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Any escapees with advice on finding a job outside of teaching?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by zoe-b12, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and have never posted before, but I'm looking for some light at the end of a very dark tunnel :)

    I left Primary Teaching this summer after deciding I just couldn't keep up with the demands of the role anymore (I'm sure there are many in this boat!). Having my little girl two years ago completely changed my priorities, and she means the world. I often left work in tears (even though my HT was supportive and could not speak highly enough of my abilities) and I realised this is not the way to live.

    Since then, I have applied to over 40 jobs within different sectors/companies (HR, NHS, PA, Civil Service, FE etc) and have had one interview, for which I had great feedback, however the post was given to an internal candidate. Feedback has been positive in terms of my application forms/CV but I'm not getting much of a look in where interviews are concerned and I'm losing faith.

    I am going on supply so I can support my family while I look for a new position, however, I'm quite sure this profession is no longer for me.

    Does anyone have any advice on where I might be going wrong? Or where to apply? Or just a success story to motivate me? :)

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Thank you!
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes: I've been a teacher of secretarial work all my life and my advice would be: Put your name down with a temporary office agency and by filling in for others who are away, the firm will get to know you and will see that you are a good worker. This is the very best reference you can ever have because, if you like them and they like you, you will be number one for the next full-time vacancy. The other thing is that you'll get a range of experience to add to your cv and you'll know exactly what work you like and the people you like to work with and exactly that which you don't like. I've done tons of this work and so did my students.
    pepper5, agathamorse and zoe-b12 like this.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    On the other hand, why not try teaching in an international school?
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Thanks JosieWhitehead! I think I will do this and build my skills.

    I’m quite lost in terms of what I’d like to do so this may be a good option.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Thanks for this, but I don’t think moving away is for me right now. It’d be a little tricky for my partner to relocate.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Zoe

    If you are going to do some supply as a stop gap, pop over to the supply forum if you need any help. Supply will be s great way for you to earn some money while you think about your next steps.

    There is a book called What Colour is my Parachute which is a book about how to choose careers suited to your interests and skills. Get that from the library and see what you think.

    Josie's idea is also good. Do you have any interest in the law? Legal secretaries can make good money and the work can be interesting. You might need to take a few courses but you might be able to fit that around your work/family and take it at a very slow pace.

    Don't rule out anything. Are you any good at DIY? You could become a plasterer, painter, plumber or electrician.

    Again, you would have to retrain, but the end result would be worth it.
    zoe-b12 and agathamorse like this.
  7. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I can't think of anything better. In fact, well before going to university, my daughter used her secretarial skills and did a huge amount of work outside in a variety of different offices. Having discovered that working in an advertising agency and enjoying media work, she decided to do a degree in Media Studies etc at Manchester University. She gave them a good CV and a reference from her employer, and with this and the money she'd saved by this huge amount of work experience, she went into university, understanding the general principles relating to this work at university because she'd experienced this herself in the world of work. Not only this but she'd learnt an important thing: how to handle money - and not having to borrow anything for this degree course. A great asset. She was accepted on this popular course without even an interview because of her good experience and the business-like letter she sent them. I'd recommend lots of young people to take this course of action before university so that they know exactly what work they enjoy because they've experienced it.
    SundaeTrifle, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  8. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Pepper, I've worked in about every type of legal office that there is both here in the UK and in Canada, filling in for others. As I taught secretarial skills I had to bring in lots of experience into college classrooms. Typing would be the number one skill and touch typing is something I'd recommend everyone to learn. My typewriting speed is about 70/80 words per minute and I use this every day. Then I would imagine that instead of shorthand, today they might be using audio equipment instead. Best to go to an Office Staff Agency and ask for their advice. Legal work is very difficult because learning the layout of all the different types of legal documents came into RSA III typewriting examination which, is higher than A Level - - or it was years ago. Your work, as you can imagine, has to be very accurate and there are many legal terms to be learnt. Medical work (ie medical secretary) is even worse, ha ha I did that also: secretary to two consultants at Stoke on Trent Orthopaedic Hospital long ago. Imagine learning the names of all the different bones, illnesses, medicines and procedures etc. The human body is complex.
    Sinnamon, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  9. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Thanks for your helpful suggestions pepper5 I’m hoping that supply work will pick up in the coming weeks and I’ll be able to focus a little more on applying for courses. I’m currently doing a Level 3 Diploma in Admin/PA work to show my willingness to learn to prospective employers

    I am quite creative/artistic, but I’m definitely not a DIY-er haha!
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Your course will open doors for you, so well done.

    If you get in with the right company and with experience you could earn a good wage.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Chirpy1

    Chirpy1 New commenter

    Some good advice here.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. BioEm

    BioEm Occasional commenter

    I posted the below on a thread elsewhere and though it might help;

    zoe-b12 likes this.
  13. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Thanks BioEm. Your advice is very helpful.

    I’m currently on supply and had little bits of work so far. I am applying to many jobs and have had little success so far - really hoping my skills are recognised by someone soon!

    May I ask which position you work in now?
    BioEm and agathamorse like this.
  14. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    It might be worth specifically looking for PA/Admin/Office management work in education. MATs, universities and colleges, research institutions and of course, individual schools, all require good and committed support staff. Particularly if they are large institutions there should be opportunities to progress. You may be able to apply your knowledge of education.
    BioEm, agathamorse and zoe-b12 like this.
  15. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Thanks for this Lucy. I have applied to many admin related jobs at local universities and colleges - I just don’t seem to be getting a bite! You’d think my experience would count for something!
    I have even been turned down as a study group organiser - they needed someone with teaching experience! Losing faith!
    BioEm and agathamorse like this.
  16. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Try and find out which temp agency your local university uses - it was pertemps at mine - and then get your foot in the door. Most people hired in my department started off on a contract basis. You could ring the HR department and ask, I expect that they would tell you.
  17. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    I agree; there's something about demonstrating what you can do, even if it seems quite a low level post initially. Once in post, even if temporary, keep your eyes and ears open and other opportunities may well appear.
    Good luck!
    BioEm, zoe-b12 and agathamorse like this.
  18. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Great idea - thank you!
  19. zoe-b12

    zoe-b12 New commenter

    Thanks again Lucy! It’s good to hear lots of advice! I really didn’t know where to start
  20. BioEm

    BioEm Occasional commenter

    Hi @zoe-b12 and apols for the late reply, I'm not on here very much these days!

    Weirdly enough, given the advice following mine, I can tell you that I'm working in admissions/student recruitment in mainly an administrative capacity at a local university. There are many ex-teachers both in my team and also in the other support departments in my office so it's obviously a common move. The pay does start low in comparison to teaching (although not if you compare starting teachers wage vs administrators wage!), but I'm only a month in and already been told that due to my work ethic etc I should be able to work my way up/across the uni once I'm a bit more experienced. Plus the drop in stress and general huge increase in work/life balance is worth it, for me anyway.

    Another little sweetner is that when you work at a uni you tend to get the time off between Christmas and New Year as unis are shut then, so you get your usual holiday allowance (mine is pretty generous) with that extra week on top. Sure, it's not the crazy number of holidays you get in teaching, but you don't need them in the way you do when you're teaching.

    Good luck!
    agathamorse, zoe-b12 and Lucy2711 like this.

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