Bipolar, Depression, Personal History

Why I went from a twenty-year career in education to working as a barista…

Update at the end of the article.

Teacher burnout is real, yo!

More than 41% of teachers leave the profession within five years of starting… I can tell you that I wanted out of the profession before my five-year mark. Instead, I continued to teach, trying to find loopholes to have a reprieve in order to mentally and physically recuperate. I continued the fight day after day, year after year, always hoping things would get better.

Teachers who do an excellent job are often working in unsustainable conditions (e.g., 60 hours per week, relentless stress, inadequate resources, lack of support or time, etc.) (Herman, 2014).”

I resigned in February.

I needed time to take care of myself and my family. Teaching wasn’t allowing that. 

There are other paths I am pursuing, but I also need to get a paycheck in order for my family to keep our house. Any paycheck isn’t acceptable at this point in my life, though; I no longer want to risk my mental healthIf something is in my control to improve my mental health…or prevent a mental downturn…I need to take it. That definitely is choosing how I earn a paycheck.

Paths Crossed

I met a lovely lady at a Mardi Gras brunch this year. After visiting briefly, I learned that she and her husband were opening a coffee shop not far from where I live. It wasn’t until this past week, though, when I learned of a particular position they were needing to fill that I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I’m a morning person…the only one in my little family. This position doesn’t include working weekends, and my eight-hour day ends at 1:00pm.


There’s still enough hours to make doctor appointments and run errands while offices are still open…no need to take a day off to get things done.

I also get to go home…and spend my time the way I want to (which does not include grading essays, writing lessons, catching up on paperwork and parent contact, etc.)

It’s my time. I can be a mom and wife and writer and dream-maker.


I get to wear jeans every single day. If you’ve ever been a teacher, you know just how golden this is.

Do I miss my students?

Hell, yes. The connections I’ve made with them have been tremendously important in my life. I hope to find ways to continue to connect with young people on my journey of mental health advocacy.

For now, I will be one of the “shiny happy people” who greet you with a smile and help you start your day with the perfect cuppa joe.

Coffee Love

Perhaps one day I’ll even be able to make a cup for self-proclaimed coffee snob, Jeff Goins.

As he’s said before, “Ever since a semester in Spain, I’ve had a lustful love affair with that dark drink.”

He also says, “Coffee has incredible powers. It has the ability to jumpstart our day and spark amazing conversations with people. In fact…there is more superpower in a coffee mug than meets the eye.”

So, as I pursue my passions and side hustles (with the assistance of Jeff and tribe), I will also be helping others pursue theirs by starting their day with coffee and a smile.

Update: After being a barista,
I began freelancing
Then, I returned to teaching for a year.
Now, I work in a supportive role at a 
high school while looking to grow my 
passions on the side.

Copyright © 2018 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.

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