Please help brainstorming a new and better paying career.
March 21, 2012 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Please help brainstorming a new and better paying career.

I want to make better money.

For 20 years I have been an EFL/ESL teacher, and a teacher trainer. The last decade has been mainly focused on teacher training. It is somewhat better pay than just teaching, but really after all this time and experience I want to make more.

Aside from being a very good classroom teacher, trainer, and a good mentor for other trainers and English teachers, I have the following skills and qualities:

Very comfortable in alien cultures, broad knowledge of world cultures, deep knowledge of Central Asia / Eastern Europe / post USSR culture.

Able to get things set up from zero - e.g., setting up a small office, website, get systems in place for running a business, finding local contacts.

Good with computers, Internet, etc. I am not a programmer but I can set up a basic CMS, stuff like that.

Good at working in shit places with shit resources / difficult constraints.

Designing and implementing anything related to teaching and training - curriculum, schedules, programmes, assessment tools, etc., etc.

Training people to do anything that I am good at doing. So far mainly in EFL/ESL but this is a transferable skill, I'm very confident about my abilities as a classroom teacher and educational manager.

I really like working on short term stuff, and I like to be abroad. I do not want to be in an office 9-5.

I do not think I would be successful running my own business, I would rather not have to assume risk / put my own money up front.

I'd love to be doing something more specifically tied to culture - cross-cultural training, helping people adjust to new cultures, helping different people bridge their cultural gaps, stuff like that.

What is the job for me? At this point anything that you actually know is a real job, that might pay better than teaching, and that meets any or all of these criteria would be really helpful as I brainstorm and think this through.
posted by Meatbomb to Work & Money (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Similar life experiences, similar background, have changed careers twice now.

Fundamentally, you need to find something that is scalable. At this stage in your life you're never going to get hired by a company that is going to pay you significantly more than you're making now. Climbing up the ladder requires a number of things, among them a strong professional network. But there's also the personal aspect of it too - earning more money at this stage of your career in an actual organization means a leadership position, and, to a certain extent, leadership positions require a tolerance for bullshit politics.

You need to create a product that you can sell. Maybe it's lesson plans or textbooks for EFL teachers (there is a lot of free stuff on the Internet), or maybe it's "best practices" for the managers of language schools or something. Maybe the product is you, and you instead create content like YouTube videos that send people to your website, where you can teach them, or hire others to teach them (Skype has made EFL teaching super easy).

Maybe you're a fixer for some oil company going into a Central Asian republic.

But establishing that knowledge base and demonstrating mastery of that knowledge base is the key. It might take 3 or 5 years, but if you identified a market and understand their needs you can do it.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:37 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

And make it scalable, so if people want your product it takes you an hour to provide them with something that took you 40 hours to create.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:38 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you can find a way to do what you do, but where the clients are large organizations like corporations, government agencies, even large NGOs, I would guess you could make a lot more money.

If the intent is to earn a lot more money, don't focus on things like...

Good at working ... with shit resources

I can set up a basic CMS

You can't get paid lots for that because the people that need being able to get stuff done on a shoestring by definition don't have a lot of money to pay you with, however much they value your work.

Though if you are willing to work in a super-challenging-place for an org that needs to be there and has plenty of money to spend, that could be very lucrative. For example, the oil and gas industry.
posted by philipy at 10:57 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just quit a job at a training organisation that DEAR GOD could use this skillset. I would call this job title Training Manager.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:47 AM on March 21, 2012

International recruiting, but it's considerably more corporate than you might be comfortable with. Same with cross-cultural training, esp. if you work for the government. Non-profits can use that, but you probably make more money than they'll pay.
Have you thought of being a tour guide?
posted by Ideefixe at 11:49 AM on March 21, 2012

I know someone who recently transitioned from ESL teaching to running the International Students office at our university. Her day-to-day involves a lot of planning events and courses and so on to help staff learn to work well with international students, and to help new international students adjust to the new culture and language. She also has to do a fair amount of management, and a little bit of one-on-one mentoring of students.
posted by lollusc at 7:03 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

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