“How Do I Find A Career I Love When I'm Only Qualified For The Career I Hate?”

Kate's been calling in sick and finding excuses to avoid the office for months. She knows she needs a major change, but her skills and experience don't seem to lead her to anything other than what she does now. How can she move into work she loves when she's only qualified for work she hates?

What's your career history and current job?

I've worked in education for a long time, in various roles and capacities.

I'm currently Head of Geography for a large secondary school.

How do you feel about your work?

In a word, despairing.

I've felt a creeping dissatisfaction with my work in education for years, and I've done my best to ignore it and just keep going. It's all I've ever done, and it's where all my skills and qualifications are, but it's not what I want to do.

The sector has changed so much since I started teaching. It's not about the kids anymore; it's just about ticking boxes and hitting targets – and if I wanted to work in that kind of world, I'd have gone into sales. I feel so disillusioned by what I do, and it's having a negative impact on how I feel about everything at work: my colleagues, my subject... everything.

It's got to the point where I'm wishing I'll get sick so I don't have to go to work. That's not the kind of person I am, or the kind of person I want to be. I'm a hard worker and I take responsibility very seriously. But I can't deal with this feeling for much longer.

What would you like to be doing instead?

This is the problem; I don't know what I can do instead! I want to do work that makes the kind of meaningful impact I went into teaching to make in the first place. I want to find something that honours the hard work I've put in thus far in my career, but is as far away from teaching and education as I can get.

I've spoken to recruitment agencies about what else I could do, given my background, and they all just send me more education jobs. I feel totally trapped.

What's the biggest obstacle you're facing?

Given my background and experience, I need to figure out what I can shift to.

What careers are still open to me as someone whose history is entirely focused on a field I don't like anymore? I'm willing to try new things and be brave, but I feel like my CV is anchoring me to the spot.

I'm a teacher, through and through. My qualifications and experience are all education based. My knowledge of what's available careers-wise is all focused around the world of education. When I think about where to go next, all I can imagine is a different kind of education role, or moving to a university environment instead.

How am I supposed to figure out what I want to do when all that's available to me is more of something I don't want anything to do with anymore?

Can you help Kate?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What can she do to narrow down her ideas?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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