How to Know When It’s Time to Move On [Episode 131]


Here's What to Expect in This Episode:

The end-of-year stress and exhaustion can bring up a lot of emotions for school counselors. And when it’s finally summer break, you have the time to stop and reflect on what you want professionally going forward. When a school year wraps, I know many school counselors ask themselves, is it time for me to move on from this? It can be hard to sift through all you’re feeling and decide what your next step is. So, in this episode, I’m helping you examine when it’s time to move on from high school counseling when managing the weight of burnout. 

There are many reasons why a school counselor would want to move on from their current position. Before going through them, I share some practical items you need to think through that will help you better understand what your next move is. Then, I discuss multiple scenarios you could find yourself in when thinking it’s time to move on. The breakdown of these scenarios will show you what you’re lacking in your current position or what you’re looking for in the future. 

However, leaving your current position might not be what you need. Instead, you might find that you want to stay in your role, but certain things need to change. I discuss those items as well to help prepare you for those changes when you return to school in the fall. So, whether you know it’s time to move on or are staying with a few changes, I hope this episode provides you with support, guidance, and an understanding of what’s going to make you happy in your role as a high school counselor!

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • How to know when it’s time to move on from high school counseling or stay in your current position
  • Practical items you need to think through first
  • Multiple scenarios in which you might want to leave your role and how to know what to look for in your next position
  • What items might need to change the next school year if you choose to stay in your current role
  • The one thing you should reflect on that will help you with the feeling of burnout
  • How to notice tendencies of rumination for yourself when you’re not at work, and how they affect your feelings and thoughts

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Read the transcript for this episode:

Lauren Tingle 0:00
Can we get a status check on how everyone’s doing, I think to this summer? I’m personally feeling a little victimized by the shift of routines with three emotional girls in my house. And I say girls, like one of them is a baby. But there are still a lot of emotions and then add mine on top of there. And, you know, there’s just a lot going on in here.

Lauren Tingle 0:21
The sudden everyone’s home kind of thing and needs to be entertained at all times is really hard to work with pockets of time that I don’t even have with little help around the house. That being said, you can imagine that every time I sit down to record a podcast episode, there is a tiny human running around outside my door and needing an ice pack needing a snack, needing a nap, such as life.

Lauren Tingle 0:46
I sat down to record this probably at least three times. And I’ve settled for after bedtime after they went to sleep because there was no way it was getting done. And I was too paranoid that you would just hear noise in the background of a recording this. So hence, here we are, this is probably fourth time at least is a charm. And we’re getting into this week’s episode

Lauren Tingle 1:39
If you are here, then maybe you’re wondering if it’s time to examine how to know when it’s time to move on from high school counseling. You’re acknowledging it by showing up here and hitting play on this episode. Because maybe you’re feeling it and you’re trying to decide what to do with this thought.

Lauren Tingle 2:04
I’d encourage you obviously to listen to this episode and its fullest from beginning to end. And I would just say I’m so glad you found your way here. But in addition to this episode, I want you to leave from here and go talk to the people who know you best. Nothing is going to replace those one on one conversations with the people who know you best as in person or phone call conversations with the people who have known you through different seasons, the people who know you right now, in your current season.

Lauren Tingle 2:35
I think that that is going to be key in helping you make this decision, or just do some self discovery and encourage some self awareness on when it’s time to move on. As we kind of dig into this and uncover what this means for you. I want to say that if you are in a place where you’re just needing a break, you’re kind of feeling a little burnt out, you just need to go into the summer and take advantage of this summer and make the most of it. Whether you’re leaving school counseling, whether you’re considering it, whether you’re staying in it.

Lauren Tingle 3:08
I would encourage you to go listen to an episode that I just listened to of the Lazy Genius podcast. And it was all about how to lazy genius your summer. So how to be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. That’s her tagline.

Lauren Tingle 3:23
And I absolutely love this episode, I listened to it maybe yesterday or today. And I just thought wow, this was helpful for me to get some ideas for some rhythms for my summer. And I know that that would help me if I was coming out of the craziness of the end of the school year. And so maybe you need someone to help you think through what your summer looks like and not even talk about your job. If so, I will link that in the show notes.

Lauren Tingle 3:49
I’m a big fan of Kendra Adachi, the podcast host of the Lazy Genius. And part of me is a big fan. It just feels like we’re kindred spirits because obviously we both have a podcast. But her husband is a middle school counselor. So I feel like she just like gets us as people you know.

Lauren Tingle 4:06
But I will tell you one of the key takeaways I got from this episode just before we dive into what we’re talking about, she talks about having have-to lists for the summer and hope-to lists for this summer. And that was for herself personally and then for everyone in her family. So I’ll tell you these are things that you write down on a post it note and then you stick up on your calendar for everyone in the family to see.

Lauren Tingle 4:29
So your have-to post it notes. Those are the things that you have to do. Maybe it is a plane flight that you already have booked for a family wedding and so that dates not moving, you’re putting it on your calendar, and then maybe your hope-to list this is like your bucket list kind of thing that is going to help fill you up over the summer. Something that you would love to get to you maybe that you really like to experience.

Lauren Tingle 4:50
So maybe you are going to rent a bike and ride down a trail or go riding downtown. Or maybe you hope to try out a new coffee shop because If you don’t get that kind of freedom during the school year.

Lauren Tingle 5:03
I hope that wherever you find yourself whether you’re feeling burnt out, whether you’re thinking about what’s next for you in the next season, or you are just a regular old high school counselor who is welcoming in a change of seasons of rhythms and routines for the summer, I would say, take your summer and make the most of it. Go listen to that Lazy Genius episode.

Lauren Tingle 5:24
So if you find yourself wondering, is it time to move on from high school counseling, the practical stuff before we get into some of the thought process behind that. I would say I want you to think about your contract. That is like a big picture thing, right? And it’s also very practical.

Lauren Tingle 5:40
So if that’s right now, have you already signed your contract for next year? Or is that going to be something that you’re given this about a year or so? Can you break your contract without repercussions? Or can you break your contract, and it doesn’t matter? Because the next thing that you’re gonna go do doesn’t need a contract, or you don’t need to go work at a school system again.

Lauren Tingle 6:00
Just some things to consider, I want you to put that contract in the front of your mind when you’re about to make a big decision, or you’re thinking about making a big decision. Certainly thought of that already. But you know, just wanted to put that there in case you are listening to this in a certain time of the year where that is pressing.

Lauren Tingle 6:18
Now, if you are for sure, leaving, you know it’s time to move on, is there an opportunity to give some feedback? So when I left my school, there was an option that said, Yes, I am leaving the district. There was a specific survey that went out to us. I would say be honest, on that survey. You know, you only get one shot as Marshall Mathers Eminem says you only get one shot, do not miss your chance.

Lauren Tingle 6:42
So this is your opportunity to give some feedback, be honest about whether it is the leadership, whether it’s the workload, like what did move you on, if there’s something that the school could have done, or could have improved on to help keep you there.

Lauren Tingle 6:58
If you’re not all the way walking out the door just yet, is there an opportunity to have you voice your opinion about some things that could change that could help keep you there? Now we’re going to talk about a bunch of different reasons why you might be leaving or considering leaving. And so maybe this has nothing to do with giving feedback. Maybe it has everything to do with personal reasons outside of the school building.

Lauren Tingle 7:20
But I would say that as you get to the end of the school year, this is a great opportunity, I hope for some leadership to be asking, Hey, how can we improve? What can we do better? How can we lead you better? I hope that somebody is asking for that. If they are, take advantage of it, fill out the survey, fill out the form, even if it’s just one more email that I know you have to answer, that’ll definitely be worth it.

Lauren Tingle 7:43
But I hope that someone is asking for that. And if they do, don’t forget to answer it, because it will make it better for you. It’ll make it better for your team. And for the people who come after you if you are leaving.

Lauren Tingle 7:54
If you find yourself suffering from burnout right now, and maybe you’re not ready to leave yet, but you’re just trying to manage it and figure out what it all means for you. I do have some past episodes on managing that burnout, and doing some time management exercises, time audit, all sorts of stuff like that.

Lauren Tingle 8:14
If this is the end of your time here, how are we going to evaluate that? How do we know what to do next? What do you do if you’re just plain stuck, and you don’t know if it’s time to move on. Or if it’s time to just address that burnout, and keep going with what you’re doing right now. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this week’s episode.

Lauren Tingle 8:33
It would make sense that you are struggling with this as a concept because you are a helper, you’re taking care of people all the time. You’re doing this in your school day, day in and day out, you’re taking care of students, and in turn, you’re taking care of the families who they belong to. You’re taking care of staff and teachers, whether you are trying to do that or not. They’re coming to you with their burdens and their problems.

Lauren Tingle 8:58
And then add on top of that if you have responsibilities outside of the school building, which we all do. So whether that’s taking care of your own family, like people in your immediate nuclear family like a sick child, or maybe you’re taking on some more responsibility outside of your actual home. And maybe you’re taking care of an aging parent or someone with a disease or someone that you’re bringing to doctor’s appointments all the time.

Lauren Tingle 9:24
Like there can be a lot of weight that you’re carrying outside of the school building in terms of helping and caring for other people and other people that you love and do want to care about. Maybe you’re suffering from the burnout, and you’re wondering if it’s time to move on because you are absolutely overloaded by the weightiness of your students difficulties.

Lauren Tingle 9:42
High school counselors bear some really weighty things. And I’m saying that for working in a pretty average school, a big school, but I would say we dealt with a lot of different things and not just all of one thing. But what if you work in a school with a really high transient or homeless population? Does your school have high poverty rates and you’re feeling needed outside of the school, like the social worker is calling you after hours, the truancy officer, the dropout prevention specialist, they’re saying, we need you to drive this person from here or there.

Lauren Tingle 10:12
Maybe your role kind of gets mixed up with that social worker sometimes, and you’re just doing a lot of stuff outside of school, that would make sense that you’re a little overwhelmed and thinking about your next way out. If there are high crime rates, and you’re dealing with student deaths, you’ve said probably, you know, even one of these student deaths is too much. But if you’ve just attended too many student funerals, that is a huge emotional burden to bear.

Lauren Tingle 10:38
Anyone, whether they had a counseling background or not, would feel like that is a lot that is heavy. I think as counselors, we sometimes talk ourselves out of this one, because we think we should have the tools in our toolbox to just suck it up and deal with it. We know how to tell other people how to work through it, we are trying to do that to ourselves. But that’s not the case, we are humans too. We need our own space for counseling and processing through these situations. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that near the end of the episode.

Lauren Tingle 11:10
Leaving the profession doesn’t have to happen, because you are just a veteran. And you’ve been doing this for years and years and years, you might be newer here. And this just might not be the time to be a high school counselor anymore for you. Or maybe you got into it, and it’s not what you thought it was gonna be. That is okay to admit.

Lauren Tingle 11:29
You could be asking yourself this question and wondering if it’s time to move on att any stage in your working career. It’s okay to feel the need to leave. And we’re gonna talk in this episode about some different situations that I can think of that you might find yourself in and talk through those about how to know when it’s time to move on. But there will be plenty of situations that I don’t uncover here.

Lauren Tingle 11:51
So everyone’s situation is different. I will gladly open up my DMs to continue this conversation with you. But consider this my hypothetical counseling session with you. You the listener who made their way to this episode, because this is something you’re trying to wade through.

Lauren Tingle 12:08
So although I cannot hear you talk back right now, I hope you listen to this episode. and think, wow, that’s me, or Yes, I can see myself in a similar situation. And open up those doors in the DM, send me a DM voice memo or a text memo in there. And I will respond to you and we can talk more about it.

Lauren Tingle 12:28
Okay, we are going to go through a couple of different scenarios of places you may find yourself that you might be considering it’s time to move on from high school counseling. So the first one, are you navigating a toxic work environment?

Lauren Tingle 12:43
Now you can honestly only last so long in a toxic work environment. And maybe the word toxic is tossed around too much like a buzzword these days. But I’m saying if it’s really bad, there comes a point where it’s no longer healthy for you to work there.

Lauren Tingle 13:00
And counselors especially are so kind, so nice, such natural helpers, it’s easy to just suck it up and keep putting your head down and keep working for the sake of the students or because it’s not so bad or there’s nowhere else you could go like you can gaslight yourself into staying in a position for too long. But you really can only last so long in a really bad environment.

Lauren Tingle 13:24
Now, you don’t have to be best friends with everybody who you work with. I’m not saying that. But I do have an episode on friendships in the workplace. And I think that that is very important to consider. Have you tried being friends with people around you? Or are people open to being friends in your workplace? Because that increases your job satisfaction for sure. I loved showing up and working alongside people that I actually liked being around.

Lauren Tingle 13:52
So if it’s worth it for you to stick it out and pursue some friendships, for your job satisfaction, I would definitely look into that. But like I said, and I say in this episode, there comes a point where it’s not worth those friendships. Or maybe those friendships really don’t exist and you’ve done everything you can to try and make it happen.

Lauren Tingle 14:11
A toxic work environment might involve administrators or leaders in the school building who are just really difficult to work for. Now, I don’t know what’s important to you as you’re working under a leader. But something that I noticed for me is that I had a really hard time when my hard work was going unnoticed. And maybe it’s not even just the hard work. I wanted to be just known as a person in my workplace.

Lauren Tingle 14:39
I wanted my superiors to like know something about me and be able to have a conversation that just alluded to maybe something else we talked about before whether that was my kids or the college I went to or I don’t know something that I do for fun. You know, obviously they wouldn’t know that just off the top of their head but from conversations we’ve had just from being basic relationship building, I would like to know that someone knows who I am in the workplace.

Lauren Tingle 15:05
And so that might be more focused on work for you, and not the personal side. And that’s fine too. I think recognizing what is important in the leadership above you to have and be pouring into you is really important because for me, it took not having that to realize, oh, that’s important to me from leadership.

Lauren Tingle 15:25
And so I will link in the show notes, a podcast episode of what to do when your admin doesn’t acknowledge your work. And I know again, not everybody needs this, this might not be the reason that you are trying to move on from this career or this school in particular, but it is something that may be pressing you to look elsewhere.

Lauren Tingle 16:34
Maybe you are ready for just a new professional challenge. You know, in school counseling, there’s not really like a lot of upward mobility, it doesn’t feel like oh, if I work harder, I can earn more money and I can be promoted. You know, maybe you have just realized, like, I just need a different challenge. I’ve been doing the same thing year after year. And that could come with something like your caseload or the responsibilities that you hold in your workplace.

Lauren Tingle 17:02
And so if you have been the ninth grade Freshman Academy counselor for years and years and years, and you are wanting to shake that up, but that doesn’t seem like something that can pan out in your department, then it might be time to look somewhere else. Maybe your department doesn’t want to shake up how they do the case loads.

Lauren Tingle 17:19
You know, maybe it’s a trade with one other person, or maybe it’s moving from grade level counselor to alpha, or something to just more evenly distribute case loads. If that is not going to change, and you have no control over that, then it might be time to look somewhere else and to ask those questions in the interviews, or check out the schools websites before you go and interview there. Because you kind of know, hey, I don’t want to be the ninth grade counselor for any longer I’ve done that I want a new challenge. I need to be reinvigorated and excited about what I’m doing. And that just might be putting myself in a new situation to learn new tricks, you know.

Lauren Tingle 18:00
I’ll link to a case loads episode, because that might be helpful for you to think through in terms of what other options there could be. And like I said, you might not make those decisions about what that looks like in your school. But so that, you know, there are other options out there. And there are schools doing different things.

Lauren Tingle 18:17
If you do have the opportunity to shake up the responsibilities in your department, I’m assuming you’re working with a team of people, I would say sit down at a team planning meeting at the end of the summer and say, These are the things I love doing, these are the things I’d really prefer not to do, and these are the things I’m kind of impartial on.

Lauren Tingle 18:37
And allow people to trade those in and out, you can kind of do it like a draft. I really want this, I really don’t want this I will take on something that nobody wants so that I can have something I really want. It can be a fluid, open conversation until all of those responsibilities are divvied up.

Lauren Tingle 18:57
Maybe somebody who is the department head, maybe this is you wants to swap back to being a team player and just being a follower, a really good follower on the team and somebody else wants to step up and take their turn at being the department head. I think that is okay to say sometimes you step into this place of leadership or you are assigned that or you end up there because nobody else wanted to do it or you’ve been there the longest and it might not be the right fit for you.

Lauren Tingle 19:24
I think this is important to recognize and evaluate about ourselves and then be honest with other people that we work with or the people who are above us to be able to say hey, I think we need to change this a little bit or I’m going to have to move on to a different place.

Lauren Tingle 19:39
Another reason why it might be time for you to move on is having kids changing seasons in your life and in your family. I know some districts have the opportunity for you to take an extended maternity leave. Say you go on maternity leave and you fully anticipate coming back after eight weeks, 10 weeks 12 weeks whatever that is, and it’s harder than you think it’s going to be.

Lauren Tingle 20:04
Or maybe after one kid, it was really easy. But two is a different picture for you or three doesn’t make sense financially for your family. It’s okay to look at your options for what it means to take an extended maternity leave maybe for a year, if your district allows that, or just take some time being at home with your kids.

Lauren Tingle 20:23
It doesn’t mean that you are not a good high school counselor, if you want to do that, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good mom, if you want to stay working at your school, or if you need a change of location to be closer to daycare or closer to your actual home. These are all things to consider when your family season is changing.

Lauren Tingle 20:41
I’ll add right here that I think the most important thing and the most helpful thing for me thinking through when it was time to move on, was thinking in seasons. Now you are good at thinking in semesters and quarters and a year long schedule. But I know it’s a little bit harder and a little bit more scary to think in bigger picture like this season of my life right now.

Lauren Tingle 21:07
And I hope it’s encouraging to you to know, you can come back to school, if you take an extended maternity leave. People women do this all the time, they take some time with their kids, and then they come back. And it’s okay, if you never thought that that was going to be you either. Because that is exactly what happened to me.

Lauren Tingle 21:25
You can head back to Episode One and listen to how I got to the season I’m in right now. I hope that would be an encouragement to you.

Lauren Tingle 21:34
I kind of mentioned this based on the admin conversation. But if you are just looking for different leadership, it’s okay to look elsewhere. I know that you cannot pick a job based on this, like you cannot go apply for and take a job thinking this is going to be the leadership. I’m working for it for the rest of my life.

Lauren Tingle 21:52
But I think you can leave if it’s time and you and this leadership have outgrown each other. And there’s nowhere else for you to go. If your goals include moving up, which aren’t going to happen or being able to have some more autonomy on your job site and you actually have a micromanager who doesn’t allow that maybe it’s time to go.

Lauren Tingle 22:14
If you are being talked down to you and you feel like you’re being disrespected and things are just not changing, you’re allowed to leave because of poor leadership or because you’re seeking different leadership or because you’re seeking stronger leadership, who you can learn from. All of those are acceptable.

Lauren Tingle 22:31
I mentioned this around kids. But if you want to change up the physical parameters of your job, it’s okay to move on. I would not discount someone for taking a job that’s closer to their home, or closer to their kids daycare or a school that they want their kids to go to.

Lauren Tingle 22:50
I know a lot of times when people’s kids are either going to elementary school or going into high school, middle school is a big deal in some areas where your kids go to school and where you work, you might want to go to the same school that they are and just do one drop off. Or you might be doing multiple drop offs at different schools and having at least one kid at your school makes a big difference.

Lauren Tingle 23:11
And so you kind of do what’s best for your family. Some people love working in the community that they live in. And some people hate that they don’t want to see students who are on their caseload working at the grocery store or when they’re out to dinner. That’s up to you. You’re allowed to live and work in your own community or not. Maybe you’ve done one of those and you realize it’s time for me to do the other one now.

Lauren Tingle 23:36
Next up, are you the counselor who is ready to retire. And that could happen earlier or later than you’d like. I want to put all these specifications in here and say, we can talk really generally here because maybe you’re listening to this episode and you’re thinking, wow, I didn’t consider that it was my time to move on yet. I thought I would ride off into the sunset in this job. I did not think I was going to retire the moment that I could.

Lauren Tingle 24:01
But you know, this is the state of education or this is the state of my school or department. But this is just how I’m feeling with my life circumstances. You are allowed to retire when you can and when you want to. And when it’s best for you and your family, even if that’s earlier than you anticipated.

Lauren Tingle 24:19
Once it’s time to retire, that does not mean that you have to leave school counseling altogether. You can take on sub positions when there is a high school counselor sub needed when somebody goes out. Maybe that’s not even a high school counselor sub, maybe that’s elementary or middle school.

Lauren Tingle 24:36
Maybe when you retire you want to do something completely different. My friend who retired when I was still in a school said that her ideal job when she retired from high school counseling was to count widgets somewhere and not have to worry about anyone else when she left her job. Which was so funny. I would laugh at that all the time.

Lauren Tingle 24:59
I want like you don’t even know what you want to do. But you just don’t want to be responsible for anyone else. You want to do your job, know that it’s done and go home and clock out. That is admirable work. I would say you are totally allowed to think something like that after years and years and years potentially, of caring for other people.

Lauren Tingle 25:21
If you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking, it’s not time for me to move on yet, I’m going to stick it out. But some things are going to need to change. How could you shake up your roles or responsibilities? That’s a great question to ask yourself right now.

Lauren Tingle 25:36
We talked about a team planning day, maybe write down what are some new tasks that you would like to take on, or new things that you would like to learn in this job? Do you have any goals that you want to chase after? Some new responsibilities that you see somebody else doing that you would like to do because you’ve done the same ones for so long?

Lauren Tingle 25:55
If you are thinking, it’s not my time to move on yet, I want to stay here at this school. Let’s look into overhauling your counseling program from reactive to proactive. You just might need a boost of excitement and an injection of following the national model.

Lauren Tingle 26:13
I swear to you, pinky promise I’m holding my pinky up right now, it is not just one more thing, to have a school counseling program that is aligned with a national model. This is a model that is here to make you more effective for students and your team. If you do it correctly, it’ll move you in the right direction, it will multiply your time and your efforts.

Lauren Tingle 26:34
I’m going to link the episode that I interviewed two really amazing people on MTSS. And this will show you how you can be more effective and more efficient in your job. And in your role as a high school counselor.

Lauren Tingle 26:48
If you are determined on sticking it out, and it’s not time for you to move on yet, you need to do an audit of your time where you saying no to some things. You can say no to after school clubs and sponsoring those clubs, somebody else is going to do it.

Lauren Tingle 27:04
I think a lot of times, we think we are the only people who can fill a certain role, or we’re the only ones who have done it for forever, and there’s no way to train someone else. There’s no one that’s going to be able to do it. I’ve been in a position like that before. I’ve had someone in leadership tell me, I think this club will close down if you are not the one leading it. And I looked at him. And I said, if it does that I’m really sorry, this is not something that I can do right now.

Lauren Tingle 27:30
And I look back on that time. And I think how was I so bold in saying that? I was looking at myself and the season that I was in, I did not have any more energy to give. I knew that if I was showing up, my heart would not be in it. And I did not have enough hours in the day to make it happen.

Lauren Tingle 27:47
So if you need to say no to coaching a team or sponsoring a club, don’t just feel like you’re letting someone else down. Realize that you’re doing something for yourself, you can be replaced there. Sometimes that’s hard to admit, if you feel like you like having the weight on your shoulders and you like feeling important. But you can be replaced. And that’s a good thing.

Lauren Tingle 28:08
Maybe you’re realizing it’s not really time to move on yet. But you just need some stricter boundaries around your work life balance. And I do have an episode or two on that as well. But I’m just going to comment on this by saying, let’s commit to coming in on time, not early, and leaving on time, not late.

Lauren Tingle 28:27
This does not just need to be your excuse if you have kids. You are entitled to these contracted working hours, no matter your family situation. Or if you’re single, like if it’s just you, you just feel like oh, I can’t say I have to go pick up my kids or whatever that is no, do not take as an excuse, you are allowed to have boundaries around your work time.

Lauren Tingle 28:49
Now we’re getting here near the end, I know this episode is going way longer. I have a lot more to say about this than I anticipated. And we can do an entire episode on this. But when you are staying in your job as a helper as a counselor, I want you to notice your tendencies of rumination when you’re not at work.

Lauren Tingle 29:06
What is hard for you to let go of that you’re hanging on to you when you walk out of that school building? What’s making it hard for you to relax when you’re at home?

Lauren Tingle 29:15
I’m going to link a research article about rumination with school counselors in particular, the stressors that you feel the thoughts and the feelings that are associated with your stress when you get home about your job. This can go in a vicious circular motion that you can get stuck in.

Lauren Tingle 29:33
So you’ve got the stressors, then you’ve got thoughts and feelings about that. And then you think about your implications work for when you get back to work. And you just find yourself going round and round and round about the students burdens that you’ve taken on or the task that needs to be finished that’s not finished yet but you have to get back to the moment you get back to work.

Lauren Tingle 29:54
Where you’re trying to solve problems that the entire world is putting on your shoulders. And I don’t think those are necessarily all bad. Those are good things, we’re solving all the world’s problems, right? I do some of my best thinking in the shower. But those thoughts also continue on with me as I’m trying to fall asleep. And I am led towards this fancy word of rumination, where I am going to burn out if I don’t make a change.

Lauren Tingle 30:21
The research article I’m going to link in here shows that just thinking about work isn’t necessarily bad. And I think that is something a key point to realize. That reflecting on the things that went well, or the things that brought you joy, or the ways your students found success, those can be good and helpful for a role that is heading towards burnout.

Lauren Tingle 30:41
So you can shift that. And like I said, we could talk about this all day, I’m going to link the article. I hope that you find some encouragement around those physical symptoms that you can be feeling because of stress and burnout. And I want you to be able to identify that rumination if you are having those feelings, and realize that you can combat that while you’re still in the workplace. And I don’t want that to necessarily move you out, if you haven’t tried some of the strategies that they have in this article.

Lauren Tingle 30:41
If you’re staying put, and it’s not time for you to go yet, I want you to connect with other high school counselors. So you could do this with your own team that you’re working with, especially after something heavy, it’s important to come back together and debrief about what happened and how you’re feeling about all that.

Lauren Tingle 31:27
Connect with a greater counselor community in your area. Are there other high school counselors in your district or just in your greater area, maybe of the state or your county? If there aren’t other high school counselors, other middle school counselors that you can connect with? And where are those touch points that you connect with them? Do you have a district meeting that you go to? Could you set up a happy hour after work or go out to dinner together and just know each other and know how to contact each other and just relate to each other.

Lauren Tingle 31:57
If you don’t have any of those or you’re looking for more or more of a virtual space, I would always encourage you to join us over in the cliquecollaborative. That’s my high school counseling membership. I’ll link that in the show notes that is an online space. We have quarterly meetups where we talk about what’s going well, we talk about what is actually really hard and get some feedback and some ideas on that.

Lauren Tingle 32:19
And now this one might seem obvious, and maybe you find it silly, but either way, whether it’s time to move on, or you’re staying put, once you get some counseling for yourself. Like I said, I think we can talk ourselves out of needing this counseling, because we think we’re supposed to be able to do that for ourselves.

Lauren Tingle 32:36
I find myself talking myself out of going to counseling because I think I’m a counselor by trade, I should know how to counsel myself out of a situation. That is not true. It is helpful and healthy to go and talk to somebody a third party person who can lead you in the right direction, or reflect and reframe some of that stuff for you.

Lauren Tingle 32:58
So I gave you a lot of things to think about. I couldn’t cover every scenario under the sun, but I really think I covered a lot of them. I gave you a bunch of different things to think about when it’s time to move on. And of course, only you can make that decision for you.

Lauren Tingle 33:15
I’m happy to chat with you more about this. And I have always said, if my heart is not in high school counseling, I’m doing a disservice by staying here. I don’t think that I ever would have gotten to that place being in a school and just hating showing up to work each day because one, high schoolers are so funny. How can you hate talking to them all day? But two this is too hard of a job to be in if your heart is not fully in it.

Lauren Tingle 33:43
Now, I will say high schoolers are hilarious to talk to. But if you are just so tired, you’re so negative, you do not enjoy the people that you work with, and you’re not finding some sort of fulfillment in showing up each day laughing alongside people who are realizing how crazy this job is, then it might be time to go somewhere else.

Lauren Tingle 34:06
If you go through a lot of those questions that I asked in the beginning and you’re realizing hey, it might be time for a change, know that that’s okay. No one’s going to look at you differently because you’re leaving, or you’re leaving just for a season and you’ll be back once you’ve taken care of yourself.

Lauren Tingle 34:23
I’d encourage you to listen to this episode a couple times. Take some notes, do some journaling. Do some own soul searching hard soul work by going to counseling and thinking through some of these things.

Lauren Tingle 34:36
I wish you the best as you are uncovering what this means for you in your next season. And I really hope that you can decide for yourself and with people who you trust, whether it’s time to move on or to stay put in your current counseling position. I’ll see you next week.

Connect with Lauren:

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