A Midlife Job Change

teacher job

At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I did a thing. I left my teaching job. 

teaching jobNow, I didn’t up and leave the profession altogether, even though last year was quite possibly the most taxing of all my 20 years in the profession. I took a leap of faith and left my school of 18 years.

From this school, I have gained some of my dearest friends and wonderful relationships with fantastic families. Some of my co-workers had seen me grow up and go through all the life changes – getting engaged, getting married, having babies, buying a house. I literally worked there for as long as I lived with my parents – 18 years. This decision was truly one of the hardest of my life.

Prior to this exodus, I wasn’t a stranger to switching jobs. Before I finally found my passion in teaching, I held various jobs in other parts of the country. After college, I switched jobs three times, moved cities twice, and went back to school all before heading back home to Kansas for good at age 30.

Clearly, I had way more energy in my 20s, because making this job change at 48 has been hard. Emotionally and physically hard. First there was the pep talk to myself, reminding myself that, yes indeed, I am marketable at almost 50 years old. And yes, I’m not too old to learn new things. While I’m not completely changing course and choosing a new profession, I am going to a different school district and a different grade. And for this girl, it feels like a whole new thing.

When I started teaching, we had actual chalkboards and chalk. Computers were not in the schools, let alone every room. I mean, I’ve already become a cliche, since I’ve had to ask my CHILDREN for help with Google Slides. I’m sure they can help me program my universal remote as well.

But not only was switching jobs a good thing for my family – now we are all in the same school district – it was a good thing for me as well. It brought me out of my safe space for the last 18 years. This feels like going off to college all over again. I’ll meet new people, learn new skills, figure out the cafeteria line and the parking lot. I’ll learn how to use the copier and how to check out library books. I have grand plans for my new room and can’t wait to decorate it — making it a home-away-from-home for myself and my students.

While school hasn’t started yet, I have already learned my biggest lesson – I can indeed make a midlife job switch. I can update my resume and promote myself in multiple interviews, after having been in the same job for almost two decades.

So listen up, moms! If you are debating a job change, or considering going back to work after staying home with your kids, know that you can do it!

Find a good friend to edit your resume. Go shopping for an interview outfit that makes you feel awesome! Listen to your power songs before that interview (“Applause” by Lady Gaga…try it). Be confident in your skills! After all, we are moms. We can do all the things!

Jen was born and raised in Overland Park. After going to Indiana University for college, then living in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, she grew exhausted of circling for a parking spot and headed back home to be near family. She and her husband Matt are parents to a 10 year-old boy and a 8 year-old girl. Jen teaches kindergarten and her husband teaches high school, so they wonder how they’ll relate to their kids during the middle school years. She spends her free time cheering on the Chiefs, Royals, and Hoosiers, hanging out with family, laughing with her teacher friends, and fostering a love/hate relationship with boxing. She also loves traveling, Target, coffee, wine, sunflowers and all things pop culture.