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Has anyone down-shifted?
Old 01-02-2012, 08:54 AM   #1
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Has anyone down-shifted?

A great holiday season and the new year brings reflection. Late 2012 is my earliest potential ER date based on a lump sum retirement. As the possibility becomes real I am thinking more in depth and considering the options beyond ER dates and nest egg sums. I have a decent j*b with a great boss but excessive travel. Of course now that daughter 3 is launching, travel is less of a concern and just a hassle. I can sustain the effort to have extra savings and funds for family fun. I have no urgency to leave, but I enjoy to security of knowing I can.

The question that I am pondering is ER to what? I can doubtlessly fill my time, but towards what end beyond self gratification? Along those lines of thought, I am considering leaving the corporate world to become a HS teacher. This would drop my pay by 2/3rds but avoid the ER cost of benefits. But my motivation is beyond the dollar calculations. I've had a good career but feel that it left little enduring legacy beyond being productive and providing for the family. I have worked with HS youth in a few venues (Big Brother, Leadership Camps) and found it enormously rewarding. I hope I can make a difference for some kids in these very challenging times.

Has anyone else downshifted to a bigger role in the community? Is a structured role more effective then other volunteer work? Lessons learned? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:13 AM   #2
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tekward View Post
The question that I am pondering is ER to what? I can doubtlessly fill my time, but towards what end beyond self gratification? Along those lines of thought, I am considering leaving the corporate world to become a HS teacher. This would drop my pay by 2/3rds but avoid the ER cost of benefits. But my motivation is beyond the dollar calculations. I've had a good career but feel that it left little enduring legacy beyond being productive and providing for the family.
Being profuctive and caring for your family is doing a lot. Plenty people cannot manage this.The purpose of life is to beget life.

Also, teaching tends to be a burn-out prone profession. Few things are what they seem from the outside.

Ha
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
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Tekward,

I think your idea is admirable. Teenagers are a special group of folks who need a lot of attention, but tend (by nature) to seem to push that attention away. While almost everyone loves little kids, many people aren't as positive about teens. It sounds as if you understand that age group and want to serve them.

The part I question is your referring to teaching high school as "downshifting." From what I understand (not being a teacher myself), it is a very challenging job with lots of potential "hassles." (Rigid school administration; demanding or uninvolved parents; low school budgets; extra work brought home after hours). Have you talked to some of the teachers in the school districts you will be considering?

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Old 01-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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I cannot imagine 'downshifting' into teaching if one expects to do a good job. It is not an 8-5 job where you leave at the end of the day and don't think about it until 8:00 AM the next day. You get to work early, work late and bring work home. Add to that the time required for various programs, meetings, on going training, etc.

IMHO, downshifting would mean getting a job at some big box store where I great people, show them where stuff is, and when I go home, my time is MY time until the net work day begins.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:49 PM   #6
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I'm at least two years away from ER. Just started volunteering at the local Junior High in the Math Dept. No pay, no benefits but I think being around young people and keeping my brain engaged will pay off. Plus it's just FUN! If a paid option came up for part time or part year I would consider it.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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I am considering leaving the corporate world to become a HS teacher....I have worked with HS youth in a few venues (Big Brother, Leadership Camps) and found it enormously rewarding. I hope I can make a difference for some kids in these very challenging times.
Your work in the past with BB/camps is commendable. Having absolutely zero experience with either BB/leadership camps nor public high schools, I am willing to go out on a limb and caution you to think long and hard before equating the two experiences.

One-on-one (or small groups) with teens who (mostly) want to be in a setting can be VASTLY different from a high school classroom in a public school (and even dealing with some troublemakers in private schools).

Try volunteering as a substitute teacher a few times just to get your feet wet before even considering more thought down this path. Me thinks you might come home to your spouse and say "what the hell was I thinking??!?!?!" And that's just looking at it from the perspective of dealing with the students - a few hyperactive/overbearing parents haranguing you is yet another aspect.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:16 PM   #9
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I've had a good career but feel that it left little enduring legacy beyond being productive and providing for the family.
I wish you luck. I think about this all the time but I'm a few years farther away from being able to cut the corporate cord. Hope it works well for you so I can live through you vicariously in the meantime.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:45 PM   #10
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I Just started volunteering at the local Junior High in the Math Dept. No pay, no benefits but I think being around young people and keeping my brain engaged will pay off. Plus it's just FUN! If a paid option came up for part time or part year I would consider it.
I do not wish to discourage your as we need good, dedicated teachers. As a volunteer I assume when you go home you are done. No staying late to talk to parents, no meetings with administrators, no classes to take to make sure you can extend your certificate a few more years, etc. As a teacher you go home and grade papers, call parents, and plan the next lessons. Part time? Well.... I was part time for several years. I ended up going full time when I realized that while my pay was part-time, my hours were full-time, Maybe the district you volunteer in is different. Just make certain you know what you are getting for your time and effort.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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Chuck: I agree, I don't want to end up working harder post-ER than before. However, I've read Joe Dominguez' YMOYL and I like his idea of becoming involved as a way to put meaning other than materialism into life. Right now it's just 2 hours a week, so I don't foresee burnout as a problem. I just want to move from "making a living" to "living a life".
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:34 PM   #12
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Many schools are faced with having a fraction of a teaching position open. For example, the math department has 8 teachers, but needs 8.4 teachers to cover the number of classes they need. Sometimes they get a teacher who can fill .4 math FTE and .6 science FTE but sometimes they would welcome a committed 0.4 person.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:29 PM   #13
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The last 6 years I was a part time computer programmer at the same company that I had been employed full time. They eliminated my position a few months ago and I am in full retirement. I was able continue the health insurance, vacation and 401k while part time.

I did not have to learn any new skills. I was just able to leave the office at 1:30 and not work on Friday.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:32 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the input. That was exactly what I wanted. I'm still in the investigation phase and have set up a meeting with a teacher next week on advice. This is a long term goal and if I move ahead it will be in 2013. Burn-out is a consideration but I'll have the flexability to adjust if needed. For now I'll continue the camp and see if I can juggle the Big Brother program with my travel schedule.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #15
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Just to close the loop. I met with a teacher and came away very impressed by their dedication. It would not be a drop in responsibilities so I've moved it to the back-burner (thanks for all the input). I'll continue at Mega-corp as long as it feels right.

However, with the youngest DD gone to CG Basic Training I have decided to use some of my time returning to the Big Brothers Program. I did it years ago when I was active duty and it was very rewarding (stiill in touch - he's now a great Dad). The hardest part so far was selecting a potential "Little." There are many children with significant needs and it feels like a "Sophie's Choice."

So I guess instead of down-shifting to pay it forward via the classroom, I'll focus on trying to help one child. I'll share experiences if anyone is interested. It might be a challenge being a BB over 50. Damn shame that the price of wisdom is old age, complete with matching knees.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:23 AM   #16
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A quick update on the journey. The Little Brother relationship is working well as I fit it into my business travel schedule. My current j*b is getting even more demanding and I have applied for a instructor position at a local university. If I get it, I'll take ER from mega-corp with a corresponding 50% pay cut. But the w*rk is still aligned with my passions and the idea of having an on-campus office and serving the state (rather than earning bonuses for the top of the organization pyramid) appeals to me. Instead of a couple of years at high pay to pad the nest egg while enduring the demands and counting the days, I may be looking at a longer period at the university with the potential to continue my education (2 free courses per year). I'm hopeful I get the chance to down-shift in this direction.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:00 PM   #17
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I cannot imagine 'downshifting' into teaching if one expects to do a good job. It is not an 8-5 job where you leave at the end of the day and don't think about it until 8:00 AM the next day. You get to work early, work late and bring work home. Add to that the time required for various programs, meetings, on going training, etc.

IMHO, downshifting would mean getting a job at some big box store where I great people, show them where stuff is, and when I go home, my time is MY time until the net work day begins.

Teaching can be a significant downshift from a Mega-corp Sr. Exec position in terms of working hours, work travel, & income. It can be more rewarding also. High stress exec positions are never even close to 8-5 jobs, and the hours don't compare to teaching.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #18
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Teaching can be a significant downshift from a Mega-corp Sr. Exec position in terms of working hours, work travel, & income. It can be more rewarding also. High stress exec positions are never even close to 8-5 jobs, and the hours don't compare to teaching.
Teaching can be a lot like real estate. Location, location, location. Small rural schools where the biggest offense of the day can be a kid trying to sneak a peek at his cell phone to inner city schools, where teachers will just quit in the middle of the year because it's just too crazy. Lot of other variables in play, too. I would guess total hours you are correct factoring in the year long pressure with no down time, but stress/frustration can surface in education, also. Most first year teachers are frazzled by the end of the year. Part-time college teaching would have to be the easier route.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:22 AM   #19
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I wouldn't consider teaching to be a downshift. Being involved in corporate training and sales I deal with motivated people. If they're not motivated they're outta here. Not so with schools.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:50 PM   #20
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Agreed, and I appreciate the input. For background I was considering becoming a Navy JROTC instructor so it would be dealing with a different population. But as several have shared HS is not a relaxing environment. Now I'm exploring teaching at a university. The good part is that there is no rush, just a desire for something more service oriented.
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