What Is Different About Business

Photo by ste3veI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the differences between education and business. One of my colleagues is making the move from education to business – the first time she has ever been out of the classroom. She asked me what the differences were. This is what I came up with…


In business, you can leave the premesis and go out for lunch pretty much any day. You don’t have to wait for a teacher work day. You don’t have to try and snatch a quick bite to eat during the student lunch of 25 minutes, and you can actually go somewhere and sit down. Microwave lunches are a choice, not a necessity.

Able to be a few minutes late

If you are a few minutes late for the typical office job, it is not a big deal. Get stuck behind an accident? Everyone will understand. In education, you cannot be late, because those students hit the rooms on time, and you have to be there to greet them.

Down time

Business has time when you can sit and regroup before starting work on a new project or even between tasks. Education is full tilt on-your-feet constant energy during class, and rush-to-get-everything-done during planning. If you are teaching multiple subjects, you have less than 5 minutes to shift your mind into the new gear. In business you can check your email first thing in the morning. In education, you have to wait until your planning block or until after contract hours.

Not having to repeat yourself

As teachers, we repeat ourselves. A lot. Repetition drives the point home. During my units on lines, I must have said “y = mx + b” at least a thousand times. In business you never have to do that sort of mind-numbing repetition.

Social media

When you aren’t in education, you can use social media. You don’t have to hide out from your students, or be hypervigilant about what you say (my principal monitors our social media feeds and reprimands for anything he considers unseemly, including pictures in restaurants, or pictures of empty classrooms).

Deadlines are met

I have been told that it is really bad at our school, but students don’t turn in homework. Or if they do, it is late. They ask for extensions, retakes, extra time, you name it. There is never a deadline met by the students. In business, deadlines are met. If they aren’t there is usually a darn good reason, because too many missed deadlines is grounds for termination. (Which leaves me to wonder what we are teaching the kids…)

Support is different

Teaching is the first job where I have seen the department really work together to share resources and give help. The business world may have a bit of a training program, but you’re pretty much on your own.

Copiers are the same

Copiers break. That’s the truth in both jobs. It seems less in business, though, because you aren’t running 500 copies a week.

I wish my colleague well on her new career. I think she will find it exciting, and I have no doubt she will be a smashing success. I have rarely met someone so willing to work so hard.

Photo by ste3ve


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