My Big Fat Life Changing Post

I’ve been waiting so long to write this post… and am so excited about it.

Some of you already know this, but I have big news:

Today is my last day at my job.

Here’s a little photo journey of my seven years as a teacher:

You may have noticed, but I don’t talk about my job too much on the blog. That’s mostly due to the fact that as a teacher, I’m considered a public figure, and just don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss it on here. I’ve been a teacher (at the same school) for seven years. And the truth is- I’ve never been happy and felt like “I love my job.” When I started teaching, I put 100% of my heart and soul into it. I would stay at school way past the end of the day and spend hours grading projects and papers every night at my home. I was the advisor to several different clubs and department chair by my second year. I got burnt out. I could go on and on about how disrespectful some of the students, parents and administrators were- but I won’t. Teaching truly is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

After my second year, massive budget cuts ensued and teachers stopped getting raises. I haven’t gotten a raise in five years- and cost of living has gone way up.

I started thinking about leaving my job four years ago- around the same time I got my Spinning instructor certification. I dreamed of having a job in the fitness industry, and always just thought one day…

The desire continued to grow over the next few years. I still continued to go to work each day, but 100% of myself into my teaching, and (in my opinion) was a pretty damn good teacher. But eventually, my heart was just so not in it anymore, it was hard to fake it. After I got my Bodypump instructor certification, the desire to move to a career in the fitness industry just continued to take over. I would come home from work completely miserable each day, and then go teach a Bodypump and Spinning class, and feel 100% better. But it was taking a huge emotional toll of me and putting a strain on my relationship with Greg. I’m sure it’s hard to be with someone who is so unhappy in their career.

Early in the spring of this year, I applied for a transfer position to a different high school. It was kind of a last-stitch effort to give teaching one more chance. I thought I was a shoo-in for the job, but they didn’t hire me. I decided to take that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be.

And then a series of events happened- and I felt like “signs” were everywhere. The same day that I found out I didn’t get the job at the other high school, I got a call from my gym’s group exercise coordinator, Jill, stating that they were going to be opening a new location in Frederick and would need a bunch of instructors to teach the classes. Without a second thought, I offered to take on whatever she needed- and ended up adding 4 more group exercise classes onto my schedule (which had only been two Spinning classes each week). I was teaching 4 Spinning classes and 2 Bodypump classes weekly- and though my new schedule was exhausting, I loved it. Instead of focusing on now unhappy I was in my full-time job, I tried to spend my energy on how much I loved my part-time job.

And then there was this post. At the end I wrote “It shouldn’t take winning the lottery for you to go after your goals and dreams- anything really is achievable in this short time that we have on earth.”

What the heck was I waiting for? WHY was I wasting years in a job that didn’t fulfill me or make me a better person? Was it fear? Money? Comfort?

After that, Greg and I talked a lot. He agreed that my full-time job was not doing me any good, and saw how happy teaching exercise classes made me. He wants me to be happy. He wants to support me. So we agreed- I needed to leave my job as a teacher and pursue my passions.

The Blend Retreat really solidified it. I talked with several of the girls about my decision to change careers and pursue my dreams, and everyone was excited and supportive. I spoke with other women that had made a career in the fitness industry, and each one of them seemed to glow when she talked about it.

The week after I returned to work from Blend, I met with my principal and put in my resignation. I agreed to complete the rest of the school year, but would not return in the fall. I walked out of work later that day with no regrets, no second-guessing my decision and like a huge weight had been lifted.

And for the record, my school board offers the option for a leave of absence, which is what I took. Therefore, if I change my mind, I have two years to return to my job as a teacher. I am seriously doubting that I’ll ever return, but it’s good to have a safety net.

So what’s next? That’s a good question!

No, seriously- I have a pretty good plan. I picked up one more Bodypump class, which starts in July, so I’ll be teaching at least seven a week. Obviously I physically can’t make a living as a full-time (40 hours a week) group exercise instructor, but I can as a personal trainer. I took a 12 week personal trainer course about 3 years ago, and just never took the exam. I never felt like I had the time to study for it- but I do now! I’m hoping to have my personal training certification by mid-fall, and then will begin training at the gym that I currently teach at. And then from there- who knows? The sky is the limit. And hopefully, we’ll be in Colorado sooner rather than later!

I’m so excited and happy with this decision and feel 100% certain that it is the right choice for me- and will only make my life better. And even though he doesn’t really read my blog, I have to give a special thanks to Greg- because without his support, none of this would be possible.

Do you have a “dream” job? If so, what is it?

Comments

  1. YAY!!! Congratulations for being brave enough to make the switch. I love when people who are not happy in their jobs are able to make a change to something they will love, it’s so incredibly inspiring and empowering! I can’t wait to read more about your journey!! :)

  2. Congrats! You’ve got a lot to look forward to.
    My mom just retired after 28 yrs of teaching – teaching has to be one of the toughest jobs.

    • Wow- congrats to your mom! I bet she is happy to be retired (though she must have loved teaching to stay with it that long!)

  3. Congratulations! That’s such a huge step and it sounds like it’s the right on.
    I love the company I work for and my coworkers, but I’m not happy with my job itself. I’m not even sure what my dream job would be, but I feel like I need to start thinking about that more seriously. I was 20 when I graduated from a 3 year college program..I think that is WAY too young to be entering the “real world” and to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Your post has inspired me to start seriously thinking about all of this :)

    • Right on- you should definitely take a step back and think about what your “dream job” would be. For me, it was thinking “if money was no object, what would I want to do?”

  4. This is a great post, lover, and I’m really excited for you. I know we’ve spoken more in-depth about your experiences as a teacher, and I am really happy for you and think that this is a great step. It’s really great that you do have the option to go back IF (and that’s a big if, of course) things don’t work out — hopefully that makes you feel even more at ease with your decision. Hilariously, even with your notes about not liking it, I’m still pretty into what I’m doing right now in preparation of going back to school in order to teach, hahaha. But who knows? If it doesn’t work out, maybe after a few years of teaching I’ll have really discovered what I’m truly meant to do, too. :D

    • Thanks doll! Teaching is a great profession, if your heart’s in it! Mine just wasn’t.
      And if you give it a go and don’t love it- it takes you one step closer to figuring out what your dream job is. But who knows- you might LOVE it!
      MISS YOU!

  5. Congratulations! You are off to great start in capturing all of your dreams!

  6. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your passion and excitement and courage and EVERYTHING is so inspiring. Thank you for stepping out there and not being afraid to follow your dreams. I hope to follow in your footsteps in the near future (not the fitness instructor part, but the following your dreams part) :)

    • You will- you are so smart and driven and creative! I can’t wait to hear about YOUR journey next! xoxo

  7. eeeek! I’m tingling over here. I have been waiting all summer for you to write this post!

    I’m still trying to figure out what the hell I want to do. I’m with you — I don’t talk about my job much on my blog. I do talk about design, but not what I do for a living — not appropriate. I like what I do, but again, it’s not 100%. I also think I’m one of those people that has to have a variety of things to be happy. So if I could be part-time doing a few things I love, then I think I’ll be happy. Mark said his goal is to get a job so I don’t really HAVE to work, but I would never NOT work (unless we have kids — then my job will be AT HOME) … when I sit down and think about it my dream job is a few things:

    1) Fitness instructor / Personal trainer 1/2 to 2/3 of the time
    2) Graphic designer/Communications specialist for a non-profit that I truly believe in 1/3 – 1/2 time — something that allows me to telecommute and come in for meetings

    • I think the fact that you have some really solid ideas (and passions) is a great start. Funny enough- I still have a huge passion for graphic design. It’s what my bachelors is in, and what I always wanted to do. And I design stuff all the time- mostly for myself and for friends, and sometimes make a little money off of it. I don’t know if I’ll ever “really” do it for a job, but it’s great to have the skills (and I can easily lose myself for hours designing a project).
      Go get a certification and start teaching some classes! Spinning is super easy to get- and fun! ;)

  8. … and I’m reallllly glad we chatted about this at Blend. You inspired ME and I am hoping once Mark gets his job and we can be financially stable no matter what I do that I can start figuring this piece of the puzzle out.

  9. I am SO happy for you! My dream job is to be a mom, masseuse, and life coach.

    • You can do it all! My friend Ken is a former teacher who quit his job to be a personal trainer- and now he’s in massage school (in Frederick) too!

  10. Good for you for pursuing your dreams! There is nothing better or more rewarding than doing what you love! Congratulations. My dream job is to be a mother, CrossFit coach, and nutrition counselor!

  11. Woohooo!!! I’m so happy for you!! Teaching is soo draining if your heart’s not in it. When I had to teach a few high school classes (totally an elem teacher!!), I kind of hated my life! And that’s not cool. Congratulations!!! My dream job is probably to have like 20 part time jobs, teaching, teaching piano, blogging, doing fitness stuff, all of the above. Lol. We’ll see how that shakes out this next year!! Hooray!!!

    • I’m certified pre-K through 12 and wonder if I’d like elementary more… maybe. But I’m not going to be finding out any time soon. :)
      Being a jack of all trades is a GOOD thing. Doing the same thing every day gets so boring!

  12. Congratulations!! I’m so excited for you. Your story is really inspiring. I’ve also been at my job for seven years, and I haven’t been happy pretty much since day one. Perhaps this is the kick in the butt I need to start looking critically at my own situation.

    • Thank you!! Life is too darn short to be unhappy- because there’s so much happiness out there just waiting for you to grab it! Cheesy- I know- but it’s true!

  13. Congrats Lauren! I saw you post something about this on Facebook and wondered when you would announce it on the blog. Here’s to good things happening to you and being happy in your career. Cheers!

    I was not happy as a graphic designer and after taking a role as a marketing coordinator where I am doing more writing, social media and marketing, I am much happier. It’s a lower-level position than where I was, but I often hear the art department talking (I sit next to them) and I think to myself that I am so happy that I chose to change career paths.

    • I’m so happy for YOU, and finding something that makes you happy! I’d much rather make a little less money and love what I’m doing!
      And thanks, by the way! :)

  14. so proud of and excited for you!

  15. Lauren,
    Congratulations!! It really helps to have Greg’s support. I fell in love with the fitness industry over 20 years ago. It’s hard to believe I’ve been teaching group exercise for about 25 years. I did try to make a career in the health club industry but could never make the finances work. I need the good benefits and the work schedule of a corporate office with the teaching on the side.
    I know many personal trainers and they love their job. It is a great industry and always new trends to learn and follow. Good luck. Also, you seem to know so much nutrition. That is an added benefit.
    Patty

    • Thanks, Patty! I definitely couldn’t do it without Greg’s support (and benefits and all that stuff!). I’m really excited to see where it leads!

  16. I am so, so happy for you! Congratulations! I can totally sympathize with being unhappy in a career – and you are so right – life is too short to spend years at jobs we don’t enjoy. I took a leap last fall when I left full-time SEO work to blog and do part-time SEO consulting, and I would love to one day leave SEO completely behind and focus on writing/recipe development. It may happen in the next year (fingers crossed!), but for now, I have a nice balance of doing what I enjoy and being able to contribute financially.

    I would LOVE to take one of your bodypump/spinning classes one day! :)

    • Amanda- I love your story. I have actually re-read it a few times over the last few months – it’s inspiring!
      I’m sure you’ll be able to recipe write full-time one day soon. Your recipes and photos are so beautiful!
      Come visit Maryland- you can take both classes with me! :)

  17. Congratulations!!!!! I am so glad you are following your dreams.

  18. biggest risk yet biggest reward!! I love it! and my dream job? Well, i am living it. hard to make money but it makes me happy! so cheers!

  19. I just found your blog today through Healthy Living Blogs…I clicked because you live in Frederick (I’m in Hagerstown). Congratulations on your new career! That is so exciting! I am actually starting to come up with new career ideas myself because I will be out of work in August. Your bravery is inspiring and I wish you all the best :)

    • Whoa- a local! I’ll have to check out your blog!!
      Thanks for the congrats- and good luck to you on your new job ventures after August!

  20. Lauren, I’m so happy for you!! CONGRATULATIONS! I am so happy, but sooo envious. I am really not enjoying my job/jobs i’ve had over the last couple of years, and have wanted to break into the health/fitness industry for a couple of years now. Sadly, teaching classes wouldnt cover my NYC rent or credit card debt, haha, but i am definitely wanting to do it part-time!!

    • Jen- you’ll get there! Just keep pursuing your passions. You should DEFINITELY teach classes part-time. Not only will you love it, you’ll be getting paid to work out!

  21. Congrats!!!!!! This is SOOOO exciting :) Having a career in the fitness/health industry is THE best. I seriously love it. It’s like waking up every day with excitement, and boy does that feel good. SO proud of you, Lauren!!

  22. How exciting! It’s funny, I’m actually trying to get a teaching job right now. :) I give you serious props for following your dream and doing what makes you happy. I’ve seen too many teachers who teach for 25-ish years but are totally burnt out and jaded. You’re not doing kids any favors by being unhappy as a teacher. So good work on pursuing your dreams!

  23. Gillian says:

    Its a new day!! Go get ‘em, cuz. I’ll be so excited to hear about your adventures on the road to a more fulfilling career!
    I think Im en route to my dream job, but more importantly, the journey is everything I want it to be!

  24. You quit your job and walked away from that conversation without regrets…that right there says you did the right thing!

    When we decided to move out to CO I quit a solid job with a promising management future and walking out of HR I was relieved. I was voluntarily becoming unemployed as was The Husband, but I didn’t regret it or even freak out about it {at least not yet…}. I can’t say that I have a perfect job right now but I quit to move to a new state, a new city, a new life…and that I can say was totally, 110% worth it. So, I guess what I’m saying is that in my experience being able to walk away without regrets means you are on a pretty good path!

    Congrats and good luck with the next step! :)

    • It always makes me feel really happy to hear that people who move to Colorado love it- not that I ever had any doubt. :)

  25. I love this and I can relate in so many ways. I’m strongly considering moving home with my parents so that I can get my personal training (and group exercise?) certificate while saving money and figuring out where I want to live and how I want my life to look. Enough has happened at my current job that I’m just burnt out and in need of something different and new because I’m not in it anymore.

    Good for you. I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to see where this step in your future takes you. And maybe someday swap stories. :)

    • Katie- you should DEFINITELY do it! If that’s where your passion is- go for it!! It will definitely be worth it. And yes- I’d love to swap stories too!

  26. Congratulations! I love looking back at pictures to see how much I’ve changed.

  27. That’s exactly how I feel with my current job, but hopefully I have changes coming soon, too ;) Oh, and this is totally a sign that you should jump on the Colorado bandwagon and head on over permanently :D

  28. Congratulations on your new journey! I just found your blog today and I couldn’t get over how much we have in common. Like you, yesterday was my last day of teaching in the public school system (my heart wasn’t in it any longer…after 8 years), fitness is also my passion, and I’m from Maryland. :) I’m so happy I found your blog and I am looking forward to being a follower. Congratulations again on your new journey!

    • Kristin! We DO have a lot in common- crazy!! I checked out your blog and your recipes are awesome!! Where in MD are you? I thought I saw that you did a race in Annapolis? There’s a great network of DC area bloggers, and we’re due for a get-together soon! Stay in touch!! (And congrats to you too!)

  29. Congratulations, Lauren! You’re very lucky to know what you are passionate about and now can go after it. Good luck!

  30. Congrats! This is an amazing step that is both nerve wrecking and so exciting!!!

    I love that you can take a leave of absence too. Its always nice to have a just in case. :)

    So excited for you!!!!

  31. Yeah! I’m so happy for you! And I am glad your husband was supportive of you quitting! I am excited to keep following your blog and see where life takes you!

  32. I’m so excited for you Lauren!!! Congratulations! I know how scary and exciting changing careers can be, but sometimes you just gotta dive in and do it. I’m looking forward to hearing about your new journey in the fitness industry! :)

  33. Oh my gosh. I am so happy for you. And proud of you. And just. Completely and painfully jealous. I hope one day to be able to write a post just like this. <3 <3 <3

  34. My dream job is to be a Broadway actress.

    But no, in sall seriousnes, I’m SO happy for you! When I was laid off last year, I took it as a sign I wasn’t meant to teach…eventually I realized I missed it too much not to be doing it. Am I still unsure some times that this “is it”? Yes. But I think it is SO important to follow those feelings and signs and know that doors might seem to close…but that doesn’t mean you can’t knock ‘em back down with a sledgehammer if you change your mind.

    Or something.

  35. Shannon says:

    Congrats Lauren!! That’s fantastic!! On a side note, my maiden name is Beach. It’s not such a common last name! ;)

  36. Hi! I just came across your blog, and am already loving it. I’m SO inspired by this post. Right now I work in the corporate world, but I’m not sure it’s where I want to spend the next 35 years. What I really want to do is becoming a registered acupuncturist (I credit acupuncture with releasing me from the grips of an eating disorder). It’s a complete 180 from my educational and work background, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that might truly be my calling.

  37. um, how did i miss this post before?! of course i knew about your job change but somehow missed this post. i’m proud of you for taking charge and following your dreams!

  38. So I’m way behind to this party, but congratulations. That’s amazing changing jobs and following your dreams. I actually like my job but I like nutrition and fitness so much better. I’m thinking of making a change too, but I need to wait a few more years before making a big move. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get certified as a spinning instructor because I love, love, love spinning. Hearing your story makes me know it’s possible. Thanks!!

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