Today’s post has been brewing for some time. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say though I’ve alluded to the changes that were in the works since we left Boston. Today I’m going to talk about my career transitions over the last year.
I’ll start by saying that career transitions seems to be the norm, especially for woman about my age. I have a number of girlfriends who have been going through this phase in their lives with me. It seems after college most of us landed in a career loosely based on what we’d studied in college. For the past 10 years most of us have been feeling our way around said career, paying off loans, trying to create a little savings, considering more schooling and always wondering if where we landed was really the place that we wanted to be.
I’ve had more conversations about passions, career happiness and callings with my friends than I can count. I blame Oprah, haha! This is just my way of saying that I don’t think I’m alone in the journey I’ve been on.
On this journey, it’s been great to read memoirs, articles, blog posts from people who took the plunge and uprooted their careers to follow a new path. I can say from experience that this takes a lot of courage. You have to put aside your ego to start again, for some of us reducing our paychecks from comfortable to next to nothing. I can’t stress enough how fortunate I am to have such a supportive partner throughout all of this. But, for every success story you hear about someone quitting their job to pursue a passion and coming out the other side a famous writer, pastry chef or entrepreneur, you don’t often hear the stories of it not working perfectly.
That is my long intro into my own career transition story. As most of you know last September I quit my job in advertising after 10 years. I was burnt out, feeling devoid of creativity and ready to make a change. I’d dabbled in teaching yoga part-time while working in San Francisco but it was hard with a job that ate up most of my free time. When we moved to Boston I decided it was now of never. I took the plunge to be a yoga teacher.
Let me start by saying teaching is harder than it seems and requires a lot more than just showing up at a studio for an hour or two every other day. In order to be a successful teacher you need to be business savvy, creative, a continuous learner, a marketer, an active listener, a sometimes therapist and a constant proponent of your own brand, among a myriad of other things.
As I began teaching I realized what a steep learning curve I had. I was my biggest critic but I wasn’t very good at being my biggest supporter. I second guessed myself all the time, comparing myself to other teachers constantly. This can be incredibly helpful some of the time but you have to know when to shut it off and how to find your own style and voice.
Somewhere in the beginning of this year, after a solid 6 months of full-time teaching, I got into a good groove and started having fun. My class sizes were growing and included some regulars which helped put me at ease and made teaching so much more enjoyable.
Still, I was nagged by the idea that teaching full-time just wasn’t enough for me. My mind was plagued with whether this was truly my lifelong calling and passion. I could see the enthusiasm of my fellow teachers and although teaching brought me joy, it wasn’t bringing me that all-encompassing fulfillment that I thought a passion should. When you see teachers in their element and I mean really in their element, you just know, their teaching is electric. If you’ve never experienced this kind of teaching, take a class with Rusty Wells, Debbie Steingesser, Goldie Kaufenberg, Jennifer Jarrett, Kim Rajotte, Tim Floreen, Lynne Begier, Katie Flanagan or Olivia D’Ambrosio and you’ll understand what I mean.
As the year wore on, I had one eye out for the memoir, the article, the blog post about the teacher who quit their corporate job to teach full-time and didn’t feel overjoyed. It never emerged. Maybe I’m the only one or maybe the story of tried and failed isn’t as compelling as tried and succeeded.
So as our time in Boston drew to a close and we looked toward our next adventure in Denver I thought long and hard about what my next steps might look like, what would bring me the most joy? As I sat with this question I realized it wasn’t teaching full-time. Please don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to teach, it’s an amazing honor to be able to share the practice of yoga. But in order to be the best teacher I could be, I would need to make some changes. Changes that included both teaching and some semblance of a marketing job! Yes, you read that right, I wanted to go back into the world I had happily left just a year before.
That realization stung but also felt honest.
In the past few months I’ve been interviewing and recently took a job with a start-up that I am over the moon excited about. However, the universe also fulfilled my request to continue teaching. I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up two classes a week with a local studio that work with my new schedule.
So the moral of this long story is that its okay if your path diverges from where you thought it was going. Honestly, we should constantly be adjusting the path anyway, it’s not a static thing. We hear so often about the triumphs of leaving the typical 9-5 in pursuit of something more unconventional. But, we hear very little in the other direction. I’m a testament to the fact that it’s also okay to come back the other way, this time with more knowledge and focus on what will work best. This year has taught me so much, most importantly, that change should not be feared. Change has led to some amazing self discoveries. Discoveries that I never anticipated but that feel right for where I am today. So, forge your own path, even if it differs from the norm.
Enjoy and Exhale!