My big fat career change

It already seems like so long ago. Those days of being held to ransom by the school bell, telling me when I could eat, go to the toilet and breathe (just about) are a distant memory. They’ve been replaced by the sometimes blissful, often unnerving and always fascinating freelance copywriting life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

I had to get out

I’d been teaching for more than a decade, which took me into my mid-30s. I never wanted to be a teacher just like my mum had been. For her, it was a true calling but for me? Even from the first day, I knew it wasn’t my forever career. While I loved a lot about the classroom, and building connections with my students, each year the administrative tasks just blew out of control. On top of that, I was tasked with the mammoth job of mounting an annual school production which ate into my evenings and weekends. Eventually, enough was enough.

 

How I jumped

I had a baby. Yep, I didn’t have the guts to walk away until mat leave kicked in and I took a hefty pay cut. From there, things moved pretty quickly. Baby born, some further study and then, a website and second (business) baby. Phew! Around this time, I didn’t think too much about what lay ahead. I’d already had a baby who changed life as I knew it in almost every way. So, I figured, while I was on a roll…

 

What did I have to lose?

In reality, many things. A stable and regular income for one, as my teaching position was a permanent one. The camaraderie and interaction with so many people throughout the day. Paid holidays and sick leave. Feeling comfortable in my work. But it wasn’t enough. I knew I was doing my students a disservice as my head and heart had moved on.

 

Support through the transition

There’s no way I could have done this on my own. I actively sought out other small business owners, events, workshops and networking. I read – a lot – and learnt from my newbie errors. My family and friends were incredibly supportive, even though business ownership was pretty foreign to most of them. Online communities served up generous advice, job leads and that camaraderie I had missed from the staffroom.

 

Coming full circle

When I think about it, what I do now, writing copy that educates clients and customers about a particular product or service, is still teaching. Rather than shun the past, I’ve learned to embrace it and my transferable skills. While changing careers was terrifying, suddenly having to seek out work or I wouldn’t get paid, it’s been incredibly satisfying. Now, in my second full year of riding the rollercoaster, I’ve really found my groove.

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