Why A Teacher Quit Her Job To Work At Costco

One former teacher has gone viral for going from teaching students to working at Costco. Maggie Perkins worked for eight years as a middle school and high school teacher, focusing on history and language arts. However, after nearly a decade in education, Perkins felt burnt out, underpaid, and overworked. She decided to pivot away from teaching due to the long hours. 

"I worked 60 hours a week and put in tons of unpaid overtime. Between administrative pressures, testing requirements, and the endurance required to teach during the height of the pandemic, I was exhausted. I felt like I lacked purpose," Perkins wrote to CNBC. The former teacher didn't intend to make a career at Costco — she considered the job a stopgap to continue making money while she searched for her new passion. Salary was also a contributing factor for Perkins. 

At her teaching job, she only made $47,000 when she decided to quit. Costco paid slightly less at $18.50 an hour but required less work than Perkins was used to. According to USA Facts, the average salary for a U.S. teacher in 2022 was roughly $66,000, but that's including areas with comparatively high costs of living. Meanwhile, the average Costco worker makes approximately $33,000 annually — per Talent.

The educator found a career better suited to life balance

During her initial time at Costco, Maggie Perkins worked as a cashier for the warehouse. After a bout of illness left her temporarily hoarse, she transitioned to working at the store's everchanging bakery. Interacting with customers helped reignite a professional fire in Perkins. According to what Perkins told Fox Business, she wasn't the only one interested in working at Costco. At one point, more than 3,000 people applied for 300 jobs available at the store where Perkins was working.  

While Perkins may not have intended to stay at Costco, she ultimately discovered a second wind. She transitioned from working in the warehouse to working for the company's marketing team after a position opened up. From there, she hasn't regretted swapping careers, writing, "My work is no longer my identity. I put energy into my job when I'm there, and I leave work at the office. When I come home, I'm present and able to spend time with my family doing what I love, like being outdoors."

Now, Perkins is sharing her story with followers on TikTok. Perkins is proof that it's never too late to make a career pivot and that inspiration comes from unexpected places.