Brainstorming Career Ideas (Career Shift Strategy Session with Educator Jackie Canterna) | #61

February 27, 2023

Brainstorming Career Ideas (Career Shift Strategy Session with Educator Jackie Canterna) | #61 Have you thought about your next career move? It is never too early to start building your exit plan or to begin brainstorming another career idea you may be interested in, so listen up! On this Career Shift Strategy Session of the […]

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Brainstorming Career Ideas (Career Shift Strategy Session with Educator Jackie Canterna) | #61

Have you thought about your next career move? It is never too early to start building your exit plan or to begin brainstorming another career idea you may be interested in, so listen up! On this Career Shift Strategy Session of the Second Act Success Podcast, I have an on-air Career Coaching session with my client Jackie Canterna. Jackie is a  longtime teacher and works as a Program Consulting Teacher for Baltimore County Public Schools. With two years left on her contract, she is searching for options on what to do next. If you are in a similar position, this is the episode for you. We discuss topics like…Should I start a business? Do I move departments within my company? Is it easier to stay in the same job until retirement?  Take a listen!

Career Shift Strategy Session with Jackie Canterna, Educator

Career Shift Strategy Session with Jackie Canterna, Educator



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Season 1 -Episode #61 - Brainstorming Career Ideas (Career Shift Strategy Session)
Guest: Jackie Canterna
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Shannon Russell: Welcome to a special Career Shift Strategy Session. Of the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host career coach shannon Russell.

These are on air coaching sessions, featuring a client or listener who needs some career coaching advice. I love the idea of bringing these sessions to you so that you can listen in and learn from the questions that someone else is asking. Let's get started.


[00:01:24] Shannon Russell: On this Career Shift Strategy Session, I will be speaking with longtime educator. Jackie Jackie began her career in public relations before entering the classroom. She has been an educator for over 20 years and is now a program consulting teacher. Coaching first year teachers for Baltimore County Public Schools. Jackie has two years left on her contract and is weighing her options out for the future.

[00:01:51] Shannon Russell: Jackie. I'm so glad to see you. Thank you for being on the podcast.

[00:01:55] Jackie C.: Oh, thank you for having me. I'm excited to talk to you and, and really [00:02:00] dive in a little bit on what's going on with me.

[00:02:03] Shannon Russell: I'm glad, that we are able to work together and I'm glad that you agreed to be on the show so we can kind of have a little on air coaching call. So why don't you just fill us in for the listeners and kind of explain where you are at in your career right now.

[00:02:18] Jackie C.: So I started off, you know, going to college for, I loved writing. And it kind of, got me into corporate communications. That was my undergrad degree. I double majored in journalism where my writing came in. I really enjoyed that very much. One of the things that I discovered at the end of my undergrad was public relations. And it sounded great. In theory you take your courses and you're like, oh, I, I think I would really enjoy this. But you never know until you get into the real world, , what that's gonna be like. So I decided to go to graduate school right away, which, looking in hindsight, I wish that I had taken time to really think about it and maybe. Get into the workforce [00:03:00] and really try different jobs to see what I would enjoy doing. But I didn't. I went straight to graduate school. I went to Boston University for a degree in PR and when I graduated, my goal was to work in Entertainment PR and it was something that I really enjoyed doing. in my experience through some internships that I had at BU. But, one of the things I discovered was that when I got into the field, it was such a hard field to get into, first of all.

And I had to live geographically in places such as LA or Atlanta to get with some, entertainment PR firms. I ended up getting into nonprofit PR when I moved back to Maryland and I worked in healthcare, for several years doing their marketing and pr and I just found that I, I didn't love it. It was very mundane and even though I was writing, which was my passion, it was very, repetitive. It didn't allow for creativity or, things that I [00:04:00] really enjoyed when I was doing, entertainment pr. By that time I had married and was looking to settle here. So I ended up kind of just. Trying to rediscover things that I originally had been passionate about. You know, and that's something that we don't talk a lot about is, as young adults is the several passions that we have and where our careers can take us. When we enjoyed doing many things, and something that I always enjoyed doing was working with children.

I had lifeguarded most of my adult life and. I taught swim lessons. I was a swimmer in high school and I had already thought about being a teacher. It was something I had thought about, , long before I got into. Corporate communications.

So I decided to give that a try. I ended up doing a program through Johns Hopkins University for a Master's in Special Ed. That's where my journey in education started. I taught in Baltimore City [00:05:00] Public Schools for 11 years. And I left there about six years ago, and now I'm with Baltimore County Public Schools as a consulting teacher.

So now I. , basically coach first year teachers, which is wonderful and I absolutely love it. But as you can see, I'm already 20, almost 20 years into education and I start thinking, well, what's next? I love what I do. , however, I don't know necessarily where to go next in my career, which is I think where a lot of people end up when they are 20 years deep into an industry.

[00:05:34] Shannon Russell: Mm-hmm. , right? It's kind of the point where you can make a change if you're willing to, but then it's scary because you've invested all of this time and this education into this one field. But for you, You have interest in other areas. I think that's a plus for you. You have a master's in public relations, a master's in education, so you have options that other people might [00:06:00] not have. So you kind of have some things going for you. We spoke before the podcast and you had told me you have about two more years in your current position. Um, and I love that you love this position that you tru. Enjoy what you do, and I think that's something for others that are listening to know that it's okay. You can love your position and love what you do, but still crave a change or want to try something else. I always say we get one life, so if there's other things that you want to do, it's okay to explore them.

[00:06:34] Shannon Russell:


[00:07:00] Shannon Russell: So let's start talking and brainstorming. You've got two years left, which is a nice runway. what are you thinking about? Are you thinking about other options in education? Are you thinking about maybe going back to your old PR roots?

[00:07:15] Jackie C.: You know, when we think about teachers and you know, for any teacher that's listening, I think that we always think of our career as being linear. , you know, I'm a teacher, I'm gonna be a teacher for so long, and then you start thinking, okay, well I can be an assistant principal, I can move up to that, or I can come out of the classroom and be a reading specialist, whatever it might be. One thing in my industry that I think is important to note is that especially the way education is today, is that we do have a lot of options and something that I have been thinking about currently, I think I'm just the never-ending student. I'm now taking coursework to get my admin one, which would allow me to be an assistant principal. And I think about that avenue [00:08:00] and and I start thinking, is that really what I wanna do? Do I really want to be an assistant principal? And I could see myself in that role. And I think that it's something that now more than ever, I can see. I lie within my, my morals, my values, and my outlook on education that I'd really like to bring to a schoolhouse.

However, sometimes I do think about, well, what are some other things I could do? So some of the things that I've thought about, um, maybe working for the state, the Maryland State Department of Education in doing something with them or possibly. Just leaving the public school system altogether and maybe going to a private school or maybe going to nonprofit education, or even going to a profit company that works with the curriculum.

There's just so many options that we do have as teachers, and I think sometimes we don't think about those options because we think. , we have to stay within our school system or within [00:09:00] our field. So it's something I've started thinking about.

I've also thought about, well, if I were to get out of education altogether, do I wanna go back to marketing and pr? Where would I start there? I've been out of the industry so long, like would I be so far removed from it that I would go back and feel like. Lost, you know, back to being, 24 and learning everything over again because I've been 20 years out of the industry. So that's my one fear is if I wanted to go back to marketing or pr, what would that look like?

[00:09:32] Shannon Russell: Hmm.

[00:09:33] Jackie C.: That's my greatest fear in tapping into my marketing and PR experience is because my experience was so little compared to my experience in education, that I feel that my knowledge at this point as a 45 year old wouldn't be, commensurate with other people that I would be working with. I would be relearning everything. It's really finding a place where they'd be willing to let me have a learning curve, I guess. [00:10:00] But it is something that I've thought about as well.

[00:10:02] Shannon Russell: So let's talk about that for a second and dive into the PR aspect of a career change. Now, would you be okay going back into the nonprofit world of pr? Because I'm assuming you're not going to go into entertainment pr,

[00:10:18] Jackie C.: no. I'd be so roofed.

[00:10:21] Shannon Russell: But for nonprofit, if you were to go back and work for a nonprofit or a hospital, is that something that would fulfill you because you changed for a reason? So you'd wanna make sure that you're not leaving education for PR to feel unfulfilled and feel like you're in the mundane again.

[00:10:39] Jackie C.: No, you're absolutely right and that's a good point that you make. I think sometimes I do force myself to go back to it just because I have that degree. I went to school for that. I did do it for a little while and I really think that at the end of the day, you're right, I did switch for a reason, and so staying within the vein of [00:11:00] education,

I have thought about starting, for example, my own tutoring business or working for a nonprofit, for students with disabilities, something like that. Just completely kind of switching gears a little bit and just taking my knowledge in, applying it in a different way. I do have a friend who started her own tutoring business. It's been slow going but. Loves it and it's her business. And I've always thought about that. I was like, wow, that's so cool. That's actually a great idea because what better way to apply the wonderful skills and still working with children and still being able to make a difference, , in children's lives and offering tutoring. I've thought about that quite a bit as well.

[00:11:42] Shannon Russell: I love the idea of mending the two fields that you love equally and that all the education you've put into both. So what if you were to open a tutoring? Business of your own, you would have the PR and marketing experience to really grow that [00:12:00] business. That's a plus to know that you have the education as a teacher and you have the PR marketing aspect to. Really take any kind of small business like that and grow it more so than someone who is just a teacher and doesn't know anything about marketing and pr. So that's a plus. Is there PR for the school district? Is there a department that does the press releases and does the marketing and maybe the communications between all the schools in Baltimore.

[00:12:30] Jackie C.: Baltimore County. Um, About that. I, I don't know the extent of what that department looks like and it's definitely, , something. I could look into for sure. It's so funny because we don't ever get to interact being, school-based with the d the different departments at central office. But definitely something to look into and find out. I love that idea, Shannon. I think that that would be, a good place to also check out and, and I think you bring up such a great point, [00:13:00] um, is that sometimes we have to think a little bit outside the box and I find that I don't always do that very well. I try to kind of, again, stay very linear and I think that we have to. , try to really think about different avenues that we can go down and be creative, especially with all the skills that we have. And sometimes it really helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That's why I think it's so great that, , you and I are able to have these conversations because they're super helpful.

[00:13:30] Shannon Russell: I'm glad because you're right. I think we all graduate with whatever degree or even just graduate from high school and then say, okay, well this is what I'm going to do and I'm gonna stay linear until retirement. Right. That's what we were taught when we were little and I think our generation, is the first to maybe. Change that and shake things up and say, no, I can do this until I'm at a place where it doesn't fit my lifestyle and now I'm gonna look to change. A lot of my clients are moms [00:14:00] like us that are, in our thirties and forties and now we have kids. And what we went to school for doesn't necessarily fit our lifestyle.

And it's time to figure out what we can do, how we can use our skills and experience into something. What you have is twofold, which is great. And you're right. I think in education there are so many other options that teachers don't think about. And I'm even thinking like I have told you how I own Snapology STEM education franchise as well. And for us, we have someone who writes our curriculum and actually we have a curriculum team. So I'm just thinking like that is an option. You could go to other. Companies and write their curriculum that's education based. Things like that, that are really outside of the box that when you sit down and really look at your skills and what you like to do, that the doors will kind of open and ideas and the light bulbs will go off.

And I'd love for you to [00:15:00] really make a list of, okay, you love your job. What are things that you love and that you'd wanna take with you and continue to do in whatever career path you choose? Or what are the things that you do not like? It's important to know what you like and what you don't like in your career, so that you make sure that you don't jump into something else and find yourself doing those things that you are not a fan of. So really for you to kind of list what you love about education, what you love about writing, what you love about public relations, all of that. And kind of see what the through lines are or what the threads are that connect those, those tasks, that experience those skills. And then kind of think about the different alternative options that you mentioned before. The tutoring business, writing curriculum, working for the central office, and see where you think your skills that you want to continue with will fit best. That might give you a little bit more of a [00:16:00] direction or if. Things that you can cross off the list that might not fit, oh, maybe if I go into the central office, there'll be some politics I don't wanna deal with or this, that, and the other. So just by really examining each one, you might have a little clarity.

[00:16:15] Jackie C.: I love that the idea of a list, in fact, as you. Talking about that. I was thinking in my head, central office probably would be a nightmare because of the politics. That is something that I would put on the cons side of the list. But you know, you bring up a good point. Where starting my own business would give me the autonomy. I'm my own boss. , it's my business. I can run it how I see best with best practices, so there are so many benefits to starting your own business, but as you mentioned, it's such a scary thought. . That is something I would definitely consider, I would put on my list because I think that that would be something where I can really tie in a lot of my skills, as you said, my marketing and PR [00:17:00] experience, my experience as a teacher, even my experience as a coach, as I hire, tutors.

So I, I love that idea. I love the idea of generating a list. I think that that would be very helpful.

[00:17:15] Shannon Russell: Jackie thinking about your business now, as you were talking, I had an idea of, why couldn't you tutor children and also maybe start a coaching practice for teachers as well as a part of that business because you are so great at coaching first year teachers but maybe there is a service that you can offer to educators as well.

[00:17:37] Jackie C.: It's so funny that you say that because a business that I thought about a long time ago, and again, for anybody that's listening that is a teacher or knows a teacher. I remember talking to some colleagues of mine, about starting a business where we go in and we organize teachers rooms. And I used to help teachers all the time. And that popped up for [00:18:00] me when I was a teacher because it was one of my. , very type A. My classroom was always, you know, well organized and I loved having everything in its place. And it's hard sometimes, for teachers to think about all the things, especially new teachers, to think about all the things that you need to have in your room and that you want to have in your room and where to place things and what materials you need. And so a long time ago, I thought, how cool would it be to have a business where we go in and. . We have a model that we kind of present to teachers and say, okay, what do you have to have in your room? Give us that list. And we would kind of set up the room, of course, within the materials they provide us. But then I started thinking, all those little details start coming into my head, like, what would I charge a teacher, a poor, you know, teachers who are already spread so thin to set up their room where, you know, um, so that's where I never, cuz I did think about that and that thought always stopped [00:19:00] me, was thinking, gosh, I don't know if there is an actual. Business there, because I don't think teachers would spend the money to do it because, , they can just have somebody in their building help so that's what's always stopped me. But of course I never put it out there or did any market research to see if there is a need or if people would want that.

[00:19:23] Shannon Russell: Well, there's your marketing side of, of your brain, telling you to do the market research you're around teachers all day, every day. I actually love that idea, but I can see the price point being. A little tricky, but maybe it's melded into some type of coaching practice where maybe you are, maybe it's an idea if you buy this package, I will help you, I will give you x amount of, digital downloads that you can use. There's all this stuff that's encompassed in it, and it's a package, and I don't. 50, 500, whatever you it is, and they are ready to do that because they know that [00:20:00] they're going to be able to concentrate on the curriculum and on getting in the right mindset to welcome their students and

[00:20:06] Jackie C.: Oh, you're so right.

[00:20:08] Shannon Russell: Is taken care of by you.

[00:20:10] Jackie C.: A hundred percent. That's where teachers need to be. They need to be focused on instruction. They need to be focused on the students and not worried about all those little things that we get inundated with. Especially in your first couple years of teaching.

I love that idea actually. And I, the more I think about it, you're right. Having some sort of package would be nice. In an ideal world, I feel like I would be able to go into schools and offer this. I don't think there's any businesses out there like that, so I'd be curious to kind of see what what's out there. Yeah, these are just the things that circulate in our mind. And there is a need. I just think that sometimes it's hard to really see, okay, if I do start this, also have to think about what are the obstacles, right?

What hoops do I need to go through to get it going? Or even [00:21:00] just test it out. And so that's something that I'll have to kind. think about as well.

[00:21:06] Shannon Russell: and it's nice too that you have this two year. Leadway and I, I often tell you and my other clients, or even students in my course that if you have a job, if you are working, you're in the best place to really do what I call learn and leap, right? Do your research now. Give yourself that timeframe, deadline to really do the research. And It can be little, little steps. Maybe you have a spreadsheet of a calendar and each month you're gonna. Something that'll get you one step closer to that. Or this month I'm gonna research, I'm gonna do the market research. Next month I'm going to look into the cost of starting this. Little steps that can lead you there. And with you having two years, you have a lot of time to really think about it. And we can dig into this more, as you get more ideas. And as I was saying before, as you cross things off, two months from now, you might say, oh, absolutely not. I'm not doing that business. And that gets crossed off [00:22:00] your list and then the ideas that are really brewing will bubble up to the top and you'll be able to focus on those to see what really

[00:22:07] Jackie C.: No, I love it. Yeah, that's a. Idea. I'm looking forward to that. That list will be very helpful.

[00:22:14] Shannon Russell: while I have you on here as a coach for teachers and, and doing the consulting work that you do, what is some advice that you can give to teachers this year to, maybe take a little bit off of their plate as they can kind of wrap things up and, and look forward to summer.

[00:22:30] Jackie C.: Oh gosh. Um, all my teachers, I love you all. And I see every single one of you. I mean, I see every day when I go in to see my teachers, I support 18 teachers at different school, or 16 teachers, sorry, at, at different schools. And at this point of the year, this is the tough stretch.

You know, we have testing coming up, and it's gets stressful. It's the second half of the year. This is always a long stretch to spring break, and my greatest advice to you right now is just to look at the angle to always keep your students in mind.

[00:23:00] There's so much that we have to deal with that are school-based, whether it's our administrators or whether it's hoops that we have to go through, and you need to submit this on time and you need to do this on time. And whenever I got to that point where I would get frustrated with all the red tape or other things that we had to do, I would always just look at my students and say, I'm here for you.

That's my purpose. My purpose is to serve you, to support you. And that's where I would ground myself. , my biggest hope for you at this point, and my greatest advice is to ground yourself and your students and really just remind yourself that that's why you're there, and that's why you love teaching. It's for them and no one else. So when you're in the four walls of your classroom or wherever you are, that's who you're serving. And, and if you do that, you'll get, make it to the end of the year, and spring break will come sooner than later.

[00:23:50] Shannon Russell: Teachers are so important and such special individuals for all that they do and for all that you do, Jackie.

[00:23:57] Jackie C.: Thank you, Shannon. That's huge. Yeah. [00:24:00] Thank you so much.

[00:24:01] Shannon Russell: Well, thank you for being on. I hope that this conversation gave you a couple of things to think about and you and I will continue to talk of course.

But I thank you so much. Is there anything, else I can help you with before we say goodbye?

[00:24:15] Jackie C.: no, this was great. I'm looking forward to generating that list into our next meeting where we can kind of like tackle some things that I can do next in my next step.

[00:24:26] Shannon Russell: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Jackie. I really appreciate it.

[00:24:29] Jackie C.: Thanks Shannon.

[00:24:31] Shannon Russell: Well, it seems that Jackie has a lot of ideas brewing for her future. In the best part is she is starting to examine. On her options early, so that she can plan her next steps wisely. I am looking forward to working with Jackie as she moves along her education journey. And I hope that you heard some advice and got some ideas. To help you move along your career path. If you would like the chance to be coached by me for an upcoming Career Shift Strategy Session of the [00:25:00] podcast. Simply send me an email at hello@secondactsuccess.co or you can send me a DM on Instagram. I'm @secondactsuccess. Thank you for listening and I will be back here again, next time for a new episode of the Second Act Success Podcast. Talk soon, my friend.


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