Don’t jump from one job to another - there is another way!
One of the main reasons why people stay in a job that is making them fundamentally unhappy, even unwell, whether it be a classroom or an office, is financial fear. They hitch everything to a job, a profession, a regular wage. Thus in turn, creating a life built on what they call ‘job security.’
We misuse the term “job security” so frequently within our internal discussions and decision making processes that we trap ourselves into thinking that our job keeps us safe and secure and without it we would render ourselves homeless and destitute.
‘Job security,’ if you’re unhappy is an oxymoron
I was the first generation University graduate in my family; the daughter of blue-collar workers who genuinely believed I had hit the jackpot when I graduated the PGCE course and became a teacher. I was never exposed to the business world, rarely came across entrepreneurs but I was brought up to believe that professionals were the idols of the day and having job security as either a teacher or a doctor was a real goal in life. A single, guaranteed, regular as clockwork, monthly wage - perfect!
It was only later in life, when I realised people who I had gone to school with, who hadn’t gone down the professional or employed route, were experiencing lifestyles that exceeded mine as a teacher. Friends I went to school with who were plumbers, painters and decorators, web designers, actual business owners were surpassing me financially and in terms of stress levels looked ten years younger. And here was me, Sharon Cawley - the clever kid, looking 10 years older than her time, thoroughly miserable and stressed out.com!
It took me till into my forties to realise that there was a life outside of teaching. A life that didn’t mean changing one job for another but one that relied upon leveraging my skills as a teacher and creating a lifestyle for myself and my family that would give me financial freedom and the time to enjoy my family. It wasn’t about changing jobs.
In my quest to build a life, I actually removed the word job from my vocabulary.
I realised that a job. in the purest sense of its definition, should provide a financial income that supports a lifestyle of choice. Whether that be holidays; home improvements, whatever floats your boat; a job that supports the life you want to do outside of working hours. And those working hours realistically should be one third of your life, not an all consuming oppressive cloud that lingers over your head irrespective of what you are doing.
If you are spending your weekends miserable; thinking about work on Monday and generally churning within your stomach at the thought of returning to the classroom that’s not job security, that’s not a job for life, in fact that’s not a job, that is your life and I don’t think any financial remuneration warrants that!
So, instead of looking on ‘Indeed’ for another job to match my salary, I thought about multiple income streams, not a wage. I realised that it is perfectly acceptable to do more than one project that brings in money. I didn’t need a job.
…And this is where the hardwired narrative of my youth kicks in and I had to be brave.
The inner-voice of doom starts belting out the fear mongering untruths that make us retreat back to the known, the miserable but the known. I had to fight hard against the origins of my youth.
You need a full-time contract
You need holiday pay
You need sick pay
No you don’t!
You really don’t. In fact, if you leverage your skills as a freelance educator and create a world for yourself doing what you love, I will let you into secret, you’re rarely ill. You don’t have time off sick and if you are ill, you factor it in.
You can get life insurance and self-employed sickness cover that will give you the peace of mind you need and it costs pennies in the grand scheme of things.
You won’t want 13 weeks of holiday a year, because you will have your weekends. You will factor in holidays in term time that are cheaper than you could even believe and you will take a break naturally when you need them. You will factor in this financially to your savings. 13 weeks holiday as a teacher is a misnomer anyway because most of those are spent dreading going back or actually doing school work catching up on your untenable working situation throughout term time.
Teachers’ holidays are a myth!
What if it all goes wrong?
You don’t need to leap blindly from the classroom into the unknown, you can plan an exit by creating a series of income streams around you by putting some feelers out as they say whilst still at work.
Once you know how much you need to generate, create a series of income streams that provide that. Some of them will be educational based: supply, tutoring, midday assistant, exam invigilator, exam marker the list is long. Some of them may be non-classroom based. There are so many part-time opportunities out there that you can tap into and work with a freelance hat on your head.
But in the middle of all of this you find your joy project; you find the thing you want to do that makes you feel the most alive.
You can have a phased exit.
You don’t have to have to march into your head teacher's office, thrust the envelope of resignation like Neville Chamberlain, into their face and waltz out of the door within weeks of making this decision. This can be a long game. You leave teaching when you’ve got your ducks lined up in a row.
Whilst you still have the security of your teacher’s salary, start to build pathways out of the classroom. It is more than possible to create projects that sit around your day job. Start to build multiple income streams from within the classroom.
You may go part time, you may drop responsibility points,-it is like a seesaw, as you offload in the classroom, you upload financially from your multiple income streams
I created the original Conexus Tuition as one of my many income streams in 2013. Coordinating after-school tuition in local venues, with English, maths and science tuition and numeracy and literacy for primary. That sat alongside a variety of different projects.
Getting going in business was supplemented by supply, classroom intervention, working hard to reach children and it was a slow build.
Very quickly my Conexus Tuition became my joy project and as such it never felt like work.
It is more than possible to build your business from within the classroom, and that is where we step in to support you.
Starting, planning and growing an exit strategy with the support, help and guidance of an experienced team who have been there and done it, is a sensible and realistic solution to your current situation.
It manages the risk. You leave when you are in a financially secure position to do so.
Do not feel that your exit from the classroom is threatening your job security, but with skilled planning and a carefully executed exit, you will be able to live the life you have always wanted to and feel safe as you take the next steps.