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From a Teacher to a Product Operations Manager: The Great Switch

The Great Switch is a series featuring those who have transitioned careers during the pandemic. We hope their stories can serve as inspiration for those who are considering a career switch. Now, more than ever, companies are focusing on employee engagement, shifting to remote or hybrid work models, and employees are prioritizing their careers and health. This is the future of work.

Meet Ann Lopez, a teacher who pivoted into a Senior Product Operations Manager role during the pandemic. This is her story.

  1. What were you doing before the pandemic? What are you pursuing now?

Before the pandemic, I was an elementary school teacher. Now, I am a Sr. Product Operations Manager at an education technology company that provides professional development services to teachers.

2. What was the turning point for you in which you decided to pivot?

I was an active duty military spouse for 9 years and due to the constant move, I was struggling with finding stable and suitable employment that fits our unique lifestyle. I decided to pivot when I realized there are career choices that offers decent pay with good benefits. Most importantly, I needed a career that allows for remote work and understands my needs as a military spouse. 

3. What lessons have you learned during this process?

I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to go about the career pivot process. What worked well for me may not necessarily be the case for someone else. I also learned that career pivot is a journey and not a destination. Even after I have successfully pivoted, I maintain that same mindset of not staying stagnant with my career because I am my own biggest advocate. 

4. Have you dealt with imposter syndrome since switching? If so, how did you overcome it?

I am constantly dealing with imposter syndrome and instead of “overcoming it,” I am choosing to embrace and learn from it. I know this is something that lies within me and no amount of training, compliments or advice will make it go away unless I, myself, learn to accept it. Whenever I feel the uncertainty starts to creep up on me, I take a step back and refocus my thought on something else.  

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