Decisions, Decisions…It Is Hard To Choose A New Career

by Debt Destroyer on August 24, 2008

When I last talked about my future plans I mentioned that I contacted two local schools.

  1. A State School where I’d earn a teachers certificate.
  2. A Private School where I’d become a Rad Tech.

Option #1 would take 3-4 semesters. Option #2 would take 3 years. Option #1 would cost about one third of what option #2 would cost. Option #1 would also make considerably less than option #2 upon graduation.


I decided to be a teacher.

Almost everyone who I talked to this last month when I explained my choices has said, “you’d make a good teacher” or something to that effect. I think deep down I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a very long time. But various reasons have kept me from exploring this idea. I think the lack of pay was the biggest. The next biggest would be my mother.

She would always rant and rave when teachers would be on the news asking for more money (South Dakota ranks 51st in the nation for teacher pay…we must be very proud of this fact, because we’ve done nothing over the years to change it). I would always take the teachers side of the argument. At the time I thought I was just playing devil’s advocate to spice up a boring dinner conversation, but looking back I think there was more there. Interesting…two straight posts with some personal reflection. 😉

At least that is the plan today, it could easily change by the time you read this.

I say it could easily change because there are a few concerns about going this route:

  • Will we be able to afford me going back to school?
  • Will I find a job upon graduation that doesn’t require relocating?
  • Will I like it

This first one is my biggest concern (probably because we will face it right away). My wife’s wedding photography business if doing great, but I think she’s still 9 months away from making “real” money.

I of course will be working while going to school, but part time jobs around here pay peanuts (heck most full time jobs do too). So I’m thinking about applying for a sanitation worker opening that is being advertised currently. This way I could work until next fall when my wife’s business should really be going strong and we’d definitely be able to afford sending me back to school.

The second area of concern is also related to my wife’s business. She’ll make more money being a wedding photographer than I will as a teacher. So it will be stupid if I have to move to get a low paying job that will require her to relocate her business and start from scratch.

The 3rd area of concern is one I have with everything. As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve never had a job where I enjoyed what I was doing. So now it’s a constant worry that I have. But I’m not overly concerned with it this time. So far I’ve never really had a job that focused on human interaction, and I think that is what I’ve been missing. Plus the flexibility of two full months off in the summer would be great.

So here I am after 4 weeks still pondering the same basic ideas:

School or Work?

Garbageman or Teacher?

What are your thoughts?

Until next time,


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

The Happy Rock August 25, 2008 at 12:07 am

Not an easy choice by any means. I like that others are helping you find out what your gifts are. Sometimes it really helps to ask friends that can be objective what your gifts are. It looks like there is some agreement there that you need a career is heavy on relationships. Teaching would be one of those.

From the outside the financial aspect looks shaky given your debt and income levels. It looks like you are going have a tough year although attitude is everything. Taking on more debt will on exacerbate it. With that said if you can find a career that really connects with your skills and personality and dreams than things can be awesome even if it is ridiciously tough. With a career that you can get behind, things like busting it at a second job to pay for school and keep the debt snowball going will be more than worth it.

Do waiters not make much in SD? It is a people oriented side job that usually makes a reasonable income if you bust it and are good.


The First Creditor August 25, 2008 at 10:46 am

The thing that resonates the most with me is your concern regarding whether or not you will be happy as a teacher. I too have found myself discontented with all of my previous jobs. Even the job I have now, where I have been for three years and have always liked, I am beginning to dislike. I think the bottom line is, I don’t want to work for money. I want to have the money, and volunteer my time, but sadly that is not realistic at this time. So I ask you, is it that haven’t found the right job, or is it that you don’t like working? Maybe in the mean time, instead of a garbage man, you should find a people oriented job such as THR suggested, and see if that makes the difference.


Jacquelin August 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm

What about taking a job as a teachers aid or as a porter in a hospital? They may not make a lot of money, but at least you may be able to get some idea as to what you like more. And maybe one of those positions will help you get your foot in the door. OR maybe do the teacher certification first, then, after a few years of teaching, fo for the Rad Tech? then you will have both…not that uncommon anymore


Patrick August 25, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I’m glad I stopped by your blog and read this post, because I have something to say that may help you. Joseph Campbell always said about such matters, “Follow your bliss.” The right path is the one that will make you the happiest, the one that feels right to you in your heart.

Good luck with your decision! I’m going to subscribe to your RSS feed.


Jerry August 28, 2008 at 4:22 am

American teachers are paid poorly, and that leads the profession to miss out on many of the best and brightest who could be terrific teachers. Your decision to do this is a brave and insightful one. My mom retired from teaching last year. Usually teachers do get decent insurance and benefits, at least. When I lived in Europe I was surprised to see how well paid and respected educators are compared to in the States. It’s a sad situation.


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