Heading in no direction at all

Wow.  This past week has thrown me into a whirlwind of different directions.  Since quitting my job I feel like I have so many options, so many ideas, but not sure if I have the guts to go certain ways and if I did have the guts… which way do I go?

This week I’ve had so many thoughts run through my mind about quitting my job.  This may sound silly.  I didn’t WANT to quit my job… but I didn’t want to keep that job forever.  I was part time (4 days/week) and had no benefits/vacation time/sick time etc (benefits aren’t a big deal- Ry has great insurance at work).  I wanted to be teaching full time- using my degree in the way it was intended.  I wanted my own classroom.  I wanted to plan lessons.  I wanted to create the structure and routine and rules in my classroom.  The end of my job basically boiled down to this… there was opportunity for me to be full time, but they were not willing to give me the opportunity to try.  Long story short: they no longer wanted me there full time (which, the first 3-4 years I was there I heard numerous times how they would love to have me full time, yadda yadda yadda).  So, it was either stick it out some more in the position I was in or take that slap in the face and find something else to do.   And so I’m finding something else.

I’m not saying I don’t want to teach.  I do.  I went to school to be a teacher and I love nothing more than to be at the front of a classroom (or in the middle of one, helping students) and in charge.  I love it, I truly do.  And I feel like that is where I (in MY mind) am meant to be.  However, I’m wondering if God has other plans.  Maybe what I envisioned as my “ideal” life direction isn’t quite what I thought.

So, for now I’m a drifter.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I could sub this fall… but subs make crappy money.  And I don’t particularly like subbing where I don’t get to form a relationship with my students.  That’s one of my favorite things… getting to know the kids in my class and them being able to trust me and look up to me.  Subbing doesn’t often develop those relationships.  I could send out a ton of resumes and hope for a full time position (which I’ll probably do).

What I can’t help but think this big kick in the rear is for is to get me to take the leap into photography.  I’ve always thought I could make a decent living doing photography, and that the flexibility of being my own boss and making my own schedule would allow me more time with my babies that are still at home.  However…. I have not wanted to quit a secure job on a whim.  But… now that I HAVE quit that job, and it was essentially a dead end road and that was my only option (that or be a Lit Coach forever), I am wondering if this is the time- if this is my chance to see what could be with my photography business.  I’ve been listening to my new Needtobreathe cd lately and there is a song called “Second Chance” that has been really speaking to me lately…

“I can’t help but fear I’ve done this wrong
Cause seldom second chances come along
If time can break us, it will make us strong
Cause seldom second chances come along”

My thoughts right now are this…. Schedule 2 days/week for photography.  These days I’d need a sitter for Hudson and Amelia.  I’d do sessions + edit on those days.  That would leave me 3 days/week to be home with the littles.  I’m not sure if sending Hudson to preschool would be in the budget (though I’m sure we would now qualify for the income based preschool?), but I could do a preschool curriculum with him on the 3 days I’m home.

Some of my fears:

  • I won’t book enough sessions.  No explanation needed… mortgage needs to be paid and money has to come in. 
  • I won’t manage my finances properly… the thought of not “clocking in and getting a paycheck” is scary.  I like that comfort/safety net.  Being my own boss, making my own income and spreading it out evenly throughout a month is not my strongest point I don’t think. 
  • I won’t manage my time wisely.  You’re on a computer….. you’re no stranger to the way the internet sucks you in.  What if I get sucked into Facebook or Craigslist or Blogs instead of working?  What if the laundry is calling my name or the dirty bathroom floor is screaming at me to wash it?  Will I be able to overlook all those things that will be staring in my face when working at home and stay focused on actually using those 2 work days to WORK?
  • Will I be able to separate my “home” time with “work” time?  I don’t want to end up editing sessions all weekend or in the evenings.  I don’t want to find myself corresponding with clients in the evenings when Ryan is home and we should be spending time as a family.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Well… I’ve found in the past when I’m busy with photography I hate the thought of letting an email sit or a clients question wait until another time.  I feel like when it hits my inbox, I should respond. 
  • Is this responsible for a 30 year old to just switch careers?  What about retirement… what do self employed people do?  What if I want to go back into teaching?  Will it be easy?  If I start teaching in 5 years or so, will that affect my ability to be hired? What about the 9 credits I need to get still?  Do I continue school to get those credits or say screw it? 
  • Am I okay with the identity of “I’m a photographer” rather than “I’m a teacher”?  Will I feel sad to not be in the teaching world?   
See… so many thoughts running through my head.  Part of me (a big part of me) is just saying….. DO IT!  Take a year or two or three and just explore your options.  See where photography takes you.  Stay home with your babies while they’re little.   It’s okay to not have a “career” right now… many people stay home far into their 30’s and don’t work at all and they don’t seem to be worrying about a career and accruing years toward retirement.   That big part of me wants to just go with the flow and follow my passion for photography.  But there is another part of me that wants me to think it is nonsensical to do such a thing.  
So many thoughts.  So much to think about.  So much hanging in the balance.  Right now I feel like I’m heading in no direction at all.  

  1. I'm so sorry you are in this position, but at the same time, what a great opportunity to seize the moment and do what your heart is calling you to do (weather that be photography, your cute signs, etc)…It's never easy leaving a safety net of a secure, regular paycheck, but you'll figure it out. I really love this blog: http://www.thewiegands.com/. Both she & her husband are freelancers and somehow make things work. It's really inspiring to read about them following their hearts and seeing that God is blessing them for doing so. Good luck! 🙂

  2. I graduated with a teaching degree, but when I had my twins (almost)five years ago, I said goodbye to aspirations of a career, and have stayed home with them. I judt had another baby, and might have more, so who knows when I will get back to teaching. I'll never have a career like some of my friends who kept their jobs, but I'll also never have this time back with my kids. I'm totally ok with that! I really do love my days with my kids!

  3. At least in the education field, there are options, like you said. Subbing, tutoring, teacher's assistant, etc. if you ever do need to earn a little income but don't want the full-time commitment of being a classroom teacher. As long as you keep your license up to date, the option is always there to go back. Have you looked into job sharing? I know a number of teachers around here that share one classroom teaching job, and it sounds like a great way to have that work/life balance. Good luck with whatever comes your way. I feel in a similar dilemma…I haven't taught in five years now, and don't really have any desire to go back to what I was doing before, but I would like to dabble in some type of work in the education field again. It's hard taking that first step though, no matter what kind of work you're looking for.

  4. I think all of your concerns are legitimate, but if I were you I'd re-read your last paragraph, minus the last sentence. You're a talented photographer and with dabbling with other things one the side as you do, I bet you're going to love it. Once all of your kids are school age, a door in education could open back up…or working in Porter's classroom could lead to something. Long-term subbing often turns into more too. I feel for ya, and have thought of you A-LOT this past week!!!

  5. The more I ponder on this, Amber, the more I feel at ease with this new direction. I'm praying and hoping that things work out and that I feel “complete” enough to continue this journey. In a way I'm feeling a little empty knowing I'm not returning to the school system this fall.

  6. Very true, Anne… I'll always have my degree and can use it later. I don't HAVE to be using it right now. Unfortunately, I was due to renew my certificate (go from provisional license to professional license) this June… I needed 18 credits. I completed 9, and was going to file for an extension (which would give me 3 more years to get the final 9 credits) but I'm not going to worry about getting those 9 credits I don't think. Its $1500 for 3 credits. Ugh. But, I suppose when I start thinking about going back to education I can get those classes done pretty quickly.

  7. Perfect thoughts, Amy…. I keep telling myself this as well…. my babies will only be babies for a blip of time. I need to cherish it. There are years ahead of me to have a career.

  8. Thank you, Denise. I know from talking to you and seeing you go through some rough times with jobs that everything WILL work out and definitely for the best. I just need to trust that this is okay for now, that this is where I need to be. I checked out their blog… very inspiring!

  9. I think you are making the right choice … well, I know you are. I totally “get” the whole teaching thing … I know that when the district has you where they want you, you're not going to go anywhere if that's what they want. That's where I am. I am stuck and will need to move onto another district if I want to actually teach (I freaking some how ended up as a grant coordinator/project director and a program site manager all at the same time, oh PLUS a photography business…wtF am I thinking?!) But like you said, if you ever decide to sub, at that time, you'd be new and fresh person that will probably be very hire-able once your foot is in. That's how it seems to work where I am anyway…the “newbies” get the jobs.On the photography end, you are talented and you can do this. Once you believe it, it will happen. I would quit my school job and just do photography if it wasn't for the health insurance element. I am the breadwinner, which pretty much sucks most days. I wouldn't worry about booking sessions, that will happen, and who knows, maybe you'll find that less work might be a GOOD thing for you? It will all work out. It always does. Like you said, you haven't ever marketed yourself – you've just let business come your way. A little marketing goes a LONG way! I think you should consider weddings, because of how much you can make for one wedding compared to one session. I shoot solo at every wedding and it works just fine with just me! The days can be long, but over the years I have figured out how to make that better. Same with the after-editing. If you want tips, let me know. Anyway, my rambling will end now. I see bright things to come for you

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