I’m a young woman in my early 30s and I have a “permanent pensionable job”. I’m a teacher. While I don’t mind teaching, I don’t really get much fulfilment from it either.
To tell the truth, when I was in school myself I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. My mother steered me towards teaching and I just went with it. I loved college and when I went out teaching first, I found it grand. Of course, the holidays were a big bonus.
I’m really only clocking in and out, mostly focusing on the time teaching gives me to pursue my other interests
Over the past few years though, the shine has gone off it for me. I’m really only clocking in and out, mostly focusing on the time teaching gives me to pursue my other interests, primarily fitness.
The last couple of years, I’ve taken to going to the gym in a big way. I would say at this stage it’s my passion.
I’ve come to the conclusion since the pandemic that I want to leave my job and become a full-time personal trainer. But any friends and family I’ve said this to have told me they think it’s a terrible idea!
One of my friends even told me that I’m too smart to become a personal trainer, which I think is really, really snobby
My mother said I’d be mad to give up a “good” job like teaching. One of my friends even told me that I’m too smart to become a personal trainer, which I think is really, really snobby. Others said it would be a smarter idea to do this as a side hustle.
This has all made me pretty confused.
I really feel like I want to leave teaching, but would I be mad to do it, Miriam?
Dear Tepid Teacher,
Thank you very much for getting in touch.
I could dedicate much of this response to discussing the pros and cons of one career versus another, but really, it is abundantly clear from your email what you want. You want to become a personal trainer and give up teaching.
If you want to become a personal trainer, then do it
I have said it often in this column, you should do what makes you happy, not what makes others happy. Therefore, while it is undoubtedly well meaning, the advice of your friends and family is largely irrelevant. If you want to become a personal trainer, then do it.
This may sound quite morbid, but I find what can often help in making these big decisions is imagining the end of your life: what will you regret more, staying in teaching your whole life or pursuing your passion?
Go for it!
There will always be a job for you to go back to. Really, it is not that bad of an outcome
For what it is worth, there are ways to pursue personal training in a more sensible manner. Could you get the qualification for personal training and do it part time alongside teaching for a while? If so, this might be prudent.
However, at the end of the day, it might be also helpful to put things into context: what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work out (pardon the pun) and you have to go back teaching. There will always be a job for you to go back to. Really, it is not that bad of an outcome.
Also, would you possibly qualify for a career break? That might also be an option.
Regardless, whatever you do and pursue, do so with conviction and your whole heart.
Better to have tried and failed, than never have tried at all.
Wishing you all the best,