I’ve been a full time teacher for a little longer than 16 years. Being a career change for me, I started on Step 2 as a first year teacher at the age 41.
Four days ago, I resigned. I sat down with my principal and the district superintendent and resigned. They were shocked and Dr. Principal said he did not see that coming. In turn, that shocked me.
To give some context, two months ago I was told my full time position was being cut in half starting in September. I would still have my full time commute, my full time wardrobe and full time wear and tear on my car. At half pay.
Resigning is not something I wanted to do for the sole reason being, I love my job. I love teaching, I love my eager students and the learning that takes place. And so it was after much thought, discussion and prayer that my spouse and I decided to call it a day.
So why were they so surprised? And why did that surprise me?
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that teachers historically don’t walk away from a pension, especially considering that – in my case – working for four more full time years, it would double. Twenty years of service credit is one of the magic numbers, age 62 is another. Anything less brings about so-called penalties.
Admittedly, that was hard. I am known to be a person who cannot let a carrot dangle in front of me without grabbing it. When I run five miles on a treadmill, and it’s under 45 minutes, I round it off to 45 minutes. But then I keep running to round it off to an even six miles. Etc. You get the point.
But, I had enough. I was an aggressive saver, driven by my desire to call the shots. And when the reduction came, I was able to call the shot instead of working for what would now be 8 more years for a 20 year pension. I used the employee 403(b) and 457 vehicles, and my private Roth IRA to save. You see, they each have annual contribution limits. To me, those limits were carrots. I worked hard and reached for those carrots. All the dollars contributed were my own, as public entities such as schools, do not contribute into them like many private entities do within employee 401(k) plans.
Tomorrow night, I will read my letter of resignation to the school board. I have enough.
What is enough for you?