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How To Tell When It's Time To Switch Career Paths

As you can see from previous blog contributors, I have kept up with many connections from college and I'm proud of all that they have accomplished in their time since school. Dorothy is no exception, but I have been proud of her for much longer than since just post-grad. Since our early years of undergrad, she has worked a full-time job while running her extremely successful blog, Prep In Your Step. In this article, she opens up about her career path and why it is never too late to change your profession.


When it comes to planning, I am a type “A” person, to a “T.” After my first year of kindergarten with the kindest, most welcoming teacher, I decided at the ripe age of 5, that one day, I would have my own classroom and follow in her footsteps to become a teacher. Friends that know me well enough, would quickly associate driven and stubborn as key adjectives to describe me as an individual. So much so, that in high school, my friends were convinced that I would be one of the few who graduated without switching their major a time or two. So, in many ways, it’s no surprise that I opted not to stray from this plan and pursue a degree in Elementary Education. After graduating from Furman in 2017 with this goal achieved, I decided to stay at the school to obtain a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2018, while teaching fourth-grade full time at a school in Greenville, South Carolina. 

To outsiders, I’d followed the plan I made for myself and accomplished my goals, but the path to doing that ended up with me getting in the way of myself. I’d put myself in a box labeled, "teacher," and refused to stray despite what my gut told me. During my junior year of college, I started to doubt my desire to become a teacher but felt like it was too late to change majors and continue, even though my interests were leaning more and more towards creative industries. I was quick to blame this interest in social media and communication on the lifestyle blog I had started my junior year of high school, and my love of learning ways to continue to better its brand, but in my mind that was meant to take the backburner to my role as an educator. 

After college graduation, I secured a job teaching fourth grade at the school where I had completed my student teaching practicum and convinced myself that I was starting to feel more settled. However, when the school year came around, the saying, “Do one thing every day that scares you” described how I felt when going to school every day. The teaching part came easy to me, and I thrived when it came to lesson planning, but the classroom dynamic and creativity, often being stripped from teaching to keep up with the pacing of standards, left me feeling defeated. There were more crying phone calls to my parents than I care to admit, and I knew a change needed to be made. 

So, I finished the school year with my students, opted not to re-sign my contract, and completed my master’s degree with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be using it as I had thought. I had continued to keep up with my blog all this time and knew that the passion I felt for various aspects of blogging would be a good starting point for my career search. As a planner, it was humbling to explain to others that I had quit a perfectly good job without anything lined up next, and for so long, I had convinced myself that it would cause other people to think of me as a quitter. I was shocked by how many people expressed their pride and support in me when I chose to take a leap of faith and do something I was more interested in. 

Now, putting together these pieces of the puzzle is a laughable moment, for my current role embodies so much of what I love. Two days following my master’s graduation, I interviewed for a position as an Editorial Assistant at a media production company in Birmingham, Alabama, which owns eleven different magazines. I secured the job, a roommate, and a house and started working less than a month later. During my time as an Editorial Assistant I was able to write for two of the different magazines, grow their social media channels by over 100,000 followers, assist with photoshoots, and discover a job I was interested in, which I wouldn’t have even known about had I not opted to take a risk that proves time and time again, to have been one of my proudest decisions.

While I still work with the same company, I applied and was promoted to the role of a photo prop stylist, which has been the dream job that I didn’t know existed. I am able to produce content for all 11 magazines at the company, ranging from food to lifestyle shoots. Although my degrees are not being utilized per se, the skills I learned from them and my ability to adapt have continued to prove useful in this role. 

If I could go back and tell my five-year-old self that at 25-years-old, I would be on my second career that has nothing to do with the realm of education, I don’t think she would have believed me. There are even days when I can’t believe just how much I look forward to going into the office for work each day. As a young professional, you don’t have to have everything figured out all at once. Taking a risk and letting yourself discover passions in a profession, is something anyone can benefit from, as long as you let yourself do it. 

Check out Dorothy's Blog Site Prep In Your Step to learn more about her career path: How I Decided To Quit My Teaching Job, What I Do As An Editorial Assistant, What I Do As A Prop Stylist

The YoPro Know's Takeaways:

-Taking a risk and letting yourself discover passions in a profession is something anyone can benefit from

-As a young professional, you don’t have to have everything figured out all at once

-It's never too late to change your career path, especially as a young professional

Connect with the author here: Dorothy Walton

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