Rediscover your professional power after a life shift

Written by Paige Hardy


It finally happened.  You escaped those oppressive walls of your employment situation.  You feel elated by the freedom from responsibility and so excited about what is to come next.  There is another feeling though. There is a twinge of guilt for those coworkers or clients who will not be a part of your life because knowing them enriched your existence.  You know they will be left inside those oppressive walls without you there to lend your support. It is a bittersweet time.

I went through this experience in February of 2017.  Navigating the world and life after being a classroom teacher has admittedly been a challenge.  It has been so challenging because of the special skills I acquired.  I became a master of organization and prioritization.  I know how to command a room and I’m ready for anything.  Adjusting to life after flexing those super powers on a daily basis is what may be difficult for you.  It surely has been for me.  I have learned so much along the way over the past year and a half.  I want to share with you this great, ongoing adventure and what I have learned about holding onto my residual super powers in 3 short ways.

When I decided to resign from teaching, I knew I would attend graduate school to earn a Master’s degree.  The first academic year of the 2-year program has ended and boy, what a time it has been.  I have engaged in rewarding lessons so far in the graduate school program and, based on my time since leaving the classroom teacher life behind for the grad student life, I will introduce you to 3 tips for rediscovering those super powers.  Think about it.  In your former career, I’m sure you pulled things off that other adults would never dream they could accomplish.  You successfully handled each day as it came and you can still wow everyone watching.  These tips were inspired by my own experience and “The 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership” from a graduate school, class-assigned book, The Leadership Challenge.


Tip 1  Go out and DO things!

Now that your former career is over, you may want to take some time to yourself.  You may feel as though you need to not work for awhile or work less.  Don’t do it!  You have special, important skills you’ve honed.  You need that stimulation and opportunity.  You may feel like you want a long, official break but it may end up making you feel worse.  Keep those professional juices flowing by planning your next move and carrying out your upcoming goals.  Happiness will follow!


Tip 2 Find your people

In your former career, you may have had a team of support and several people inspiring you.  When you find your next step, lean on those around you.  The transition will be difficult and you have relationships with loved ones for support but also trust the people in your new environment.  Sometimes being open about your professional experience while fully embracing your new path will foster meaningful relationships with your contemporaries.


Tip 3 Heed your intuition

The same way you did in your former career,  heed your intuition as you enter your next phase of life.  In your past occupation, your intuition in a given situation never let you or your coworkers down.  That same feeling may push you forward down this new path too.  It took a lot of courage and strength to leave your career behind, you know what you are doing.  Do not be afraid to express your gut feelings to your colleagues.


There you have it!

You’re ready to take on and embrace your new role.  Your professional involvement helped shape who you are and provided you with experiences you will never forget.  You have an advantage because of this!  Trust the leader who will always live inside you and continue to flex those super powers.