Ellen F. on December 27, 2021
I've been a school counselor for 28 years and need to leave this profession. We are blessed with excellent health insurance through my current job. My husband's workplace has a plan that is terrible, so that is not even an option. I would like to work part-time if possible, but we need excellent health insurance coverage. My district would offer COBRA overage after 30 years of service, but that's not for another 3 1/2 years. Do you have any advice on how to find a job in my position?
Rachel Becker, LMSW
Jan 11, 2022
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thank you for reaching out to Cancer and Careers. I have passed your question along to a career coach so you should be hearing back from them shortly.
In the meantime, I wanted to address some of what you’ve shared. My first thought is that it may be worth exploring whether there are any part-time jobs available in your district (i.e., an administrative role, etc.) which you’re qualified for that also offer benefits. If so – and it’s a fit for you – you might be able to hold on to your health insurance while keeping the clock ticking towards those 30 years of service. Also, if you are part of a union (as so many who work in the education arena are), they might be able to offer some guidance about this and/or other possible ways to hold on to the benefits you have.
Additionally, while you await a response from our career coach, you may want to take a look at some of our resources on Looking for Work, including:
As I mentioned, a career coach will respond shortly. Until then, if you have any further questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Rachel Becker, LMSW
Senior Director of Programs
Cancer and Careers
Jan 12, 2022
Career Coach Comment:
Your question really has two parts, the first being how can you stop being a school counselor and what else can you do work-wise? The second is about needing good health insurance which is non-negotiable for you.
I agree with Rachel's advice about looking for another job within your school district. You have worked there a long time, you have deep relationships, with a good reputation so applying for jobs where you can use your transferable skills makes the most sense. Reach out to people whom you trust there confidentially to ask for their advice.
Also, would it be possible to work part-time in your current role for 3.5 years to bridge to insurance? I am unsure if the COBRA coverage would cost anything and how long it would last, so this may not even make sense.
It is also a good idea for you to go through a self-assessment process to identify your favorite skills, the things you enjoy about being a school counselor, and the things that you don't ever want to do again. In addition, I would think about your must haves in work such as working virtually, the types of people you enjoy working with, the amount of money you need to earn, etc.
Doing research about jobs and companies is an important part of changing careers. While there are many jobs that you wouldn't want to do or would not be hired to do, there are many others that could appeal to you as well. However, until you start learning about jobs in other non-profit sectors or in the for-profit world, you simply may not be aware of what these are. Perhaps you can hire a career coach for a few sessions or go back to your alma mater to see what services they may offer to help you make this transition.
Regarding your need for a good health insurance plan, this is simply something that you must have therefore you wouldn't accept a job that doesn't provide this. While it isn't advisable to ask about health insurance in the beginning of a hiring process, you can ask about it at the end of a process and certainly when you receive an offer. If you have identified jobs that you are interested in, you can also network with people who do these jobs to learn more about the benefits they receive. And Glassdoor as well as job postings on LinkedIn often describe the benefits that a company or organization provides to employees.
This isn't an easy process however people shift and change careers all the time with success. Just be patient and dedicate time to this process. Please write backif you have any questions.
Jan 23, 2022
I am approaching 2 years of being cancer free. I completed what was hopefully my last surgery about 7 months ago. I have been a Social Worker for almost 20 years I was working in a position without direct patient care during treatment and about 4 months ago took a position back with patients. I am finding myself with complete compassion fatigue and looking to change careers, but I have no idea where to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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