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 Sarah Eddings, a teacher who pivoted to a sales role. This is her story.
- What were you doing before the pandemic? What are you pursuing now?
I was an elementary school teacher at a Title I charter school for 5 years. This July, I began working at a Public Relations management software company in the small businesses sales department.
2. What made this the right time to switch for you/did you have any doubts?
Leaving the education field puts you on a tight timeline. I’m personally not the type of person who could leave in the middle of the school year, but I knew for 9 months that it would be my last year. So when the end of the school year arrived, I had already known for so long that I didn’t want to return—even though I didn’t have a new job lined up yet. I didn’t have any doubts about leaving, but I had concerns about what my future would hold. My biggest fears were centered around finances and finding a new company or job that I was passionate about.
3. What was the turning point for you in which you decided to pivot?
I could write a novel on this because there are multiple contributing factors to my decision to pivot. Ultimately, I’d say the biggest reason is because I wanted to evolve my career in a new direction and be at a place where I could picture myself growing.
4. What lessons have you learned during this process?
I’ve learned to trust the process. This doesn’t mean that you sit back and let life happen to you, but you have to recognize that some things are out of your control.
I believe that in life there are many paths that will lead you to happiness, not just one “right path” that you should constantly worry about being on. Some of these paths are more direct, while others may be so hilly or winding that you lose sight of where you’re headed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to your destination eventually. Even dead ends that force you to backtrack through places you’ve already been are critical information that you can add to your life map. Knowing where NOT to go is arguably even more valuable than knowing where you do want to end up.
This way of thinking has helped me not regret any of my past professional journey, and it gives me peace about my career’s future.
5. Have you dealt with imposter syndrome since switching? If so, how did you overcome it?
I actually struggled with this more in the past than I do now. Going into my new job, I adjusted how I channeled my energy. Instead of spending time worrying about if I’m qualified enough, I focus on asking the right questions, researching, and learning from mine and others’ mistakes to actually become qualified. I also take advantage of the mental health days and learning days that I can take off when I need to re-center. The culture at my new job also makes me feel supported because there are industry experts who are always willing to let me shadow them or be a sounding board when I need it.
6. What tips would you give someone who wanted to pivot?
I would tell them to not get all wrapped up or put too much stock in all the advice you see on the internet (including this article!). You know yourself best. You already know if it’s time to go. There are endless routes that will lead you there–you just have to start by taking the first step!