To change my job even though I can't really afford it?

(47 Posts)
WiltedSpinach Wed 20-Mar-13 21:07:01

Current income is around 40k. DH is out of work and is struggling to find something else, but my income means we're not poor by any means.

Problem is that my job is stressful, I've been very ill over the last year and with more restructures and budget cuts coming up, I'm worried I may get restructured out.

I've seen another job I could do, but the salary is in the late teens, so an income drop of over 20k. The only way we could survive on that amount of money would be to claim as much financial support as we can from the state, but part of me feels that wouldn't be right, when I have a job now that earns enough to support us.

So WWYD? Would it be unreasonable to take a huge step back off the career ladder for my health, even though I can't really afford to do it?

WiltedSpinach Wed 20-Mar-13 21:09:55

Should clarify that our fixed outgoings (mortgage, utilities, council tax etc) are more than I would bring home on the salary.

ThePinkOcelot Wed 20-Mar-13 21:14:04

I was made redundant a few years ago and am now in a job about £3k less than I was before, and that bugs me TBH. I don't think I would drop £20k, especially as you say it wouldn't cover your outgoings.

Would it help to maybe look on it from that point of view? I.e. not that you have to do the stressful job, but that you choose to do it for a little while longer until DH finds work.

From the sounds of it, the changes you are considering wouldn't remove the stress, simply change the source of it.

Maybe calculate what your living budget would be under those circumstances and try sticking to it for three months first? (Obviously still paying the mortgage etc., so as not to fall into debt.)

ThePinkOcelot Wed 20-Mar-13 21:15:33

Plus, you say you are stressed in your job. How stressed would you be if you couldn't cover your bills?!

zwischenzug Wed 20-Mar-13 21:16:11

Well either you can afford it or you can't. If you can't afford it then you can't do it. Life's too short to spend it being miserable in a job you hate when you have other options. So if you can afford it and you'll be happy, why not.

Smartiepants79 Wed 20-Mar-13 21:16:26

Personally I couldn't give up a job and take on one that pays less than my outgoings!
It is very counterintuitive to me.
Purposefully choosing a job that would mean I needed benefits would depress me personally. I wouldn't feel very good about myself.
Can you wait and see what happens with restructuring? Would that not mean the possibility of redundancy payment which would give you a cushion. I know you are not entitled to certain benefits if you knowingly give up a job.
Or giving your husband a little longer to find something and share the burden better.

WidowWadman Wed 20-Mar-13 21:16:58

Wouldn't you be vastly overqualified for that other job and therefore be unlikely to be offered it anyway?

Dragonwoman Wed 20-Mar-13 21:18:04

Keep in mind that while the new job may be lower salary it may not be lower stress. There are lots of poorly paid stressful jobs out there. Hang on for a better paid alternative.

hatgirl Wed 20-Mar-13 21:19:34

local authority by any chance?

HollyBerryBush Wed 20-Mar-13 21:20:48

The welfare state is a safety net, not a lifestyle choice.

If people keep bleeding it dry, there wont be a welfare state for those who need it.

Cut your cloth according to your means, downsize, cut your out goings, reduce your property size what ever it takes for you to be able to adopt and fund your chosen lifestyle

Xroads Wed 20-Mar-13 21:21:31

I am in a similar position, I can't afford to change jobs either but I am working on a compromise, would you be able to do that?

For me it means working flat out for the next 6 mths even though I'm suffering from back pain a lot of the time so that after that I can drop my income by about £500 a month, DH is trying to find a job that pays him more to even it out and I am attempting to get my new business off the ground very gradually so eventually I can swap childminding for art & flowers, I'm expecting it to take me at least 2yrs to fully swap roles.

On 1 hand life is too short to be unhappy and your health should come first, in reality few of us can afford to have the luxury of doing what we want and it comes down to doing what we need to do in order to survive and put petrol in the car and food on the table.

I remember being a kid and thinking I can't wait to grow up so I can do what I want........I'm 31 and I very rarely get to do what I want but hopefully one day........wink

annh Wed 20-Mar-13 21:25:35

If your fixed outgoings are more than the new job will pay net then you simply can't do it! There is no way that benefits or any tax credits will cover all the shortfall for food, clothing etc. And the new job may pay less but it may not be less stress! So you end up poor, stressed and regretful.

emess Wed 20-Mar-13 21:26:29

Your mental health is important or you won't be able to function in any sphere of life - as yourself, as an employee or as a wife.

I've been in a similar situation in as much as we have been living on a reduced income for a while, to some extent out of choice (long story), so I can relate a bit. We just cut back really hard, which included selling a car. However it really would worry me if I couldn't cover essentials out of income - the main essential is to keep a roof over your head.

I was also made redundant some years ago, and eventually got a job on a much lower salary and it took me about 7-8 years to get back to the pre-redundancy salary. I had to change direction though - would you be able to re-climb the ladder faster than that?

StuntGirl Wed 20-Mar-13 21:27:41

Agreed dragon.

And what if you don't get as much financial help as you think? What if circumstances change and you lose the lower paid job? What if there are restructures that mean you lose some hours? If you can't survive on £19k imagine how you'd struggle on £15k?

CabbageLeaves Wed 20-Mar-13 21:28:20

I don't think I would do that. Jobs which pay less aren't always less stressful. Being short of money is very stressful

You would be steeping down a huge amount

WiltedSpinach Wed 20-Mar-13 21:29:46

No, not local authority. confused

Most of my worries come from the fact that I've been off sick for 9 out of the last 12 months and serious illness has made me really re-evaluate what is important. Its also made me worried that I would be first out of the door in any restructure. I also know that I've not been performing well, so is it right that I hand on to a job that I'm not doing so well at?

As for bleeding the state dry - I've been in continuous full time employment since I was 21, excluding my extended sick leave, so have never taken anything from the state in the last 20-odd years. It doesn't sit easily with me, knowing that we could get by, but only by claiming benefits to support our income, but at the same time, moving to a job I know I could do, but wouldn't leave me exhausted and miserable is very tempting.

CabbageLeaves Wed 20-Mar-13 21:29:47

Have you fully explored how your reaction to your current job could be changed so you felt less stress?

CabbageLeaves Wed 20-Mar-13 21:32:12

Ah... Different situation then

9 months sick leave is not something which can be ignored. Presumably whatever caused your sick leave is not on going ? If it is on going would new employer give sick leave?

josiejay Wed 20-Mar-13 21:34:11

In most workplaces, you would be first out of the door in a restructure if you were a recent starter so you wouldn't necessarily have more security in the new job.

Dragonwoman Wed 20-Mar-13 21:35:59

Surely if you are made redundant in a restructure you will get a payment? That would be the time to take a lower paid job to tide you over until your partner got work, when you have the cushion of a redundancy payment. Even if you only got statutory that's still better than leaving with nothing.

WiltedSpinach Wed 20-Mar-13 21:36:24

Good point josiejay. I'd not really thought about that. Arse.

Cabbage - it is an illness where I could relapse. I was off for 7 months, came back for three, had a relapse and was off for another two. I'm hoping that taking on something that isn't so full on would help me stay well.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 20-Mar-13 22:21:13

You might get a redundancy pay out if you stay.

Toasttoppers Wed 20-Mar-13 22:31:24

Low paid does not always mean less stress as said up thread. There is nothing the matter with people claiming benefits they are entitled to but the problem is benefits change and I don't trust this lot in power at all.

CarpeDiemCras Wed 20-Mar-13 22:32:32

I think to a certain degree you have to either suck it up, or start to reduce your outgoings to a point where you could take on a lower salaried / less pressured job. (Big caveat, these two seriously don't always correlate. An asshole boss, is that at any salary. Expectations are a cultural thing etc. The grass may not be greener, in addition to there being less of it.)

I really wouldn't voluntarily reduce income to where you are on the breadline (because that is where you are if you can't handle your costs) or dependant on handouts unless you seriously believe that staying where you are until you can make a more robust plan is harmful. Even then, is it more harmful than to being able to pay the bills?

If it were me (and I have been there) I'd probably try to support your DP as much as possible in job hunting while working to make current job as palatable as possible. My own DP is now established in a new role following redundancy and I am now looking at more risky moves for myself now that his income is fairly stable.

newbiefrugalgal Wed 20-Mar-13 22:36:43

Can you perhaps work current job but go part time?

StuntGirl Wed 20-Mar-13 23:48:48

If you want to go to a less well paid job/go part time you're going to have to reduce your outgoings to match. Not rely on the state to pick up the tab for your house/etc.

Can you look towards reducing your outgoings while looking for another position elsewhere? Or at the very least hang on until your husband gets a job, then you can look at how much you can afford to lose, pay wise?

What does your husband think f

StuntGirl Wed 20-Mar-13 23:49:10

*of your idea? (Damn phone!)

WiltedSpinach Thu 21-Mar-13 09:09:15

Thanks for your replies. Reducing outgoings is tricky. We can reduce on things like food and other basics - We had a lot of practice at this when I was off sick, but DH was working. What we can't reduce are mortgage, bills, insurance and stuff as we did what we could to reduce those when I was ill - changing suppliers and the like.

Part time isn't really an option as I would end up earning what I would get in the new job. Also my contract is 'hours to do the job' with a minimum number of hours. My colleague who dropped a couple of days found that she was having to do the same amount of work, just over less days and for less money.

I do understand that lower paid jobs can be just as stressful, but the change is as blunt as I would be typing up strategic finance plans for huge sums of money, rather than writing the strategic plan and being responsible for making them work.

I think underpinning all of this is my fear that I am going to get ill again and I will have spent my life being exhausted, stressed and having little time for my family, instead of enjoying it.

WiltedSpinach Thu 21-Mar-13 09:11:44

StuntGirl. My DH wants me to do whatever I can to stay well. He thinks that after both of us paying substantial amounts into the system over 20-25 years, then falling back on that system to see us through this is not a bad idea.

Trills Thu 21-Mar-13 09:13:32

If you are worried that you would be restructured then you might get redundancy money - which is a lot better than just leaving without any extra money.

Are you convinced that you would get the lower-paid job? Often managers/HR don't like to hire people who are "over qualified" because they think that they wil leave as soon as a "better" job comes along.

IFeelDepressed Thu 21-Mar-13 09:13:45

Really interested to see what you decide, I have similar dilemma. I have similar stressful job with similar pay and just not coping any more. I want to reduce hours and responsibility, preferably working somewhere else as company culture is not one I get along with. However, my DH is probably going to be out of work by May so its not the best move now but not sure my mental health can take much more! He is also likely to to find it very hard to get another job due to age and health. What do we do? I have spent the last six years (since last time he was out of work for nearly two years) in just sucking it up but I think it is having very bad consequences for my health - developed two autoimmune conditions in that time. Hope you find an answer to your dilemma that you can share!

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 21-Mar-13 09:19:00

Have you properly looked into what help is available? It's not much, and it reduces all the time.

Realistically, you can't change jobs to one that doesn't cover your outgoings. You might find that getting a new job at all will be tough, because not only do you need to consider that you would be first out the door in most places, but it sounds like you'd be overqualified.

You may also find that you don't get past interview stage due to your absence. I had this recently... I have a chronic condition too and although I'd only had a few weeks off, rather than months, the employer was very hesitant to take me on. In theory there is protection in place, but realistically there isn't, and it's very easy to be sacked for any reason in the first two years because you have no real legal protection.

You'd need to either adjust your current job, or get DP to find anything that relieves the pressure on you. If he could contribute, you could swap to a slightly lower paid job. It might be time that he takes anything going, including driving jobs or shop work etc, just to give you a break.

WiltedSpinach Thu 21-Mar-13 09:20:05

The job is in a different department of the same company. There is a 'positive about disability policy where if you declare a permanent disability and fulfill the essential criteria, you will at least get an interview. You're right that they may well be cautious as to whether to appoint me though.

IFeelDepressed. Me too. If I work it out, I'll let you know.

I have no idea whether its the right thing or not. Truly.

cantspel Thu 21-Mar-13 09:37:05

what benefits do you think you would be able to claim as the state wont pay your mortgage for you nor will it give you a handout to pay your insurance.

If you are looking at working tax credits then they wont top up to the tune of £20k and then if do change jobs and they cut your hours you could well lose them altogether

WileyRoadRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 09:43:25

I can't imagine that you would get much help from the state? In addition as others said the job may be less stressful but your financial situation could become very stressful.

Could you hang on until your DH finds a job and then look for something else?

Bramshott Thu 21-Mar-13 09:52:39

Hmm - I'd be tempted to go for it, if your DH is actively looking for work and you'll be able to cover your outgoings once he has a new job. Presumably if this new job had come up while he was working, you'd have gone for it?

Sausagedog27 Thu 21-Mar-13 09:55:50

You might not get sick pay in your new job- I was on 6months probation and wasn't allowed to claim sick pay during that time. Also, if you do get restructured you might get a considerable sum in redundancy which could help.

Timetoask Thu 21-Mar-13 09:58:31

OP your mental health is very important, so I think you should work on moving on from your current job, or wait for DH to find a job. However, I wouldn't go the job which pays you half of what you earn now.

You have no idea how horribly stressful it is to have financial difficulties. If you cannot afford your outgoings, you will have a different kind of stress.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 21-Mar-13 11:03:59

Oh this is tough.

Would it help to actually work through the figures?

You wouldn't get help with your mortgage, I don't think. You may be entitled to help with interest, but I believe if you've left a job voluntarily you can be penalised up to 26 weeks. So you'd need to be able to cover mortgage payments.

Insurances would probably be cancelled because there is no benefit that covers those either, really.

You might get a top of working tax credits if your joint income is low enough. Does your DP make any money at all, or get any benefits?

State support is limited if you have an asset such as a house or it may be that you have to sell up to downgrade. Is that an option?

There has to be a solution here, somewhere.

venusandmars Thu 21-Mar-13 11:16:52

There are 2 parts to your dilemma - one is the practical issues of how you would cope financially: as other posters have said, you need to work our carefully how much benefit and support you would be able to claim, and also consider how you would manage if there are changes to the current system. You might be disappointed to find out how little you would be entitled to, and you might both be under pressure in the future to take on more stressful jobs to reduce your benefits. (not saying this is right, just saying what the situation is).

The other issue is your statement that after both of us paying substantial amounts into the system over 20-25 years, then falling back on that system to see us through this is not a bad idea. The welfare system is not a private pot of money that you have saved up and can use. Over the years your taxes and national insurance and council tax payments will have provided health care, policing, roads, public transport, education, defense, grants for industry, etc, etc, and I am certain that you must have benefited directly or indirectly from some of those. And many of which I expect you will benefit from in the future (particularly in old age).

Of course if you are ill and unable to work in your current job then the welfare system should support you, but it may not be able to support your current lifestyle, and it may not be able to support you in the long term. My SIL was employed as a GP, and when she had long-term mh issues and couldn't work in that job she got some support initially. But eventually she and her dh had to downsize substantially, moving to a smaller flat, in a much cheaper area with both of them working part-time in lower paid jobs. It wasn't what they planned or expected, but it was what they could afford.

WiltedSpinach Thu 21-Mar-13 16:34:39

To address a few points - I do know what taxes are used for and that its not a private pot of money. That explaination was a tad patronising. I think what my DH was - clumsily - trying to say is that I shouldn't feel bad about falling back onto the system when I need help after being ill.

I also don't expect the state to fund my current lifestyle. I am not foolish enough to think that state benefits would supplement my new salary to the same level as I earn now, but it would, hopefully, provide enough for us to meet our outgoings until DH finds a job or my health becomes stable enough for me to work at my current level again. If neither happens soon, then we can look at downsizing and the rest, but with the current housing market, its doubtful we could keep going until it was sold without some help.

DH is getting job-seekers allowance at the moment. His employer went bust, so we are still waiting on getting any kind of redundancy payout.

I've arranged to see a benefits advisor to go through all of the figures and see what's what. I won't make any decision until I know whether its financially possible. I may not even get the job anyway, but at least this way I'll know where I stand.

venusandmars Thu 21-Mar-13 17:05:39

Sorry - didn't mean to be patronising blush And yes, going through all the figures is a good step to take. Being in control of your choices always feels better. Good luck.

WiltedSpinach Thu 21-Mar-13 18:27:15

No worries smile

cumfy Thu 21-Mar-13 22:41:40

Your health is everything.

Would you definitely enjoy the new role ?
Or would your troubles continue ?

Do what feels right.

totallystumped Thu 21-Mar-13 23:45:26

Have you visited the "Entitledto" website? This may give you a ROUGH idea of what sort of help you might/might not get. I know you are going to see an advisor but it could help you assess the situation in the mean time.

WiltedSpinach Fri 22-Mar-13 09:55:47

Thanks totally I've just had a look and at first glance it seems that it would give us enough extra to meet our outgoings. I'll see how it goes when I have my meeting next week.

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