Ask Ayana Iman is a bi-monthly advice column where real women anonymously submit their questions about work, life, and love. In response, certified life coach Ayana Iman drops some much-needed gems. Check out this newest segment below.
Dear Ayana Iman: I have been a teacher for the last six years and I'm not in a place where I want to try my plan A again in order to pursue my career. I recently got married and my husband supports my dream to write sitcoms/movie scripts. I even taught for a year in South Korea while getting my Master's degree. I am no longer happy with my job and truly worn out but I'm really good at my job. Everyone else seems to think it's "my calling" but I genuinely do not feel this way about my career. I have recently experienced several close family members pass away and it always makes me question how I want to be remembered and how important it is to really live your life and follow your dreams. Should I take the leap of faith with becoming a writer or stay in my comfort zone with teaching? Please help. Thanks.
"Everyone else seems to think it's my calling…" What do you think is your calling? That's most important. From your own education to years on the job, you seem like a very ambitious woman who has been dedicated to becoming the best teacher possible. That itch you're feeling shouldn't be ignored. Having a major loss in your life is one of the biggest determinants for a career change. Time is precious, as I'm sure you've come to know. You now have several reasons to take a leap of faith.
The next leg of your journey does not have to be a painful departure from the present. Before quitting, make sure you have maximized all opportunities at your current job, most notably, taking a sabbatical. A sabbatical is a period of paid or (most likely) unpaid leave granted to a worker for study, travel, or restoring their health, traditionally for six months to one year. This time could be used to fully focus on your writing and building relationships without losing your salary. The beauty about being a teacher is that you have the summers off, which is an additional 2-3 months of uninterrupted bliss. Plan your sabbatical to coincide with your summer vacation to truly maximize your experience.
While the appeal of having your husband financially support your dreams is strong, I believe you would be better served by keeping your independence. As newlyweds, this shift in your career and finances could change your relationship, for better or for worse. You must find additional streams of revenue to offset your personal costs to limit any potential ambiguity. Some valid options include:
- Pitching to news outlets for writing opportunities. Writing frequently will strengthen your skill set, and the byline of a school teacher choosing to live her dreams makes for great branding.
- Teaching at your local community college or university as an adjunct professor will give you a stable income and flexible schedule.
These suggestions aren't to deter you from receiving help from your husband. I'm sure he's a perfectly good guy that is more than capable of taking care of his woman but not without a conversation about expectations. The life of a writer is not traditional and inspiration is needed to produce that award-winning script. Will he support you through writing blocks, extended quiet time on your laptop, and days less productive than others? This is that transformative moment to work out your kinks, starting with your goals and ending with your fears, so that as partners, you are committed to seeing it through.
I hope you choose to take a leap of faith and invest in yourself. You cannot spend your days pouring into your students and letting them know the possibilities of life when you aren't accepting of this truth. I'm rooting for you.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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