It’s now pretty much 6 months on from when I left my job in teaching and a lot has happened in my life (both personal and at work!) Leaving teaching was one of the scariest, but equally one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I left, I had no plans of what I would do next and only enough saved to pay the mortgage for a few months (with a huge help from Danny and my family) – so I knew I needed to get to work looking for a job otherwise, essentially, s**t would hit the fan 😂.
I’ll not lie – over the past 6 months (and very soon after I left teaching) I had some really down days full of self-doubt. After the first week of just sheer relief and the feeling of ‘I’ve-actually-gone-and-done-it’ wore off a little… the reality hit me that I’d left my career and really didn’t have a firm plan in place. I still had the buffer of feeling really motivated at the very beginning and optimistic about my chances and I’d happily spend hours writing up CVs and tailoring cover letters, trawling every single job site I could find for positions in junior or entry-level copywriting and digital marketing. Most days I’d be sending anywhere from 3 – 10 applications in a day and I put myself on every recruitment site going! At first I was full of (naïve) anticipation and was waiting for the interview emails to flood through, but after a few weeks I realised that I just wasn’t going to hear back 95% of the time. Any responses that did come through thanked me for my application but stated that I would need at least one year of experience in the field to apply… which would have been totally fine except from the small fact that I had exactly zero years experience. (Side note: how are you supposed to get experience if no-one will let you? 🤨) I started to think, for want of a better phrase, “Ooh f**k”.
To be totally honest I panicked a bit. I thought I’d been totally naïve to think I could just switch careers and I started to really worry about how I would ever break into the digital marketing industry. Had I been too hasty to leave a really stable job? Could I even do another job? Should I crawl back and beg for my job back? Should I run away and book a flight to Jamaica and live on the beach selling pineapples? Is that even where pineapples are from? Ahhhhh!
But then…I was incredibly lucky when a part time job in my local school was advertised working 1:1 and with small groups of students as a literacy intervention specialist and kind of ‘widening participation’ officer. I hesitated at first about whether to apply as it wasn’t the huge jump away from teaching I’d been looking for and I thought people would think I was coping out – especially after making such a huge deal of “OKAY GUYS, DRUMROLL PLEASE… I AM LEAVING TEACHING” But, with the worry of money over my head and the fact that I still loved working with students (just not the endless marking and admin) I went for it. The job turned out to be perfect! With the role only being part time 3 days a week, I was freed up 2 x days every week where I could get work experience in marketing and apply for other jobs. I picked myself up out of my moping around and decided I just needed to absolutely go for it and try and get as much experience as I could under my belt (whilst also still being able to do the part of teaching I really loved on the side).
So, I started applying for loads of unpaid work experience. I was also lucky enough to know someone who got me into ‘In The Style’ for a bit early on where I wrote some blogs and also some SEO copy for the e-commerce team for various products on the site. I worked for a PR company in Manchester writing up their website copy for their clients and I continued to write social media posts for my partner’s business (which I’d already been doing whilst teaching). I travelled into Manchester to attend recruitment fairs and digital marketing seminars with Google Digital Garage and before long I found that I was actually starting to feel a little more comfortable about the technical terms involved in Digital Marketing..
I finally had some real examples under my belt to write about in my CV, and when I saw a job advertised for a Junior Digital Marketer working remote and part time as I was scrolling through GlassDoor one night, I knew I had to give it a shot (even though I fully expected to be told I didn’t have enough experience yet blah blah). So, I put my big girl pants on and phoned up the company rather than just sending in my skinny CV. I knew on paper that my experience wouldn’t match up to other applicants so I wanted to try and explain my situation. I was offered a Skype interview and amazingly…given the job working part time! It’s been such a huge change from teaching but I’m totally loving the challenge and change of pace. Plus, I’ve always loved writing (and now I’m getting paid to do it! WTF? Mental…)
Anyway, I suppose the point of my blog post was to write a bit of a follow up to my ‘Leaving Teaching’ post and also just to say ‘I think you should just go for it’. If you want something in your life then go for it – even if you can’t clearly see how it can work out. Why not? Of course I know you have to be sensible about money and responsibilities and it’s not as easy as just saying ‘Thanks, Gabs – I’m gonna quit my job tomorrow!” …but, there are ways of making it work. Even if you have to get a part time job in something you don’t want to do to allow you time to learn on the side… or even if you have to take a huge pay cut it will pay off eventually. Money really isn’t the be-all and end-all. It can be so daunting to leave your comfort zone and you might worry that you’ll never be able to compete with others with more experience, but if you’re willing to work hard then you could end up in a job you love!
Not having the dreaded Sunday night fear – urgh – is just something money cannot buy and please, please believe me… it is 100% worth giving it a go if you are feeling like I was 6 months ago! You got this! Back yourself! And, to sum up in the words of Queen B 🔽 🐝