Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How do I make a fulfilling new life and include my partner?

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  • #991076 Reply
    avatarbmdilh97
    Participant

    I’m a young professional, not long into a career in teaching. I worked so hard at university to get to where I am and I do love my job. It is well paid, the holidays are amazing , I get weekends off, no 2 days are the same, and I get to shape the lives of young people and help them get into university….I still don’t feel fulfilled!!

    It’s hard to explain, and this is the first I’ve ever written it down so sorry if this doesn’t quite make sense…but I just don’t feel like I’m doing anything worthwhile for myself. I look at completely different graduate careers overseas all the time, and think about moving to another country, and starting a whole new life.

    I feel like I need something new. I love my home country but I need an adventure. I’m tired of the Monday to Friday grind.

    Here’s where the issue is… I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years and I love my partner so much. I just know he would not move away or work around the world with me, and with some of the careers I’m looking at involving a lot of moving around/working away from home for extended periods of time, I couldn’t expect him to.

    I’m torn between loving my partner so much/wanting to make a life with him, and hating this routine I’m in, wanting to try something new and far away.

    I’ve never posted on an advice forum before so sorry if I’m in the wrong place. Any advice is appreciated.

    #991149 Reply
    avatarron
    Guest

    It is hard to advise without a better idea of what you are looking for, in terms of a new career. Also, not knowing what it will take to prepare for the new career and how realistic your expectations are for its ability to bring you happiness. One of the big pluses about teaching is that it affords very ample vacation time at the start of your career. Most occupations don’t. That would allow for you to travel and satisfy your wanderlust.

    You say that you are new to your teaching career. I can tell you that I, and most of the people I went to school with and started working with at the company I joined, found the transition from the freedom of college and the variety it offered to doing the same thing 40 hours a week to be a rather traumatic change, which took more than a little while to get used to. Apart from lunch, there just wasn’t the chance to take a 30 minute break, or to do something different from the current project.

    If you are in the U.S. then teaching has become much more regimented and less creative, because of the push to teach to the test. Veteran teachers have felt the change and are less satisfied than previously. The age of Covid has also made teaching a lot less personal. Maybe in a year you will find things to be better, but the next at least half year will be a tough slog for all of us.

    A lot of people are down now. Is your problem mainly Covid fatigue.

    How strong is your relationship with your bf. You are happy with him, but is he a guy you want to spend a lifetime with. If you don’t think he is, then he shouldn’t figure majorly in your career decision.

    #991305 Reply
    avatarBetty
    Guest

    I would wait a while (minimum 1 year) before blowing your life up. It is very normal in the U.S. at least (can’t speak for elsewhere) to stop and think “This? This is all there is? Do I even want this for the rest of my life?” after you begin your professional career after having spent YEARS to get there. We hear things like “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, but the reality for most people is that you don’t feel fulfilled by your job … you can like your job, you can like your co-workers, and you can feel that what you are doing is meaningful (if you are lucky), but it isn’t the be-all end-all I-will-never-retire career that you dream of. Find out what else will make you fulfilled (it’s not going to be one thing)–volunteering? Travelling? Hiking? and do it. The great thing about teaching is you have a LOT of vacation and holiday time to do things that make you feel worthwhile.

    #991707 Reply
    avatarHelen
    Guest

    You’re young so you have to consider if you’ve outgrown your relationship. You can still love someone and be in a dead relationship at the same time. Or maybe not, I don’t know. If he doesn’t want to wander the world with you would he be happy to stay put while you take a short term job abroad? Works for Dolly Pardon and her husband of 40something years. She has a life full of travel while he’s happy at home. Spend some time thinking about what you really want. If you’re experiencing wanderlust nows the time to do it. Much easier to do before you get tied down with marriage, kids (if that’s something you want) mortgages, ailing parents, etc. Don’t assume the opportunity will always be available

    #991891 Reply
    avataranonymousse
    Participant

    Have you traveled a lot? Do you enjoy it? Because it kind of sounds like you actually do like and enjoy your job and you say you make good money. That is all pretty great, really. Especially with the state of the economy and world right now. Does your job enable you to travel for fun? Are these careers you’re considering full of travel really available right now?

    I don’t think most people end up in careers that fulfill them. Most people I know can do their job competently and most basically tried to find a job they didn’t hate, while making enough money to give them roughly the kind of life they want.

    I don’t know what you should do, except I do think really thinking this through and taking some time to research would be a good idea.

    And if you’re looking into teaching abroad, really really! research who you’re working for, read the contract very carefully.

    #991925 Reply
    avatarCopa
    Participant

    I lived abroad as a tween and teen with my family and teaching abroad looked pretty dope at the international schools I went to. If I’d done the teaching route, I would’ve tried to teach abroad. A couple of my old classmates teach at one of my old schools and seem happy. Another classmate, the son of two international school teachers, now lives that same lifestyle with his wife and kid. (Side note: As someone who moved every couple years growing up, if you pursue this more transient lifestyle and have kids, well… it can be a bit traumatizing on the kids no matter how cool the experiences are.)

    I also remember going on vacation to Hawai’i last year and met quite a few people now in the service industry who used to be accountants or engineers or teachers. The grind wasn’t for them. They wanted to work at the hotel desk or whatever in Hawai’i and enjoy their time off completely instead of longing for vacation.

    It’s possible what you’re doing now really isn’t for you and your future and your boyfriend’s are incompatible.

    All that said, I think the people who expect their careers to be very fulfilling often wind up very disappointed. I like my job enough, but don’t love it. On its own, not fulfilling. But it offers me pretty good work/life balance and lets me live a comfortable life and explore my hobbies and interests in my spare time, so I’m fine with it.

    I think it’s worth taking the time to figure out if the only way to be happy is by blowing your life up, or if perhaps you’ve bought in too much to the idea that you should LOVE your work and it shouldn’t feel like work at all.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by avatarCopa.
    #992782 Reply
    avatarSM
    Guest

    I agree with the above advice, but also, have you talked to your boyfriend at all about this? It’s possible he might be more open than you think, and/or it’s possible he might be able to offer some advice on a different level since he probably knows you pretty well.

    #995905 Reply
    avatarcsp
    Guest

    I am not sure where you are or what your school years are structured like, but I think there are so many middle options. For example, why can’t you go work on your holiday breaks in other countries? I have a friend who chaperones long high school kid trips across the world. He spent one summer traveling from South Africa to Kenya and Many summers in different parts of Europe. He has seen the word and got paid to do it. I know two other people who were able to do summer fellowships in France and Italy. Why do you feel you need to move to do this? I know in my 20s, I lived on half my income and traveled almost every year somewhere grand. It was two weeks at a time but I don’t feel like I missed out.

    It is true that you want to do this before you have kids. Because with kids, It becomes much more difficult. Before you, blow up your life. I would start researching other options whether it is a summer program or a vacation. Start saving money toward a goal. You won’t be able to do things right now due to Covid but I think planning toward something might make you feel better.

    Also, in a summer fellowship program, you would be gone for 6 weeks, your boyfriend could visit for two of those and it wouldn’t be so bad.

    #995932 Reply
    avatarLisforLeslie
    Guest

    I think Betty makes a really good point I remember being 25, going up an escalator on my commute to work and thinking “Oh shit, is this it – is this what I’m going to have to do for the next 40 years?” and freaking the fuck out.

    So while working full time, I went to graduate school. Somehow found a career that works for me and I really enjoy.

    That said – there are other options than burning the bridge and leaving for good. A friend of mine is a language teacher and she would spend her summers working like a camp counselor but she’d take a group of students to Ecuador for 4 weeks.

    Living abroad is not always easy. You are a foreigner and you’re treated as such (BTDT). You may not speak the language, the customs are different and you’re very reliant on your coworkers for your social life – and if they are native, they have their own lives to live.

    On top of that going abroad is a great opportunity. But it’s temporary. You won’t make the career progress that you can working for a US school system. And if you’re in the teacher’s union – none of that time counts. If you have a pension, I don’t believe any of that time will count. I don’t think it can be your long term career. So if you go away for a year – will you lose this person? Or can you manage a LTR for a year or two?

    #996370 Reply
    avatarcsp
    Guest

    @LisforLeslie – I totally agree that it can be hard. My cousin did a semester in China. We are Americans. He said he loves the trip and the travel. However, it was profoundly lonely. He spoke Chinese, OK but not enough to make meaningful friendships. We all see the beautiful pictures on Instagram but dont realize what the day in and day out looks like.

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