There is this myth that teachers have oodles of free time (stick with me here, I know you’ve heard this). During my brief time as a high school English teacher, I averaged 10-12 hour days during the week, plus 5-6 hours grading, planning, and prepping on the weekends. I also worked a second part time job and was in grad school for my MA in English at the same time (so factor in my own reading and assignments). At one point, after a move to teach in my hometown, grad school involved leaving work at 2:45 p.m., a 345-mile round trip commute one night a week for class, getting home at 2 a.m., and then getting up to teach again the next morning. The lack of free time during the school year meant I did all of my professional development hours in the summer.

I wouldn’t exactly call that oodles of free time.

In fact, by the end of my fourth year, my life’s passion had become something that frustrated me. I was burnt out and no longer enjoyed it.

The problem was that it was the only thing I knew and the only career I had ever imagined. It was everything for which I’d ever worked. Walking away from it wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but when I did, I had nothing. The funny thing about free-falls is that you almost have to grab on to the unexpected. I’d always been a writer — even minored in it in college. Publishing had always interested me. I’d been blogging since 2001 and had an affinity for social media, but I never dreamed that I could make a career of these things. I took to writing constantly — creative writing, blogging, anything to keep me sane.

Business. Marketing. Digital media. Search engine optimization. These things never crossed my mind before I started investigating careers in writing. I never even knew that jobs like this existed. I started learning as much as I could, devouring blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos. I asked questions. I loved that the presence of technology meant things were always changing and so the possibilities for learning were endless. It wasn’t long before it was too fascinating to ignore and I started making moves to transition into a career in that field.

It’s been three years now that I’ve been working with Business 2 Community. I work hard, but every day I’m excited about the work that I’m doing and everything I’m learning while doing it. It’s the perfect job for me and I feel so lucky to have it. Without taking a little bit of a risk, I never would have discovered what my real passion was, and never would have been able to pursue it.

My story is not terribly uncommon, though (maybe minus the 345 mile grad school commute). Every day we hear about people leaving careers to find and pursue their passions. Musicians become lawyers. Lawyers become restauranteurs. Real estate agents open craft stores. People leave the corporate world to start their own small businesses. People are seeking the freedom to find their true passion all the time, as Spark BusinessSM from Capital One® shows in this video:

What would you do with the freedom to be anything you wanted to be?

This post is 2nd in a series of 8 posts sponsored by Spark BusinessSM from Capital One®. All opinions are 100% my own.