The Reasons I Am Leaving Education

I’m joining a company that I believe in. I’ve been working with my “new” employer for the last three years, moonlighting in the backroom on weekends while teaching weekdays. The team members at Target have treated me with respect and honor. On top of that, I’ve been impressed by Target’s focus on a clear mission and vision that drives everything it’s employees do.

I get more days off. For the last three years, I’ve been working seven days a week. My wife has worked two or three jobs at a time. We’ve made a living, but we haven’t had much of a life. Teaching didn’t lead us to this lifestyle, but to move out of this “always on” way of life, we knew we needed something more than teaching was able to deliver.

I get to focus on one job. I believe I’ve performed well in my core responsibilities as a classroom teacher, but who knows how much better I might have been if I could have focused completely on my classroom and leadership responsibilities. My new position will certainly demand my time and energy, but it will be one main demand, rather than three or four different employers demanding my time, attention, and creativity.

I have more options for career advancement. I’ve been really fortunate to serve in some interesting and important leadership positions in my district. At the end of the day, though, I was a classroom teacher filling some temporary committee and leadership positions that added nominal compensation to my base teacher pay. My new employer includes multiple departments and locations around the country, and advancement is encouraged. They even reimburse post-baccalaureate tuition costs. I would have had to take out student loans to get a master’s degree as a teacher.

3 Responses to “The Reasons I Am Leaving Education”


  • Joel,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on the transition. I think you are definitely making a smart move that will enable a huge healthy transition for the better. I just don’t believe we were designed to work 7 days a week and you’ve been doing it for a long time. I’m really excited for you guys.

    I’m interested, because your number 1 reason talked about vision and purpose, what your experience will be like connecting to your purpose within a corporate beheamoth like target. Very different from the localized experience of education. Keep me posted on how you keep from getting swallowed by the big red concentric circled machine:)

    • Right up front, Target’s mission “to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise.”

      Personally, I want to work at Target because I want to bless people in little ways and big ways. When a guest can find just the right bottle of shampoo at a good price without a lot of hassle, that’s a small blessing. When an employee can get time off for a last minute family obligation without getting a guilt trip from the supervisor, that’s another small blessing.

      When an employee can grow some leadership skills on the job, leading to a better resume or even a promotion, that’s a bigger blessing.

      Additionally, if I can influence other leaders at Target to bless people through their words and actions, and influence the company to act with honor and respect, that’s a blessing that can multiply, potentially.

      Target is a big company, but it’s filled with leaders who recognize that monetary profit is a result of local, daily, disciplined thought and disciplined action.

      Does that make sense? Am I being too idealistic?

      • You should read the book “Linchpin” by Seth Godin. I just bought it. I’ll give it to you next time I see you. He talks alot about that idea of not being another “cog in the machine.” He says to that you need to do “art” which he defines as a gift that changes someone. It sounds like you will certainly have opportunity to do that. It is just a question of how radically different you will be emboldened to operate. In my estimation, there must be something radical, surprising, or otherwise eye-catching to make the kind of impact you describe. After all, lots of good intentions end up staying just that, good intentions. It takes something special to make them come to life. But that’s true where ever you are, but I think that’s especially challenging in a corporate place where the book has already been written. Eventually you’re gonna have to break the rules in order to rewrite the book.

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