A year ago, I made the decision to take early retirement after 33 years of service as a public school teacher and librarian and four years as president of my state teachers’ association. I was only 59 ½ years old and I was in excellent health, but I had come to the realization that I was suffering from a severe case of job burnout. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and I needed a major change in my life in the worst way. Retirement not only seemed like a reasonable option, but it also felt like the only option.
After taking six months to fully rest, relax, and recharge, I began to think about going back to work, but I quickly realized that the job hunting landscape had changed drastically since the last time I looked for a job in 1975. It became pretty obvious pretty quickly that I shouldn’t be trying to tackle the search for a job on my own. I needed expert assistance.
After 33 Years Teaching Others, I Became The Student
I don’t know exactly how I found J.T. O’Donnell and CareerHMO. Once I discovered it, however, and after only brief consideration, I signed up and got to work. In the meantime, I was lucky enough to have J.T. be assigned to be my e-mail career coach. Without going into detail, let me just say that I felt that I had gotten my money’s worth within 48 hours of signing up for CareerHMO’s services.
For me, the best part of the program was my e-mail interaction with J.T. Her advice and counsel proved to be “priceless.” With her encouragement, I decided fairly quickly that finding a traditional job wasn’t what I really wanted to do, which is the reason I had felt so stuck. I really didn’t want to work where I would be answering to someone else. I wanted the freedom to decide for myself how I spent my days.
I had always been intrigued by the idea of coaching even though until I engaged J.T.’s services, I had never had the benefit of a coach myself. Coaching in its many guises (life coaching, executive coaching, career transition coaching, etc.) has become a regular part of the modern landscape in the last decade. In fact, many corporations and non-profit organizations now routinely engage executive coaches to assist their leadership teams, and a good coach paired with a willing client can make for some pretty magical outcomes.
Me? A Coach? The Ah-ha Moment Was Powerful
In my case, J.T. was the coach who encouraged me to consider coaching as an option for myself. During the course of our correspondence, I offered that I was interested in the possibility of becoming a coach because I liked the idea of offering a much needed service, having my own business, and being my own boss; but I also didn’t have a clue as to how to go about finding a good program.
Why You Need A Career Coach
J.T. offered the name of the program that she had used to get a coaching certification, and she also encouraged me to consider the possibility of pursuing that path seriously. She offered that I would need to decide on my “niche” and think about who my ideal clients would be. That part was easy… teachers! I have been a teacher for over three decades. I understand them and I know first-hand the stress that they have been subjected to in recent years. Who better than one who has walked in their shoes to help someone struggling with whether or not to stay in the classroom or to muster the courage to leave and explore other options?
Also, there are thousands of teachers who, like myself, are looking to retire soon. While many of them are feeling symptoms of burnout in their current jobs like I was, most of them are too young, too talented, and have far too much to offer to simply quit work altogether. They are going to want to re-tool themselves as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives. I want to help them in the same way that J.T. helped me.
Becoming Unstuck Inspired Me To Help Others
I will always be grateful to J.T. and CareerHMO for helping me get unstuck just a few months ago. It is my fervent hope that as I launch my new coaching enterprise, I will offer my clients the same sort of value that J.T. offered me during the short time we worked together. The lesson in my experience is that everyone gets stuck once in a while, but no one has to stay stuck. Help is available. You just need to be open to the form in which it arrives. It may arrive in the form of your own coach. If that is the case, go for it. It may be just what you need.
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about the career coaching program Kitty used, please click here.
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