Fernando: Career-shift


ANY kind of transition in life is always challenging. A batch mate in college informed us through a group chat how she told her grade 2 pupils that they only have two days left before the school year’s closing.

Two of her students came running and embraced her telling they would miss her. She tried to hold back her tears. “They (pupils) did not know I am resigning by the end of the school year. They just know the school year is ending. I never told them about me leaving for good.” She worked there for eleven years and she would leave this idea behind because of a career-shift.

Fulfillment, contentment, environmental factor, and financial consideration are, I think, four main reasons why an employee chooses to stay or leave a job. My friend was commenting about the difficulty of dealing with learners today and the low salary of teachers. She was telling us about the story of a former co-teacher who resigned and got hired in the Bureau of Fire Protection Department. Perhaps this motivated her to resign. The job is less stressful and the salary is far higher.

The reason is surely on environmental factor and financial consideration. For her, these were enough reasons to give up her eleven-year experience in the teaching profession. Not only was she giving up academic life but the friendship gained in the workplace, the beautiful encounters with students, and the fulfillment of teaching pupils.

It was very brave on her part to decide on a career shift. She is in her mid 30’s and she has been living the teacher life for more than a decade. In short, she has known this kind of life for a very long time and shifting to new career would mean, in a sense, that she will start a new way of life. She would meet new people, make friends and enemies with them, and develop a different lifestyle.

Most people are afraid of changing career, even if they wanted it so much, because of the risks and uncertainties involved. They do not know what will happen. They will start from zero which would mean they will have to count for years before they will get promoted. Some have become comfortable with their lives despite the questions deep inside their hearts about their career-choice. So they choose to stay and live a career life that is outside their passion.

I never wanted teaching as a career. I remember this because back in high school, when we were asked of our college course, I would think of many options except being a teacher. I became a teacher because I chose to finish my college degree on time. When I was about to graduate in high school, my mother asked the help of our priest for my tertiary education and the priest offered me a scholarship with education as my course.

Of course I had options. I just did not see them at that time because I only have two things in mind - my family did not have enough money to support me and I had to finish college. So I grabbed the opportunity. Do I have regrets? No. Perhaps I believe that some things are left on the hands of the destiny-maker, God.

I resigned after a year on my first teaching job. I tried different jobs. I left from one job to another. I tried an early career-shift. I thought life would be easy as I had in mind. But it proved that what you have in mind are sometimes far from reality. I needed resources to start a new career and I did not have enough resources at that time.

Transitioning from a career you have known for long to a new one even with the excitement of an easier life is very challenging. There are frustrations in the midst of failures and struggles. There are feelings of “did I make the right decisions?” or “should I go back?” Giving up a job you held on for a long period means you are looking for something more; contentment, fulfillment, better environment, or better pay.

The problem is you do not immediately feel these effects on a newfound job early. Often times you have to wait. You have to adopt and change your mindset. For instance, when I worked as a call center, the pay was higher but the nature of the work did not satisfy me because I was trained of an academic-oriented life.

Career shift takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of heart. One definitely needs the support of family and friends. I realized this so I posted a comment of support to my batch mate. Not all people have the courage to apply for a new job especially when one is not considered young anymore. Yet if passion is the reason to change career, then go for it.

There is nothing more beautiful than doing a job you love. This is not all the case for many especially in people living in poor countries like the Philippines. Oftentimes, the situation limits our options. One thing that can help if we find ourselves in this dilemma is to check on our priorities and values.


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