What work have you done in the past?
I was an elementary school teacher for almost 20 years.
During that time I held many positions. I moved from teaching education with special needs to the last six years of my career.
What are you doing now?
My current job is working in the SEND department at the local council.
I prepare the statutory paperwork, instead of teaching from it.
How did you feel at work before you decided to make the change?
I’m tired of the constant pressure the profession is under.
We are never good enough and the load is not reduced. I existed, I did not live. I felt older than I actually was and my job satisfaction diminished.
Do not get me wrong, SEND teaching is very rewarding and it is the children who make it a vocation and not a job, but the endless to-do list removes the spark from it.
I began to feel resentful about how my life had been dictated by my career.
Why did you change?
Unfortunately for me, the journey of change in my career has been accelerated by the plague.
I got Cubid last year at my school, and I have a long Cubid.
I did not return to work – I could not: my body was destroyed by immense fatigue and brain fog that led to a reduction in physical, mental and emotional resilience. Bad combination for SEND teacher.
However, after a few months I had to go back to work. I was / still get the big salary and I have responsibility for my son’s university education as well as for my disabled mother and living with us.
I have by no means recovered 100%, but I can engage more efficiently now with the working methods. Luckily, there was a role my name was on, and my skill set matched.
When was the moment when you decided to make the change?
Last summer I was walking with a friend in the woods at the top of the street where I live.
She was shocked to find out how exhausted I had become from contracting Cubid earlier that year. We were laughing about my poor condition when suddenly my knees contracted, I could not stand, my heart was pounding. I knew it was not a heart attack but my body responds to our short walk. It was a scary moment.
After that I realized that I was not at all fit to return to my job at the beginning of the school year in September.
How did you choose your new career?
I do not drive space so I checked out roles in the charity sector.
I started volunteering at a national charity located where I live, by phone. I knew I was a good media person and that was my start. I had a lot of fun, felt I had a purpose and saw a way to move my life forward.
During this time I checked all the economic scenarios of salaries, as I knew I would have to cut wages, maybe one of up to 60% if necessary.
Are you happy with the change?
I’m really happy with my new role.
I have earned my evenings and weekends, and I have a life that I live now in the place of existence I suffered.
I find the role interesting; No two documents I work on are the same.
What I like most about my new job is that it is quiet, and my body is not on increased alert for eight hours a day, five days a week. I am supported by lovely colleagues.
Life is good at this point. I know I’m more skilled and can probably do the job at the next level, but due to my current rehabilitation life with ‘Rona’, I am happy to mess around and serve in a new way.
Why do you miss and why do you not miss?
In short, I will miss the children and their families, but not the paperwork.
In working with children, there were moments every day I worked as a teacher where I had a ‘aha’ moment and those are special.
But it hurt my life.
I will not miss teaching for this reason. I will look at it as part of a journey of a lifetime, a path I had to go through to allow myself to take the school vacations to care for my children.
How did you make the transition?
I was systematic.
As someone who is prone to random thoughts and not too organized, I decided that if I was going to change careers I needed to be strategic.
It took a few months to achieve the goal – a new job in teaching – but I can say with all my heart that I was well prepared to say ‘yes’ to the position when it was offered.
I updated my employer on my decisions, as at this point I was run by human resources due to prolonged sick leave.
After submitting the application, for two weeks I was fully prepared for the job and did a lot of online courses to get to know myself as an interviewee, what I need to present and what I need to improve. I did not mean to give the opportunity to pass from me.
I transferred roles through the Disability Confident section of applications. I did not hide my long-term health condition, but even though it does not define me, I need people to understand that it is a part of me and it has created the need for the course of my career.
How have you developed (or transferred) the skills you need for your new job?
I had a lot to offer – my knowledge base in SEND and my interpersonal skills were the key to offering me the job.
I learn new things all the time.
What did not go well? What wrong inquiries did you make?
The struggle for my health was a struggle for aliyah.
The transition from a long-term illness to a new position was a difficult graded return. I have come a long way – I returned to work after being free for eleven months through no fault of my own, and I am rebuilding my life.
How did you handle your finances to enable your shift?
By really looking at what we had, what we needed, and how low I could go.
You can always go up the pay scale.
What was the hardest thing about the change?
When I realized I could no longer teach, I was afraid to admit to my head teacher that I would have to disappoint them.
I had to admit to myself that I was worse than I believed. This was a hard truth to deal with.
In terms of finding a new job, the hardest thing was not to apply for things in a stupid way.
I had to find what was attractive and why. Then I had to do the due diligence, and not be afraid of rejection.
What did you learn in the process?
That I’m worth it.
I have skills that others can use.
I deserve to live and enjoy my work life with a good work-life balance.
What would you advise others to do in that situation?
Do not be afraid to do it.
You will learn a lot about yourself along the way.
Persevere and be organized. Do not expect a quick result. What you put into it is important; You need to take the time to consider it as an investment in yourself.
Volunteer, if you can.
You deserve to – live life, not just exist.
What lessons can you learn from Jane’s story to use in changing your career? Tell us in the comments below.