Twelve months ago I left my teaching job. I was not enjoying it. I could not keep up with the demands. I did not feel like I was doing it well at all. So I said goodbye.

Fortunately, our family was in a position where I could afford to do this. And I’m so grateful for that.

I’ve since spent a bit of time reassessing my options. Will I return to teaching? What else could I do with my skills and experience? Can I just not ever work?! (Jokes, I would go crazy – or crazier!)

When that got too difficult and I was making no decisions, I threw myself into volunteering. Specifically, cleaning the rubbish off the beach with 3199 Frankston Beach Patrol. It was rewarding. There were no demands and no pressure. No timetables, no reporting, no planning, no stress! I was doing something useful and helpful for something greater than myself.

I was learning about how much rubbish there was and opening my eyes to our waste issues. I was finding plastic bottles and straws, soy sauce fish and empty cans. Ironically, the topic I had just been teaching kids at school was ‘Resources; Use Them Wisely’ and yet I really had no idea of just how poorly our resources were utilized.

But as great as volunteering is, it certainly doesn’t pay the bills.

(Except that one time I found a $50 note, but I spent that on brunch with my mum!)

I needed to get a real job again.

Reading time: 3 min