"I got a promotion, and I regretted it."-- Fast Company Feature
When I was a high school teacher, I wanted to "climb the ladder" and become the department chair. Once I got the job, I liked the status-- but I missed my purpose.
Last year, I was featured in Fast Company for a story about being disenchanted with a once-glorified promotion.
Before I began my own public relations agency, I spent six years in education. I was a high school teacher and I couldn't have been happier, but something told me it wasn't enough.
A few years into the job, my principal recognized my leadership skills and offered me the position of department chair. This meant I'd be responsible for a team of 30 English teachers-- many of whom were much older than I was and wanted the position for themselves. I was nervous abotu moving into such a major role at the ripe age of 24, but I was ambitious and determined to "climb the ladder.
Here's the thing:
Running the largest department at one the the biggest high schools in the country is cool and everything, but my entire world changed.
Gone were the days when I was engaged with my students, voluntarily staying after school to help them with new concepts, and going the extra mile with my lesson plans in an attempt to make the material relevant and engaging. I was suddenly thrust into a world of bureaucracy and parent complaints and administrative politics and tattling (from the teachers, not the students, surprisingly) and my class was constantly interrupted with calls from the office or surprise fights in the hallway-- all my responsibility as department chair.
I had no more bandwidth for my students. I had no time to bond meaningfully with my teacher friends. I was in a role of authority and great responsibility, and while I believe I managed it well, it took me away from what I wanted to do.
My pride made me reluctant to let the job go-- I liked having "hustled" my way to the top and wearing such an important title at a young age. But I was burned out and unfulfilled.
I called my principal over a two-week winter break during my second year in the role, and I told him I just couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to quit immediately, the weight had gotten that bad. But he pleaded with me to meet up with him and tried to work his magic to convince me to stay.
We compromised and I agreed to finish the year, but I was desperate to get back to my meager teacher's salary doing the very thing that brought me so much joy in the first place: teaching.
Read more about what it's like to regret a promotion you've desire in the Fast Company feature here.