The Day My Best Career Broke My Heart

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Why this former English teacher left 170 students per year to pursue her first love. She reveals her actual earnings as a teacher and how much made with multiple streams of income several years ago. Returning to her first love, business ownership, was an outstanding way to turn a new idea into a profitable income. 

What does it mean to have a career change mid-year? Most newbie teachers desire to teach children from a position of passion. Some remain in the classroom until retirement. Other’s teach for a few years. Then, decide to move up the ladder. Let’s be honest. Moving into higher areas in education certainly, yields more money. And, those who do may still have the heart for students, but prefer to pursue leadership to help with the culture of a school and betterment for staff. Conversely, unless you move to an area of administration, director or superintendent, the money is tough to live life daily.

I began the teaching certification career my last year of grad school. Before this, I taught classes without a certification. I took the advice of someone to pursue certification, so I got hired as a highly qualified teacher through the alternate route program. For some reason, during my transition out of grad school, I did not return to entrepreneurship. My heart shifted momentarily to the classroom. I remember days in and out of experiencing mental and physical exhaustion. Teachers are required to stand on their feet a lot during classroom instruction and to monitor students while working actively. I taught English–a state tested subject, which required focused planning, data analysis, and “teaching to the test.” At the end of the day, the administration needs their passing rate numbers high. Whatever pressure came to them, also compounded the teachers.

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I entered the education profession with a B.A. and Master of Divinity from the influence and advice of a dear friend. Human Resources honored my Master’s degree and gave me two years teaching experience. My starting salary was $38K. After taxes, teacher retirement system and health care deductions, I grossed only $1900. When multiplied by 12, I had to live off of $23K. But, after paying church tithe & offering, rent, car note, car insurance, electric, gas, food, cell phone, etc. I had roughly $280 left for the month. In some states, teachers get paid monthly. I stretched $280 until my next pay day. I did take on additional hours like at Saturday school or tutoring. Teachers usually make $20 to $25 per hour, or they can get a small stipend for extracurricular activities. There still isn’t much for “living.” When I moved to teach in Texas, my salary increased to $53K. I grossed $3100 after deductions, which left me with $495 for the month. To live comfortably, teacher’s need an additional salary. It’s difficult living off of this wage. Being a visual person for numbers, I wrote something like this on a piece of paper.

Single Woman–
Annual Salary: $53,000
Annual Gross: $3100 (per month) x 12 = 37,200
Total Deductions: $53,000 – $37, 200 = $15,800
Household/Living Expenses: $36,705
Monthly Remains: $495.00
Remains By the Year: $495.00 x 12 = $5,940

Seeing my actual numbers constrained me to want administration. While teaching, I obtained a second master’s degree in Educational Leadership/Administration and completed the Principal Certification classes and intern to become an administrator. Each avenue I tried to pursue I encountered road blocks. After completing the Principal program, I listened to the advice of many leaders all to no avail. Here I am no assistant principal, no principal, and no director, which are all six-figure earning positions. However, they require more extreme stresses on the brain and body. A foot fracture and new school to teach at a year later, I get this beautiful burden to gently nudge me daily to return to my first love: entrepreneurship.

Real leaders cannot escape their call to lead. 13 years ago, I owned three businesses: a Christian Newspaper, a Graphics Company, and Music Production Company. Each entity had its revenue stream. I started working from my bedroom. Purchased a desk, upgraded my desktop, had a color laser printer to produce samples for clients, two cell phones, business cards, etc. I was in business. I received clients by word of mouth and people observed my style of work, and gravitated to it. I had a daily working niche. My numbers reflected the following:

Daily Gross: $150 (per graphic design) x 5 = $750
Weekly Gross $750 x 5 = $3750
Monthly Gross $3750 x 4 = $15,000 (includes $5K for Advertising)

Again, these numbers are from the two of my three companies. My target market was small business both for-profit and non-profit. The print industry was in heavy demand. My job was certainly direct-marketing. When I decided to pursue my Master of Divinity, it was difficult for me to work on the three businesses and study. The one thing I understood about myself was how many projects I could work on at one time. So, I put the companies on hold.

Now, I am back into it with greater force and more knowledge. Do not misunderstand my passions. I love my students. My heart said I had to find my first love, again. My first love requires more time and diligence, but it doesn’t feel as exhaustive. I enjoy waking each morning and traveling. I feel a burst of excitement helping clients and ensuring they get everything needed for their ideas and brand. I’m grateful that my first love waited so many years for my return. We are moving forward as if there was never a pause.

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