How a Lost Job Can Be a New Beginning

Hi Ronnie Ann,

I’m so down in the dumps I feel like crying. I am a school teacher who’s pilot program was discontinued over the summer due to budget cuts. Since June, I’ve been applying for teaching jobs in a three county-wide area. There haven’t been many jobs, and most of the time I’m not even contacted for an interview.

Of the three interviews I’ve had, I felt things had gone well only to be the one NOT chosen. I have 10 years of experience and have even written over 40 teacher resource books. My references are great, and I’ve also been certified in Gifted and Talented as well as ESOL. I am told that around here it’s not what you know, but who you know – but that’s such an old excuse I don’t know if I believe it.

I’m about ready to quit teaching for good. For 6 months, I’ve been trying to look on the bright side, but that bright side’s a’fadin’ fast! Any words of encouragement?



Hi Susana!

Awwww! I’d like to give you a BIG hug. Oh how I wish I knew someone near you. I’d make that call to get you a job in a minute! 😉

In the meantime…and I speak from MUCH personal experience here… sometimes life sends change our way whether we want it or not. But I’ve always found new doors open up for me when I chose to go with the flow and see what else was out there for me. I feel there may be something out there you never would have found had all these roadblocks not arisen. You have SO much to offer. We just need to figure out how to get you looking in places where those exact skills are needed and where the right people are there for you to connect with!

That said…I just want to say that wherever you live, knowing people (networking) is one of the best ways to get a job, especially in a tight economy. So whether that’s really what’s going on, it’s important to add good networking contacts to your job-hunting tool kit ASAP.

I of course don’t know where you live or what the over-all job picture is, but there are a few things I can share that might help:

First…are there any organizations you or those close to you belong to that can help provide you some of those networking connections you need? If you haven’t already done so, enlist the help of everyone you know. This includes social groups, trade organizations, and even connections to local universities/colleges. If not, can you find one or two to join? Even if it won’t help immediately, it can help lay the groundwork for the future.

Next…there is no reason to quit teaching or anything you love for good. There’s always a way back…even if you need to take a temporary detour. Are there non-profits or governmental organizations related to education you might link up with? Where I live, there are many organizations who could use the help of someone with your excellent credentials (as an employee or consultant) in helping to create new programs, develop curriculum, raise funds, lobby for necessary changes, etc. (Try Idealist or some online job searches to see the kind of things near you.) People with knowledge of education can help elected officials or even quasi-governmental policy groups. I have a friend who lobbies for special needs kids even though she lives in a fairly remote area of the country.

I’ve had MANY detours in my life, and then, sometimes when I’m not even looking, a job comes along that needs my skills, including some I thought were long in the past. The universe offers endless paths to where you need to go – not all paths are linear. 🙂 On that point and for a little extra inspiration, here’s a post from another blog I used to write:

Fatima the Spinner: Today Is Just a Thread in Our Tapestry.

If right now you feel like it’s time to let go of teaching in the way you’ve known it, that may be very well a great and exciting next step. The types of skills you have are needed in many places. Besides non-profits, companies need good trainers. So do technology firms helping people with new systems being born! Maybe even text book publishing houses or editing firms. And I’m sure you can come up with other possibilities if you let your mind wander free.

But if you absolutely want to continue as a teacher where you are, then start networking as soon as you can. Meanwhile, either take some temp work or other work to make ends meet, or…if you are able…find the very best volunteer situation possible where your skills can be a huge asset to people. These situations can often lead to real jobs down the road – especially as your networking circle grows and your reputation expands. It’s a good way to redirect your career.  (In fact, I’m about to do something like that myself right now.)

Of course, the other question is…besides continuing to look where you are (no reason not to despite all the rejections), can you look for teaching jobs elsewhere or do you need to stay where you are?  Could this maybe be a great opportunity to move elsewhere?

Well…that’s about all I can offer not knowing the specifics of your situation. But the one thing I know no matter what your situation may be…when I’ve had these things happen to me and I decided to put the power back into my own hands and let myself look beyond what I thought I wanted right now…well, whole new areas opened up for me I never could have imagined. And, although admittedly bumpy at times, I can tell you it was all good! 😉

As I see it, this is a chance for a brand new start rather than being held down by closed doors. Closed doors in one direction can simply be a sign pointing you to where you really need to go!

I wish you all the best, Susana. Please feel free to let us know what happens.

Ronnie Ann


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. The bright side might reside somewhere here on work coach cafe. So much relevant info on here that has helped me out so far. Good luck and keep your head up! Don’t quit teaching, we need you guys!

  2. Susana: Couldn’t have said it any better! Take stock of your raw skills – e.g., writing and speaking skills, classroom management, your ability to work with different people – and look at postings for jobs that might interest you. Then, see how well your skills might apply to those openings. Even if you land some freelance/contract work, you can make yourself and your skills known to other organizations and professionals, who just might know someone who knows someone who … you get the picture. Therein lies the power of networking.

    Good luck and keep your head up! And don’t quit teaching if it’s part of your “professional fabric.”

  3. Well, Susana! You see both Mr. X and Rick Saia are telling you not to let go of a field you love. There really is a way, even if it takes a detour to get you there.

    And I have an update from Susana…there is a new opening she just heard about in a school where she once got great feedback from the principal. And she is about to put her networking skills to good use. Go git ’em, Susana!

    Thanks Mr. X and Rick for the always great comments. Looks like you have your own cyber fan club, Susana. 🙂 We’re all rooting for you!

    Ronnie Ann

  4. Susana,

    If you have any interest in teaching in another country, check out Search Associates. My cousin is one of the associates, and she is an absolutely wonderful human being!

    If you take a look at the site and it’s of interest, maybe I can hook you up through Ronnie Ann.

    — Liz

  5. Thanks MUCH Liz for adding to the possibilities. I remember you now. 😉 Certainly a resource worth checking out for anyone interested in teaching abroad.

    Hope all is well with you! Thanks again for the suggestion.

    Ronnie Ann

  6. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions! It’s good to know that in this day and age we can still rely on the kindness of strangers!

  7. Hi, you didn’t mention which countries you wanted to teach in but if Asia was one of them then feel free to email me. Ive just spent 5 years in China, Thailand, and Japan. I taught to live and I had a great life. If you want any advice email me.
    k_acierno at
    Good luck

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