changing direction

Joined Jul 3, 2002
Hi friends.
Kokopuffs' career/life change announcement on Matt's "2 weeks notice" string sort of nudged me into talking about my situation. I've been pretty miserable at my job--university teaching (non-tenure track) for a few years. It's affected my health (mental as well as physical) and every day is a struggle. I have cut back on the number of classes that I teach, but my brain or my subconscious or my very insistent other self doesn't give a crap. It wants me out and fast. I'm trying to develop other means of earning a living, but that takes time. My husband has generously said that we can live on his salary until I get on my feet with something else, but I have trouble stomaching the idea of not pulling my own weight.
Anyway, there are things I love like writing, cooking, and gardening (I ran outside the other day at 4 a.m. in my nightgown to rescue my tomato seedlings from a sudden downpour--kitchen gardening has become a real solace as well as an addiction) and freelance writing about these and other subjects is a possibility. But it's scarey to change and leave a sure thing.
However, weirdly enough, yesterday David plopped the astrology section of the newspaper down in front of me. Now you've got to understand that he NEVER reads that stuff, but he said something told him to read my forcast that day. Here it is:

Think you should be doing something else with your life? Make the hard changes now. If you wait, you may become defined by what you neglected to change."

Yes, I'm taping it to my computer screen.
Anyway, I just wanted to unload some of this. I just got home from teaching and have papers to grade, but I can't get myself to do it. And I don't want my attitude to color my comments on the students' papers. I'm a very good teacher. I just don't want to do it any more.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I know exactly how you feel, too. I had been teaching for 26 years and believed I was burned out. I took advantage of a rather liberal leave of absence policy and spent a year working as a clerk in a department store. It was a blast, and very refreshing!

I came back to a new program (I'm a middle school reading teacher) and am feeling I can make probably it to retirement, six more years, without undue pain and stress.

In the past I took the Law school admission test (did okay), took a travel agent course, and poked around several other career possibilities. I always came back to the chalkboard set. Not always happily, but that was my choice.

If you can take a leave, do it! If not, you will have the big decision to make. Only you can do that, given your unique circumstances and situation (your age, dependents, etc.) But I guarantee you will feel better if you at least try.

Good luck!!


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I gave up my day job to raise our kids in 1999. I had thought to work some on the side, but the kids deserved more attention. I shelved my business and have been a full time dad. In a few years when they are in school, I'll go out looking for contracts again for writing, or work a part time slot. Nothing wrong with changing.

Even though my career was all about technical writing, I've been in the high tech arena for all that time. More than half the companies listed on my resume are out of business as that's the nature of the field. I actually like change now.

It sounds like you've got the perfect opportunity to try something different and attempt a new angle. Someone saying no is the worst that could happen and it's not that hard to take.

Joined Dec 4, 2001
phoebe, I understand somewhat, the trepidation you face right now. Last August I changed jobs. I liked my old job well enough; it was solid, the pay was Ok and it wasn't a chore to get up in the morning (although I did have a job like that once.) I left my job at the credit union to come here to the California Culinary Academy. When that opportunity arose, I just knew I had to take it. Here I am in my mid fifties changing jobs. Not only that, a couple of months later (in October) my wife left United Airlines after 18 years to work at Stanford Medical Center.
I personally like change. In fact I thrive on it. Some people are terrified of change and avoid it at all costs. It's easy for me to say, "Get out now while you can". I would do it in a heart beat but you are not me! You need to ask youself, "Do I want to wake very morning for the rest of my working life and dread going to work?" It's pretty much a no brainer, but only you can change that. You are fortunate to have a husband who would support your decision to quit without another job to go to.
I am confident you will make the right decision. Good luck :)

Joined Jul 3, 2002
Thank you all so much for your support and advice. It's incredibly helpful to hear your stories. And Jock, you are so right; I do not want to wake up every morning the way I wake up now.

I've got one query letter out to a magazine about an article and another couple of articles partly finished in the computer (boy, the query letters are much harder to write than the pieces I want to sell!!). For the next few weeks I'm going to be buried in paper-grading (I know you know what I mean, Mezz :eek: :rolleyes: ). But I'm not going to teach this summer which should give me lots more time to just take the plunge.
And Phil, I think you hit it when you said that "no" is the worst that can happen. Maybe I've been making that word way too important.

Thank you again!
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dear Phoebe,

Although I have no wise words for you at this time,I will for sure send you positive vibes.

My best for your succees.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Sometimes your dreams need to become a reality. Depending in what direction you decide to go, maybe you could first start working on it during weekend just to make sure you know what you are getting yourself in.

Good luck Phoebe!
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