Gut Check: Attention Teachers — Are You Excited about Going Back to School?

 

Gut Check Intuition Hunch Instinct Box Mark 3d Illustration

Gut check

 

Summer is flying by! The fourth of July is already a memory.

 

Perhaps you still have that summer vacation to the beach ahead of you. You still have a lot of summer left! But if you are a teacher, I bet you have already begun to think going back to school.
I urge you to take a gut check right now. When you think about going back, are you excited?
Are you eager to get back into the building so you can start arranging your room?
Are you the teacher who goes in early on your own time to put up bulletin board displays?
Did you buy the bulletin board displays with your own money at the local school supply store?
I used to do that. I used to be that teacher. I loved school.
In fact, I loved my job! I never dreaded a single day of work once I made it through my first year. That first year is another story, but I survived it and made it through 32 more years. Not that everything was always peachy-keen. Every school has its challenges after all.
All in all, however, I had a great time as a teacher/library media specialist. Truth be told, I had the best job in the building. I loved being the school librarian. It was the perfect job for me.

The best days to be a teacher, however, were before the politicians began to meddle in our schools.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against being held accountable for doing a good job. I think everyone should have annual or bi-annual reviews of their performance.
And I think principals should be honest with those teachers who need to step it up. If a teacher isn’t doing a good job, I hold the principal responsible for that.
It is the principal’s job to evaluate honestly and provide honest feedback. Too often, they are too busy, though. They just check the boxes without having done a proper observation.
I know this because it happened to me…a lot!
I went through several evaluations without the principal ever observing me. That should not happen. But it did…too often.
That is probably why the politicians felt like they had to step in in the first place. They observed that teachers they knew weren’t doing a good job and came up with a scheme for evaluating.
The scheme they came up with is flawed, however. I don’t buy into holding teachers accountable for things outside their control. Using arbitrary benchmarks that have nothing to do with real teaching and learning is ludicrous. Tying those arbitrary test scores to a teacher’s evaluation is wrong. It is harmful to all concerned, and the entire system is suffering for it.

School has become less about learning and all about testing.

Something is wrong with that whole picture.
Yet, teachers have been powerless to do anything about it. In fact, they are increasingly powerless to do anything of their own accord.
Would those in the public sector accept similar accountability measures for themselves? Let’s create some arbitrary performance figure for them to meet. Then let’s throw in a bunch of variables that they have no control over. How would that go over? Not well, I imagine.
But I digress. Believe it or not, this is not a post about testing or accountability.

It’s about you as a teacher doing a gut check to see how you feel about going back this year.

If you are excited and can’t wait to start a new year, that is awesome! I hope you have the best year ever!
If you are feeling a sense of dread, though, you need to take note. If you feel a heaviness in your heart every time you consider going back, it may be time for you to consider a change.
Worried woman with book

Unhappy Teacher

It is probably too late in the summer for you to find a new job that pays you commensurate to what you are making now. I don’t recommend that you quit your teaching job without having something to go to.
But if you are dreading going back to school and it’s only early July, it may be time to explore what your options may be.
I always urge people to plan their next move carefully. Don’t be impulsive. Don’t quit your job in a huff. You may need a good recommendation from your principal someday.
But you should think about planning your future. You don’t have to stay stuck in a job you don’t love anymore.
Stuck Inside the Box

Stuck?

Your options may be more varied than you think! I know a lot of teachers think they are stuck with teaching because they are “just a teacher.”
Most of the teachers I know are pretty smart, however. Many of them have talents that are being underutilized. In fact, your current sense of discontent may be the result of your feeling that you could be doing “more” in your career
You should open yourself to possibilities. Let yourself consider what options you may have.
If you aren’t excited about going back to school this year you may want to schedule a chat with me. Sign up for a complimentary 20-minute Discovery Session. It won’t cost you anything but your time. Just click on this link to schedule a time that works for you:
And check out my free giveaway, “7 Signs of Teacher Burnout.” You may find it useful in assessing the level of your discontent with teaching. Click here to download it instantly: https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/
If you aren’t sure what your dream job might be, download this additional giveaway. It’s entitled, “What is Your Dream Job?” It may help you consider what you else you are called to do. To download it instantly, click here:  https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/what-is-your-dream-job/

If teaching is still your dream job, that is wonderful!

We need dedicated teachers who want to stick with the profession. The more experienced you are, the better!
For those who are feeling the ill effects of teacher burnout, however, here is what you need to know. If you aren’t having fun anymore, your kids aren’t enjoying themselves–or you–either.
Kids deserve to have teachers who are 100% committed to them. If you have started to feel that your future as a teacher is limited, we should talk. I want to help you discover the world beyond teaching that you may not even know exists.
Until next time.

 

[CASE STUDY] Success Story of Deanna’s Career Transition from Classroom Teacher to Mathnasium Director

This case study highlights the success of Deanna Forsythe, a teacher from Wisconsin.

Deanna enrolled in my “Jumpstart Your Job Search Program” in late April 2017. She landed her new job as the Director of a Mathnasium Center in mid-June

This was, without a doubt, the quickest success I have seen as a Career Transition Coach!

I would like to take credit for it, but Deanna did the hard work. My program and our one-on-one consultations contributed to her success. She was responsible for her fast transition, though.

The average job search today, from start to finish, is generally four to nine months. Given that Deanna’s process from start to finish took place over seven weeks is definitely not the norm.

What I observed about Deanna was her positive, “go-getter” attitude. I am sure she was a phenomenal teacher. She has all the right characteristics for an outstanding educator. She is extremely organized; she was highly motivated and hyper- focused; and she was eager to be successful.

When she first approached me, Deanna expressed a combination of frustrations.

She felt that the system didn’t respect her expertise as an educator anymore. She had even changed from one position to another in hopes of a better situation. She was disappointed to find that that change didn’t fix the problem, however.

 

respect different opinion

Respect vs. Disrespect

 

She also felt that she had more to offer than was being used in her current situation. Hear in her own words what she wrote to me about what led her to seek out my services:

“I have been an educator for over 20 years, working in the private, public, and choice sectors.  I have supported children of varying ages, academic abilities, and behavioral needs.  Over that time, I noticed a profound shift in the field of education.  Demands placed on teachers continue to increase, Autonomy continues to decrease.   I recognized at that point that it was time to utilize my skill set from both my BS and MA in a way that was far more productive, meaningful, and fulfilling to me.”

She took to the program with enthusiasm. The program includes online tutorials, recommended reading, exercises, and activities. She tackled the program as though she were undertaking a new advanced degree. She set up a system for herself, and when we held our first consultation, she was wide open to suggestions. She didn’t come into the program with a preconceived idea of where it might lead.

I discovered that Deanna has a deep intuitive nature. Part of what she was heeding was her gut instinct.

She knew there had to be something “out there” where she could contribute in a more meaningful way.

She also expressed her love for animals and how her dream is to one day be an animal healer. I encouraged her to continue to explore that. We don’t listen to our inner wisdom often enough. We shut down because we have convinced ourselves that certain things “aren’t possible.” I try to get my clients to embrace the idea that “anything is possible.” It is, in fact, “possible” once you believe it is.

Listen to Deanna’s testimony in her own words as they relate to her experience of the work we did together:

Deanna’s Case Study:  https://youtu.be/IOtJN7H31E4.

This video conversation holds several key pieces of information. Deanna made use of the entire program starting with getting in touch with herself and remembering what brought her job and peace.

Here is what she said about the nature of the instruction and inspiration she got from following the modules and the results she saw:

I developed my professional portfolio through LinkedIn (lesson 7).  Others in the field I am in accepted my invitations, and I continue to meet and expand my network today.

Also, I closely followed Kitty’s modules regarding bringing life to one’s cover letter/resume (lessons 3-4). I applied for the position I currently accepted, and within 24 hours, I received a response of interest.

A breakthrough I experienced was I recognized that I held the cards.  I simply needed the support of someone like Kitty who has ‘been there, done that’ to guide me through the process of reinventing myself.”

There are usually side benefits to taking part in programs like this. Sometimes they can be unexpected. Here is what Deanna said about one of the benefits she received from working with me one-on-one:

“Kitty’s ability to relate to and validate my frustrations as an educator in today’s world was valuable to me.  I no longer felt alone.  She is an excellent empathic listener!

I also felt supported in taking baby steps, as reinventing one’s self can be an overwhelming process.  She understands the challenge in breaking new ground, as she was once in my shoes.”

I always ask people if they would be willing to offer a recommendation on LinkedIn or a testimonial for my website as I draw my work with a client to a close. I did the same with Deanna. Here is what she offered that she would tell her friends and colleagues about working with me:

“I would (and already have) recommend you to others who are looking for more fulfillment in their professional lives.  You are authentic.  You have experienced this journey firsthand, and that lends credibility to your interest in supporting me to do the same.

You also have experience leading others outside of this realm/position, as former president of VEA, and that also lends credibility to coaching others, in my opinion.”

 

Man writing Happy Client on a virtual screen

Happy Client

 

So, there you have it. Another satisfied client. Another teacher who has decided that the system has failed her and it’s time to move on. I am confident that Deanna will be successful in her new role. She only need bring half of her enthusiasm to her new role as she brought to her job transition program, to that, but I know she will bring 100% to that new endeavor.

I am also confident that while she will bring tremendous value to her new position, she will learn as well as contribute and she may have even greater things waiting for her in her future.

It is a pleasure working with people like Deanna. She saw a need to make a change in her life, and she made it with confidence and determination.

What about you? Are you ready to take charge of your career and your life?

If so, I urge you to contact me for a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session. Just go to my calendar here to sign up. It won’t cost a thing but 20-minutes of your time:  https://kittyatcareermakeover.coachesconsole.com/calendar/.

 

Enjoy Your Summer–But What Happens This Fall?

Ah, summer vacation! For the teacher who doesn’t have to work to cover the rent until she receives the next school paycheck, it’s fabulous. Freedom. You get to sleep in…no alarm clocks for you. You get to take your time getting ready for the day. There are no school bells marking off the day period by period. No one is coming to observe you. You have no plans to make. There are no papers to grade.

It doesn’t get much better, does it?

 

Freedom woman happy and free open arms on beach

Freedom of summer vacation.

 

But what happens when it is time for school to start again?

Will you be excited and eager to get your school supplies rounded up? Will you be eager to find out who your children are going to be? Will you start going to school two weeks early on your own time to get your bulletin boards up and your textbooks unpacked?

Or will you be filled with dread?

A client told me today that she feels like throwing up every time she thinks about going back.

 

Sick woman about to throw up

A sick woman about to throw up holding her stomach.

 

That’s not good!

At least, in her case, she is actively looking for other employment. In fact, that is why we were on the phone today. I was helping her make sure that she is customizing her cover letter and resume for the jobs she is applying for. She has recognized that teaching no longer makes her happy. She has lost her zeal and enthusiasm. She wants to do something else. But wanting to do something else and finding something else are two different things.

So, may I ask. If you aren’t excited about going back in August or September, what are you doing about it? Are you preparing your exit plan? Perhaps you should.

Teachers often feel that there is no good time to be looking for a new job.

After all, you are tied up with a contract for most of the year. And that is true. But that should not serve as an excuse for you to stay shackled to a career you no longer love. Life is simply too short for you to be forcing yourself to go back when you feel sick to your stomach at the thought.

So, why not take some time this summer to start investigating your alternatives? You may decide that you are happy with teaching after all. When I was young, that happened to me. I was dissatisfied with my career prospects as a teacher, so I went in search of someone who might help me get out of teaching. In fact, I explored several options. I took a test to see if I might be a good fit for the insurance industry. Nope.

I went to a career counselor. Back then, they worked in agencies instead of independently like they do now. The job the counselor offered that I might qualify for was with a paper supply company. I would be the person who stocked shelves for stores that sold the company’s stationery and other paper products along with pencils and other office supplies. I couldn’t help but think I would be bored with a job like that. Plus, the pay wasn’t as much as I was making as a teacher.

In the end, I decided to stay.

Instead of leaving the teaching profession, I decided that I needed to invest in an advanced degree so I could qualify for the stipend my district offered. I stayed right where I was, but I felt better about my career choice. I had given myself permission to explore the options that might be “out there.” Having found that they weren’t as plentiful as I might have thought, I was satisfied to put my time and energy into a new advanced degree.

I was the school librarian, and at the end of the day, it was the best job in the building. I came to appreciate that, and I loved my job for the remaining 20+ years that I stayed with it. But I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.

And later, when I realized that my teaching career had come to an end, I decided to retool and reinvent myself. It was the best decision I could have made, and I am happier now than I have ever been with my career choice as a career coach who helps guide others to the kind of job satisfaction I now feel.

If you are unhappy with your teaching career and you self-identify as burned out with teaching, you should be spending some of your summer vacation thinking about your future. Just because the pain and pressure of last year are now behind you, you have no guarantee that it will be any better next year. And chances are it could be even worse!

Do yourself a favor and consider that exploring your various options might be worthwhile. After all, you are smart. You are well-educated. You have skills that go beyond the skills needed to teach. You can do a lot of things that you may not have considered before. And best of all, no matter what you decide regarding whether to stay or go, you will feel more empowered. You will have taken the steps needed to determine if your burn out is real enough to make you want to consider leaving.

Enjoy your summer.

But don’t waste the entire summer vacation in the sun and at the pool if you think you might want a different career sometime in the future. The job fairy will not come looking for you without some effort on your part.

 

Print

A cartoon fairy in a blue dress

 

So think about it. What do you want to be doing when school starts this fall?

Until next time.

Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a former educator and Past President of the Virginia Education Association. After over three decades teaching and advocating for public education, she retooled and reinvented herself. She became a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and a Career Transition & Job Search Coach trained by a nationally known career expert. Kitty specializes in helping teachers who are suffering from teacher burnout. She is the owner and CEO of Boitnott Coaching, LLC and the founder of TeachersinTransition.comTeachersinDistress.Wordpress.com, and

 KittyatCareerMakeover.CoachesConsole.com.

 

Do you need help looking for your next career opportunity? Why not try out a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session? Just click here for my calendar. I would love to chat with you about your possibilities.

 

Not sure is you are experiencing teacher burnout? Check yourself with this free checklist. Click here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/

Business man in office with burnout syndrome at desk

Teacher suffering from stress and overwhelm.

 

What is the #1 Mistake Most Job Seekers Make When Starting a Job Search?

mistake

People who are starting out on a job search often make one major mistake. They start their search without a clear idea of what it is they want to do. I liken it to planning a vacation itinerary with no destination in mind. Sounds a little crazy, right? Yet, think of the last time you went job hunting. Did you decide what you wanted to do first or did you think of all the things you could do first? Because there is a differenceI tell my clients who are starting out on a job search that writing their resume is not the first thing they should do. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but stick with me for a moment.

I tell my clients who are starting out on a job search that writing their resume is not the first thing they should do. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but stick with me for a moment.If you were planning a trip to Rome, would it make sense for you to map out a journey to Cairo? Of course not! That sounds ridiculous. Too often, job seekers write their resume and send it to a dozen job postings. They hope that something will land. It’s like the poor guy in the graphic above. Blindfolded, what are the chances he is going to ever hit the bullseye?

If you were planning a trip to Rome, would it make sense for you to map out a journey to Cairo? Of course not! That sounds ridiculous. Too often, job seekers write their resume and send it to a dozen job postings. They hope that something will land. It’s like the poor guy in the graphic above. Blindfolded, what are the chances he is going to ever hit the bullseye?People will say to me, “Kitty, I have been a teacher for 20 years. What other jobs might I be good at? Or, what else might I be qualified to do?”

People will say to me, “Kitty, I have been a teacher for 20 years. What other jobs might I be good at? Or, what else might I be qualified to do?”There are simply too many variables involved for me to give a straight answer to those questions. I need a lot more information first. What about teaching did you enjoy? What did you hate? Why are you ready to leave teaching now? What sorts of activities do you love and would do even if no one paid you? And my favorite, “If I gave you a magic wand and you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?”

There are simply too many variables involved for me to give a straight answer to those questions. I need a lot more information first. What about teaching did you enjoy? What did you hate? Why are you ready to leave teaching now? What sorts of activities do you love and would do even if no one paid you? And my favorite, “If I gave you a magic wand and you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?”

I get all sorts of interesting answers. Here’s the truth: if you want to change jobs, the first order of business is to get crystal clear about what you want to do. Don’t waste energy on what you think you might have to settle for. That is a clear recipe for unhappiness and even despair.

You deserve to work in a job or career that uses your best talents. You deserve to provide service in an area that is meaningful to you. If teaching has lost its luster, it’s not the end of the world. There are many jobs that you can find satisfying. But first, you must take your blindfold off. Get clear about what it is you want to do in your life. Do that first, and then we can start hitting that bullseye.

Do you need help looking for your next career opportunity? Why not try out a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session? Just click here for my calendar. I would love to chat with you about your possibilities.

Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a former educator and Past President of the Virginia Education Association. After over three decades teaching and advocating for public education, she retooled and reinvented herself. She became a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and a Career Transition & Job Search Coach trained by a nationally known career expert. Kitty specializes in helping teachers who are suffering from teacher burnout. She is the owner and CEO of Boitnott Coaching, LLC and the founder of TeachersinTransition.comTeachersinDistress.Wordpress.com, and

 KittyatCareerMakeover.CoachesConsole.com.

Not sure is you are experiencing teacher burnout? Check yourself with this free checklist. Click here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/

Business man in office with burnout syndrome at desk

Are You Ready for a Job or Career Change?

Change can be hard. Any kind of change can be hard. Just think about the last time you decided to lose that 10 pounds that keep bugging you. Feeling like it’s time to make a change is one thing. Actually making the change is a different thing altogether.

No wonder people stay stuck in jobs they hate. Changing jobs can be scary! Changing your entire career can totally freak you out.

I know this because I did it. I retooled and reinvented myself four years ago after more than three decades as an educator.

After 37 years as a school librarian, teacher, and past president of the Virginia Education Association, my career as an educator came to a sudden and unexpected halt.

I won’t bore you with the particulars. All that you need to know is that I changed course in my life abruptly.

I felt overwhelmed with possibility. I had options, but none of them appealed to me, frankly.

So, I hired a career coach. I knew it was time for a career change.

 

career change ahead

Career Change Just Ahead

 

With her guidance, using her program and her encouragement, I started to consider that maybe I could start my own business. I decided I wanted to be my own boss, be in charge of my own schedule, and do work that I found meaningful and fulfilling again.

So that is what I did. First I became a Life Strategies Coach. Then I became a Stress Management Coach and then a Holistic Life Coach. Then I became a Licensed Minister, and most recently I became a Sleep Science Coach.

From May 2014 to September 2015 I had the opportunity to work with my coach, completing her training program, and becoming an online career coach. I became one of the original coaches that she brought into her company to help her growing business.

During that time, I worked with individuals from all walks of life, of every age and ethnicity, and from all over the world. I assisted dozens of people with their resume, their LinkedIn profiles, their cover letters, and their interview prep. I offered weekly Office Hours and coached groups via Livestream.

In the fall of 2015, I went solo, and I have turned most of my attention to working with burnt-out teachers. I also work with mid-career professionals who find themselves at a crossroads for whatever reason.

I have, over time, developed a digital program that is designed to help those who want to leave teaching and find a fulfilling and fun alternative career. I am offering the program right now as the “Jumpstart Your Job Search,” and there is a Starter Program, a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Program, and a Premium Program.

Top view of the working place with woman's hands. A laptop, notepad and a cup of coffee are on the table. A job search flowchart is drawn on the table.

Job Search

The Starter Program will help you find the clarity you need in order to move into a new job or career. Most people come to me knowing that they are ready for a change but have no idea what kind of change they want. If you always wanted to be a teacher, you haven’t spent much time thinking about jobs or careers that you could do instead, right? You think you’re “just a teacher,” and you can’t articulate the transferable skills that you have. If that sounds like you, the Starter Program will help you get started on the road of reinventing and perhaps retooling yourself for life after teaching.

The “DIY (Do-It-Yourself)” Jumpstart Program is for the “do-it-yourselfer” who just wants the information. You don’t want or need individual or group coaching support. (You do get email support for 30-days and one phone consultation.) This level of the program provides all 10 modules of the premium program. The modules cover these topics:

  1. Clarity about what you want to do in your next job or career.
  2. How to write a resume that presents you as the best-qualified candidate for the job you want using your transferable skills.
  3. How to write a cover letter that will get the attention of the decision makers, so you get invited for an interview.
  4. How to present a perfectly written resume and cover letter that contains NO errors in spelling, spacing or grammar.
  5. Understanding how the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) works and why it is not your friend.
  6. Understanding the importance of establishing a personal and professional brand.
  7. Appreciating the role of social media in your job search and your individual social media footprint which occurs every time you use a particular platform.
  8. Offering a professional persona on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, especially if you are job hunting.
  9. Understand the importance of your network and getting out to meet people every opportunity you have.
  10. How to interview like a pro. You don’t need to be better than everyone else…you need to be different in a positive way.
  11. Bonus tip:  Attitude is everything.

The “Premium Program,” includes everything above plus:

  • Lifetime access to all 10 modules plus additional modules as they are added
  • 6 individual hour-long phone, Skype or Zoom consultations
  • 90-120 days of email support (depending on your scheduling needs)
  • And an invitation to join the bi-monthly group coaching call along with an invitation to a private Facebook page.

 

The Starter Program is a $225 value that I am offering for $197.

The DIY program is a $675 value being offered for $577 or 3 equal payments of $225.

 

The Premium Program is valued at $2450, but I have it priced at $1500 or $140 in 6 equal payments.

For a limited time, I am offering it for $997 or $97 each month for 12 months.

 

So, who are these packages designed for?

Well, the Starter Program is for the novice job hunter. It is also for someone who is only tentative about changing their career at the moment. Maybe you aren’t ready to take the leap just yet, but you would like to know about what first steps you should take just in case you decide you can’t continue doing what you are doing now.

The Starter Program is also for the person who doesn’t have the budget for a more expensive program. For $197, if you buy the Starter Program, you get lifetime access to the first two modules of the larger, Premium Program.

 

These two modules will help you gain clarity around your job or career. Are you happy where you are? If not, what could you be doing that would make you happy?

These are the most intense modules, but they are also the most valuable ones. They will guide you to what it is you want to do with your life next. You need to get in touch with your inner self as you consider what you want to do with your life. Your next career step should be undertaken carefully and deliberately. These modules can help with that.

The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Program is for the motivated go-getter. This program is for you if you just want the information without any frills. You don’t want individualized coaching. With a blueprint of the steps to follow, you can figure it out.

This program includes all 10 instructional modules that go with the Premium Program. It does not include one-on-one coaching. It does include one phone consultation, and it includes 30-days of email support.

The Premium Program is the full enchilada. With this program you receive…
  • All 10 instructional modules
  • Recommended reading and exercises
  • Templates and examples
  • More modules as they are added
  • 6 private, one-on-one coaching calls by phone or Zoom
  • Bi-monthly Group Coaching Calls (next call May 15th)
  • Private Facebook group support

This Premium Program is a $2450 value that I have priced at $1500, but am offering for a limited time for $997 or $97 per month for 12 months.

 

This Premium Program is for the serious job seeker or career changer. You are ready to change your career and your life, and the sooner you can do that, the better.

You are ready to be coached, and you want a guide who has gone before you on this particular journey and knows what pitfalls to help you avoid.

 

As a trained Career Transition and Job Search Coach, I can help you avoid costly mistakes.

With my help and your drive, we can save you both time and money as you seek the change your want.

Are you ready to make a life-altering change in your job or career?

 

Are you just starting out and thinking that the Starter Program is a good fit for you right now? If so, go for it. You can always upgrade later, and you will be locking in the cost of the current Premium Program.

 

Or are you ready to dive in and take on the whole program on your own? If so, the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Program is the right fit for you.

Of course, I would love to work with you and help you along the way so I would love it if you chose the Premium Program, but I want you to choose the one that is the right one for you.

You only get one life to live. I believe you should make the best of it, and that includes doing work that makes you happy.

 

If you are unhappy in your current job or career, it is time to do something about it, don’t you think?

Oh, I almost forgot. Last summer, I was named one of the top online Career Coaches Online by Career Toolkit.com, and in January, I was invited to join the Forbes Coaches Council.

 

Here is what I know for sure:  if I changed my life and totally reinvented and retooled myself for a career I love, so can you.

 

You get to choose the life you want. If you aren’t happy right now, you have the choice to make a change. Why wait? Making the change won’t get any easier. So, what do you say? Let’s get you started on the road toward the life you want.

For more information, check out my websites at TeachersinTransition.com or KittyatCareerMakeover.CoachesConsole.com.

 

“What’s the #1 Thing Anyone Considering a Career Change Should Do First?

 

Are you stuck, bored, or burned out in a career that you no longer love? If so, the #1 thing you must do first is to decide what do you want to do next.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just decide. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy at all. And the stakes couldn’t be higher! We’re talking about your life, after all.
When I faced my own career crossroads a few years ago, I was stumped. I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I had reached the highest point that I could go in my previous job. (I served as President of the Virginia Education Association from 2008-2012.) I had earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in 2007, but I had never been an administrator..nor did I want to be.
I have two Masters’ degrees, but neither of them offered a prospective job possibility
I also had 33 years experience as an educator. But I was too tired to return to the classroom.
That meant a career change for me. But what to do? Where to go?
I certainly had not planned to retire so early. When you cry every time you consider a prospective idea, however, I think that is a clear sign that you need to think of something else. That’s where I was. Every time I thought about going back to the classroom, I teared up and experienced a profound sense of dread. I was just too tired.
I eventually decided to take early retirement and take some much needed time to rest up. I thought I would feel better if I could take some time for myself. And the rest was wonderful. But I didn’t help me make a decision around the future of my career.

 

I stayed stuck for months. I tried to write my own resume, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I hired a professional resume writer but was unhappy with the results and felt like I had wasted $400.
I finally found a career coach who offered online advice for a reasonable price. I took her online course which opened my eyes to all the mistakes I had made so far in my search.
Here is the thing about job searching. You don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know, in this case, can hurt you. There is an old saying that “What you don’t know cannot hurt you.” In job hunting, what you don’t know will hurt you. In this case, ignorance is NOT bliss.

I made the same mistake that a lot of job seekers make when they start out to change their job or career. They write their resume first based on all the things they have ever done since they started to work. They include everything because they want to display all their experience whether it is relevant or not.
That approach might have worked in years past. Today, recruiters and hiring managers are not interested everything you have ever done. They want to see what can you do for them NOW. They care about your unique blend of skills, experience, education, talents, and aptitudes. They want to know how you can help them solve their current and future problems. How can you save them money or make them more money? They are much more interested in the bottom line. What can you bring to them? And how well will you fit in with their team?
You can’t write a resume that conveys your value until you decide what it is you bring to the prospective job. And you can’t decide that until you have decided what the heck you want to do with your career? You have to answer the question, “What do you want to do next?” You may be crystal clear on all that you don’t want to do, but the clarity needs to be around what you want in the next phase of your career.
Here was my list of wants:  I wanted a flexible schedule. I wanted to work for myself instead of someone else. I preferred to work from home. I wanted to work in a way that provided service to people. I also wanted to stay in touch with my teacher colleagues because I know teachers. I love teachers. I understand teachers because I have walked in their shoes.
What resulted from that list of wants was the idea of coaching, but I resisted that idea for months. I didn’t believe that coaching was a real “job.” I didn’t believe I could make any money coaching. I didn’t believe I could support myself as a coach. I was afraid that I would never convince anyone that I had anything of value to offer.
Yet, the idea would not go away, and at the end of the day, I had all those “wants” that fit the profile of coaching.
I talked to my coach about it after I heard a presentation on the topic of “Follow Your Passion…Find Your Next Job.” I decided to try on the idea of coaching, at least. So, I asked her what she thought. Her response was perfect. “If you feel called to coach teachers who are feeling the kind of burnout you have been feeling, you should go for it.” That was all the encouragement I needed.
I started to look into coaching programs. I learned that coaching is one of the fastest growing industries, and it has not leveled off yet. Many Boomers are turning to coaching. They want to help their younger colleagues with some of the challenges they face. After all, Boomers have a lot of experience and expertise to offer.
So, it turned out that coaching was next for ME.
The question is, what is next for YOU?

If you don’t know what you want to do next or what your next steps are, then I encourage you to find someone who can help you figure it out sooner rather than later. You will waste valuable time and money if you fail to answer the simple, yet not so easy question, “What do you want to do next?”
You can’t ignore the question. In fact, your life depends upon your being able to answer it.
Until next time.
Photos by Depositphotos.com.

 

 

Do You Need LinkedIn? Yes…Yes, You Do And Here is Why

People often tell me that they don’t use LinkedIn. They may have an account that they set up a long time ago, but they don’t remember what their password is, and they haven’t looked at it for years. They think they don’t need it. They are wrong.

Here are the typical comments I hear:  “I am a teacher…I don’t need LinkedIn.” “I am in business on my own…I have a website…I don’t need LinkedIn.” “I am not looking for a job…I am very satisfied where I am. I don’t need LinkedIn.” And so it goes. Everyone is wrong!

To those who believe that they are exempt from needing a LinkedIn profile that is fully optimized and ready for”prime time,” I cannot put it more plainly. You are just wrong! (Or, to quote one of my favorite Big Bang Theory TV characters, “You couldn’t be more wrong.”)

Everyone should be using LinkedIn. Period.

Just as billions of you around the world use and enjoy Facebook for family, friends, and fun, your LinkedIn profile is the virtual and literal “link” between you and the rest of the professional working world. Whether you are looking for a job or happily employed where you plan to stay until you retire, you need a fully optimized LinkedIn profile!

Why am I so passionate about this? As a Career Transition and Job Search Coach to teachers who are burnt-out and are looking to springboard into the business world as well as mid-career professionals who find themselves at a career crossroads for any of a variety of reasons, I believe that LinkedIn is rapidly becoming your new, online resume. Just as everyone needs to be able to present an up-to-date hard copy resume of their work experience, everyone needs an up-to-date and fully optimized LinkedIn profile.

I offer webinars and presentations on LinkedIn profile optimization, and I provide critiques of LinkedIn profiles for those who want advice on how to make the most of the features that LinkedIn provides. (My next webinar on LinkedIn Profile Optimization is next week, Thursday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. To register, click here.)

In that webinar, I teach attendees the basics regarding what elements to include in a fully optimized LinkedIn profile starting with their photo. Frankly, I am stunned by the photos that some people use on their LinkedIn profile. They apparently don’t appreciate that LinkedIn is not Facebook. It is not Twitter. Nor it is Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or any other totally completely “social” social platform. LinkedIn is a social platform for professionals. Its express purpose is to allow professional people from all over the world to be able to connect with one another on a professional level and to network in a professional manner.

LinkedIn is where you can showcase yourself as a professional or as an entrepreneur in ways that you cannot duplicate anywhere as easily.

If you aren’t sure what you need to include to provide an optimized LinkedIn profile, I have had a graphic designer create a 14-point checklist designed just for my clients. It is graphically beautiful, but it also includes the practical and pragmatic graphics that convey how you can create a LinkedIn profile that includes the most important elements starting with your photo, your headline, your number of connections, and the need for you to customize your URL. I am offering it for only $1 even though I believe it is worth much more. This guide helps users understand exactly where everything should go and why.

Stress Self-Assessment

No matter where you are on the career continuum, you may want to give this unique, one-of-a-kind LinkedIn Profile Highlights Checklist a look.

Since it is only $1, you have no reason not to take advantage of it.

But if you aren’t yet convinced that you need to be setting up a LinkedIn profile, take a look at some startling facts:

  • Over 430 million LinkedIn users around the world to date and growing by…
  • 2 new members every 2 seconds.
  • Over 128 million users in the United States alone
  • Over 106 monthly unique visiting LinkedIn members
  • LinkedIn is used in over 200 countries and territories in…
  • Over 20 languages
  • 70% of users are outside the United States
  • 94% recruiters are using LinkedIn to look for talent
  • There are 6.5 million active job listings on LinkedIn

Need I say more?

If you remain unconvinced, consider this one last fact of life. Nothing ever remains the same. You may be happily employed today, and your job might disappear tomorrow. It happens. Companies merge, and departments are phased out. Jobs are eliminated. Workforces are downsized. I know one man whose company decided to move across the country. He was invited to go along, but he chose to stay put for personal reasons. He had no idea how hard it might be for him to find an equivalent position in a speedy fashion. He had to start his job search from scratch and try to get it from 0 to 60 mph in a hurry. Had he been keeping his resume up to date and his LinkedIn profile optimized and ready, he could have shaved weeks off his search.

I don’t have to tell you that we live in precarious times. Nothing is guaranteed. Right now, however, I believe I can safely say that if you don’t think you need a LinkedIn profile, you are simply wrong, my friend. So why not fix it and get started on your profile right away?

Order your LinkedIn Profile Highlights Checklist and get started.