Author Topic: Am I jumping from the frying pan into the fire? (follow up on teacher burnout)  (Read 1235 times)

takemewest

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I wrote earlier in the year about teacher burnout and major family changes that were making me feel ready for a new career path and higher salary. I got some really incredible feedback and helpful suggestions (along with some really thoughtful messages--thank you!). I went on the job market and was recently offered a great-paying job in an education-adjacent field in a nice enough town in the midwest.

Much about it seems perfect from the outside--I'd get to stay in my field, work with students a bit still, but also have a management role and chances to lead/direct vision, and I'd get a major salary bump. But, the organization is looking for a decent amount of financial vision, too, and buy-in with some restructuring to make it more financially stable, which I wasn't quite expecting with the role. I think the first 2-3 years would involve some incredibly difficult decisions and high-stress logistics to work with the team and get the financial ship righted, so to speak, but I know it can be done.

We all believe in the mission, so that's a huge benefit, but I'm honestly not sure what I bring to the table in this realm, and I'm already stressed about not having answers or really knowing what I could contribute. The team doesn't seem worried because they feel like my energy and passion for the mission is what's really needed.

I know I'm burned out. Summer is just around the corner. I'm nervous that making this type of huge change in the midst of what has been an incredibly difficult year is just asking for more trouble.  On the other hand, perhaps the higher salary (more than double!) and chance to work on what I think are some mission-critical things would be inspiring?

Open to face punches either way.


SunnyDays

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If youíre going to be burned out anyway, might as well get a lot more money for it!  If itís the job itself that is doing you in, then a different one in new surroundings might be therapeutic.  But if youíre just plain exhausted, a move might not be the best thing.  Summer is 3 or 4 months away - a lifetime if every day is a struggle.  Can you take some sick leave now and/or take a year off next year?  Maybe just do some subbing instead?

former player

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Looking at the new job in isolation from your current burn-out it looks great: a mission you believe in, a team that believes in you, the chance to learn new skills (you are a teacher, you know how that's done) and more pay.

I don't think you need to worry too much about the financial stuff: I've always seen financials as pretty basic: you get the numbers, you work out what they mean has happened, you work out what's going to happen if you don't change anything, you work out what's going to happen if you do change things.  Frankly, a lot simpler than dealing with people and a heck of a lot easier than dealing with kids.

I think the bigger issue is how you recover from your current burn-out.  When do you need to start the new job and how much time can you take off work before then?  If you can do a short resignation period or take sick leave (this is a real thing, not malingering, when a job leaves you burnt out) then you may find that you have time to recover and re-energise for the new job.  Lots of sleep, some daily exercise, good food, friends/family and maybe a therapist to unburden yourself to and be validated as how justified your current burn-out is would be my prescription for recovery (and yes, I've been there, done that).

Bettersafe

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Kind of a different situation but I'm also diagnosed with a burn-out and facing job-change. As the change makes me tired just thinking about it my therapist explained to me that staying in the current situation is nog going to help my path of recovery. I do think that makes sense so I'm trying to work things out with my employer and after wil start looking at the job-market.

So, in my humble opinion, I think you should go for it. Your recent situation is not giving you enough to fully recover.

takemewest

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If itís the job itself that is doing you in, then a different one in new surroundings might be therapeutic.  But if youíre just plain exhausted, a move might not be the best thing. 

That's part of what's making this a hard decision--I actually don't know if it's the job, or just the extenuating circumstances this year. The job is always hard. Teaching is a high burnout profession. But outside aspects have really piled it on this year and taken their toll. Honestly, I feel plain exhausted. Like, the idea of saying yes and selling our house, moving and jumping into high stakes decisions makes me want to retreat to a hole. But then I think, after a year or so it would probably be fine, and I'd be making great money. Surviving that first year feels like a big if, and all my mental safety nets would be gone (the friends I hang out with to decompress, the major access to outdoor and wilderness therapy that I take part in every weekend to keep my sanity).

The financial stuff is highly tied to some legacy decisions/products and also personnel, and I sort of got the impression that while folks are excited for change, it will be harder/more entrenched than they imagine (probably why no one has made those hard calls yet, and why my "energy" seems so appealing).

There'd be no break between ending this year and beginning this new gig. I don't want to break my contract mid-year in case we want to be in this district in the future, so they would already be waiting a few months for me to start. It would be just enough time to move out and get there. On the flip side, I'd no longer have the immediate energy suck of being in front of young adults all day, which might immediately provide some respite.

SunnyDays

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Well, there are ways to do this that are less stressful, although it might cost more.  You could rent out your house furnished and rent something in the new location that is also furnished.  If you decide itís going to be a permanent change down the road, you can sell/buy then once things are established and you have more energy.

In the meantime, if you have to hire out the help (cleaner, handyman, take out meals etc.) that will allow you to spend your time and energy focusing on feeling better, then do that.  Spring break is coming up, so take this time to do whatever you want to do to recharge.  Book an adults only hotel with a pool and spa; do something creative or physical, since your job is mainly social and cognitive; farm out the kids if you have them and stay home in your pyjamas for a few days, napping as much as you want.

Brainstorm about how to get this done in as low stress a way as possible, because it sounds like you canít keep going the way you are.