Anyone 'downgraded' from a high paid high stress job to have / after having kids?

(16 Posts)
RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 26-Nov-12 01:16:32

toddlers just seem to NEED you so much more

I agree actually. I'm back at work 3 days a week, and DD is only 3 mo BUT I think she misses me less than DS who is 2.2. DD is basically happy so long as she is fed, dry, gets her naps and has her toys in grasp. DS actually notices who he's with, although he loves his nanny who has been with us since he was born. Interestingly, although the prevailing view on MN is that once they're in school, it's easier, speaking to some of my friends with older children, they think that actually, they need you more as they get older because the issues they're dealing with get more complex (schoolwork, friendships etc). Pre-schoolers needs are relatively simple (hungry, tired, fell over etc) so who deals with it is less important. Especially for DS, who is a little worry-weasel, I can see the benefits of him having me there after school to unburden to grin

That's very interesting about the HMRC scheme. I live abroad at the moment, but maybe it's something I could look into on my return, although I'll be 40+ by then.

emsyj Sun 25-Nov-12 22:40:52

Have you thought about joining as an accountant? HMRC do employ accountants, there's one on my floor.

If you wanted to do the Tax Professional Development Programme (which is what I'm on), be quick, the closing date for next year's intake is next Friday for the online application - it's quite quick to do though.

The way the recruitment process works, they wouldn't know if you were a new graduate or not really - you start by doing a very short simple online form, which basically asks for personal details and confirmation that you have or are predicted at least a 2:2 degree, then you do a series of short tests about your working behaviours, maths, logical reasoning etc (think they take about 20 minutes each - they're timed). There is nowhere to say anything about past experience and you don't submit a CV, selection is based on the tests.

Next stage (last year - don't know if this year's process is the same as they seem to change it a lot) is a half day assessment centre, where you do another maths test and an in-tray exercise. However, apparently they do not mark the in-tray exercise until you are called for the final stage full day assessment centre so selection from there seems to be based on the test alone. Final stage is a full day assessment centre with written exercises, group exercises, a mock customer meeting etc. There's no interview.

So that is a long-winded way of saying that your age/past experience might be an advantage when it comes to doing the assessment centre and exercises, but you won't be asked about your past work either on the application or at any interview. My experience is that probably 2/3 of recruits have past careers. There are 7 of us in my office in this year's new intake, only one is a new graduate and 4 of us are over 30 (we've got one former accountant, too). I had expected most to have come direct from university, but new graduates are very much in the minority on the programme and ages are very varied - plenty of over 30's and a good number of over 40's.

Torres10 Sun 25-Nov-12 22:01:55

Ooh Emsyj, I have looked at this scheme for a while now, wondering if it would suit me..currently an overworked accountant, looking for a better balance! Do you know if they mainly take on new graduates or will they look at those with a good few working years under heir belt already!?

emsyj Sun 25-Nov-12 21:15:28

I used to be a lawyer too - magic circle, downgraded to large national when we moved out of London then was unable to negotiate the hours I wanted after DD so I went to a niche small firm. Even at a small firm, I was expected to be there at least 9am til 6pm and with the travel on top and zero flexibility I was leaving the house at 7.45am and returning at 7pm 4 days a week. It wasn't worth it so I quit.

In September I started working at HMRC on the graduate scheme (whilst already pregnant with DC2). It is so much more flexible in a civil service job in terms of hours. One day a week I have to travel to a tutorial which means I leave the house at 6.40am and return at 6.30pm, but the rest of the time I can come and go as I please really - as long as you get your work done, you can arrive at 7am and leave at 3pm if you want. It has made our lives a lot easier.

When I return after mat leave I am going to do 2 days a week for a few months, then go up to 4 days. The work is interesting, the scheme leads to a fairly senior position after 4 years of training/study/exams (which I quite enjoy but I guess it wouldn't be for everybody). There are no chargeable hours, no culture of presenteeism, no stress, people are all very relaxed and it's a pleasant place to work. It pays a lot less than previous jobs I've had, but the salary once you finish the training programme is not bad plus you get a good pension and the flexibility will still be there - part time working is 'the norm' even for senior folk.

WalkingSense Wed 21-Nov-12 22:09:54

I so agree, it is the holy grail. In the end it is about choices. You go for your career (and have to be highly efficient, super-organised, work hard, and just see your children a lot less - just like most dads), or you do a step back (or a lot) and have to re-define success.

Many of us make it work though somehow, and although it isn't easy, I believe it is possible to find a way that works for you. That's why I started my webportal www. mumandcareer .co.uk to inspire professional working mums they can make it work too.

I do, I worked full-time had a great career in business-consulting, then had a baby, followed my husband abroad to the UK, and here I was alone with a baby.

Managed to find a job and battle my way back into a reasonably paid professional career, only to find it wasn't working, and I never saw our son. Now I work from home, started the portal and am making it into a business. It's sometimes hard to come to terms with the loss of my career. But I sooo love the flexiblity of my current life, seeing my son and ...one day I will still make a huge success of what I do now.

I was a corporate lawyer in the City pre children. V busy and stressful (but also exciting and interesting), long hours and lots of travel, both long haul and European. Went back after 6 months, it was OK, not too hard coping with it all when DC1 was small baby and I had a great nanny. After DC2 it was much harder, not re the baby, but toddlers just seem to NEED you so much more (can't really explain that as obviously a small baby needs you too) DC1 had got used to me being there during maternity leave and juggling two with job was v hard. My employer was V accommodating, worked out a part time role with much working from home, but I hated it - I no longer had the exciting interesting work that I'd had before (just the boring, mundane annoying stuff that no-one else wanted to do) and I felt I was doing neither my job nor my children justice. When pg with no.3 I decided enough was enough and quit to become SAHM and we moved to the country. Much to my surprise (I didn't really picture myself as SAHM), I have loved the years not working and being at home with the children.

Youngest now at school 3 days a week and I have just been offered a job in great local law firm 3 days a week. The job sounds just perfect, it was exactly what I wanted, but in reality until I start I have no idea what it is going to be like - very different from what I was used to I expect, but I am hoping that maybe, just maybe I have found what will be the right work / life balance for me..... fingers crossed.

When I quit and moved to the country I gave no thought to how (or if) I would resume my career, but things have a way of working themselves out I think, sometimes it is best to make decisions on what is right for you at the time rather than second guessing what you might need in the future.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 21-Nov-12 13:06:20

Pre-kids was a buy side equity research analyst for a long-only fund. Very long hours, worked at least one day every weekend, lots of travel and evening stuff. Fun, exciting and exhilarating, but stressful, especially when your calls went wrong (so you'd said buy and the share price went down) as you'd have angry fund managers after your blood. Post-kids am at same company but work for their charitable foundation 2-3 days a week. Have almost 100% flexibility in how I do those hours (so can do 2 long days, 3 short days or 5 half days) and drive my own workload. Is interesting and reasonably well paid (pro-rata I make almost the same basic as before, but I dont get a bonus or any benefits). Still, it's a nice compromise, as my children are very young still, and I don't lie awake at night stressing about coking coal prices.

[waits for Xenia to come on thread and tell me I've sold out grin]

FlopsyMopsyCottontail Wed 21-Nov-12 12:54:27

Its the holy grail!

I think the best you will do is a professional or corporate job that let you work part time, ideally school hours <watches flying pig out of window>.

Having said that, I have just negotiated a very nice set up where I will do my professional job part time 2 and a half days. So I can do drop off 2 days a week, pick up 3 days a week. We (will) have a nanny 2 full days a week and breakfast club the other morning. For this I will earn 70% of a good FT salary. But this is sheer luck/timing and chance as I am in a very niche sub-specialty area and could dictate my terms. And I still expect to be knackered and stressed with a relatively small financial gain.

I could only think of one highly paid job where I could work from home whilst the kids were at school/asleep. But I no longer have the boobs for it wink (only joking).

Cherryontop99 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:05:41

Any ideas of alternative but well paid jobs that fit in around kids?! Do they even exist?!

ijustwant8hours Tue 20-Nov-12 14:57:13

I quit in the summer. I had a high stress high paid job, now I am SAHM. My kids are 4 and 6 so it was quite a shock as there was the impression that I had done the hard bit! Now I just need to work out what to do next,....

outtolunchagain Tue 20-Nov-12 13:40:18

I was a senior manager with large accountancy firm . Now work roughly 21 hours a week for a large local charity only 10 mins from where we live still intellectually stimulating and does have its stressful times but generally life is lot calmer.

Dh has a very stressful long hours job and the extra flexibility that I have on my role means family life is a lot more manageable

Oodthunkit Tue 20-Nov-12 12:40:17

Dh did. Now does a min wage job that he can come home from &firget about. Life is sooooo much better!

div22c Tue 20-Nov-12 12:32:37

Yes, was an investment banker in the City till DD was born. Went back to work when she was 6 months old, hung around for a few months then opted for voluntary redundancy. Joined another bank a few months later at a more junior level where I worked 8 hours exactly and no more. Did that for another 2 years, until I realised that after adding travel time, I was still away from home for about 10-11 hours. Enjoyed a year as sahm with DD at nursery half days. Now that she is in school, I am getting a bit bored. There really is no perect solution to my conundrum - sahm with kids (great family time but boredom too) vs career woman and mother both (stretched to the limit always!)

WorkInProgress Tue 20-Nov-12 12:17:53

Yes but not deliberately. We relocated and I stopped work as I couldn't practice. I do work now doing something different, but I earn a lot less, but a lot less stress too and school hours only.

Cherryontop99 Tue 20-Nov-12 12:12:40

Anyone??

Cherryontop99 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:41:14

What did you do then and what's your new job?

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