any assistance from your company. The reason being is that life happens. If you’re forced to drop out of a program that you’re getting assistance for, or you have to quit working, you want to make sure you’re not stuck with having to pay back what you took from the company.

My wife and I got lucky in our situation with her company. She was able to transfer to a remote position months before we were scheduled to move for my new job. Doing this allowed her to continue fulfilling her 2-year commitment to working for the company in exchange for the tuition assistance.

3. Is the assistance given before the semester starts or after you get your grades?

This point might be the biggest hurdle for anyone thinking about using their tuition assistance benefit at work.

If the assistance is given before the semester starts, then that’s great! You’ll want to make sure you work hard to meet any grade requirements set forth by the company. Grade requirements are normally attached to the deal in accepting tuition assistance to ensure you did well in your classes.

Many times, however, tuition assistance is only given after you get your grades for the semester. In this case, you’ll need to send a transcript or proof to your human resources department showing that you met the grade requirements before the company will pay anything.

When tuition assistance is given after grades are received, a potential problem is figuring out how to pay for the semester up front. You’re responsible for paying for your education in the beginning, and once you send your grades to the company, they’ll send you the money. There are many options to consider here, and it’s a story I’ll save for another day. However, it’s important to explore all available options to see how your education is going to be paid for before the company pays you.

4. Would you be limited to studying what the company wants you to learn?

If you’re interested in going back to school, and you want your company to help with the bill, they usually want you to study something that will benefit the company. It’s important to make sure that your manager and HR department are aware of the classes you’ll be taking and for what purpose before you enroll in any program.

If you tell them that you’re taking classes for your MBA, but you end up taking one finance course along with a couple astronomy and physics courses, they may not offer you the full tuition assistance amount for that semester. Stick with the side of caution here and ensure everyone is on the same page with the classes you’ll be taking as well as the program you’re wanting to get into.

5. Is the tuition assistance for student loans you already have, or is it for taking classes while working with the company?

This is something to consider before accepting a new position.

If you’re swamped with student loans and have no plans of going back to school anytime soon, then having tuition assistance for only future self-development wouldn’t be very helpful to you in paying back your current loans.

On the flip side, if you’re wanting to go back to school for an advanced degree while you’re in your current position, but your company only assists in paying for student loans you already have, then this may also not be helpful for you.

Tip: When a company says they have tuition assistance, make sure to understand what kind of assistance it is, whether it’s help paying down current loans, or it’s to help fund a future degree.

Depending on what situation you’re in, one of these tuition assistance benefits may be significantly more useful than the other.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about taking advantage of your company’s tuition assistance benefit, take into account these 5 considerations before you accept it:

  1. Is there a commitment to the company attached to the offer?
  2. Would you have to pay the amount back for any reason?
  3. Is the assistance given before the semester starts or after you get your grades?
  4. Would you be limited to studying what the company wants you to learn?
  5. Is the tuition assistance for student loans you already have, or is it for taking classes while working with the company?

Having answers to these questions can save you a lot of time and money.

If you enjoyed reading the article, and you feel like it’s been helpful, make sure to like, subscribe, share, and be on the lookout for more ways to feel empowered and confident in your career and education goals!

Thinking About Changing Careers? Here’s Why I Did It

So you’ve built the foundation for a solid career. 40 more years and you can retire happily, right? If only that were true. Have you ever had that feeling in the back of your mind that there might be something better out there that you’d rather spend the majority of your working life doing as opposed to the career you’re currently in? If not, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky ones. If so, however, there may be signs in your working life that are pointing you down another path.

I noticed some of these signs while in my teaching career. After recognizing the signs, weighing my options, and taking a good, long look at what career path I wanted to take, I made the decision to switch careers.

Just the thought of uprooting something consistent and familiar like your career in favor of something else can be extremely scary. Not only do you have to start over career wise, but there’s no guarantee that you would end up in the career you’re seeking in the first place. This all crossed my mind as I contemplated putting aside my Vanderbilt education for something that I felt would check more boxes off in my career goals. I spent most of my school year trying to talk myself out of throwing away my current career for something else, but these recurring signs kept coming up.

  1. I wasn’t happy in my career

My last year of teaching was at my dream school, one of the top high schools in the city and state. I absolutely loved my students when I was teaching. Their success was my number one priority because their success equated to my success. However, when the kids weren’t around, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy with where my career was and where it could lead. With all the paperwork, long hours, and things outside of my control, I could not see myself having a fulfilling career teaching. I didn’t like how out of 120 students, a single student having a bad day could cause me to have a bad day as well. I put so much of myself into my work, but at the end of the day, I was counting how many more days until the weekend or the next holiday.

If you’re not happy with your career, it’s important to identify the specifics of why you aren’t happy. Are these things within your control to adjust? If so, would changing them change the way you view the outlook for your career? Although I had certain parts of my teaching career that I found meaningful, it wasn’t enough to where I felt like I could be happy doing this type of work until retirement. Even the thought of being promoted did nothing for my feelings towards the work I was doing.

2. I was burned-out

This one is common among teachers and other high stress and long hour professions. On any given week, I was putting in 60 – 75 hours a week into my work. This included the regular school day, planning lessons, grading papers, coaching sports, tutoring, and meeting with administrators and parents. Whenever I felt tired of the work I was doing, I would refer to the one quote that says if you love the work you do, you never work a day in your life. And then I would realize that although I had a passion for education, I was burned out. In order to push back against this feeling, I would list the reasons why I am doing what I am doing, find time for myself, and reset.

These strategies worked for me throughout the school year, but it also helped me discover that there are other careers out there where I can love doing the work and not get the feeling of needing to take a day off just to get away from the work for a day or play catch up.

Again, it’s common to get the feeling of being exhausted and overworked sometimes. Whenever you start to feel this way, there’s a few things I mentioned that would be helpful to do. First, it helps to remind yourself why you’re working hard. In my case, I was working hard to help my students be successful. I was also working to make a case for a future promotion. Second, take a time out to do something for you that would help you feel refreshed. Some things I did included spending time outside, enjoying a nice drink from my local coffee shop, and getting a good scoop of ice cream from my favorite ice cream shop. These time out activities don’t have to be time consuming, but it should be something you enjoy doing. Finally, reset in the work you were doing. Once you get back into the work, it should feel like a second wind for you so that you can complete your tasks.

3. Another field interested me

I get asked a lot how I went from education to software development. During open periods where I normally spent planning or grading papers, I often found myself going into other teachers’ classrooms to observe, gain new insights, spend time with my students, and provide support. It was one of my favorite things to do as it often helped establish bonds with my students.

One class I particularly enjoyed sitting in was the computer science class. It was so fascinating to me, more so than the chemistry topics I was teaching. And, the careers stemming from a background in computer science were in high demand. Sitting in these classes sparked my interest in the field, and I began doing research to see how I could begin a career in the computer science field.

If you’re unhappy with the field you’re in and something else sparks an interest, you owe it to yourself to research the new field. Some basic questions to help you in researching would be the following:

  1. What is it about this new field that interests you, and how is it different from your current field?
  2. Picture yourself in a specific career within this new field. What is different from where you currently are in your career to how you’re picturing yourself? What would be the same?
  3. What would be the pros and cons for pursuing this new career versus staying in your current career?
  4. How are the job prospects in this new field and opportunities for advancement?
  5. What would be the time commitment for pursuing this new career?

If you can answer these questions and all signs point towards starting a new career, it may be time to consider taking the leap of faith and switch careers.

Conclusion

It wasn’t easy making the choice to switch careers. Some signs that let me know that it was a good decision to make were:

  • I wasn’t happy in my career
  • I was burned-out
  • Another field interested me

In the end, I know I made the right decision, and I hope my experiences here will be helpful if you’re considering making a change in careers.

Are you considering a new career? If so, what signs led you to thinking about pursuing a new career? Comment and send me an email. I would love to hear from you.

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