Sun | Feb 28, 2021

Glenford Smith | Teacher frustrated at job

Published:Sunday | December 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I was looking through the Wednesday, November 27, 2019, issue of The Gleaner and noticed a page featuring an article by you. A friend of mine is frustrated at her job as a teacher of mathematics and is desirous of making a career change. However, the problem is that she is not sure about what direction she should take. Could you give her some advice?

– D. Reid


CAREERS: Thank you for your letter. Yes, career articles are published in The Gleaner on Wednesdays as well.

Your friend is having the experience of wanting to change her job after some time, which is quite natural. We take up a job that we think is our passion but become frustrated with it and eventually leave it to find what it is we love.

Others bear the drudgery of a job that was soul-killing from day one but which paid the bills, so they stayed. For such people, every activity of every day is a mind-numbing task. They simply can’t wait for the clock to strike five so they can go home.

It is such people that Henry David Thoreau could well have had in mind when he wrote: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” This is the predicament of many workers today.

The plight of teachers was highlighted recently when the frustration of the teacher from Pembroke Hall High School was demonstrated for all to see. In her exasperation, she said to a student who was the source of anger, “Mi wi kill yuh in ya.” By way of interpretation she is threatening to kill the student in the classroom. She was that vexed. That is how many teachers are feeling today.

If your friend desires to make a career change, it is quite normal. Almost no one stays at one job until retirement anymore. What she needs to do is to explore avenues of interest and passion until she finds something that she wants to do. Equally, she needs to consider the money that she is able to earn in this new area. The two things are equally important.

Your friend should see a career coach or an enlightened friend perhaps like yourself. One of those persons could explore with her what her strengths and weaknesses are. She needs to know that there are no guarantees. She will need to trust and go out and do it when she feels a choice is right.

A book I recommend she consult is Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger. The authors delve into 16 personality types and the kinds of work this predisposes them to. It will help her discover an ideal career by helping her understand the secrets of personality type.

She should not leave the current situation until she is confident in her mind. Continue to teach her students mathematics with excitement and enthusiasm. She must continue to demonstrate the ultimate in professionalism until she decides to leave.

Glenford Smith is president of CareerBiz Coach and author of ‘From Problems to Power’ and ‘Profile of Excellence’.