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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I grew up being told a teacher lived in poverty and painted houses in the summer to afford a used VW bug.

    Come to find out in my state the starting salary doesn't suck, and the average teacher makes over 70k per year. Not a fortune, but if you took the net present value of their retirement benefits it might surprise you.

    Plus, you get to do something that makes a difference AND have much higher job security than most anyone else living on your street, AND you have the potential to take a whole lot of days off.

    If you teach math, how hard could it be?

    The final plus is you get to complain about how tough you have it, because you get to kid yourself that if you applied yourself in the private sector you would be living on an income of $150k plus (because that is what everyone with a masters deserves, right?) and not have to put up with mean bosses, and disgruntled parents/customers.

    Only downside is you have to become a Democrat.


    To the OP, there is a nugget of wisdom buried in this pile of hore-$&!t. After thru hiking, I gave up on the corporate gigs and took a job as a high school teacher (math ironically enough).Wasn't ready for retirement yet but DID want ample time off to pursue hiking (took a 6 week trip last summer). Teaching is the perfect solution. FWIW, I tried just working part time before teaching but let's say that I didn't find any of those jobs to be very stimulating.

    To RickB - is your impressions of teachers based on actual interactions with them or you just spewing stereotypes picked up from the media? granted we live in different parts of the world, but I have been impressed with the effort and dedication that I have observed with the people I work with. granted, there are a few rotten apples in the bunch but which industry/profession/group of people (including hikers) doesn't have that? In terms of effort vs. previous jobs in engineering and manufacturing - I tell people that I work 100% as hard as I ever did for 66% of the time that I used to for about 25% of my previous pay. That works out well (for me) as I place more value on time now than I did when I was younger. I am starting to understand that it is a finite and precious resource. I spent my younger days wanting to be a "master of the universe". No regrets about that but priorities have changed.

  2. #22
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Marlboro, MA
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    Good post 4Shot.

    I loved teaching the 2 years I did it -- just ESL abroad -- but rejected it as a career.

    At age 23 I was under the impression teachers made very little money-- to the point that I rejected that career choice altogether. As I mentioned, I applied to Business Schools while on the AT, and got an MBA a couple years later.

    That was something I sincerely regret.

    In part, because now 30 year later I see that teachers can build a very respectable life style on the salaries they are paid. Now that Retirement is on the horizon, I also think of that and see some teachers retiring at $50k+ per year with healthcare. That is earned, of course -- but not something I even thought about at age 23 when I came off the trail.

    I also reflect on the value of doing something meaningful. We all contribute to society of course but I am not sure how many 23 year olds think about that. i didn't.

    There is also the job security thing. i know it's not there early on, but when it matters most that is something teachers have.

    But this thread is about jobs that allow for hiking and such. I can think of few that afford the time off that is given to a public school teacher.

    This is all from the outside looking in, of course. From my perspective, this would be a terrific choice for anyone inter step in and he outdoors.

  3. #23
    GA --ME; and then some... Okie Dokie's Avatar
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    So, you've experienced something remarkable--your PCT thru--and want more of that kind of thing..based on my experience the question facing you is more about "life paths" than "career paths"...(more later on "careers" I think might serve your purpose)

    I backpacked extensively during my teens and early twenties, then entered college...after a couple of years felt I needed a break, so I took a semester off, worked construction in the area of industrial process control instrumentation, saved money, and bought a $999.00 round-trip ticket to Australia...I arrived there knowing no one...six months later I had backpacked most of the continent, learned how to play cricket, made many friends, and for two months shared a flat with a Sydney policeman who got me into all the exclusive night clubs free--he would flash a badge and say we were "on the job" ...a single man's paradise...there were 11 beaches nearby--I'd wake up each morning, listen to the surf report, then catch a bus out for a day of bliss...I could buy a meal of "fish and chips" on the beach for less than the equivalent of an American dollar...I wanted more of that...

    Went back home, re-entered school, and finished a business degree...upon finishing I took off on my AT thru, and finished that...wonderful...the end result? I wanted more...it's just too sweet, too good to resist...

    So, what to do next?

    I ended up having kids, settling down in a job I love--managing a youth camp, being outdoors 3/4th of the time and doing what I consider meaningful work...I believe in the value of the camp experience...

    Looking back, if I had wanted to continue the vagabond lifestyle I lived and loved in my twenties and early thirties I would have sought certification and licensing in one of the "trades" that seem to hold up (be in demand) over time--electrician, plumber, HVAC tech, etc...most of the technicalities of those trades have changed very little over time, leaving and re-entering are fairly easy, and there are always openings in those areas whenever I peruse job sites...

    Good luck...remember that as you get older your perspective will change...you'll be willing to settle for less, in terms of excitement, than you now imagine you should...around your middle 40's you'll need reading glasses, for instance...
    We shout out "I exist!", and it stirs not the slightest sense of obligation from the universe...

  4. #24
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    San Jose, California


    I hiked after college and then started work in cubical land as a computer engineer. I like the work, but don't want to spend all my time sitting in the office. I have worked 3-5 years at a time and changed jobs, taking 3-6 months off every time i changed jobs. Generally I would travel first and then job hunt when i got back. In retrospect i should have never stayed at the same job over 3 years, and i should have traveled for about 18 months between jobs. I was overly cautious about avoiding long career gaps. It helps that my field is in demand and i have a good reputation and i have gotten to work with enough people to have contacts at a number of companies.

    Looking forward I will be taking longer time between jobs, it will be about 24 months this time, and i will be more focused on finding short term assignments. Not sure i can find a 6 month contract, but that would be my first choice.

    I have read books like Your Money Or Your Life and websites like Mr Money Mustache and have focused on reducing expenses and saving money. This provides a lot of flexibility. I don't have a family, so with just myself I can get expenses very low. Maybe that will change someday.

    The point of all of this is that you can do things within your career choice to increase your freedom. Maybe that is enough or maybe it isn't. No easy answers. Anyway good luck.

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