Let's be honest - I was a teacher and no teacher actually works 9-5. It's more like 7-5. Or, if you're a coach or sponsor 7 AM-9 PM - but you get my point. It was comfortable. It had benefits and health insurance. I was confident my piddly little paycheck was going to show up in my bank account twice a month. Not to mention, I liked teaching.
I often get asked if I miss it. Do you know what I miss? I miss being 'in-the-know' with whatever the cool verbiage or lingo is that's going down. When you're around high schooler's all day, you start talking like them. Telling people "my snap story is fire" and "your hair is totally on fleek today". That's the latest lingo I have and I know it's way out of date. I also miss being the first to know about any new music the second it's hot or not even on the radio yet. Those kids are always the first to know that kind of thing and I sure did love being 'in-the-know'. I know that sounds like a really silly thing to miss but I think it went deeper than lingo - it was a way of making connections with those youthful minds. I do miss those connections. Other than that... I don't miss it really at all.
Quick recap of the last year of my life. I moved in with my parents. I got a divorce. I quit my job. I moved to Jamaica. I worked for Margaritaville Caribbean for 3 months. I turned 30. I moved home. I launched Hello Big Idea. I moved to downtown Kansas City. I totally Eat, Pray Love'd it up and haven't looked back since.
Here's what I can tell you about making the leap and leaving my job.
I'm a happier human being.
Absolutely. 100%. Without a doubt. When you are a happy person and you feel good about life, everything changes. Friendships change. Relationships change. I'm more grateful. I'm more positive. I am myself again.
I'm more financially stable than I ever was as a teacher.
I never had a real perspective on how little teachers are paid until I left the industry. It was the only 'big girl' job and salary I had ever known. It was the most money I had ever made and had nothing else to compare it to. I thought when I moved from Topeka to Kansas City and got a little boost on the pay scale things were looking up in the world! Turns out - it's all about perspective.
Yes, my business revenue fluctuates from month-to-month and my income is never guaranteed. But, the first month I got a taste of a 5-figures in revenue there was no looking back. There is no where to go but up from here.
The flexibility of my schedule is everything.
No more working out over my lunch break at school so that I can make it to the 3 different appointments I made that evening because I couldn't take a day off school to get everything done. NO MORE. I make my schedule. Yes, sometimes that means I'm working until 10 PM or 2 AM, for that matter. That also means I get to lay on the couch and watch Netflix and eat my lunch. It means I can go to Target and walk the aisles if I'm feeling uninspired. It means I can work 4 hours today and 15 hours tomorrow, if I want to. I can travel whenever I want and not have to ask off or call-in sick. I can go watch the NCAA tournament all day downtown with my best friend because she's on Spring Break. It's invigorating and absolutely contributes to my happiness in life.
I can't wait to get up and start working most days.
I think I can count on two hands how many times I was overly excited to go to work as a teacher. I think one of those days was always the Senior/Faculty challenge when we got to beat high schoolers at sports. Do I miss days like that? Sure. Do I love what I'm doing now more? Without a doubt.
I work more than I ever did as a teacher.
I quit a "40-hour" work week job to work 70 hours a week and a whole lot of weekends. Most Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings are spent working. I'd rather dabble at emails then than wake up Monday morning and have a million to respond to. But, when you love it, it honestly doesn't feel like work. It feels like a life that I love living.
I don't have time for bullshit.
And therefore, there's no reason to sweat the small stuff. This may be more of an age thing or possibly a combination of getting older and my last year of experiences. I'm not sure. What I know is that I can't sweat lost friendships or people and things that aren't going to make me happy.
No more workplace politics.
I contributed to my fair share of workplace talk, gossip, politics, etc. - don't get me wrong. I was intertwined in the system and it was my life, day in and day out. What I didn't realize is how taxing that is on you as a human being. I no longer stress 'walk-thru's' or what my boss will think of me. I no longer stress what drama is happening or 'did you hear what so-and-so is trying to do'. There are no more formal evaluations to agonize over. It's amazing.
I can have a dog.
As a teacher I wasn't going to leave a dog in a crate all day only to be played with a little before I go to bed each night. It just wouldn't be fair. Now, I have Kevin. He's sitting on my lap, curled up in a ball as I peck this blog post out. He makes me get outside and walk around the block. He's so darn cute. I've always had dogs growing up but I've never had a dog that was just mine and it's the greatest thing in the world.
I think the last thing I should probably say, is that everyone is different. Just because this has been so amazing for me, doesn't mean I think everyone needs the same thing. However, what I do think is that everyone deserves to be happy and if it inspires you or at least one human out there - I think it's worth posting.
Off to crank out more work.