Until a few months ago, I was an elementary music teacher.
Whenever I told people what my job was, they usually responded with something like, “That sounds like a lot of fun.” And it was.
But few people understand how demanding teaching music really is. I had a curriculum to teach. I had performances to prepare. If I wanted to take students on a field trip or have professional musicians come to school, I also needed to apply for grants to pay for it. I had to practice my own musical skills. And there are all the additional duties and volunteering which teachers are expected to do.
A teacher is never done. There’s planning to do, parents to call, papers to correct, web pages to update. There are meetings to attend, colleagues to collaborate with, professional development requirements to complete. And just when you think you’re hitting your stride, there are paradigm shifts in educational philosophy.
I was exhausted.
My husband, who had retired from teaching years ago, said, “Quit!”
It took me three years to take his advice.
Why so long? I wanted to line up a new job first. But there were few job openings for my skill set that paid more than minimum wage.
Finally, my fatigue became so debilitating that I dreaded teaching another year. I reluctantly submitted my resignation.
I am at peace with that decision.
I set a goal for myself—a new job by July 1st. Not a teaching job. A job where, at the end of the day, you don’t have to do anything work related until your next shift.
When my deadline passed and I had no new job, I began to panic. Would our modest savings be enough to pay bills until I had a salary again?
I feel like a woman without an identity. I’ve devoted more than twelve years of my life to teaching music. Now I’m not a teacher anymore. Who the heck am I?
Friends who had experienced a jobless phase told me to relax and embrace my time off. This was an opportunity to do things I hadn’t done in a while—quilting, writing, taking an art class. I should refresh myself after all those years of stress. What a nice idea, but how could I enjoy myself when I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing?
Now that it’s the end of August, I’m feeling a little calmer. I’ve painted a room, and I’m setting up a study for myself. Then I’m going to paint my old study and turn it into a guest room.
And the job search is off and running. In the first few weeks after my resignation, I applied for more jobs than I had in the previous three years. There are more job openings out there now.
But everything happens remotely. Resumes are emailed. Applications are submitted online. If you’re lucky, you get an email acknowledgement, often containing a sentence like Due to the volume of applicants, you will not receive notification from us unless you are selected to interview. Interviews are conducted by phone. Then you get an email that says, After careful review, this position has been filled by another applicant whose work background and skills more closely fit our current need.
I know God isn’t finished with me yet. My daily prayer is that He will lead me to exactly what He wants me to do. I’m trying not to be terrified while I wait.
Have you ever been between jobs? How did you handle the uncertainty? Click on “Comment” just below to leave a comment.