I was reading the comments in Millennial Money Man’s post, From Teacher to $12,000 A Month, and saw a comment from someone who was considering becoming a teacher.
The “I think I want to become a teacher” moment is something I’ve experienced as well.
I think it’s relatively common.
I remember talking with a coworker at my last job who was considering leaving his six-figure job to pursue teaching.
He wanted to help kids and give back to the community.
It would require great sacrifice though and he’d have to give up his high-salary and his lifestyle. He’d have to pursue some type of outside education and then start networking his way into a new career.
It would take some serious commitment and he just wasn’t ready for that type of commitment.
I think many people don’t go for their goals because they are afraid of the commitment. They feel stuck.
Why Going 100% Towards Your Goals Isn’t That Great Either
Others, go full-speed ahead towards their goals and then get-half way through the commitment and realize they want out.
It’s not hard to find a law-school dropout who owes $50,000 for the year they spent pursuing a degree they never earned.
Or someone who switched into a totally new career, like teaching, but then realized it’s not what they dreamt it to be.
Or someone who paid a crazy amount of money for their dream home only to realize that they don’t actually like living there after all.
You Don’t Need to Commit 100% To Get The Same Benefits
What if I told you that you can get the same benefit with only a fraction of the commitment?
My post, How I Skipped The MBA And Got An Online Degree In Tech, has been one of the more popular posts on this site.
I continue to get emails from people asking me what specific online program I used and my thoughts on if they should pursue the degree.
If you read the post carefully, you’ll realize that I didn’t actually have to complete the degree, to get the dream tech job.
I got the offer to work for a tech giant after only completing 5 out of the 11 required courses for the program.
I totally could have quit and never finished my degree after I got the job. There was no stipulation from my employer that I finish the degree and the courses are only loosely related to my day to day job (as many students realize).
I would have saved myself countless study hours and money for the percentage of courses and books that were not reimbursed by my employers last year.
I kept trucking along though and finished the degree. I finally graduated two weeks ago.
I did enjoy it and think I learned some useful stuff, but I’m kidding myself if I think it was actually necessary for me to finish.
There were two important lessons I learned from this scenario.
1) Quitters Can Win!
I think as humans, we’re programmed to finish what we started because, “quitters never win.”
I think sometimes though we continue to go down a path because we’re afraid of quitting.
When in reality, we will probably be just fine stopping before we get any further.
Before you find yourself too far down a path, re-evaluate your goals. If you have already achieved your goal, you may be better off working towards a new goal.
2) There Are Multiple Ways to Skin A Cat
For me, starting the online degree motivated me to find a scholarship which led to me going to a women in tech conference for free which led to my current job.
The degree gave me some credibility and added networking opportunities, but it wasn’t totally necessary for the end result.
When you compare it to the expensive M.B.A I almost pursued, yeah my online part-time degree was the cheaper, lower-committment alternative, but you could do something for even less commitment than I did, and get a similar result.
For example, you can just pay for the ticket to the conference and learn to sell yourself without a degree.
Find the Lower Commitment Path And Get the Same Result
I was doing my usual Zillow deep dive last night and was searching through all of the properties in my current location of interest (it changes quite frequently).
I emailed a realtor and started to convince my husband that we needed to move and buy this house.
It was by the waterfront with gorgeous ocean views and it was cheap, cheap, cheap! I pictured sunsets and boat rides and dinners with friends on the balcony.
I woke up this morning with a clearer head though and remembered that I can easily experience the lifestyle I imagined with less commitment.
I know better than anyone what it feels like to have house regret and feel stuck.
We bought a house on a whim in 2014 and wouldn’t necessarily consider that a success.
I realized that I could and should experience the lifestyle I’m dreaming about first before deciding if I actually want it.
I can get that lifestyle for less by renting other people’s homes on Airbnb in the exact location that I’m thinking about purchasing.
If we like it, then we can move forward with the commitment. Or, we can move on when our minds change again.
The flexibility to “quit” our lifestyle saves us more money in the long run.
If you haven’t signed up yet for Airbnb, try it out with this $35 credit.
How To Become A Teacher With No Commitment
Back to where this post started – teaching.
I actually stumbled upon the answer to the “Should I Quit My Job And Become A Teacher?” question in 2011.
I taught a gifted and talented program to third graders at my local library for 10 weeks.
I just walked into the library and told the librarian that I wanted to start this program.
They did a background check and let me put up signs in the library and in the local newsletter advertising the program.
I was up and running in about three weeks.
The first week I only had one student but by the second week, I had ten students (since parents are so competitive and once word got out that there was a “gifted and talented” program at the library, they all wanted their kids to join).
It was AWESOME!
I got to pick my own curriculum each week (no standardized tests to worry about), I got to pick my own hours (I was able to keep my full-time job) and I got all of the benefits of teaching (giving back to the community and helping to make a difference in kid’s lives).
My point is that you don’t have to commit yourself to a 40-hour a week teaching job, a masters degree, or any of the other hoopla to get what you want.
Get a little creative and get the same result.
(Except when it comes to marriage – I’m glad I made that commitment haha!)
What do you think about all of this? Do you have examples in your life that you can share?
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