I remember getting my first job in higher education, working part-time teaching a night psychology course to about four students. I stood up in front of them with virtually no idea of what I was doing. Their eyes were eager, and I swear the sweat was pouring down my face.
And then I started teaching. The topics flowed easily and after that night I knew I had found my calling. I have worked in higher education for a decade since then, providing myself with countless unpaid hours of lesson planning, engaging with students and going to events, and building who I was as a professor.
I was able to grow into a role that allowed me to work from home before it was popular, becoming a faculty member in a psychology program at an all women’s college. Working here was a great blessing at that point in my life, allowing me flexibility and opportunities to continue to grow into my craft.
Then it happened – the pandemic hit. My institution was no stranger to the struggles, but having already been remote, we experienced little heavy lifting on our end to provide courses to students. The issue became that I started to really look at where my career was going.
I had been stagnant for over six years, spinning my wheels and begging for a title change, more responsibility, higher pay, and it just never was in the budget or an option. Being offered more responsibility with no pay changes seemed fine at the time but then I began to realize my worth, experience, and education deserved more.
The Great Resignation brought about articles and sharing stories of many individuals struggling just as I had within my role. Many of them worked in education or had jobs where work/life balance wasn’t a focus, pay was limited and promotional opportunities just were not in the cards. People began to realize our worth, that we could negotiate, ask for better, for more, and if it didn’t work, we could leave.
Here I sit with a new position, not in education, that allows me to use my skill set. I still work remotely from home, have endless promotional opportunities and make over double what I did previously. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all about the money but this company saw my experience, listened to my thoughts, and immediately compensated me for what I had to offer and how I will help their company grow.
While I am still an adjunct (teaching will forever be a love), I am no longer jaded by asking for more and being declined, as it was beginning to impact my students. I am able to share experiences, help them advocate for themselves, and work in a field where I am still educating and building a team where the sky is the limit!
So, I left where I was comfortable for a new venture that was scary and unknown. While it has been an adjustment, I am grateful for being able to leverage my expertise, make decisions, and change processes to help others.
If you’re feeling like you need a change, feeling stagnant or unheard, now might be your time to join the masses and advocate for who you are and who you want to become. Don’t let a job hold you back from meeting your full potential.