[CASE STUDY] Success Story of Deanna’s Career Transition from Classroom Teacher to Mathnasium Director

This case study highlights the success of Deanna Forsythe, a teacher from Wisconsin.

Deanna enrolled in my “Jumpstart Your Job Search Program” in late April 2017. She landed her new job as the Director of a Mathnasium Center in mid-June

This was, without a doubt, the quickest success I have seen as a Career Transition Coach!

I would like to take credit for it, but Deanna did the hard work. My program and our one-on-one consultations contributed to her success. She was responsible for her fast transition, though.

The average job search today, from start to finish, is generally four to nine months. Given that Deanna’s process from start to finish took place over seven weeks is definitely not the norm.

What I observed about Deanna was her positive, “go-getter” attitude. I am sure she was a phenomenal teacher. She has all the right characteristics for an outstanding educator. She is extremely organized; she was highly motivated and hyper- focused; and she was eager to be successful.

When she first approached me, Deanna expressed a combination of frustrations.

She felt that the system didn’t respect her expertise as an educator anymore. She had even changed from one position to another in hopes of a better situation. She was disappointed to find that that change didn’t fix the problem, however.

 

respect different opinion

Respect vs. Disrespect

 

She also felt that she had more to offer than was being used in her current situation. Hear in her own words what she wrote to me about what led her to seek out my services:

“I have been an educator for over 20 years, working in the private, public, and choice sectors.  I have supported children of varying ages, academic abilities, and behavioral needs.  Over that time, I noticed a profound shift in the field of education.  Demands placed on teachers continue to increase, Autonomy continues to decrease.   I recognized at that point that it was time to utilize my skill set from both my BS and MA in a way that was far more productive, meaningful, and fulfilling to me.”

She took to the program with enthusiasm. The program includes online tutorials, recommended reading, exercises, and activities. She tackled the program as though she were undertaking a new advanced degree. She set up a system for herself, and when we held our first consultation, she was wide open to suggestions. She didn’t come into the program with a preconceived idea of where it might lead.

I discovered that Deanna has a deep intuitive nature. Part of what she was heeding was her gut instinct.

She knew there had to be something “out there” where she could contribute in a more meaningful way.

She also expressed her love for animals and how her dream is to one day be an animal healer. I encouraged her to continue to explore that. We don’t listen to our inner wisdom often enough. We shut down because we have convinced ourselves that certain things “aren’t possible.” I try to get my clients to embrace the idea that “anything is possible.” It is, in fact, “possible” once you believe it is.

Listen to Deanna’s testimony in her own words as they relate to her experience of the work we did together:

Deanna’s Case Study:  https://youtu.be/IOtJN7H31E4.

This video conversation holds several key pieces of information. Deanna made use of the entire program starting with getting in touch with herself and remembering what brought her job and peace.

Here is what she said about the nature of the instruction and inspiration she got from following the modules and the results she saw:

I developed my professional portfolio through LinkedIn (lesson 7).  Others in the field I am in accepted my invitations, and I continue to meet and expand my network today.

Also, I closely followed Kitty’s modules regarding bringing life to one’s cover letter/resume (lessons 3-4). I applied for the position I currently accepted, and within 24 hours, I received a response of interest.

A breakthrough I experienced was I recognized that I held the cards.  I simply needed the support of someone like Kitty who has ‘been there, done that’ to guide me through the process of reinventing myself.”

There are usually side benefits to taking part in programs like this. Sometimes they can be unexpected. Here is what Deanna said about one of the benefits she received from working with me one-on-one:

“Kitty’s ability to relate to and validate my frustrations as an educator in today’s world was valuable to me.  I no longer felt alone.  She is an excellent empathic listener!

I also felt supported in taking baby steps, as reinventing one’s self can be an overwhelming process.  She understands the challenge in breaking new ground, as she was once in my shoes.”

I always ask people if they would be willing to offer a recommendation on LinkedIn or a testimonial for my website as I draw my work with a client to a close. I did the same with Deanna. Here is what she offered that she would tell her friends and colleagues about working with me:

“I would (and already have) recommend you to others who are looking for more fulfillment in their professional lives.  You are authentic.  You have experienced this journey firsthand, and that lends credibility to your interest in supporting me to do the same.

You also have experience leading others outside of this realm/position, as former president of VEA, and that also lends credibility to coaching others, in my opinion.”

 

Man writing Happy Client on a virtual screen

Happy Client

 

So, there you have it. Another satisfied client. Another teacher who has decided that the system has failed her and it’s time to move on. I am confident that Deanna will be successful in her new role. She only need bring half of her enthusiasm to her new role as she brought to her job transition program, to that, but I know she will bring 100% to that new endeavor.

I am also confident that while she will bring tremendous value to her new position, she will learn as well as contribute and she may have even greater things waiting for her in her future.

It is a pleasure working with people like Deanna. She saw a need to make a change in her life, and she made it with confidence and determination.

What about you? Are you ready to take charge of your career and your life?

If so, I urge you to contact me for a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session. Just go to my calendar here to sign up. It won’t cost a thing but 20-minutes of your time:  https://kittyatcareermakeover.coachesconsole.com/calendar/.

 

Enjoy Your Summer–But What Happens This Fall?

Ah, summer vacation! For the teacher who doesn’t have to work to cover the rent until she receives the next school paycheck, it’s fabulous. Freedom. You get to sleep in…no alarm clocks for you. You get to take your time getting ready for the day. There are no school bells marking off the day period by period. No one is coming to observe you. You have no plans to make. There are no papers to grade.

It doesn’t get much better, does it?

 

Freedom woman happy and free open arms on beach

Freedom of summer vacation.

 

But what happens when it is time for school to start again?

Will you be excited and eager to get your school supplies rounded up? Will you be eager to find out who your children are going to be? Will you start going to school two weeks early on your own time to get your bulletin boards up and your textbooks unpacked?

Or will you be filled with dread?

A client told me today that she feels like throwing up every time she thinks about going back.

 

Sick woman about to throw up

A sick woman about to throw up holding her stomach.

 

That’s not good!

At least, in her case, she is actively looking for other employment. In fact, that is why we were on the phone today. I was helping her make sure that she is customizing her cover letter and resume for the jobs she is applying for. She has recognized that teaching no longer makes her happy. She has lost her zeal and enthusiasm. She wants to do something else. But wanting to do something else and finding something else are two different things.

So, may I ask. If you aren’t excited about going back in August or September, what are you doing about it? Are you preparing your exit plan? Perhaps you should.

Teachers often feel that there is no good time to be looking for a new job.

After all, you are tied up with a contract for most of the year. And that is true. But that should not serve as an excuse for you to stay shackled to a career you no longer love. Life is simply too short for you to be forcing yourself to go back when you feel sick to your stomach at the thought.

So, why not take some time this summer to start investigating your alternatives? You may decide that you are happy with teaching after all. When I was young, that happened to me. I was dissatisfied with my career prospects as a teacher, so I went in search of someone who might help me get out of teaching. In fact, I explored several options. I took a test to see if I might be a good fit for the insurance industry. Nope.

I went to a career counselor. Back then, they worked in agencies instead of independently like they do now. The job the counselor offered that I might qualify for was with a paper supply company. I would be the person who stocked shelves for stores that sold the company’s stationery and other paper products along with pencils and other office supplies. I couldn’t help but think I would be bored with a job like that. Plus, the pay wasn’t as much as I was making as a teacher.

In the end, I decided to stay.

Instead of leaving the teaching profession, I decided that I needed to invest in an advanced degree so I could qualify for the stipend my district offered. I stayed right where I was, but I felt better about my career choice. I had given myself permission to explore the options that might be “out there.” Having found that they weren’t as plentiful as I might have thought, I was satisfied to put my time and energy into a new advanced degree.

I was the school librarian, and at the end of the day, it was the best job in the building. I came to appreciate that, and I loved my job for the remaining 20+ years that I stayed with it. But I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.

And later, when I realized that my teaching career had come to an end, I decided to retool and reinvent myself. It was the best decision I could have made, and I am happier now than I have ever been with my career choice as a career coach who helps guide others to the kind of job satisfaction I now feel.

If you are unhappy with your teaching career and you self-identify as burned out with teaching, you should be spending some of your summer vacation thinking about your future. Just because the pain and pressure of last year are now behind you, you have no guarantee that it will be any better next year. And chances are it could be even worse!

Do yourself a favor and consider that exploring your various options might be worthwhile. After all, you are smart. You are well-educated. You have skills that go beyond the skills needed to teach. You can do a lot of things that you may not have considered before. And best of all, no matter what you decide regarding whether to stay or go, you will feel more empowered. You will have taken the steps needed to determine if your burn out is real enough to make you want to consider leaving.

Enjoy your summer.

But don’t waste the entire summer vacation in the sun and at the pool if you think you might want a different career sometime in the future. The job fairy will not come looking for you without some effort on your part.

 

Print

A cartoon fairy in a blue dress

 

So think about it. What do you want to be doing when school starts this fall?

Until next time.

Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a former educator and Past President of the Virginia Education Association. After over three decades teaching and advocating for public education, she retooled and reinvented herself. She became a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and a Career Transition & Job Search Coach trained by a nationally known career expert. Kitty specializes in helping teachers who are suffering from teacher burnout. She is the owner and CEO of Boitnott Coaching, LLC and the founder of TeachersinTransition.comTeachersinDistress.Wordpress.com, and

 KittyatCareerMakeover.CoachesConsole.com.

 

Do you need help looking for your next career opportunity? Why not try out a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session? Just click here for my calendar. I would love to chat with you about your possibilities.

 

Not sure is you are experiencing teacher burnout? Check yourself with this free checklist. Click here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/

Business man in office with burnout syndrome at desk

Teacher suffering from stress and overwhelm.

 

What is the #1 Mistake Most Job Seekers Make When Starting a Job Search?

mistake

People who are starting out on a job search often make one major mistake. They start their search without a clear idea of what it is they want to do. I liken it to planning a vacation itinerary with no destination in mind. Sounds a little crazy, right? Yet, think of the last time you went job hunting. Did you decide what you wanted to do first or did you think of all the things you could do first? Because there is a differenceI tell my clients who are starting out on a job search that writing their resume is not the first thing they should do. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but stick with me for a moment.

I tell my clients who are starting out on a job search that writing their resume is not the first thing they should do. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but stick with me for a moment.If you were planning a trip to Rome, would it make sense for you to map out a journey to Cairo? Of course not! That sounds ridiculous. Too often, job seekers write their resume and send it to a dozen job postings. They hope that something will land. It’s like the poor guy in the graphic above. Blindfolded, what are the chances he is going to ever hit the bullseye?

If you were planning a trip to Rome, would it make sense for you to map out a journey to Cairo? Of course not! That sounds ridiculous. Too often, job seekers write their resume and send it to a dozen job postings. They hope that something will land. It’s like the poor guy in the graphic above. Blindfolded, what are the chances he is going to ever hit the bullseye?People will say to me, “Kitty, I have been a teacher for 20 years. What other jobs might I be good at? Or, what else might I be qualified to do?”

People will say to me, “Kitty, I have been a teacher for 20 years. What other jobs might I be good at? Or, what else might I be qualified to do?”There are simply too many variables involved for me to give a straight answer to those questions. I need a lot more information first. What about teaching did you enjoy? What did you hate? Why are you ready to leave teaching now? What sorts of activities do you love and would do even if no one paid you? And my favorite, “If I gave you a magic wand and you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?”

There are simply too many variables involved for me to give a straight answer to those questions. I need a lot more information first. What about teaching did you enjoy? What did you hate? Why are you ready to leave teaching now? What sorts of activities do you love and would do even if no one paid you? And my favorite, “If I gave you a magic wand and you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?”

I get all sorts of interesting answers. Here’s the truth: if you want to change jobs, the first order of business is to get crystal clear about what you want to do. Don’t waste energy on what you think you might have to settle for. That is a clear recipe for unhappiness and even despair.

You deserve to work in a job or career that uses your best talents. You deserve to provide service in an area that is meaningful to you. If teaching has lost its luster, it’s not the end of the world. There are many jobs that you can find satisfying. But first, you must take your blindfold off. Get clear about what it is you want to do in your life. Do that first, and then we can start hitting that bullseye.

Do you need help looking for your next career opportunity? Why not try out a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session? Just click here for my calendar. I would love to chat with you about your possibilities.

Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a former educator and Past President of the Virginia Education Association. After over three decades teaching and advocating for public education, she retooled and reinvented herself. She became a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and a Career Transition & Job Search Coach trained by a nationally known career expert. Kitty specializes in helping teachers who are suffering from teacher burnout. She is the owner and CEO of Boitnott Coaching, LLC and the founder of TeachersinTransition.comTeachersinDistress.Wordpress.com, and

 KittyatCareerMakeover.CoachesConsole.com.

Not sure is you are experiencing teacher burnout? Check yourself with this free checklist. Click here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/

Business man in office with burnout syndrome at desk

#1 Thing You Need To Know if You are Thinking about Changing Your Career

I am obsessed with the notion of being a “Career ‘Makeover’ Coach.”

I think the reason for this is that I want to help people who find themselves at a career crossroads figure out what they want to do that will be perfect for them because I think work to be fun and fulfilling!

I want people to be doing work that is in alignment with their core values.

I want them to be working in a career that taps into their unique gifts, talents, and aptitudes.

And I want them to be happy to go to work every day instead of dreading it.

I recently posted this message on my Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter pages:
If you hate Mondays

Photo by Shutterstock.com

It isn’t enough to know that you want to make a change, however. You have to know what you want to do to replace what you are already doing. 

Lack of clarity is the #1 problem I hear from most of the individuals with whom I meet on a regular basis. 

Along with a lack of clarity, however, is a misunderstanding around the purpose of your resume. Most people mistakenly think that the first thing they need to do when they are ready for a job change is to write their resume. They think they should sum up all of their qualifications from their entire working career and plop it in a resume that they then upload into a database and they wait for some magical combination of events that might land them a new job.

It doesn’t work like that anymore if it ever did.

Today, you must first decide what it is you want, get crystal clear about the direction you want to go, and THEN you are ready to write your resume making sure that your resume matches the job description for the job for which you are applying.

Most people don’t get that in the beginning, and that is why they struggle so with the whole process of job hunting. Few people really know what they are doing when they start out which is why people increasingly need some sort of professional help.Clarity…knowing what you want and then having the courage to go for it. That is the #1 thing you need to know before you start looking for a new job or a new career.

Read, journal, meditate, pray…do whatever you need to do in order to get in touch with yourself and consider what you want to be doing with the time you have left on the planet. Do you want to be working in job or career that is meaningless even though it may pay the bills? I think most of us would opt for less money, frankly, if they knew that they were doing work that was meaningful and would impact the lives of others in a positive way.

It isn’t just hype to consider that your work and your mission and purpose in life should be aligned. I happen to believe that it is why we are here. We don’t want to leave this life feeling that we didn’t make a difference to someone. It is in our DNA to want to leave a legacy.

What do you want yours to be?

Career and Passion

Photo by Shutterstock.com

Until next time.

Photos by Shutterstock.

For questions, contact me by email or call me at 804-404-5475.

 

It's Time for a New Job

Developing Healthy Habits for 2016

 

healthy habits

My mom used to say that if you had your health, you had everything you needed. She was a nurse, and she had seen people lose their health and subsequently lose jobs, families, and even their lives. She was a great proponent of preventative health care. She urged me to keep regular check ups with my doctors and my dentist. She also urged me to get vaccinations when recommended. To this day, with few exceptions, I follow her advice because I recognize the soundness of it.

Health is result of good genes to some degree, and as we get older, this is a factor, for sure. Another factor in health, however, is dependent upon whether or not you practice good health habits. Good health habits include eating for good nutrition, drinking recommended amounts of water, getting adequate and appropriate exercise, and so on.

During this time of year, with the Christmas holidays just behind us and the New Year just ahead of us, it is the time when we start to think in terms of fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions. Many of the most common resolutions are centered around health and fitness. I am certain that every fitness club on the planet is braced for an onslaught of new memberships that people will likely abandon almost as quickly as they sign up for them. That is a not a disaparagement…just a fact. Take a look at the graphic below to see why I make such a statement.

habits

Note that “85% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the first week.”

We don’t need to be resigned to bad health, however, just because creating new healthy habits is challenging. We just need to heed the two tips above, “Start slowly; Be consistent.”

I am starting a new program next week which I am calling “7 Months to 7 Healthier Habits for 2016.”  Click on the link for more information.

Are you as healthy as you would like to be? Consider:

  • Are you at your ideal weight?
  • Is your BMI (Body Mass Index) what you would like it to be?
  • Do you practice healthy eating habits regularly?
  • Do you drink the recommended amount of water most days?
  • Are you getting the exercise you need in order to be fit for your age and your current physical condition?

These are extremely important questions at any time of the year, but especially at this time. While everyone is thinking about making a “new start” in the New Year, why not think about how you might make 2016 a healthier year than last year?

If you have questions about the “7 Months to 7 Healthier Habits for 2016,” please let me know. I will be happy to work with you if you are interested in making this a healthier year ahead. In this program we will be working slowly and incrementally as we incorporate one new health habit a month for 7 months. In that way, the habits we create will last longer and by the end of July, 2016, we will be healthier, and if the adage is true, happier as well.

I invite you to join me.

Until next time.

 

 

5 Steps to a More Successful 2015

As you approach the New Year, you may be considering how you might change some of your less helpful habits—habits that are holding you back from being your “best” self. Or, perhaps you are thinking about which of your “bad” habits are preventing you from being happier, healthier, and more successful.

As a stress management coach, I offer specific strategies on how to manage and reduce stress in the lives of my clients. These strategies also help them become more resilient in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.

For the purposes of today’s message, I would like to focus on 5 steps that you can start taking today to take you to a better 2015:

1)  Make a decision. The first step you must take before making any change, much less maintaining a better habit, is actually to make the decision that you are going to change. You must first decide that you are going to change and maintain an improved habit (or habits) in the upcoming year. A decision is different from a wish, a hope, or a dream, and making a decision to change something in your life is the first step toward making any meaningful change that is likely to last.

2)  Change only one thing at a time. People don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions—and let’s face it, most don’t—because they overwhelm themselves with making a dozen “resolutions” when they need to focus on one change at a time. If you have multiple areas of your life where you want to make significant changes, you need to choose the top one that you feel is the most urgent to your health, happiness or success, and start there. If you try to make more than one change at a time, you are dooming yourself to failure before you even get started.

3)  Create S.M.A.R.T. goals. “S.M.A.R.T.” stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or Attainable), Relevant, and Timely (or Time Limited).” A habit is something that is deeply ingrained. You engage in the behavior in question automatically and without thinking. That’s why it is called a habit. There is no denying that habits are hard to break. If that weren’t the case, we would drop bad habits in a hurry with little effort, right? But habits are sneaky…they drive your actions through your subconscious. So turn changing the habit into a goal and then establish parameters around how and why you want to change by creating S.M.A.R.T. goal language around it.

4)  Write your goal on a piece of paper and refer to it daily. There is something about writing down a goal that makes it feel more achievable than when it is just rattling around in your head. Write down your goal and write it in terms that comport with the S.M.A.R.T. goals in #3. In addition, write down why you want to change this habit. If you are a smoker and you want to quit smoking, write down why you want to do that. Is it because you don’t want to be a poor role model for your kids? Is it because you are tired of your clothes smelling like a stale ashtray all the time? Whatever the reason for your making the decision to change your habit, write it down. Then, carry the paper with you so that when you are tempted to revert to the old habit—and you will be tempted many times—you can remind yourself of the reasons for wanting to make the change.

5)  Share your goal with others and/or get a coach if you need one to hold you accountable for your actions. There is something about sharing goals with other people that keeps you more honest than if you keep the goal to yourself. If you make a decision to lose ten pounds between New Year’s day and March 31, 2015, that is something you CAN do…it falls under the heading of something you can translate into a S.M.A.R.T. goal…and if you stick to the resolve you felt when you made the decision, it is definitely doable. There are going to be times, however, when you will feel tempted to go back to your old habits of eating poorly and not exercising enough to be successful. You will be tempted to give up. If you have shared your goal with someone else, you are far more likely to stick with it. You may choose a friend or a buddy who will hold you to your promise to yourself. Perhaps you could use a coach that you hire specifically for the purpose of helping you stay motivated and to keep you honest throughout the process.

I have participated in a program around setting goals for myself as a business woman for the New Year. One of the important distinctions that the program offered is one that I believe might be helpful to you as you enter 2015. That distinction is to remember that your past does not define your future. You may have tried to quit smoking before and failed. You may have attempted to lose ten pounds before and gave up because it got hard or was inconvenient or you just couldn’t stick to your resolve.

That was then…this is now…it is a new day. This time you CAN be successful! You must first make a decision that this time is different, however. Decide once and for all that whatever it is that you want to change is not only something you wish you could do or just want to do…decide that it is something you will do…no excuses…and then follow the other four steps offered above to get you there. Tackle one bad habit at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes at once. One habit at a time, one day at a time…you can do this. Happy New Year.

For more information about Kitty Boitnott at Boitnott Coaching, LLC, contact her at BoitnottCoaching.com and subscribe to her newsletter by opting in for the free stress management evaluation that is available on her website. Or, fill out the form below: