Get out of Teaching

Get Out of Teaching Podcast Season 4, Episode 8, Georgina Chai (Founder of Flourish Career and VA Services)

September 01, 2021 Elizabeth Diacos Season 4 Episode 8
Get out of Teaching
Get Out of Teaching Podcast Season 4, Episode 8, Georgina Chai (Founder of Flourish Career and VA Services)
Show Notes Transcript

Georgina Chai is the Founder of Flourish Career and VA Services. 

She is an experienced interview coach and a professional resume writer and has worked with clients from various professions to achieve career success. 

Before leaving the corporate world, she was a Human Resource manager in the public sector where she was responsible for assessing job applications and interviewing prospective employees. 

Georgina holds a Master of Human Resource Management from Swinburne University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from RMIT University. 



Aired on 1st September 2021


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Elizabeth Diacos  0:02  
Welcome to Season 4 of the Get Out of Teaching Podcast presented by Larksong Enterprises. This podcast is for teachers who are considering leaving Education, but feel like they have no options. I'm your host, Elizabeth Diacos. I'm a career transition coach who guides overwhelmed teachers through a 5-step process, out of Education and into a life they love. I'd like to see a world where the work of teachers is valued and respected, and that teachers have a career pathway that enables them to continue to offer value to society, beyond their work in the classroom. So in this season, we'll be speaking to other experts, who help people to change careers, as well as a few ex teachers who forged the pathway into something new. So come along for the ride as we get out of teaching. 

Episode 8. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the show. And on today's show, I'm very pleased to be interviewing Georgina Chai, who's a resume writer, and interview coach, thanks so much for coming on the show today, Georgina. 

Georgina Chai  1:05  
Thanks for having me, Elizabeth, I'm really pleased to be here. 

Elizabeth Diacos  1:09  
So this is one of the interviews that I've been most excited to do. Because when I talk to teachers, about getting out of teaching, or even before I even have a conversation with them, and they joined the Get Out of Teaching Facebook group, the thing they're most worried about, more than anything is their resume. And I'm like, we need to talk to someone who's all over this. So I'm really pleased that you're here with us today. What, what should we be thinking about? When we go to write a new resume? When we're moving out of Education and into something else? What are the things we need to consider?

Georgina Chai  1:44  
You know, the first question that I asked my clients before I start working on their resume is where or what? The what role do you see yourself moving into next from teaching? Their response to this question is so important, because it then frames it goes on to frame their next resume. So the work that you do with the teachers who are in the situation is so important, Elizabeth, because you're getting them to, you know, think about their next step. And with that, I guess, having invested that time, in that process, they really shouldn't be too concerned about their resume yet, because it really is so vital for them to know what their next goal is before they invest in doing their resume, because then they'll have a resume that is clear about their direction. 

And it really helps recruiter to really see where that next direction is. Because I always say, you know, there's no point having a resume that looks like a dog's breakfast and it's unclear. Because then the recruiter doesn't know what to do for you either. Because they're like thinking, where would you like to go next? And they probably don't have that time to make that decision for you. So you as the person who is in charge of your career needs to be very clear about you know, where you want to head next. 

Elizabeth Diacos  3:13  
Yeah, so that's so true. Like, when I was trying to get out, I actually went to see an HR. I  associate people are sort of career, I'm not exactly sure what they were, but someone sent me to them. And they said, you might want to have a portfolio career. And I didn't, I didn't know what that was at the time. But basically, it's where you have lots of multiple streams of income coming in from doing different activities, or selling a product or whatever. And so you're making a living, you know, from maybe three or four different ways. And then the other person was an HR expert. And we did talk about my resume a little bit there. 

But for both of those conversations, I still didn't know what I, what else I could do. And I I they didn't recognize what I brought to the table. And I was still grieving the loss of my teaching career. So I was in this terrible sort of mental state where I felt really upset that I did, I kind of woke up one day and thought I don't think I can keep doing this. And I started looking at possibilities, and I just couldn't see a way forward. So there was grief, there was massive confusion. And, and I felt really undervalued outside of Education and inside of Education. So it was kind of this, it was not a good place to be. And so part of my motivation for doing what I do now, helping people make that transition is is because of that experience that I had. 

So when when you weren't so let's say, I'm gonna I've used this example in another conversation. I've got this archetypal teacher named Donna and she's in her say, let's say early 50s and she wants to move out of Education. And she's thinking she'd like to work somewhere that's clean and nice. Maybe she gets to wear high heels occasionally, or at least like nice clothes that won't get paint or snot on them. And, and maybe she'd like to be able to go to the toilet whenever she wants, and have a proper lunch break, and maybe even dare I say, go to an appointment during work hours, and then make up the time some other time. What kind of roles should she be preparing for? And what would go on her resume?

Georgina Chai  5:40  
Right. So it sounds very much like she wants to get into a corporate role. I mean, the nice clothes, maybe the high heels. But at the same time, it also sounds like she could become a business owner, you know. So that's a possibility that maybe people don't really think about when they're looking to transition into a different role out of teaching. Because sometimes, you know, when I sit down with a client of mine, and I ask them questions, it sounds more like they want to be their own business owner, rather than wanting to move into, you know, a role or be, you know, in a different be employed by a different organization. 

So, I think it's really, you know, with those sorts of roles anyway, so let's say, you know, she wants to go into a corporate role, I think, you know, you want to talk about your communication skills, which is very, very vital. And in that particular environment, environment, you're talking about different stakeholders, internal, external. So, you know, from her experience, as a teacher, I want to look at, you know, where how she dealt with various stakeholders, internally, externally. Your organizational skills, how you meet deadlines, that's always a critical one, or any corporate role. So how has she demonstrated that in her career? 

Elizabeth Diacos  7:06  
Okay, so if we're gonna...

Georgina Chai  7:08  
probably critical on 

Elizabeth Diacos  7:11  
Yeah, so if you're going to write that in a resume, what does that sound like? Because if I, my experience is that as soon as you mentioned the word, classroom or student, it's like, the shadows come down. And no one's interested in hearing what you have to say, because they think they have this understanding of what Education is, and what what it is to be in the classroom. And they think that it's that they've only experienced Education, from the point of view of being a student, if you're in the HR role, you probably only been a student, and you think the teacher just comes and sings and dances and plays with you all day, and then goes home to their Fairy Castle or whatever. 

But the reality is very different. And so how do you, as a teacher, explain that skill set in a way that's going to get through to someone in an HR role, or get past the, the search engine that they use the artificial intelligence search engine that the recruiters use before they even look at your resume?

Georgina Chai  8:12  
Yeah, so a simple little trick there is really about corporatizing, you know, the language that you use in your resume. So what you were referring to there was the application tracking system. And basically, an application tracking system is like a robot that reads your resume, your job application. And basically all that's happened there is, you know, companies decided, Okay, we are wanting, you know, this specific role, want to fill the specific role. And here are the key words that we associate with this particular role. And, as a job applicant, you know, when you put together your job application, all it is, is that you've got to pick up some of those keywords from the job advertisement from the position description. 

And basically, I don't want to say scatter it across your job application, but strategically place it. No, you know, use the same terminology, but then unpack that for the recruiter and say, you know, so for example, if they're wanting somebody with exceptional communication and negotiation skills, pick that up as your key word, and then unpack that for them in terms of your skill set. What does that mean? So you know, just kind of mirroring the language that's used in the job. 

Elizabeth Diacos  9:27  
So, so when you're doing that - mirroring the language, using those keywords that's going to get picked up by the application tracking system. But then presumably, at some point, it also gets in front of a real human. And so what's the role of the real human in that? When they're reading your application?

Georgina Chai  9:48  
So basically, yeah, so you're you're on to the next stage, the real human being reads it and basically they want to see whether you've connected your experience. With what is expected in the role that you are applying for. So, okay, you've a lot of your experience has been in the teaching environment, but have you used what you have to connect with what is going to be expected in, you know, the role that you're applying for. So let's say for example, you know, in your role if you're meant to, to go out there, and you're meant to liaise with vendors, etc, you've got to demonstrate to your prospective employer that you have an understanding of their environment. 

Okay, so that's, I guess, a lot of the times, that's the missing key for a lot of people, they just say, "I'm good at communications," "I'm good at writing," but they don't draw the connection, they don't draw the connection between their skills, and what the employer needs. And even as simply as doing that, the employer is going to say, "Oh, she gets it, she understands our environment, she understands what we need. And, you know, I'd like to invite her in for an interview." 

Elizabeth Diacos  11:03  

Georgina Chai  11:03  
So that's why it's so important too, you know, your resume is not a static document. It's really, you know, it's a document that you need to continue to tailor specifically for every role that you apply for. So that's why I think, you know, I have to keep on pushing that message to people, you know. If I've done your resume for you. It's beautiful. But, you know, you've got to still do a little bit of work to tweak it each time, for every role that you apply for, it's going to be very evident. If you just leave it as is, and you just shoot it out to every single role that you apply for. A recruiter can see it's just generic, it hasn't, you know, they know where it has or no thought has gone into it to adapt it for the role. So, yeah.

Elizabeth Diacos  11:51  
Okay. Yeah. So that's really crucial to getting past that next stage. What about cover letters? Where do they fit in?

Georgina Chai  12:01  
Cover letters, it's interesting. I've had a lot of conversations about cover letters in the past week. And, you know, there's two school of thought. One is that they're absolutely not necessary. You know, people don't read it, recruiters don't read it, etc. But can I just tell you, I, I've rarely seen a job advertisement that doesn't ask for a cover letter. So it does ask for one, you need to supply one. Don't listen to these people go it doesn't get read and then just go, "Oh, it doesn't get read. So I'm just gonna, you know, apply with my resume." It's a big no, no. And basically, it's signals to the employer that you haven't read the instructions on the job advertisement.

Elizabeth Diacos  12:36  

Georgina Chai  12:36  
So every single time, you know, supply a cover letter, if it's asked for. Now, it's interesting, I sat down with a really, really experienced HR manager. And this is her comment. She said, "Oh, we, you know, I don't really even read the the cover letter." And I'm like, "but how about if you have two candidates who are pretty much next to neck, neck to neck? What, what then how do you then kind of select the best person?" We go to the cover letter? Now the cover letter is different. It's funny, isn't it? The cover letter is different to the resume. And that, of course, there's going to be some similar information. But the cover letter is really your opportunity to communicate your motivation. 

Why do you want to be there? Why do you want this job? You know, what do you know about the organization? So it really can help you stand out in a very flooded market in a very competitive market? 

Elizabeth Diacos  13:37  

Georgina Chai  13:37  
And I always encourage people, "Show your motivation, show that you've done a little bit of research in the organization, and maybe anticipated some of the challenges they might face because of a change they're going through or because of some environmental, you know, change, like maybe the pandemic, I don't know, you know, something like that? What are some of the possible challenges that they are going to face? And how are you the solution to that problem?"

Elizabeth Diacos  14:03  
Mmm. That's great. And I think that's, you know, in any context, where any service that we provide, whether it's, you know, going into a workplace to you know, you know, do filing or whatever. It's all about solving someone's problem, isn't it? So, like I help teachers get out of teaching, their problem is, I think they have no options. And so they want to look at the possibilities. Part of the role of this podcast is to help them to see this is one way forward, you know, going to apply for a job that already exists and that you don't have to create for yourself. So okay, so so we've got to the point now where the HR manager has selected our cover letter, it's amazing. 

They, we've clearly demonstrated, Donna has clearly demonstrated that she's a great fit for this organization. And then they invite her to an interview. So this is where your expertise really comes to the forger Gina, because I think this is something that I feel like I don't know a lot about. I've had done a few interviews, you know, in Teach for teacher roles. But not many I did, I did actually, my escape route came via the not for profit sector. I think they were very, they were very kind in the way they interviewed, and maybe not as rigorous or as exacting as they might, a corporate role might be. 

I could be wrong. But I feel like you know, that that was my experience, it was a quite a kind of warm and friendly environment context. So, but going into a corporate role, what what would that look like? What happens? Tell us what happens because some of these people that are in the audience listening to us or watching us on YouTube might not have had an interview for 30 years?

Georgina Chai  15:50  
Yeah. Look, the the job interview can really vary. So recently, I know that a client that I worked with, you know, she really expected the conversation to be this massive grilling of her technical expertise. But in fact, all the CFO wanted was to have a quick chat with her to see, you know, is this person relatable? Can she you know, hold a conversation? Can we work with her. So, you know, you'll have those sorts of interviews where it's purely about, you know, I can see that you're super qualified on paper, I just want to see how you are as a people person, you know, can I talk to you?

Elizabeth Diacos  16:27  

Georgina Chai  16:28  
Can I see myself working with you? So that's one aspect of it. And so I always say, you know, as, as technically good as you are, don't forget, it's also important to show what a good people person you are, because ultimately, I guess that's the test for, you know, cultural fit, you know, whether you are a good fit for an organization. But typically, though, the job interview has, you know, people will use behavioral questions. So, basically asking you to tell them a story from your past, that demonstrates your capability in a specific area. So some of the typical questions are like, you know, "tell me about a time when you face a conflict in the workplace?" 

Elizabeth Diacos  17:13  
Yeah, I've definitely heard that one before. 

Georgina Chai  17:14  
 Yeah, that's right. And a really good way of, you know, demonstrating your experience there is, we always, I always recommend using the star principle, which is situation, task, action and results. And that keeps you very focused, I think, without that structure, a lot of people can tend to waffle on and not come to a conclusion in their response. So basically saying, you know, this is, this is the role that I held. And this is the problem that I faced. This is the action that I took to solve the problem. And this is the result that I achieved as a result of the action that I took. So really clearly laying out for the interview panel, what you did, and the outcome that was achieved. 

So that was, oh, sorry, Georgina, sorry, just to go back, it was STAR, it was a situation, task.

Task. That's right. 

Elizabeth Diacos  18:08  
Action, and then results.

Georgina Chai  18:10  
And results. 

Elizabeth Diacos  18:11  

Georgina Chai  18:11  
That's right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, one of the things too, and I'll just add to this is that when you select your examples, again, it's really important that you spend some time thinking about the examples that you are going to put forward. Because typically, what I find when I'm coaching clients is that they've got examples, but the examples are not kind of at the level that it needs to be. So for example, if you're going for a manager role, but you're giving me a stakeholder example, that is very junior, so you're not, you know, you're not dealing with people who are at a senior level you're dealing with, you know, people at a very junior level, maybe at an officer level or at a consultant level. 

So when when somebody gives me an example like that, and they're going for a manager role, the question that I asked myself as an interview panel member is, "Will they be able to deal with, you know, high level stakeholder relationships?" because all the examples that they've given me, is, I don't want to say low level, but it's not you know, what I mean? It's not really a, it's not really high level stakeholder relationship management. So you really need to be careful about the examples that you pick.

Elizabeth Diacos  19:23  
Okay, so that's scary for me thinking about what that might look like in practice. I'm kinda think of situations where I was in a high level stakeholder situation where I had to have a conversation. I'm thinking, are you talking about like me, as a general classroom teacher, talking to the deputy principal say, is that the kind of conversation...

Georgina Chai  19:46  

Elizabeth Diacos  19:46're talking about? Okay. Or what about a parent conversation because, let's face it, they are actually the client. The parent is the client. They're the ones you know, bringing their their child to the, to the school to be to use the service of the school. If you think of a business model for schools, which I think we will agree, probably would, that's how they are now. And so, a lot of parents have a sorry, a lot of teachers have high anxiety about those parent conversations. Because they can be, you know, quite intense. Are they a high level stakeholder? Who's the high level stakeholder in a school?

Georgina Chai  20:24  
I think the complexity, you got to think about the complexity of what you're facing. So you're right, the parent, I mean, I'm, you know, I'm a parent of school age children. So I guess, if you, if you sat down and really thought about the impact of your interaction with the stakeholder, what does that look like? So if I, as a teacher, come across as not being helpful, or I, I sound like I'm not taking on board the concerns of the parent reputationally, for my school. What impact is that going to have? I guess it depends on the personality of the parent, you know, the reputation of the school might be tarnished. So you got to think about it. So yes, I think in that sense, they are a high level stakeholder, because you have to be really careful about how you communicate to them. 

And really show "Yes, you know, I've taken on board your concerns, and this is the action that I'm taking to solve your problem," and really kind of appease them. Right? So, you know, yeah. So this is where you have to sit down and think, "What impact am I having? And where some of the issues lie with, uh, you know, when people are applying for roles?" Or they're thinking about the examples, they don't think that what they do is important? And they go, "Oh, no, I just do that. That's just my job. And it's not that important." But when you really sit down and think about, "oh, you know, I'm talking to a parent and some of the impacts that might, that might occur because of how I handled the situation." It can have, you know, far reaching, impacts, positive or negative. So, yeah, really think about that, what sort of impact you might have, because of the action that you've taken.

Elizabeth Diacos  22:11  
Yeah, that's really valuable advice, I think, because I think there's that there's often other stakeholders too, that teachers forget, that they're, they're interacting with. So for instance, I used to help run the school production, we would have to deal with the the Art Center, you know, and all their admin and management team to put on a show. And so that's a whole other group of people that we've been able to deal with at a fairly high level, because we're talking about a lot of money and ticketing and security, and there's a whole, you know, a whole lot of things involved in those decisions. And maybe we forget, as teachers that this is a higher level of capacity that we're operating at, and not sort of unpacking what it means to be able to interact with all those different people. 

It's a massive communication skill set that teachers have, I think, to talk to a student, the parent, the colleague, the boss, and then all the external stakeholders, maybe the media, you know, sometimes they come into film or, or photograph some event in the school. So we used to run ANZAC Day service where we bring in, you know, a soldier, and we'd have media there, you know, photographing and filming the event, and so many things that teachers are capable of. And we forget, I think, because we're so caught up in our own little world that we forget that we actually are interacting with the wider world. Okay.

Georgina Chai  23:43  
Can I just add that, to your, you know, teachers are brand ambassadors. And, you know, typically when I'm talking to other mums and dads, we talk about the quality of a teacher, which teacher's good, which teacher's bad, is this teacher helpful? You know, and then that also then dictates whether we through word of mouth share with our friends, family members, or like come to this school. We've got fantastic teachers here. So yeah, don't don't underestimate the impact that you have as a teacher. I think this goes for all professions too. You know, people tend to underestimate what they do. But really, it can have a major impact. 

Elizabeth Diacos  24:25  
Hmm, mmm. That's great advice. I actually had of a message yesterday from its parents, who I met in 2006, my first year of teaching, I taught her son art. And she just sent me a quick message to say that the radio was interviewing, or they were talking about teachers and Education. And I was able to get on that I actually got on the talkback yesterday, which was exciting. But I'm like, "wow, this relationship that I developed way back in 2006 is still a really powerful, you know, relevant relationship now. And she thought of me straightaway when that opportunity came up, because, you know, she trusted me that I would, you know, say the right thing or whatever I guess. But I was just I just felt really honored that this parent who I've become friends with now, we met way back then. And you know, she, I was my first year of teaching, and it was her first child at school."

So it was like, I don't know, it was just nice to think that we've got that ongoing relationship. So there's definitely that trust that you develop with the people in the school. And I love what you're saying about being brand ambassadors. And I think one of the comments I made in that that interview yesterday was about having a career mentors that helps you manage your career. And I think those kinds of conversations where you talk about how do you behave in the workplace? And how do you represent yourself to other people? How do you represent your school? How do you represent the profession, a really important conversations that we should be having with teachers, and they probably wouldn't want to leave if they had that kind of level of support. 

But anyway, let's assume that Donna is now at the point where she's, she's going into the interview, she's all excited, they're going to ask her these questions. What should she like? What should she do from a sort of physical point of view to prepare? Like, what should she be wearing to an interview like that? 

Georgina Chai  26:28  
Mmm. Uhm, in the corporate environment, I think, you know, you, you kind of, you know, we all have personalities, and some of us like a bit of color. You know, Melvin is a very kind of black slick gray, so we're not very colorful, and (Melvin), but I would suggest that, you know, you, if it's for a corporate role, wear your standard corporate colors initially, you know, to the workplace, that could be a navy blue, you know, a black suit, you know, skirt, pants, just, you know, and really look at the title of the role, is it a manager role, so if it's a manager role, I'd say wear a jacket, if it's more of a consultant role, maybe lose the jacket, you know, that kind of thing, but making sure that you are very presentable. 

So I guess this is where a little bit of research into the organization is going to be very vital. Go into LinkedIn, let's have a look at you know, some of the people who work there, what does the, what do the pictures look like? What are they wearing? And, you know, you can get a sense of "Okay, so you know, it's very, it's very formal. So I need to kind of mirror that. So they can see that culturally, I might, might be a good fit for that workplace." So yeah, so things like that, that you can actually actually discern from pictures. And, and typically, nowadays, if you go into any website, you know, they'll have pictures of the leadership group, and you can see what are the leadership group wearing, and then mirror that in terms of, you know, what you wear to the job interview? Yeah.

Elizabeth Diacos  28:03  
Right. So I'm hearing this word mirror come up a few times. So it sounds like that's actually really important. You were mirroring the language in the, in the job application, and then again, we're mirroring it in the cover letter. And and then in the interview process as well. So that's quite, and I guess that's because we, as humans, we're wired to look for patterns and look for similarities and so that we feel that connection. And so that's what you're kind of really addressing there. 

Georgina Chai  28:31  

Elizabeth Diacos  28:31  
All right. So well.

Georgina Chai  28:33  
So sorry, Elizabeth, I was just gonna say it's, it's kind of like I mean, if you if you know, what neuro linguistic programming is all about, and like, for me, you're at the very basic level. NLP is really about, you know, you establish rapport. And by kind of doing similar things to the person that you want to establish rapport with. And this is what it's, and this is basically the science, I guess, behind, you know, how do you stand out in a job application process, it's when, you know, as a recruiter, I can see "Oh, she's, she's actually, she actually knows the kind of language that we use." So, you know, recently I helped a job applicant, and they went for a role in the company, use the terminology winning together instead of, you know, be a team player. 

So you know, if I've put that in my application, that recruiter already knows, "oh, she's actually done a little bit of research. And she's found out that this is the terminology that we use." So you're kind of almost saying to them, "I'm already part of the team, I'm halfway to being part of the team there. Because I know, you know, the language that you use." So that, you know is another connection point. So it's always about connection. So that's why I guess, mirroring and I don't want to say mirroring in the sense of you, you lose your personality or you lose who you are. But it's kind of just saying it's just about establishing that connection, so that they can see that you are connected that you have invested your time in researching who they are. And you have an understanding of the culture already. So...

Elizabeth Diacos  30:06  
Yeah, great, great. Okay, so so let's say Donna has a great interview, then she's got to wait to hear back. What what happens on say she gets the job first day of work, what should she do to prepare for that?

Georgina Chai  30:23  
Um, that's really good, isn't it? I this is this is interesting, I just coached somebody on this question about, you know, how you engage with your new team? I think, you know, it's, it's important just to establish that relationship very quickly. Go around, introduce yourself. And I think it's, it's important to, to just basically show your team and your team members that, you know, you're here to learn, you're here to learn, and you know, you will be guided by them in terms of, you know, what's the lay of the land? How do we do things here? And I think it's a lot about, you know, listening as well, listening and observing what you're hearing, to say, "Okay, so this is how things are done here." 

Because, for me, I'm always suggesting to people, it's all about continuous improvement as well. Okay, so you're not gonna, you know, you're not gonna go in there and just change everything around. But I think you have a role to play in terms of saying, "Hey, you know, I'm a newcomer here. And I'm here to learn. But I'm also here to show that I care about the business and I and I show how I care about the business by going, can we do a little bit? Can we do things a little bit different here?" Will that you know, you know, improve our productivity, or our business process flow and things like that. So yeah, so that's how I would suggest you go, and you would go and introduce yourself and just really demonstrate to your colleagues that, you know, you're there to learn from from all of them. 

But also, at the same time, know that you are a very capable person, you know, you bring expertise and you bring value to the organization. And, you know, you're not just gonna sit there and just do your work. I mean, who wants that? Because that means that a person is not really engaged. 

Elizabeth Diacos  32:14  

Georgina Chai  32:15  
So you know, you show your engagement by taking an interest of what's happening around you and going, can we do this differently?

Elizabeth Diacos  32:22  
And yeah, nice. Yeah, that's great. And I think just being being willing to ask those questions is also really important. I remember when I first you just made me go back in time, when I first started. I remember the first wet day we had, I didn't know what to do, because I, it was my first teaching job. And I was, you know, had these students in the class, they weren't allowed out because it was raining. And I didn't know that they were meant to go back to their normal classroom teacher, and I could go and have my, you know, go to the bathroom, whatever, in my bio break, and then come back and collect them and take them back to art. And so I just kept them the whole time. 

And then I'm like, I really need to go to the toilet now. And I don't know what to do. And just no one explained to me how, what happened on a wet day, you know, in a wet day timetable. And, you know, in hindsight, that would have been great if my mentor had shown me that. But of course she was, she was actually teaching in a different part of the school, and she wasn't in my area. And so yeah, just asking questions, and knowing who to ask is really important, too, isn't it? Like actually finding out? What what's the chain of command in this organization? So I know who to ask for help? And for what, what help or who do I go to for what particular help when I need it? Awesome. All right. So is there anything else we should be thinking about for Donna and her new new career in the corporate world?

Georgina Chai  33:53  
I think, you know, it's really interesting. So even when I have moved into a new role, you put so much pressure on yourself, don't you? You think, "gosh, I've got to show that you know that they've made the right decision." And you you put so much pressure on yourself to perform, be able to perform straight away. But understand this, that when you go into a new role, and especially if it's a career transition, things are going to be new. And you're you know, you're kind of like starting from the beginning a little bit. And so, you know, don't put too much pressure on yourself to, you know, to just, you know, be outstanding straightaway. 

I think just take your time to really soak in the culture of the place and, and really learn the ropes and you know, that performance will come we all were always our harshest critic, I think and we think oh, yeah, you know, we need to really kind of show the light from day dark day one that we can do all of the things that they expect us to do, but that's not realistic. And so you know, that puts a lot of pressure on ourselves. And, you know, it's important that we know what our value is, we've been selected for the role.

Elizabeth Diacos  35:07  

Georgina Chai  35:07  
So it's important to remind ourselves that "hey, yes, so they've seen potential in me. And I'm here to learn." 

Elizabeth Diacos  35:16  

Georgina Chai  35:16  
You know, I'm not gonna be the person who knows all the answers. And that skill, like we just talked about, Elizabeth is so important, asking questions, and really being open to maybe not being the expert for a while, you know, because maybe in our teaching role, we were seen as the expert, and now we're not seen as the expert. So we're going through a little bit of a role shift a little bit. But then there'll come a time when we are seen as the expert again. So you've got to be comfortable with that transition.

Elizabeth Diacos  35:43  
Yeah, I've talked to a lot of teachers who and, and their fear is often around becoming a novice again, you know, going back to being almost incompetent and feeling like they don't know how to manage the situation and how, what a challenge that is for someone who's maybe been the expert for the last 20 years. And now suddenly, they're plunged into not knowing how to behave and not knowing what what necessarily what to do with their day, like I know, as I was in the not for profit sector, it was very unclear in one role that I had about how I should structure my days. And I found it really difficult, because I'm like, "I'll go to work. But what do you actually want me to do while I'm here?" because no one's explicitly told me. 

And they all were busy, and they just didn't give me that direction that I needed. And I found it really frustrating. And it wasn't till like really the last week of that job, where we realized that there was this whole lot of compliance stuff that we hadn't done for our volunteers to make sure they all had their working with children checks up to date. And we were flat out busy for the whole week ringing everyone and checking their documentation and all of those things. And I'm like, "Why were we doing this all along? It would have been so much nicer to felt busy all that time. But also, we would have been on top of it or not in a big panic right at the end." 

And yeah, I just just think if there's some real clarity about your job description, and our and our role description, that would be a really good thing to ask for, when you start a new role to say, "Could I please have a job description so that I, can I make sure that we're on the same page? And then maybe it needs to be, you know, edited or evaluated, but at least there's a beginning there." 

Georgina Chai  37:32  
Yeah, definitely. And I, you know, for me, I mean, for me, an organization also has a part to play in terms of, you know, preparing their, their staff. But aside from that, if that's something that you can't control, what you can control, is that you demonstrate to, you know, your new team members, to your new manager, "Hey, I'm keen to get going, but I need you to help me and tell me where I can be of most value," you know, "where I can help." And so I think, you know, that's, you can only do what you have, you know, control over. So, you know, as a as a new staff member, and I don't just remember many years ago, when I started in a new team, I'm all about asking questions, because I have no clue, I you know, so I'm not here, you know, as the expert, I'm here to learn from everybody. 

And I think about a manager, for instance, you know, when a manager comes in, they are not going to necessarily say, "I know everything," and you know, start ordering people around, I think a good manager is going to go. So, you know, tell me, tell me about the team, tell me about what you do. And then from then from that understanding can then decide, "okay, so maybe, you know, this needs to happen there." "And that needs to happen there." But it's all about you facilitating, I think, you know, conversations, and really saying, "Hey, I'm not you know, I'm not here as a to take over anything. I'm here to, yeah, to just learn from myself and hopefully make things better." I think, you know, if you come across like that, because I would be, I think I would be upfronted by somebody who just walks in and goes, "I'm the expert. I'm here. I've arrived." 

Elizabeth Diacos  39:14  

Georgina Chai  39:15  
I think I would work. I would work better with somebody who goes "I have, I don't know, I'm new. I don't know what I'm doing. Can you help me?"

Elizabeth Diacos  39:22  

Georgina Chai  39:23  
I think that approach, you know, I would be more receptive to working with somebody. 

Elizabeth Diacos  39:26  
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's excellent advice. So Georgina, as we wrap up this conversation, I just want to ask you one further question. What's your favorite song?

Georgina Chai  39:38  
My favorite song? Um, you know, I'm a big fan of Kpop. If you know what that is, you know what that is? Korean pop music, yeah, I'm a big fan of BTS. I don't know if there are any army members out there. But BTS is a very popular Korean boy group and I like them because they seem to have you know, more recently with their music, very uplifting type songs. So, their most recent one is called Permission to Dance. I won't sing it for you. But yeah, it's just a really upbeat song. And I think, especially during this time, when, you know, people are going through a lot of you know, different things, it's a real kind of song that lifts the spirits. 

And just basically says that, you know, "it's okay, we're coming out of this. And, you know, you can be who you are, and just yeah, and just have fun, and, you know, not get too bogged down by..." Just have fun, basically, you know, don't get too bogged down by, by issues and problems and things like that. And I think we need a lot of that at the moment. Positivity and so, yeah, I really enjoy those pop song, whereas I used to be, you know, a big ballad person, but now I'm like, "Oh, those dance songs are, you know, lots of fun." So, yeah.

Elizabeth Diacos  41:05  
I think there's a time and a place for music like that. Isn't there? Like in the, you know, in the depression? They had these you know, stupid like that. In what is it in South Pacific that happy talkie talkie song, you know that one? And it was very popular because it was this just cutesy, Bobby, fun song. So I guess it's the same kind of thing. I'm gonna have to listen to some Kpop now.

Georgina Chai  41:30  
I recommend it. I recommend it on those really challenging days. I just shut on. And yeah, dance, dance, dance away, dance away in in my own in the safety of my own home.

Elizabeth Diacos  41:46  
When no one is watching you dance. Wonderful, Georgina Chai, thank you so much for coming on to Get Out of Teaching Podcast today. It's been great fun. 

Georgina Chai  41:55  
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for having me. 

Elizabeth Diacos  41:59  
You've been listening to the Get Out of Teaching Podcast presented by Larksong Enterprises with your host Elizabeth Diacos. Do you know of someone else who could benefit from hearing more stories of hope and transition from teachers all around the world? Please take a moment to share this and other episodes via your podcast app. Each share helps me reach listeners just like you who can benefit from this content. The Get Out of Teaching Podcast is proud to be part of The Experts On Air Podcast Network. For show notes and other resources please visit

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