To leave my professional career for a low paid job?

(186 Posts)
raininginbaltimore Fri 18-Jan-13 20:39:26

I'm a teacher. Been teaching for 8 years, I'm a Headnof department for a small dept in secondary school.

I have bipolar disorder, diagnosed two years ago an have just had my second dc. As a family we have had a rough few months, I've been in a mother and baby unit and dd has been ill. I cannot face going back to work. Teaching just doesn't seem doable anymore. I can go back 4 days, but nothing less. I can't move schools as I am too expensive, and not many local jobs.

I am so exhausted with the job. I have been made aware of a job in a local charity. Two days a week, much lower salary etc. however after childcare costs etc we wouldn't be much worse off.

Has anyone done this?

Charmingbaker Fri 18-Jan-13 21:48:39

Have you formally requested it with the governors? Ultimately it is their decision.

ArthurandGeorge Fri 18-Jan-13 21:49:34

Make the change now when you have the opportunity.

I often think that people don't really take mental health problems seriously enough. If you had had a heart attack and your current job meant that you had to run until you got chest pain you wouldn't think twice about leaving.

ArthurandGeorge Fri 18-Jan-13 21:50:23

Sorry, not meaning that you personally aren't asking my problems seriously enough OP. I mean society in general.

raininginbaltimore Fri 18-Jan-13 21:52:11

At my school it isn't with the governors, it is what the head wants. The head has been known to give people 0.8 over 5 days.

raininginbaltimore Fri 18-Jan-13 21:53:02

What I mean is part time requests get a cursory glance at governors meetings.

Charmingbaker Fri 18-Jan-13 22:02:18

If you make a formal request in writing it has to be taken seriously and you have to be given a written explanation as to why it is not possible if they refuse. My head tends to rule the governors roost, and doesn't like part timers, but I knew I couldn't sustain full time and made it clear I would go down a formal request route.
If you're in a union could be worth sounding them out about your options, because legally the school have to meet certain criteria before they can refuse you.

scottishmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 22:08:18

you need to balance mental health,if this fulfills you without strain go for it

Viviennemary Fri 18-Jan-13 22:08:23

If you do want to carry on I thought they were under some sort of obligation these days to be flexible to people with children. Still if you hate it that much and can afford to, it would be better to do something else that you would enjoy and not find so stressful.

dontcallmehon Fri 18-Jan-13 22:13:08

I was a teacher, second in department and felt the same as you, OP. I tutor now and plan to set up a tutoring centre. I have gone from being utterly miserable to being relaxed and happy. Should have done it years ago.

BunFagFreddie Fri 18-Jan-13 22:42:33

As another person with bipolar I would say that looking after yourself comes first. If you become to ill to work, you won't have a career anyway.

Having bipolar and a period of serious physical illness really changed me. If you can mananage financially, you have nothing to gain from carrying on as you are and you must think of yourself and you family.

I used to worry about what others would think when I gave up my web designing job. But, really I was just doing what I thought others expected of me. If people think less of you because you have a more 'lowly' profession or you then they are not worth knowing.

CooEeeEldridge Fri 18-Jan-13 22:45:39

Haven't read any other posts but op. but really, go for it! Life is far far too short. If you're ok on new salary then really just stop and slow down for a bit. Good luck!

No job is worth your physical or mental health. Do what is best for you.

WhatNow2013 Fri 18-Jan-13 22:59:36

Gonna out myself now, I was a midwife, now I work in theatre. Sod the pension. You want to be alive to even draw the pension. I too suffer from mental health problems. I'm entirely sure if I'd stayed in my old job I would have lost everything soon enough as it was making me so ill. If you can afford it then do it. Nothing work wise has to be forever and your mental health and happiness is the baseline thing that matters most. Xx

LibraryMum8 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:06:14

If you can financially manage it, go for it!! Before ds, I worked full time making decent money, not great, but decent. After I had ds, I quit and became a SAHM for 6 years.

When ds was in first grade, I went back to work PT. Before I was a civil servant, and was in a professional position. Now that we have ds, a home that I do all the housework, cooking, shopping - everything inside the home - I will NOT go back to work FT. I run myself ragged as it is working PT. DH is great but really doesn't step up doing consistent housework. He will help here and there when I ask, nothing is voluntary. I'd be digging my own grave if I went back to work FT.

We can afford it, it is harder for holidays, etc. but honestly I'd be a basket case working FT now. Working inside the home is already a FT job, and having a PT job makes me having a job and a half. I'd doing all I can, and your situation sounds much more serious than mine. I'd get the other job in a heartbeat if I were you!!

LibraryMum8 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:13:03

Sorry had to add that I'm now a greeting cards merchandiser, make a small wage, but not minimum wage, and I still consider myself a professional. I dress up for my job, makeup, hair, jewelry and act professional. Professional isn't just what you do, it's how you act on the job and present yourself smile

Virgil Fri 18-Jan-13 23:19:46

Hmm, now you're all messing up my tentative plans. I'm thinking of giving up being a lawyer which is very stressful and not at all family friendly.....to teach!!!

I left teaching and I am delighted with my decision. The people who congratulated me most on making the move were some of my teaching colleagues, many of whom felt or were stuck in teaching.

Teaching is very much a performance and having a bad day is a nightmare. Now if I am feeling a bit crap I can just sit at my desk and quietly get on with my work at my own pace. I didn't want to be an old teacher - so many looked to have had the life sucked out of them and working to 68 looked impossible. I am glad I taught for a while as I wanted to give something back for the excellent education I enjoyed. Teaching also gave me a lot of transferable skills which my subsequent employers have valued. I have found that colleagues really respect my teaching background and say things like "of course Breatheslowly is good at that, she used to be a teacher" even when the skill is completely unrelated to teaching.

I found teaching all consuming, I wouldn't switch off until the holidays. In my new career I can switch off more easily. As a result I think I am more focused on my DD and she gets a much.

I'd go for it. If you aren't happy out of teaching then there are ways back in.

ImperialBlether Fri 18-Jan-13 23:42:18

Don't do it, Virgil. I mean it. Everyone I know in education wants to get out.

I am more focused on my DD, but apparently not very focused on finishing sentences. She gets a better, happier mother as my patience hasn't been used up by other children during the day.

Feelingood Fri 18-Jan-13 23:52:42

I did it. I was in the same position as you except struggle with lingering PND. I went fro. Being HOD to FT class teacher to PT. I can't say I missed the money as my life was so much more easier manageable. I think it's hard to stay fresh in teaching hats off tot hose who do really.

It wasn't for me. I do miss it but when I've finished retraining I will be happy to find a job I really want and enjoy. I will never again stay in a job that makes me unhappy. I'm lucky as I currently have flexibility to make such decision. But friends who have gone from ft to reduced house have never regretted it.

I think having bipolar may take you assuming you are getting used to meds and peaks and through cycle a while to get used to. Teaching is so emotionally and mentally draining I think you need al your resources to keep yourself right and what's wrong with wanting to put this you health and family balancing first? It seems sensible to me.

Job will be th ere long after you gone - that's what someone told me, and no one will love your kids for you - great perspectives I think.

Must say I did and still do miss it but not enough to go back even doing supply!

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 18-Jan-13 23:55:31

I'm a teacher, been one for almost 30 years. If I were you, feeling as you do I'd quit in a heartbeat. The way things are going, to job is going to continue to get harder and harder.
Get your life back, enjoy your family and stop being crushed by the weight of guilt and fear that builds up every Sunday night until you are wishing harm on yourself to avoid going into school.
There are always corners you can cut if you are downscaling, and you will enjoy finding new things to do with your children instead of surviving day to day.
Leave.

DeepRedBetty Sat 19-Jan-13 00:03:51

After doing five years SAHM until ddtwins went to school I took the option to start my own business. I've still got a couple of pre-mummy suits in the wardrobe, christ knows why as I'll never be a size 10 again, and the shoes with heels, and the matching handbags... I run a petcare/dogwalking agency, I walk other people's dogs while dds are at school and co-ordinate another six part-time dog walkers. It's lovely. No office politics!

One of my clients is a senior teacher and has this year decided to go supply only and focus on her own art rather than just teach it. She's taken a massive salary drop but is so much happier for it.

echt Sat 19-Jan-13 00:33:56

This thread makes me feel sad, not just for OP, but for the evidence of what teaching has become for so many.

And there are still people queuing up to say what a cushy deal it is. hmm

BunFagFreddie Sat 19-Jan-13 00:44:32

My DF hated it and got out early. On the other hand, my cousin loves it.

I don't think many people honestly think that teachers have an easy life. I think the confusion comes from the fact that there are so many abysmal employers in the private sector. A pension, more that 20 hols p/a and full sick pay is something that a lot of people can only dream of.

I think what people are trying to say is to count your blessings, because there are some ruthless companies about their who will only offer their staff the legal bare minimum.

BunFagFreddie Sat 19-Jan-13 00:46:38

I think I should retire to bed, as I have lost the ability to type a coherent sentence.

Good luck OP and I hope you make the best decision for you.

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