Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Hannah Diamond sharing a difficult career decision that sparked a spectacular second act.
I taught 9th grade English at an urban public high school for 10 years. I loved teaching and had planned to teach until I retired. However, the political climate surrounding public schools started to change, and I realized that the career I loved was no longer the same.
Curriculum was centered around test scores, not based on what students need to know for college, life, and future careers. Everything was about test scores. Students were not students anymore; they were “data.” Class sizes were growing, and so were expectations. I was suffering from stress-related illnesses ranging from back pain to chronic sinus infections.
I hated to leave, but I had to do so for my mental and physical health. In 2013, I wasn’t seriously looking for a new job, but an ad on LinkedIn caught my eye. It started out with the line, “Do you love office supplies?” I discovered that a trendy office supply company, UrbanGirl.com, was hiring a marketing and social media professional, and the company was located two miles from my home!
I had not given much thought to what my “second act” would be before this, because I had not planned on switching careers. However, when I read the job descriptions and qualifications, I realized that I was uniquely qualified because the job required writing, photography, editing, and communication skills combined with a love of office supplies. I applied, and to my surprise, I was offered the job.
It was still a difficult decision to make, but I am so glad that I did. My health problems are nearly non-existent now, and I am so much happier. I love that the majority of my work is creative. I write the company blog, emails, and all social media posts. I take photos of the products and design graphics for the website. I am using my English degree in a way I never thought I would, as blogs didn’t even exist when I graduated from college.
My advice for anyone planning a big career change is to have confidence and do plenty of research. It was daunting switching to a “techie” career when most people in my new line of work are at least 10 years younger than I am. However, I knew I had the creativity and writing skills to succeed. I also spent time researching my new field, and I continue to learn new things every day.
Where to find Hannah…
Hannah, thank you for sharing your journey. I am certain this post will resonate with teachers, nurses, social workers and others in the “helping professions” who are struggling with that tenuous health/career balance.