Career Shift : Now What?

As I drove to work this morning, I went through my typical morning wake-up ritual. I turned the music up excessively loud as I drove away from my sitter’s house where my sweet little ladies were nestled back to sleep. 6:05 am and my current guilty pleasure jam comes blaring through my speakers, “Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly (don’t judge… who can really be held accountable for their decisions at 6 am?). Good music means a good day in my mental wake-up call.


As I am turning down the hill that will lead me out of the small town I call home, I begin to notice things. Small things. I notice how it’s already beginning to lighten outside and the faint hint of pink past the railroad tracks seems to just line the trees ever so slightly. I notice how quickly my drive seems to pass before me. Suddenly I am in the outskirts of my town where my husband and I started out together, with only a few cents to rub together. He was working away all of the time, and I was double dipping between substitute teaching and full time graduate school (round one). In a flash I am taken back to my first day driving to work, nervous, feeling like 6:15 am was so crazy early to be leaving my house. I can feel the butterflies all over as if I’ve never taught there before. I can remember the first student who walked through my door on the first student day realizing I only had one student in my first period study hall. The nerves that had gripped me melting away.

And just like that I am pulled from that memory as the radio personalities are discussing Random Acts of Kindness and I am back here, in the present thinking about the service project I have had brewing in the back of my mind for my students. Realizing “down the road” no longer means in my classroom, with my students, in my comfort zone, the harsh reality hits me across the face. I am leaving. I will be leaving my classroom. I will no longer make this drive, follow this route, use this routine, none of it will exist in my life in a matter of weeks.


By this point I am turning into Amish country and the sun is casting a rosy glow across the fields accented by sharp black tree silhouettes. These mornings are so peaceful and offer a solid 45 minute wake up call to my mind as I begin to scan through my mental to-to list for the day. What will I do to organize my thoughts when I no longer drive to work each day? How will my routine shift?

This is top on my list of to-dos. I must determine what this new position in my life will look like. Perhaps it will involve that ever annoying task of incorporating fitness back in to my life. Somehow I know that is not going to be part of my new routine but entertain the idea for the hell of it.

I know that making breakfast for my family each day is top on my bucket list of new morning rituals. Perhaps waking up an hour before everyone else, setting up my “classroom” and preparing breakfast can replace my morning therapeutic drive? Who knows, maybe I will sleep soundly until the first little lady awake pulls me from my bed.

What I do know is that I am in charge. I control where life takes me next and I’m more than ready to make this shift, personally, professionally, and proactively.


  • Whitney

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