I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my life—from retail to food services to teaching children and adults all over the world—but I’ve never had a 9-5 office job before. I’m two days into my new job, and I feel like I’ve stumbled my way into paradise! Working in a small, tight-knit company feels miles away from being trapped in the endless bureaucracy of my previous teaching job. Yes, I may have been unlucky before (I heard through the grapevine that the person who took over my position didn’t last the year!), but it’s been an anxious year between my decision to quit, my choice to change careers, and my worries about finding a new job. Here are a few things I’m celebrating:
- Starting work at 9:00am. Waking up to a bright morning sky is life-changing—especially if you (like me) are not a morning person! After years of reporting to the classroom by 7:30 (and let’s be honest, every teacher arrives earlier than required to squeeze in some extra prep time), sleeping in on weekdays feels like a huge luxury!
- Ending work at 5:00pm. You mean I can just… leave??? Without worrying about lesson planning or grading papers??? Well then… I guess I’ll just… go home?
- Free coffee!!! I first started fantasizing about joining the corporate world when I went to one of my husband’s office parties. Companies have so much money, and good ones invest some of it in their employees’ happiness in ways most people barely notice. Yes, my school made an effort, but working within a publicly-funded institution is a different world. We were lucky enough to have a second-hand Keurig machine donated by someone on the staff so we could make coffee in the teacher’s lounge. Having to buy my own coffee wasn’t a huge burden, especially compared to the amount I spent on books, school supplies, and snacks for underfed students… but free coffee is nice!
- Everyday is casual Friday. There is no dress code. There is no one to dress up for but yourself. (And the sometimes finicky heating system)
- It’s okay to be human? Not all schools are like this, but the one I worked at could have been staffed by Stepford wives. I could count on one hand the number of co-workers I felt I could have an honest conversation with. The only way to fit in was to plaster on a smile and pretend everything was perfect every day… and forget about having a sense of humor! People don’t censor themselves at my new office, and it’s so refreshing. Everyone is less guarded, more honest, and, well, much more fun to be around!
Okay, so this post could have easily been titled “5 Ways My Last Job Was a Terrible Fit for Me” or “5 Things Teachers Live Without” but here’s the thing: I never would have known what else was out there for me if I hadn’t taken the risk of leaving my old job. Sure, I may come to find things I dislike my current job as time passes. I may start to miss the sweet notes students would leave for me, or the funny moments my classes shared every day. But for now, I’m beyond happy with the way things are going. I took a risk, and it paid off. What more could I ask for?