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Changing career/ going back to uni and taking a HUGE pay cut - anyone done it?

(22 Posts)
Heatherbell1978 Sat 02-Jan-16 20:42:50

Just looking for a bit of chat/ advice from anyone who has left a well paid job to retrain or do something less well paid......I work in banking. Have done for 14 years. I don't hate it, I work with nice people and I feel valued as an employee. I'm also paid well.

It's not me though. Never has been and I always wish I'd done nursing. I'm 38 now with one DS and we're talking about trying for DC2 this year. I really want a career change but would involve 4 years at uni then taking a pay cut of more than half my current salary.

DH takes home about the same as me so we're comfortable but have large mortgage, childcare costs etc etc......on paper we'd maybe manage with one child but I couldn't see how childcare with 2 would work if I'm at uni.....

Anyone done anything similar?!

canadarose Sat 02-Jan-16 23:41:18

I'm went back to uni to do BA Film Production and I'm now in the final year. We only have one dc - school age, so childcare costs aren't huge. I didn't qualify for any student finance support as it was a second degree but I think nursing might be exempt, have you checked what funding is available? If you're already a graduate then you can do a two year course I think. Would you be able to continue working part-time?

My previous salary wasn't huge but it was going from something to nothing so it was a significant drop in income. But DH earns 3x my old salary and we had savings behind us which helped.

We don't have plans for another dc and that's made a difference, I don't think we could have done it with a baby. There is a nursery at my uni which took babies but nursing courses have long hours and not sure if it would fit in with placements etc, plus there was a huge waiting list.

carrielou2007 Sun 03-Jan-16 13:09:18

I did but it was before I had my 3 dc, I was mid twenties, employer sort of sponsored me so I would work for them in holidays and had a salary of I think it was £14k during that time. Basic salary once qualified was £27 plus bonuses which were mostly double my basic.

Work do it differently now, had a graduate spend time with me and they were normal uni student then applied for a job. I was very lucky really, I can work part time now whilst my dc are little.

Several friends have tried to do it now (one nursing, one midwifery) with young dc both are still trying. One successful friend same age as me 42 now a nurse, but her dc mid teans when she started.

BanningTheWordNaice Sun 03-Jan-16 13:12:31

carrielou2007 I'd love to know what you do?

DeoGratias Sun 03-Jan-16 13:16:42

Coud you now adapt your banking? I do City type law and I now run my own practice based at home. So I increased my income many times, did the work I love but without the pointless meetings and colleagues and work in the house. What roughly do you do in banking? Some women have set up their own funds for example. Some have set up specialist boutique advisory practices. Why go for a lower paid job when you could double your income working in a way you prefer?

Heatherbell1978 Mon 04-Jan-16 12:55:23

I have looked into funding; I'm in Scotland so no tuition fees for nursing and I'd get a bursary which is around £500 a month. I'd perhaps be able to work in uni holidays too. I do have a degree already but it's probably not relevant enough to do the 2 year shortened course, besides I'd want to get the degree rather than diploma which is 4 years.

There are other things I 'could' do which get me out of banking and wouldn't be such a huge life change but I've just had this nursing this niggling me since I was 17; dad talked me out of doing it then and there's always been something stopping me since. I fear it's getting too late but I'm now at a point of my life where it would be very hard to make the change....oh to be 10 years younger...confused

DeoGratias Mon 04-Jan-16 15:38:47

Why not become a leading surgeon rather than a nurse though? Would be more fun.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 04-Jan-16 23:37:23

Why not become a leading surgeon rather than a nurse though? Would be more fun.

Completely different jobs involving completely different skills, personality, strengths and likes.

You may as well say "why not become a concert pianist - would be more fun."

grannycake Tue 05-Jan-16 09:06:29

I went to university at the age of 39 followed by a PGCE. I was earning an OK wage at the time but I didn't love what I did (insurance). I also had 3 DC and my husband was a SAHD. I worked part time throughout the four years as a lab asst 5 evenings a week and all of the holidays. It was tough and we did incur some debt but I know earn far more than I would have been able to before and I absolutely love my job. I work in further education. My DH then went back to college to retrain and after a lean couple of years is now also earning a decent wage. So for us it was worth it but we did have some very lean times

19lottie82 Tue 05-Jan-16 12:49:59

Well I was on a 25k admin job for the last 6 years as had always worked in admin prior to that. I got made redundant in the Summer, Next week I'm returning to college to study plastering!

DeoGratias Wed 06-Jan-16 07:09:08

She's a banker presumably on £100k+ so a move to a surgeon is more logical than to a nurse and she probably has the stellar A level grades you need for both too.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 06-Jan-16 13:09:20

You know what, life is too short to be doing something that you don't enjoy if you can find a way of making it work.

I had only been doing my "career" for 4 years when I went back for a 1 year full time course. I didn't have children at the time and it was only 1 year so I appreciate it was a completely different situation. I had saved the money for my fees and rent (about £15k) and got a part time job in the evenings for some additional income.

I'd look into the finances - how many hours are involved in the course? Does the university have any subsidised child care? If not, can you find a childminder / nursery that would make it feasible? Obviously if you have another DC it renders the next point useless, but remember that your DC1 will be at school before you finish the course. Can you get any tax credits / childcare credits? The bursary of £500 would be great - do you get discounts for council tax (am sure we did as students), travel etc? Can you get a part time job / uni holiday job (childminding etc?) to get extra income whilst you're training.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Heatherbell1978 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:51:11

DeoGratias 'she's a banker presumably on £100k+' hahahaha,...really????

I work in a managerial position in a bank and earn £45k pa but I work 4 days so more like £38k pro-rats. I haven't had a bonus since the 2008 crash.

Any no I don't fancy becoming a surgeon, I don't have the qualifications....and the rest!!

northernlass81 Sat 09-Jan-16 21:55:31

I had a career change from being a GP to a teacher. I went back to uni to do a PGCE in my mid 30s. This was a massive cut in wage but a massive boost in job satisfaction and happiness and I don't regret my decision one bit! My situation is different to yours in that my original career made me miserable and I was desperate to leave. I was in a fortunate position to be able to afford a year back at uni. I would always encourage anyone to go with their dreams if they are in anyway possible. I know the real world and financial commitments often get in the way but if you feel there is any pragmatic way of retraining, I'd say go for it (as long you have thoroughly researched the reality of nursing!) Good luck!

lougle Sat 09-Jan-16 22:17:39

Nursing is great. It really is. I can even say it now after 13.5 hours at work today. Also, 'nursing' really isn't one job - the 'nursing' I do (ICU) has a completely different skill set to the 'nursing' done in A&E or the 'nursing' on a ward, or an outpatient department, etc.

Be prepared for losing control of your life though: I'm a part-time nurse (23 hours pw) and this weekend I'll see my children for a total of 20 minutes, if that, because I've worked 07.15-20.45 today and I'm doing the same tomorrow. I leave the house at 06.30 and get in at 21.30.

Pollyputhtekettleon Sat 09-Jan-16 22:23:28

A banker and a bank manager are two totally different things. If she's a banker, I'd also expect her to be on big money. A bank manager, not so much.

My DH did a massive jump 4yrs ago. Went from 6 figures to nothing for 3 yrs to train for a job with a starting salary of about £10k/yr and huge failure rate. He spent years preparing (financially) to do that and I fully support his decision both then and now. A few reasons why....he prepared for it. He is a harder worker and more motivated person than I've ever met. I would be happy to cut budgets and/or work more if it would make him happy.

The only advice I will give you (other than to make sure your ass financially is covered for the time you can't earn and also that you can manage on the starting salary) is that it is hugely stressful and psychologically demoralising to go from being an experienced worker to a totally green one. You will feel stupid and new and unsure of yourself for the first time in probably years so be ready for that feeling. This will be compounded by the fact that you look older so other people (colleagues, patients etc.) won't cut you the slack a new grad in their first job gets.

Definitely do it if it's what you want. Life us only once. I think it's a fantastic idea to sample as many experiences and lifestyles, both professionally and personally, as possible.

tumbletumble Tue 12-Jan-16 18:47:33

I changed career (used to work in finance, now I'm a lecturer) and took a massive pay cut, but I was a SAHM for a few years between the two, so I didn't really notice the change in pay as it was still a step up from zero!

I'm really happy in the new role and don't regret it at all.

greeningthedesert Tue 12-Jan-16 23:31:45

In 10 years' time, if you do not make this change, will you still be dreaming of nursing?

I have a friend who trained as a dr starting in her mid-30s following a success media career. She absolutely doesn't regret it. Although coming from an arts background she was able to do the fast track graduate course. It might be possible for you to do the graduate nursing course - tis worth asking. Also do you have anyone you can check with regarding career prospects of degree/diploma nurses? Can a talented person progress whatever they have or is there a ceiling?

Can you complete the diploma, work for a while (if time or finances are tight) and then top up? Will the hours suit your family life or how often are nurses expected to do a night shift in your chosen field?

I only began training for my current career at 31. I absolutely do not regret doing it so late, I think life experience and maturity only enhance my caring profession job.

Can one truly regret following ones dreams? Or trying to. Isn't their some expression saying 'we only regret the things we didn't do, not the things we did'. I can see scores of flaws in that, but think the sentiment is still worth conveying.

greeningthedesert Tue 12-Jan-16 23:34:04

Argh typos, grrrr (and there not their)

Blushingm Thu 14-Jan-16 16:30:35

I'm doing this!

I left a good job £17k for 17 hours a week and I'm now a 1st year student nurse

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 16-Jan-16 11:45:18

If you CAN do it, I think you should try. I always wanted to be a primary school teacher since I was small. A couple of older teachers put me off re paperwork etc and I did a different degree at uni (unrelated). I'm now 42 and in a low paid part time job related to my degree (but not actually needing the degree) which we depend on for helping to pay the mortgage and which also fits in well with family life. There is no hope of a well paid job in my sector without moving to a different location and I'm not prepared to uproot us all for that. DH works irregular hours so I am the main child carer, he is the main earner. It works for us as a family.

BUT I will never know if I would have made a good teacher. I've looked into retraining and I don't qualify for any funding because I already have a degree. Also, An intensive PGCE/School Direct would not work for us as a family (I know some young graduates who are finding it tough and they don't have families and mortgages to think about).

What I should have done is just done a BEd all those years ago. It would have been the far easier option. I know teaching is massively hard and if I had worked a number of years as a teacher before having kids I could have then chosen part time or supply now to fit in with family commitments. I know people find a way to do these things but for me and my situation I just don't think the huge amount of extra stress and financial shit now would be worth it. Potentially I could find teaching too stressful anyway because I know a lot are leaving the profession.

It is too much of a gamble. I don't think the stress would be worth it. I don't have a stressful life at the movement and we're OK for money, we work as a family. It's just the not knowing how a different career choice would have panned out. For all I know I could have done teaching at 21, found it a nightmare and ended up working in the job I currently have anyway and been much happier. I think it's common at this age to reassess your life and where it's going and look back and think if you should have made different choices and it's very unsettling because you know time is running out to try and switch. And I do know that the grass isn't always greener.

In your case, I would go for it. Sounds like you could manage financially. But perhaps only if I knew I could go back into the banking sector if i decided after a few years that nursing wasn't actually for me after all/shifts weren't compatible with family life/stress not worth it.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 16-Jan-16 11:47:12

I think I would wait a year or two though and have DC 2 first. Having 2 is massively different from having just the one to consider. Both with stress and money!

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