Teaching as an alternative

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-12-03 Print this article Print

to IT"> Name: Thomas M. OToole
Previous job: Software development, Kulicke & Soffa
Laid off: February 2003
New position: Teaching computer graphics to high school students EWEEK.com: Why teaching?
OToole: It took me about five or six months to find a job between jobs. I left software development to teach computer graphics in a high school because I had a teaching degree when I graduated college and went into computers at a time when the PC was in its infancy. The teaching job was the only job I was getting interviews for, so I accepted a position this September.
EWEEK.com: Are you finding teaching to be a rewarding career? As mentally stimulating as software development? OToole: Teaching is not as mentally stimulating as software development. It requires an enormous amount of people skills and the willingness to put up with the status quo. You have to be the kind of person who likes to work in the same place for a long time (which I am not). Software for me was extremely satisfying. I really enjoyed going to work every day. It was a real challenge. EWEEK.com: Whats happened to your salary since you left IT? OToole: I have been re-evaluating my jump into teaching. I get about $41K from teaching. I was making $70k just 9 months ago. I was just figuring out what it costs me to keep the teaching job. I spend $300 a month in commuting costs (for gas and tolls) because I work in New Jersey and live in Pennsylvania. I pay for medical insurance, have union dues and have to pay into the pension fund. The deductions from my pay equal 43 percent of my gross pay, [meaning that] I make about $14 dollars an hour net take-home. If I deduct the travel expenses from my net, I make about $10/hour. At one time I made $65/hour as a contractor. It is very difficult to make up that lost income. I keep falling more and more behind. EWEEK.com: Are you still trying to find a job in IT? OToole: I am considering looking for another job closer to where I live and with a greater potential for more net take-home pay. Since I have experience with technology in general and I am very hands-on construction savvy, I was considering contacting a local construction company to try to get a job as a Construction Project Manager. I believe it pays about $50-55k a year with benefits. I did update my resume on Monster.com recently, and I received two e-mails from different recruiters. One is military and the other is unknown. I am going to pursue any lead that leads to a better opportunity. EWEEK.com: What advice do you have for others who want (or are forced) to leave IT? OToole: Anyone who voluntarily or involuntarily leaves IT should consider the lifestyle they want to lead first. To me, my family is the most important part of my life, then comes my work. (This doesnt bode well with the IT corporate culture). For some, retraining may be the answer. But for someone my age, I am not sure if I would be hired no matter what the skills or training. I really feel bad for the person who is 28 to 32 years old who is displaced by outsourcing. They are supposed to be in their best income years, and they may have to start a new career or retrain. Next page: Going the contractor route in these days of offshore outsourcing.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel