To not want a career? (Serious)

(441 Posts)
MustWakeUp Sun 23-Jun-13 11:32:46

Hi all,

I know it's not a very pc thing to say these days and my parents who are oxbridge educated high achievers are baffled by my 'low ambitions' (anything that isn't law/med/finance = low ambitions and future of mediocrity to them). I understand that this isn't the opinion of most women, but this is just how I feel.

I've never had this burning ambition to be a career woman - I finished my A levels last summer and got 4 A*'s in maths, further maths, physics & art so it's not that I'm not academic. I loved school and I love learning but I just don't want a career. When we had careers advisors come into our school from about yr 9-yr 13 they would tell me about all the different things I could work as for e.g. accountant, actuary, physicist, economist and so on, but the problem was they all just sounded dead boring. I have shadowed plenty of my parents friends in all sorts of science-y and numerate jobs and I honestly don't know how they do it. It is just not suited to me at all.

My parents are only concerned with £££ and prestige. I'm a good painter & I write poetry and I've sold a few of my paintings and had some of my poems published and now my parents (mum especially) are pushing me to do more & more & more, they are turning something I enjoy and find relaxing into a money generating passionless thing.

What I would love to do with my life more than anything is travel the world doing odd jobs the way I'm doing now and then settle down at 25ish & have my own family & be a SAHM but still continue with my painting and poetry. <bliss>

Since finishing my A-levels I've been doing that (sort of) - I temp for a 2-3 months and sell a few paintings, then I travel for as long as my money will last, when I run out of cash I come back for another 2-3 months and temp and paint again...I have seen the most beautiful sights and met the most fascinating and oddest people during this last year and I love my life the way it is now....I am free to go where I please and do what I want, I have no one to answer to at all! I wake up everyday feeling so happy and chill. But the trouble is my parents see me as squandering my 'potential' and have now recruited my aunts, uncles, ex-form tutors even my preacher!!!! to talk some 'sense' into me and to tell me that I need to apply for university and stop living 'like a dirty hippie' hmm and I'm beginning to have doubts myself.....(not about uni, would love to be in higher education someday - but university will always be there!)

so tell me MN, is it BU for some people to just not be interested in the rat race and the corporate world and careers in general? I mean surely, some people just want different things?

Sunnysummer Sun 23-Jun-13 12:01:26

YANBU at all not to want a 'career' in the corporate sense.

But as Trills summarises nicely - YABU not to want to become for at least some time an independent self-supporting adult.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not focussing on money or success, but it would appear that your vision of life depends entirely on other people working to support your 'bliss'. Living at home while temping to earn some money, then graduating to being a SAHM to work on painting and poetry (this is also a very rosy picture of the life of a SAHM!)... Aren't the others lucky, having to work to support all of this? And what happens if and when those sources dry out, or are no longer enough? Or if your sources of funds have their own dreams - do they put these on hold to ensure that they can continue to support another totally capable adult?

As Trills also points out, you sound very naive and I would frankly add, self-absorbed.

KB02 Sun 23-Jun-13 12:02:04

Some good advice upthread. I was also like you but didn't have the preachy family. My grades were such that I could have done a bit more with them. I did go to Uni tho so they were probably confident I would end up with a good job. I never knew what I wanted to do . I did a job for 6 years that suited my ethics but was did not pay enough to get a mortgage and very stressful. I ended up moving outof my parents at 33. Living at home so long really affected my self esteem and I felt like a failure for a long time.

There is a difference between a high flying career and a career that will provide enough for you to live on which would still mean a lot of hard work and forward planning. The cost of living is such that a minimum wage or lower paid job makes life quite a struggle.

If you can think smart and make your hobbies into a moderately well paying job go for it.

You never know when your time to be a mum will come. Could be next year or could be mid thirties like me.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 23-Jun-13 12:03:47

Forgot to say - thinking you will be able to find a man able and willing to earn enough to support you and your hobbies at age 25 while you start a family is not very realistic. Really, you will find very little time with pre-school children, if you are a SAHM and looking after them fulltime, to paint and write poetry (well, you can paint with them, but I doubt you'll be able to sell the paintings!). The main purpose of being a sahm is to spend a lot of hands on time with your children.

So really, you're looking at finding someone who will support you, and also pay for a cleaner/childcare to free you up to do your creative work. Perhaps in the social group you are from, this is possible, but frankly, I think as a 'life plan' it isn't sensible.

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:05:16

It's fine to not want a career in the sense of not wanting promotion or additional responsibility, but you do need to work in order to buy things! grin I enjoy my job but the primary reason for getting up and going to work everyday is motivated by money.

It's easy to say you're not material - we're not, either, particularly - but everyone needs food, warmth and shelter. As a civilised society we provide these things for people who can't work to get them but it is not ethical (imo) to be able to have them and refuse to work.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 23-Jun-13 12:06:51

(argh - am feeling annoyed with self that I have posted here - have just had that 'don't think OP will be back' feeling. Only myself to blame for wasting time though!)

ItStartedInRome Sun 23-Jun-13 12:10:47

OP you sound similar to how I was at your age, although I certainly wasn't as bright or talented as you are. My parents insisted I went to uni then said that after my degree they would help me achieve whatever I wanted to do even of that was an unusual job/living in a commune/ traveling etc. They wanted me to get a degree as no one can take your education away from you. It is always something to fall back on. I did as they asked. Then decided I wanted to earn money and pursued a career. Now that I have established myself and am settled financially I am able to look at a career change/spend time with DC/ pursue other things. My friends who did not go to uni when we were 18-20 all returned to uni later on as mature students. They have all said they wished they had gone when younger as juggling study with paying rent/mortgage/ children is much harder.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 23-Jun-13 12:10:56

Where's Jarvis Cocker when you need him?

CloudsAndTrees Sun 23-Jun-13 12:14:04

I think your life sounds lovely, I could go some of that myself!

But parents get very keen to see their children settled with clear direction when their children hit the age that you are at, it's how they conform to themselves that they've done a decent job.

They may also have plans of their own that don't include you living at home for a few months a year, and you are expecting quite a lot of them if you expect them to provide that for you for as long as you want it.

I don't think there is anything at all wrong with your lifestyle, or what you want from your future, but you do need to think about how you are going to provide yourself with financial security in the future.

amigababy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:18:38

my friend makes a living as a superb and talented photographer, while juggling life with 3 DC's. She didn't originally train as a photographer. I don't think her life went "to plan" but she's ended up doing something incredibly creative but where people will pay for what she does.

If you have a real talent you will get to where you want to be, here or abroad, single or with someone who will support you (and I don't necessarily mean financially.) I'm a bit woo, and believe very much in the law of attraction, which seems to have worked for me. It could work out for you if it's meant to be. Be happy!

Pendulum Sun 23-Jun-13 12:19:24

Ha RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief, I had the same thought exactly!

MustWakeUp Sun 23-Jun-13 12:21:17

Hi smile

Thank you for your responses, I feel like I need to make a few things clearer!
My parents opinions would be (rightly) justified if I was living with them! Thankfully I am not.

When I'm in the UK I live with my lovely boyfriend of 2 years (I moved in with him after school ended), I have been very upfront with him about my dreams of travel and being a SAHM etc. I didn't want to spring it on him years down the line. He is in full agreement with me seeing as he is my polar opposite career wise and is a very disciplined man and works like 60-80 hours a week in a v good job and at only 24 he is on six figures and hopefully will treble that salary in the next 6 years if he continues the way he is doing now, however he loves his job - it is all he wanted to do since he found out that field existed and he is perfectly content with supporting me & me not wanting to work crazy long hours in a stressful job like he does. He wanted to get married this summer but I managed to get him to wait till I turn 21 and am a bit more ready.


Trills Why is "career woman" a phrase and "career man" is not? Good question, I don't know!

orangesandlemons it just seems like laziness and wanting someone else to look after you to me Not laziness at all, when I am temping I work in an office during the day and at a bar during the night, not mentally taxing I agree, but it is still work

scottishmummy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:26:59

who's going to fill fridge,pay bills,whilst you potter about painting and doing pottery?
to date it's bank mum &dad.presumably as housewife you'd expect dp to finance your hobbies?
you've been extremely cushioned from financial reality of needing to work and just seem to expect to marry well to maintain lifestyle

janey68 Sun 23-Jun-13 12:28:46

I think you sound a tad naive and very fixed in your views.
There's a lot of advantages in taking a flexible outlook on life, and having the capacity to adapt and step up to new situations

Your bf may decide he doesn't want to work 60/80 hours a week if he has a child. He may want to spend some time with his children. Even if he still has a burning desire to work those hours, it may not actually be great for the children as IME as a parent, kids quite like a hands on relationship with both mum and dad.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 23-Jun-13 12:29:34

You're not 21 yet?
Explains a lot.

TimeofChange Sun 23-Jun-13 12:30:28

OP: Thank you for coming back with more info.

I think you life sounds lovely - I think I maybe slightly envious!

Best wishes to you.

MustWakeUp Sun 23-Jun-13 12:33:59

scottishmummy you've been extremely cushioned from financial reality of needing to work and just seem to expect to marry well to maintain lifestyle

but what is so wrong about this? on an estimate I would say 50% of women I know have done this and they seem to have happy calm marriages.

scottishmummy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:34:30

so that it then?marry well become a housewife to man who earns well?
no wonder you don't fancy rat race,but you've got a dp who will earn well? oh i see he works ft hard so you don't need to sully yourself in rat race.

oh pwincess how nice you'll not be in nasty rat race

MarshaBrady Sun 23-Jun-13 12:34:47

And lo Jarvis did just play on radio 6.

Well you've got the source of funds- your parents now your Dp.

You may as well carry on as you are, I can't see you doing a turnaround.

scottishmummy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:37:46

you are chosing marry well as path?
your achievement will be prosperous marriage
sad. really sad

noddyholder Sun 23-Jun-13 12:40:57

I think if you are artistic and good at it you can have a career and be a sahm and earn a good living. I never wanted to do the typical career thing I find the whole office corporate set up dull and soul destroying and could never really operate officially in the typical hierarchical workplace set up. I have a lot of academic qualifications too but I always knew it wasn't for me. I worked in lots of temporary jobs and travelled all through my 20s and when I got pregnant with my ds at 28 I knew I would never go back to work unless I was freelance. Keep going with your poetry and painting esp if your partner supports you and make that your business. You may find once children do come along you will want something else but you may not. I had a friend at uni like that she knew she just wanted to stay at home etc and she has done it and at 52 I don't think I know anyone happier or more fulfilled.

noddyholder Sun 23-Jun-13 12:41:49

efficiently not officially!

MustWakeUp Sun 23-Jun-13 12:42:41

scottishmummy erm hmm I didn't say I'm choosing 'marry well' as a path, I asked what was wrong with it?

Also in my op, I have said I will study at university when the time is right for me, right now it isn't.

KittensoftPuppydog Sun 23-Jun-13 12:43:14

Well I can understand you totally. My approach was to do the job, get the money, invest it, and now in my fifties, have the sort of lifestyle you want.
Do I wish I'd done it earlier? I didn't enjoy a lot about my career but it paid well and gave me independence. If I'd done it earlier it would have put all the pressure on my dh to keep going, and during a long life you can't always be sure that you or he won't change.
On the other hand, I am so glad I'm out of the working world. Very overrated. And there's a lot to be said for living for the day.

Disguisethebumpbump Sun 23-Jun-13 12:43:22

What happens if your high earning DP decides to break up with you? Where's your source of income then? Struggling to get by on temp wages and bar work isn't fun when you are 30.

Or what if you want to break up with your DP but are basically trapped as you have no earning potential and your parents decide to no longer subsidise you?

Take some time-travel, work in temp jobs, but keep your options open. In a few years you might quite like the idea of training as something and it might just take a few years for you to figure out what might interest you.

I have a high earning DP but I still want to retain my independence especially my financial independence so I have a career-I don't love it but that's okay I love lots of other things!

KittensoftPuppydog Sun 23-Jun-13 12:43:59

Oh, and I didn't have the kids. Makes it easier.

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