It has been almost 5 months for me in tech sales, and people keep asking me, “Do you miss teaching yet? Do you regret changing careers?” It baffles me how sales is still not considered as a prestigious career. How, compared to teaching, it might not sound honourable or respectable enough. How it might look like a step back in someone’s career.
Before I felt I had to explain myself. I went into detail about all the stereotypes about sales professionals. I laid out all the logical reasons for switching careers in the middle of my life. I described the possibilities and opportunities in sales. I gave examples and told stories of successful people in sales and their incredible lives. Simply, I felt the need “to prove” something to people who sounded uncertain or unsupportive of my move. But after 5 months, I stopped.
I realized that the only person I ever have to explain anything is myself. And I, myself, knew I made the right decision because for the last 5 months, I haven’t thought about university much. I forgot the reading week in November for the first time in the last 7 years. I rarely check my academic email. I still love books, but I read for pleasure more than before. I replaced the academic research for a business one. My dissertation is collecting dust on the shelf. And my mind is somewhere else.
Yes, each job has its ups and downs. It can never be perfect. I’ve never met a professor who likes marking. In sales, cold calling can be hard and exhausting with daily rejection. Teaching was contract-based with no security, but sales depends on commission each month. At the university, I had most summers off, and in sales I have unlimited vacation. It is all relative, and it all depends on the perspective one takes. I certainly miss bright students and insightful conversations we had in classrooms. The close connections we made in a short period of a semester. That part is irreplaceable.
But right now I feel like I am moving forward every week, each day. I do not stay stagnant or get bored. I know I have just dipped my toe in this world, and there is a whole ocean ahead. So when people ask me now, “Do you miss teaching? Do you regret going into sales?” I simply say: “No, I don’t and no, I don’t. It was the right decision and it still is.”