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You Have Permission: To Make a Major Career Shift

#becomeanidol #careerchange #careerpivot #encouragement #instructionaldesigner #learninganddevelopment #teacher Feb 25, 2022

For as long as I can remember I knew I would be a teacher. As the oldest in my family, I’ve always felt like that teacher trait was embedded into my DNA. Teaching came so naturally to me, and I loved it! No one was surprised when I pursued a degree in education after high school. Three months after I received my degree, I walked into my first year of teaching with the confidence of a twenty-year veteran. I felt unstoppable. 

Then, reality hit. I realized that there is more to teaching than you can see on the surface.The physical, mental, and emotional toll teaching takes on a person is tough. In a lot of ways, it felt like the deck was stacked against me before I ever started. It became clear early on that this job was not the forever career I had planned.

What followed was the process of changing my mindset, determining a new career path, and transitioning out of teaching. I had built my identity around my job as a teacher. It was who I was. It impacted the ways I interacted with the world and with others. Teaching drove my decisions, my thoughts, my schedule. It was hard to come to terms with leaving teaching, because I couldn’t remember who I was without it. Yet I knew that I couldn’t continue.

Perhaps you, too, have been where I was, even if your profession was something other than teaching. 

It’s so easy to let our jobs dictate who we are - our decisions, how we identify with the world or how we relate to others.

You can read more about making a career shift and how I landed my ID job here and here. But in the months since I started working in Instructional Design, I’ve come to see that I was not alone in my decision to leave teaching.  Already, I’ve spoken with several current teachers seeking advice on how to make the switch themselves. In fact, recent data from a LinkedIn study reported that the amount of teachers transitioning to new roles rose by 66% in 2021.

The pandemic escalated many challenges teachers already faced, and created brand new ones. In addition, new, controversial legislation in several states and the effect that 1-2 years of remote learning had on students and day-to-day classroom life contributed to teachers’ burnout and moral fatigue. Then, the Great Resignation showed people, teachers and non-teachers alike, that there are opportunities out there that allow you to apply your skills in a meaningful way and contribute to the success of something bigger. 


From one burnt-out teacher to another, here are a few truths that I hope you glean from not only this blog, but from the collective experience of teaching in today’s education climate:

  • Your career doesn’t define who you are as a person.
  • You deserve to be in a job where you feel valued, respected, and supported.
  • If teaching is your calling, you can still fulfill that calling outside of the classroom.
  • You have permission to explore other career paths even if you thought you’d teach forever.


When I started teaching, I had no plan B. I never planned to do something else, and figured I’d teach until retirement. I wanted that. But then my plans changed. You have permission to change your mind. The resources are there, the support is there. 


So, if you’re feeling stuck or just need that extra little push to take the next step, I hope you remember that you have permission.

Written By: Rachel Wishon

Rachel is a rising Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer from Indiana. As a former educator, she enjoys finding creative solutions to make learning stick for her learners. When she’s not building new courses or learning the world of Instructional Design, you can find her walking her puppy and catching up with her friends over coffee. Connect with Rachel on Linkedin or check out her evolving portfolio to keep up with her latest projects!