Connect to Careers: Former Teacher Finds Her Own Middle Ground in Real Estate

Carolyn Molly, Realtor

Much of the divisiveness in this world might dissipate if folks just spent their days doing what they want to do. Countless people go to work every day in jobs they don’t find particularly satisfying, but they keep plugging along because they won’t envision any other possibilities. Carolyn Molly found herself in that position several years ago. A former educator frustrated by all the testing and data that had consumed the profession, she connected with a career in a completely different field—real estate.

“I always found teaching incredibly hard. The performance and creative pieces of teaching were the part that I felt passionate about,” Molly explained. “Gradually, it became more scientific and mathematical with more head and less heart. The data, the meetings, and the planning made it so.”

Molly, also passionate about community theater, had a flair for creating activities and actually performing science and social studies lessons for her students. Her school principal nominated her for Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 2012. She did after-school STEM projects where students had to create a receptacle for an egg that would protect it in the event of a fall. She then climbed on the roof of the school and dropped each student’s project off the edge to see which eggs would remain intact. As testing requirements grew, she found that she had less time and energy for these types of activities.

“When you try to remove the artistry from teaching for the sake of the numbers that fit into the columns, you’ve lost the point. I’m heart driven. It’s kind of like that doctor’s oath, `First, do no harm.’ I felt like the way education was going with all the testing was harming,” she said.

A self-proclaimed “square peg” herself, Molly had difficulty trying to force the students into the “round holes” that are sometimes necessary to achieve academic success.

“Our children are individuals—the system makes us compartmentalize them. I got tired of watching my kids struggle while I educated them according to state and national norms,” she explained.

Real estate seems like a surprising connection here, considering that the profession is so numbers-driven. For Molly, it makes sense.

“As a Coast Guard family, we moved frequently. Just by buying and selling my own homes, I knew that I had a flair for it. I’m one of those people who likes to go to the open houses realtors offer on the weekends. I never met a house I didn’t like,” she said.

The connection real estate has with education goes even deeper for this former teacher.

“In teaching, when you think about the kids that come to us, the ones who struggle, you see something there that you can build on. No matter what our students have been through, they have spark. Potential. It’s like that with houses,” she said. “Even the older houses that haven’t had the best maintenance throughout the years are just a little careworn. They just need some investment. There’s always something worthwhile there.”

It’s one thing to find a connection with a different career, but how does a person go about taking the leap into something completely new? Check back tomorrow as we continue the discussion on taking the leap into career change!

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