“I constantly felt this need for change.”
What work were you doing previously?
I was working in IT as a Business Analyst.
What are you doing now?
I'm currently working as an ESL English Teacher for one of the top language schools in Vietnam.
How did you feel in your work before you decided to make the change?
I constantly felt this need for change.
I wasn't motivated and didn't feel like I could last in my career for much longer.
Why did you change?
Simply put, I felt this career didn't speak to me.
I wasn't getting the level of fulfillment from my work that I'd hoped for.
I'm grateful for my experience, though I didn't see myself being in this career for more than ten years.
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
I decided to make the change when I moved to Australia, while still working in IT.
I thought it was the work culture which was the main issue, but it turned out that even having a more relaxed work culture didn't solve the problem.
How did you choose your new career?
I contemplated it a lot and thought about taking a year off.
I also took some online career tests, where teaching and mentoring came out as suggested possible career options. That planted the seed of becoming a teacher.
In the end I decided to go for teaching because it has a lot of transferable skills for other jobs in the future, even if I didn’t do it forever.
As it turned out, I loved it!
Are you happy with the change?
I'm very happy with where I am right now.
Honestly, I was both excited and nervous before I made the shift.
It's not always easy to change, especially when you've given years to your previous career.
But I've found I really enjoy teaching young kids. It's a fun and rewarding experience.
I work about twenty-five hours a week on a full-time wage. It gives me a lot of time to spend on my hobbies. I also get two weeks paid holiday and I can book further time off if I want to. The work-life balance is really great.
I live in tropical Vietnam. I love the weather and the food here. I can also explore many other nearby countries when I wish.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
As I live in a big city, I sometimes miss being close to nature. In Australia I lived further away from the city, near the parks.
But I do live very close to my workplace – it's literally a ten-minute drive. In some of my previous IT jobs I commuted for at least 40 minutes to get to work.
How did you go about making the shift?
When I began to consider teaching, I started doing research on where I'd like to work, which different places I could live and who could help me.
I came across the Vietnam website of Teacher's Friend, which helps people get TEFL certified (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and to move abroad if they wish.
I purchased a full relocation package. They helped me land an interview and find a job, gave me a city tour, helped with all the pre-departure info and have been an invaluable source of knowledge throughout my time here. Even now, three years later, the owner is still helping me with my further teaching applications.
How did you develop (or transfer) the skills you needed for your new role?
I did a TEFL course to equip myself with the necessary skills (the course was also provided by Teacher's Friend).
What didn't go well? What wrong turns did you take?
There is now a huge TEFL market so it's important to have the right information and a trustworthy source.
I had first applied for and undertaken a two-week TEFL course. Then, after I found Teacher's Friend, they told me I needed to do a minimum of a 120- hour course (at least three weeks). So I had to do another course, which wasted my time and money.
I wish I'd researched a bit more and found support with this process sooner.
How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?
I saved up a little bit every month. It's always better to plan and save ahead of time.
I continued working at my job for three months longer than I would have liked, to help with my savings.
TEFL training is not that expensive to take which is why it can be a great career change. However, you need to pay for a quality course to make sure you receive proper training from skilled professionals.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
The most difficult part was getting used to the new environment, but Teacher's Friend helped with that. It was good to have that safety net.
It was also challenging to break the news to my friends and family that I was changing careers.
Most people didn't take it well. A lot of my friends discouraged me.
I am proud of sticking to my decision as I'd given it a lot of thought.
What help did you get?
The full relocation and placement service from Teacher's Friend was great.
Georgie (the owner) was very helpful and responsive. It's a small company and so I had a lot of personal support and attention.
What resources would you recommend to others?
I have always been an avid reader; there were two books which really shifted my perspective and that I'd highly recommend.
They were: What Colour is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles and Katharine Brooks, and The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas Lore.
What have you learnt in the process?
The first thing that I learned was that I need to take myself out of my comfort zone.
Also to not hesitate to ask for help. I reached out to multiple people.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Research the career you’re considering – look at all the roles and responsibilities in that career.
Meet or talk to at least 3–4 people who are in your desired career, or possibly shadow them for a day.
Also, don't hesitate to reach out for help!
Thanks to Teacher's Friend for this story. To find out more about their services, visit www.teach-vietnam.com.
What lessons could you take from Rohit's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.