Karen Woodmansee on Making a Change Mid-Career

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Karen Woodmansee graduated from PLNU’s Master of Kinesiology in Integrative Wellness program in 2018. She originally started her career as an elementary school teacher, and although she always enjoyed teaching, she knew it wasn’t the right fit for her.

But it was another teacher who helped her realize she had a gift and passion for teaching health and wellness when, as part of a fitness class, her teacher asked her to step in and teach the class. Although Woodmansee was nervous at first, her teacher affirmed her, telling her that she would do great. Woodmansee finally said yes, and after teaching her first course, fell in love with it. In fact, it sparked her to start her own personal training business.

“I didn’t know I was going to love teaching group fitness, but somebody saw something in me that I didn’t know was there,” Woodmansee said. “When I taught my group fitness classes it really lit a fire in me toward health and wellness. So I decided to teach what I love to teach, and that’s why I started my own business. I realized I also wanted to teach in higher education, and that I needed a master’s degree in the sciences to do so, which is how I ended up in PLNU’s Master of Kinesiology in Integrative Wellness program.”

Transitioning from being an elementary school teacher has required her to take a risk, but she is happy she didn’t give into the fear of not doing anything.

“When you realize you’re not doing something that really fulfills you, the biggest obstacle is fear,” said Woodmansee.

I didn’t know I was going to love teaching group fitness, but somebody saw something in me that I didn’t know was there.

While at PLNU she found the support she needed to keep moving forward in pursuing a career she loves, and her advice to those considering a mid-career change is to find a strong support group since it can be key for making that career transition.

“I don’t think people always know they’re unhappy with what they’re doing,” Woodmansee said. “They can’t always put their finger on it, but if they can sense something isn’t right, the advice I would give them is to find a support system. For me, the people at PLNU, like Jessica Matthews and Katie Rios, offered tremendous guidance. Find a good coach, go to school and talk to a counselor. Find an objective family member or friend, someone who listens to you, any ally who can listen to you without judgment.”

When you realize you’re not doing something that really fulfills you, the biggest obstacle is fear.

In addition to finding people who have your best interest at heart, Woodmansee has other words of advice for those looking to make a career change, even if they’ve been working in their current career for a while.

“Prayer works too,” Woodmansee said. “Prayer is a wonderful thing and asking God for guidance is a powerful thing as well.”

As someone who made a career change later in her career, she says it’s never too late to pursue the career you love, no matter your age.

“I’m over twenty years into my journey and it has had value. Every experience I’ve had along the way gave me something else to add to my toolbox of abilities, knowledge, and confidence,” Woodmansee shared. “If you’re unhappy or complacent in your job, it’s worth listening to that intuition and trying to do something about it.”

“If you’re unhappy or complacent in your job, it’s worth listening to that intuition and trying to do something about it.”

Are you Ready to Advance Your Career?

If so, PLNU offers master’s degree programs in kinesiology, integrative wellness, and athletic training. PLNU’s Department of Kinesiology supports students through every step of the journey. We would love to help you determine your next steps.

Speak with one of our admissions counselors at (619) 329-6799 or gradinfo@pointloma.edu today.

PLNU’s the Viewpoint publishes relevant and vital stories that grapple with life's profound questions from a uniquely Christian perspective. In addition to the content offered online, the Viewpoint print magazine is published three times a year in spring, summer, and fall.