Project: Apply-for-a-new-job is inching a long. I’ve been doing some reconnaissance, having lunch or dinner with people who teach, or have taught, high school. I’ve even been fortunate enough to talk with people who’ve taught both high school and middle school foreign language, which has been especially helpful. For the most part, my previous assumptions have been confirmed, but I have learned a few important things. Talking with other people has been a good way to get started.
I haven’t started working on my resume yet. I think that will have to wait until spring break, in early April, but I may try to work on it sooner. I brushed it up a couple of years ago, and I haven’t done much since then, so it shouldn’t require too much work. That is one of the problems with teaching, not much changes from year to year.
I’m coming to understand that there probably won’t be many positions that I can truly consider, at least not without taking a significant pay cut. Between the differences in pay throughout the peninsula, and that fact that all my years won’t be honored at my next school (at the most they would accept ten of my twelve years, but the reality is most will probably only offer to accept seven or eight), I will almost certainly have to take a $10-20K pay cut to make this change, at least I would to teach at the kind of school I’m interested in (small, alternative, not requiring I use a certain textbook exclusively). I didn’t think that would be the case, but as I look into positions that are being posted, I’m realizing it is. There is still a chance that I could make the change without losing pay, but I think those opportunities will be exceptions.
Do I delay financial security in search of professional satisfaction? If I were miserable at my job, and I really believed a position that required a pay check would be more satisfying, then I would say yes, absolutely. I would forgo padding our savings account or contributing more to retirement for a few years if it meant I could be happier at my job now. (Is this foolish and shortsighted?) But the truth is I’m not miserable. I could stay at this position, where I make more, and have tenure (and seniority! So much seniority!) and not be unhappy. There is a vast chasm between miserable and satisfied, and I am hovering somewhere in the middle. And I think I can hover in the same okay-enough place for a while longer.
It’s disheartening to be sure, and it makes it harder to motivate on the more difficult tasks of revamping my resume and writing cover letters. But I’m going to continue on this path, at least until summer, so that I can be sure that staying is the decision I should make. My goal moving forward is to ditch all this assumption and gather concrete information so I can truly make this decision and then let it go. Maybe I can revisit it in 3.5 years when my son is out of full-time day care and we have more room in our monthly budget to absorb a decrease in income. Of course by then I’ll need to take an even greater pay cut, as I’ll have even more years that won’t be honored by my next employer, but if that is the way I have to play it, so be it.
Have you ever had to choose between financial security and personal or professional satisfaction? How you make the choice if it were presented now?