Is "I've worked as a teacher in the past" correct? Doesn't "in the past" mean a finished time in the past so it should be "I worked as a teacher in the past"? If someone says "I worked as a lumberjack in the past", I'd assume they don't work as a lumberjack anymore. The construction "I've worked as a lumberjack in the past" sounds correct? I think "in the past three years" is ok cause that includes the current year, but only "in the past"...? As in "I've done this in the past" and "I did this is the past"

Thanks in advance

  • You ask if it is "correct", but the perfect is always "correct". "I've worked as a teacher in the past" could be appropriate or not, depending on the context, but you don't give us any context. Why does the speaker need to use the past perfect? Use the edit link to add the context to your question. We can't provide a useful answer unless you do! Also, see FumbleFingers' Perfect Truism Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


The present perfect tense is often used to express a life experience, which occurred in the past but which usually is relevant to the current topic of conversation. So it's not uncommon to refer to past work experience to indicate that you either don't do that now, or that the previous experience is pertinent to the present.

For example:

I've worked as an English teacher in Japan.

I would use the present perfect tense to express that I have this experience, because for some reason the experience itself is relevant to the current conversation. If instead I wanted to talk about the experience without implying any relationship to the present, I would use the simple past:

I worked as an English teacher in Japan during the mid- 1990s.

Note that, as you say, the present perfect tense strongly implies that this is a past experience which has not continued to the present moment. So you would only use this tense if you understand the nuance, for example in a job interview:

A: "Do you have an experience teaching English?"
B: "Yes, I have taught English in a number of countries around the world."
A: "But you are not teaching now?"
B: "No, I currently work in school administration."

To indicate the experience is ongoing, use the present perfect continuous:

I have been teaching English, in various countries around the world, since the mid-1990s.

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