Reaching our 50th episode is a HUGE milestone that we couldn’t have done with you, our amazing audience. I’m so grateful for everybody who’s listening because truly, we wouldn’t have made it this far without your support. I start this special episode off with a personal announcement, and then do a deep dive and answer some FAQ about the podcast.
Making Teacher Career Coach My Full Time Job!
First, holy crap, reaching our 50th episode is a huge milestone that we couldn’t have done without you. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s listening right now, because truly, we wouldn’t have made it this far without your support. I wanted to start this really special episode with a personal announcement.
This week is my final week employed as an educational consultant for Microsoft Education. I’ve held this position for years with the exception of the year that I worked as an instructional designer for another EdTech company, GoGuardian.
I wanted to explain just why I’m resigning, because this had nothing to do with the job or the company itself. My role has been truly a dream position for me for years. I felt lost when I began my transition away from teaching, but something shifted once I came across this opportunity.
At first, I thought it was too good to be true, but Microsoft was the first company that really valued my expertise, my passion for education. They granted me opportunities to follow my desire, to impact the future of education, and they helped me continue to grow professionally. It was really inspiring to work alongside co-workers who dedicated themselves to supporting educators however they could.
This company really showed me what being mission-driven truly means in a “corporate environment”. And if you haven’t heard me share more about this role, I suggest you go back and listen to episode 17 and episode 28, where I actually interview one of my former co-workers.
Well, all this to say, putting in my two weeks notice for this role was not a decision I made overnight. I just reached a crossroads. As much as I love my work, my team, I knew it was time to dedicate all of my energy and passion into this. It was time for me to either choose Teacher Career Coach or my full-time job because, honestly, I could not do both well anymore. I started to struggle mentally with that reality.
I constantly felt like I was letting down both teams. This was just the low-level stress that weighed on me for a while. I didn’t hear anyone complain about my performance on either side, but I just knew that they both deserved better.
While this felt very different to the time that I left teaching because believe me it is a lot harder to leave somewhere where you’re truly happy, it did have a lot of similarities to what I experienced when I quit teaching four years ago.
First, I made every excuse not to do it. I kept pushing back the timeline of when I would do it. Honestly, I planned on doing it next summer because I wanted to do literally everything I could to not be a burden on anyone and leave in the middle of a contract.
Second, I was scared. I don’t want anyone to forget that I’m a human being. I have emotions, I have fears, just like the rest of you. I crave stability and being self-employed is one of the scariest things to me personally because it comes with a good level of risk.
This is one of the things that you’ve probably heard me talk about and I’m always really cautious when I approach it. Side hustles is something that you can do full-time, but you want to make sure you have enough data in front of you that you can prove it will replace your income and will potentially keep you afloat financially, take care of your family, if you need to.
Many times with side hustles, this takes years to do. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve had a financial advisor/bookkeeper who’s been on payroll for this company and has helped me crunch the numbers of how much I can spend per month on hiring people to help and work on the team.
As far as it came to me actually leaving, I always put leaving and putting myself on payroll full-time on the back burner. I was much more eager to create opportunities for other people inside Team Teacher Career Coach, and this probably sounds crazy to you, but I really did enjoy working that job as well.
I enjoyed the people that I worked with. I enjoyed the company that I worked for, and should my path have gone a different way, I probably would have been happy with that role actually being my “forever career”. Like I said earlier, walking away from this was a heck of a lot harder than walking away from something that I hated. That’s where I found myself struggling, mentally and emotionally.
In a way that I hadn’t really felt before, this also came with the realization that I was letting people down in a completely different way. I was letting people down in multiple areas of my life, whether or not anyone will ever really vocalize that to me, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just something that I was aware of. I knew I was not able to give my full attention to one of the two jobs that I’ve been working. I was just burning myself out.
My brain, my attention, they were being pulled in so many directions. I constantly felt like I had tabs open in my brain, and I couldn’t shut them all. I realized I wasn’t able to be present for my fiancé, Jonathan, in a way that I really wanted to.
He’s patient and amazing and I love him, not just because he’s editing and listening to this, but I know that I can do better for him. I knew that I needed to reprioritize the things that are truly important to me, my family, my friends, living a happy life, and I would sacrifice the additional income and security that this full-time job brought.
Reaching a Crossroads
Nothing major happened. Just one day, I laughed, I said, “Mercury must have been in retrograde,” and I decided to finally admit what I’d been thinking for a while.
I let my managers know that I had to resign. I had to do what was right for me. I knew that that would disappoint a few people and I had to come to peace with it. I also knew that I had to make the call right then, or else I would’ve put it off again for who knows how long.
I’m not saying all this just to talk about myself, I want to tell you this because someday you’re probably going to reach this crossroads as well.
You might be at this exact same crossroad right now as you’re listening to this, and you might think, like I did, that you’re prepared to make big decisions. Maybe you’ve talked to your therapist, maybe you listen to this podcast, or you read self-help books, or you’ve written down your mantras. You’ve pumped yourself up for this big decision.
Well, I wanted to share this story to remind you anytime it’s a huge and difficult decision, your brain is going to resist letting you make it. I’ve been through this cycle before. I’ve studied it for the last four years with this project and I still felt trapped to it even a bit longer than I’d really like to admit. My brain made every excuse why I should not walk away at this moment or that moment.
Even when there was concrete data telling me that it was time to go, even though I was burning out really close to my wedding day, or feeling like I was spreading myself far too thin for really no reason. I just kept telling myself, “I can hold on for a few more months. I don’t want to let anyone down.”
There were some fight-or-flight symptoms, definite stress triggers of making this big change, but there was a whole lot of guilt of leaving a team that I love and letting them down. And these are going to be big factors in any decision that you make, where you choose yourself.
Even if you think you’re prepared to recognize them, they may still hold you back for months, and even years longer than they should. While I urge you to always approach everything cautiously when you’re making your next move, make sure you have something stable lined up, make sure you know what your plan B is.
I also urge you to look inside your situation to see if you’re actually the one making the roadblocks that are ultimately keeping you from your goal. Maybe you’re pushing yourself back on your timeline over and over again just to procrastinate even really getting started or maybe you’re just not applying for jobs out of fear that you’ll let someone down if you actually got it.
Because of my resignation, I’m going to have more time to focus all my brain space on this project. I’m going to be able to focus on building more content for the Teacher Career Coach. And because of this opportunity, I’m so grateful. I’m really excited, and I’m secretly terrified, but I am so, so grateful.
Why Don’t I Mention the Companies People Work for?
Now, this is a special occasion. It is our freaking 50th episode. I wanted to cover some behind the scenes of the podcast in general, starting with just a few frequently asked questions we get about the podcast.
One question that I get asked all the time is why don’t I ever mention the companies that people work for, like my guests? You may have noticed at the beginning of this episode, I said something I’ve never said on air before, which is the companies that I’ve worked for previously.
I truly believe that both of these companies are doing great things for education and I have nothing but great things to say about both of these places and my time there, and behind the scenes, how I know they work with educators and with educators’ best interest in mind. I kept them out because I wanted to keep all the components of the Teacher Career Coach and any current employment that I had separate.
First, out of professional respect, but mostly, to avoid any conflicts of interests. These reasons are why I don’t have my guests share their company names either. Unless the company themselves has a representative come onto the podcast, I just don’t want my podcast guest to identify their place of employment, even their past districts.
Many companies will ask you to run this through their PR team, and it’s just a lot easier and safer to keep it vague for this purpose of the podcast. If you’re committed to transitioning to a new role outside of the classroom, let me give you some advice.
Don’t try to navigate this journey all on your own. The Teacher Career Coach Course will walk you step by step through the entire process. When you sign up, you’ll get help picking your career path, have access to a library of transition resumes for teachers written by a professional, and even gain access to a list of hundreds of companies that hire teachers.
Most importantly, you’ll join our exclusive private community to collaborate with others and network. I’ve dedicated my time putting together templates and resources to create the most thorough program to help save you time. Learn more about the Teacher Career Coach Course at teachercareercoach.com/course.
Why Don’t I Discuss Salaries?
Now, another question that I get asked all the time is why don’t I ask my guests if their salaries are higher or lower on the show, or their salary just in general? This is something I see happen a lot on Instagram threads, where I introduce former teachers. There’s always a comment here or there that asks specifically about salary. “Oh, did you have a higher salary? Did you have a lower salary?”
I know that this is such an important question to consider, but the reason why I leave it out is there’s just a lot of context missing when it’s just a simple yes or no question like that. I never want one person’s answer to be all you need to know to let fear talk you out about something that you’re potentially interested in.
Cost of living and where they were on their salary schedule may not match yours. Teachers in different states are going to have far different salaries to replace for a livable income. If a teacher in New York with 12 years experience took a pay cut for a role, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a teacher in Ohio with 12 years would take a pay cut for the exact same role.
In addition to the cost of living and salary schedules, different companies are able to offer different compensation packages. I never want the salary of one person’s role to be the thing that holds you back on going in a direction that you’re interested in. Just because one corporate trainer makes $60,000, it doesn’t mean another company won’t hire a corporate trainer for $80,000.
I want to acknowledge that we are all on our own unique journeys and what is right for some people may not be right for you. I’ve seen it happen before, comments on those, former teacher threads on Instagram that say things like, “I would never go into that field.” Or, “Oh, you must have taken a pay cut because the pay for these roles are far too low.”
I never want this community to be a place where anybody shames another person for doing what is right for them, even if it’s a pay cut. Life is too short to stay in a role where you’re unhappy.
If you are listening to this podcast and you find a role that truly interests you while you’re listening, start learning in that direction. You can do a quick online search of just the phrase, average salary of whatever the position is in whatever your state is. You usually see a base range and if those salaries don’t work for you, there are usually different similar roles in the same area that would have differing responsibilities and different salaries.
What Does It Take to Start a Podcast?
In addition to those two questions, I also have a lot of teachers who reach out about potentially starting their own podcast as a side hustle. They ask, “How much work goes into it?” And potentially, how lucrative it can be.
I’m going to be completely transparent here. The Teacher Career Coach podcast has officially created 50 episodes. For anyone who’s curious, on average, there’s about 10 hours of work that goes into each episode.
That’s creating a script, editing the transcripts, when we have interviews, sending out those emails, putting it on the blog, graphic design, finding the guests to interview, editing the sounds out of the podcast to take out any of the background noises, or just distracting parts. All of that takes a lot of work.
We can estimate, in the last year, we’ve put in about 500 hours worth of work into all of these episodes. You’ll see a lot of podcasts end up stopping pretty early on because of just how much work really goes into it. After a while, it can be hard to justify your time investment on a project like this. Many podcasts fizzle out, usually, after the first 10 or 15 episodes.
Truthfully, podcasting is not something that’s easy to break into and earning any revenue off of it takes a lot of time. I don’t want to discourage anyone who’s really, truly interested in creating a podcast, but I’m more than happy to come from behind the scenes and just tell you a little bit about how the podcast works in general.
In order to pay for the podcast hosting, or website, email list fees, in order to pay for the team that helps me with the editing, answering DMs or emails about the podcast, creating those transcripts, the graphic designs, all of those things that I cannot do all on my own, we have to have some sort of revenue in order to pay them.
In order to have the team members reaching out, talking to the best guests that we know are going to bring in great advice for this audience, that also takes time, research, dedication. Some of the ways that this podcast earns revenue is through sponsorships and affiliates, and also through my premium support, the Teacher Career Coach Course.
Ad sponsorships are from companies that are excited to promote to this specific audience. They like the things that I say on the podcast and they want you to learn more about their product.
Now, affiliates are affiliate links, where I actually just earn a small commission of the products that I’ve selected specifically for this audience that I think you would be interested in.
For example, if you planned on purchasing Camtasia for video editing and instructional design, you could go to teachercareercoach.com/camtasia. The cost is the exact same to you, but I would just earn a small percentage of that sale.
The podcast helps bring awareness to my signature program, the Teacher Career Coach Course, which I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about or advertise on this program.
Free Services vs. Paid Services
When I started this project, I did it really strategically and I knew that there were going to be free services and I knew that there was going to be paid services.
The free services and support that I’m able to provide the audience and community in general are newsletters, blogs, Instagram posts, these podcasts.
Then the paid support, or what’s called premium services, are the courses, like the Teacher Career Coach Course, where I offer all of my resume templates and I walk you through, step by step, everything I know about changing careers.
And yes, I do receive salty comments or DMs very rarely, but sometimes I get them from people who question my dedication at all due to the simple fact that I do have a paid program. I’ve had comments sent to me that said, “If I truly cared for this audience, I would do everything for free.”
I wish that I could tell you that that doesn’t hurt me, but it does. There’s this huge and dangerous narrative floating around teacher/former teacher world that if you’re a nice person, everything that you should do should be volunteer.
Anytime you make money or ask someone for money, you’re a bad person, and you are selfish. This mindset of martyrdom, I believe, is exactly why so many teachers burn out in the first place. There’s so many unrealistic expectations of unlimited unpaid time and energy that other people demand of teachers.
Then unfortunately, that’s sometimes recycled outside of the classroom and then passed onto others. I don’t want anyone to ever do that to you, whether you’re inside or outside of the classroom.
I urge you to have realistic expectations, and also respect where other people set their boundaries and their unlimited unpaid time. I could not possibly expect to have the experts on this team, or keep dedicated team members on board for years to support this community without being able to help them put food on their family’s plate for all of the time and energy that they put into creating, researching, and supporting.
Even at the amazing phase we are at right now with 50 episodes and a huge audience, the Teacher Career Coach podcast actually still costs more money to produce than we make in sponsorships and ads. Our free support is always going to be here for anybody who needs it, the podcast, the newsletters, the blogs, the Instagram, but no one should expect unlimited free support from others.
Just because it’s free for you or the audience, it doesn’t mean that it’s free for us to actually produce and upkeep, which is why a premium program is a necessity to create a sustainable business model that can continue to serve this community for years and years and years to come.
Now, if you are not able to purchase, or you’re not interested at all, I totally understand. Don’t think that that makes you any less valuable. If you believe in our mission, if you love the free support you’re receiving, there are so many ways that you can support without ever spending a single dollar on a course, or a advertiser, or an affiliate link.
Simply listening, sharing the podcast with others, and leaving a rating and review helps this small business in so many ways.
It’s Important to Hear Stories Like Your Own
The very last question I want to answer is why? Why did I start a podcast? I had already written a lot of content for Teacher Career Coach for the last two or three years, but last fall, we decided to go all in on creating a podcast.
It was the fall of 2020. We did have a lot of time on our hands, and I am engaged to someone who does have sound editing experience professionally, but there was actually a lot of thought that went into using this specific medium to help this community.
I wanted to create a podcast, because I remembered when I left teaching, there were no people for me to network with in my own close circle to ask questions. I had been a teacher for three and a half years and I’ve never had anyone that I knew that actually left teaching.
I had no connections with anyone, and I created the podcast because I wanted to expose you to the world that I was exposed to and wanted you to have that opportunity that I didn’t have back then. I wanted to create a safe space for anyone who wanted to listen to be able to evaluate different career options with no guilt or stigma attached to it.
I also wanted to do it in a way that fit into every teacher’s schedule because sitting down and reading a blog sometimes can feel like homework and whether or not you really intend to do it, it can get pushed on the back burner, but passively listening to a podcast as you’re commuting, doing your grocery shopping, or walking through the mall and buying new clothes, that’s a lot more manageable. You can continue to learn and grow, but on a schedule that works for you.
Many people reached out to me when I was polling the audience, and they told me, “Listen, I don’t listen to podcasts, and I’m not going to listen to your podcast. I want you to continue to write everything in blogs.”
So, I’ve continued to do both. I put out the transcripts of the podcast once a week. However, there is something that’s far more impactful, and I think it helps combat your imposter syndrome, and that’s actually hearing people’s voices talk about how they’ve succeeded.
It’s easy to think that the person writing it is probably smarter than you or better than you in one way or the other. It’s just not achievable for you, and one or two big words will really stand out on the page.
The truth is, with the podcast, you’re going to start to hear voices that sound like you and hear stories that remind you of yourself, or maybe it’s a person that you’ve worked with in the past. That familiarity is going to start to empower you and motivate you far more than reading.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with reading. Once again, I write a blog for that reason, but that’s really why I wanted to bring in this type of support for this audience, because as teachers, as former teachers, as learning and development specialists, as instructional design leaders and experts, we have to choose what is the best medium for our audience to learn.
On that note, I just want to end with some thank yous to everybody who made the 50th episode possible. First and foremost, my amazing fiance, Jonathan.
Jonathan has been my rock-solid supporter and biggest fan from day one. He’s had his hands behind the scenes on everything, from playing all the instruments and composing the intro and outro music, to editing, giving me feedback about interviewing, and continuing to push me, so I never gave up. He also doesn’t edit out my mistakes sometimes, just to make fun of me.
I also wanted to thank all the team members at Teacher Career Coach. Thank you for being a part of this mission that’s bigger than us. Thank you for having faith in this company, and thank you for helping me grow as a leader.
Then also, just a huge thank you to everyone who’s listening right now, because if you were not, this would not exist. We would not be at the point that we are at today. The numbers and the data has shown, overwhelmingly, this exact podcast was needed. With that, I will continue to push and I will continue to serve in the best way that I can to help you.
Thank you so much for being here, and I’ll see you on the next episode of the Teacher Career Coach podcast.
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