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What do you prioritise in your career? Money, enjoyment, work/life balance...?

(54 Posts)
ladybirdleaf Thu 16-May-19 07:34:44

I have been thinking a lot about this recently. I've ended up in an office job which pays relatively well for what it is (but hardly megabucks). The work life balance is ok but part time would suit be better. It's not that interesting or enjoyable but it is ok.

It all feels like a bit of a compromise. So with 30+ years left until I retire I feel like I should make a change. But how do I work out what is actually important to me? Should I be going for more money? More job satisfaction in a career that actually interests me? Better hours now my DD is starting school? It all feels like a trade off. What do you/would you prioritise? How do I work out what I should do?

ssd Thu 16-May-19 07:39:58

Go with your gut.
I prioritised my kids and always worked round them rather than use childcare. I've spent their childhoods with them and I don't regret it. My job is a min wage job. It would have been nice to be a high flyer or bigger earner but being at home or the school gates came first for me.
Now they have grown up I'm glad I made that choice, the time can never be brought back.

PolarBearBubbles Thu 16-May-19 07:44:05

From 21-28 (ie. pre kids) I prioritised:

1. Money
2. Money
3. Money
4. Work/life balance & enjoyment

Now I've switched and with young DC it's

1. Work/life balance
2. Money
3. Enjoyment

It would take an enormous salary jump for me to not have a good level of flexibility in my role now so that I can have good levels of family time. But money is still a strong second for me as I see that so key to family things that we prioritise such as holidays, the house we want etc.

PolarBearBubbles Thu 16-May-19 07:47:25

As long as it works for you, it doesn't matter what anyone else's priority list is though.

Personally, I wouldn't take a low paid job even if the flexibility was incredible and I loved it, however much some people wouldn't agree with that or think I'm shallow. I also could never work less than 4 full days a week, for my sanity. I'm not made to be a SAHP but if that suits you much more, your priorities in a job/career would rightly be very different to mine.

Happyspud Thu 16-May-19 07:53:25

I wouldn’t work for a low wage. But now with many small kids I would make sure my bourse were tight 9-5 and no more. It could be busy and stressful in that 9-5 but I would wholeheartedly take my holidays too. Might do a 4 day week. But yes, family comes first....but not at the expense of my ability to live well and financially independently. I’d job hop till I found what worked for me.

WhoKnewBeefStew Thu 16-May-19 07:56:01

Work life balance - however I’m already on a good wage and have been for a number of years. It’s enough for me to pay a decent mortgage, bills, Feed everyone and have a few quid left over for luxuries. I’m not sure life balance, would be as important, if I didnt already earn a good wage. Money would be more important if I couldn’t feed my family or was about to lose my house

YahBasic Thu 16-May-19 07:56:15

Job satisfaction for me - I had to leave a job that I loved due to relocation and that took me a while to get over.

I’ve not quite found the same again, although I’m in a role that pays better & has good flexibility, so it balances out.

Biancadelrioisback Thu 16-May-19 08:02:59

I don't care what I do. In a previous career I worked round the clock shifts doing something I loved but that paid pittance. When I had DS, I switched to something with set office hours, but worse pay and was supposed to have a better w/l balance (it didn't). Now I do something which I sort of enjoy (although don't love), pays better (but not mega bucks) and has a great w/l balance. I can work from home, work from anywhere really, can come in late, start early, leave early, work late, whatever I want really!

AlexaShutUp Thu 16-May-19 08:03:48

Work life balance, but I already earn more than enough to cover our family's essential costs (main breadwinner) and have enough left over for luxuries. I do like my job, but have been there for a long time and feel ready for a change now. Would definitely look for something else if it weren't for the fact that I really value my current flexibility and lack of commute.

ladybirdleaf Thu 16-May-19 12:15:36

Interesting. Thanks everyone. All really useful. It is difficult since I seem to change my mind daily about what I actually want.

Chocolateisoverrated Thu 16-May-19 12:16:45

Work/life balance 1000%. Nobody ever says on their deathbed ‘oh I wish I’d worked more’ but they do say ‘I wish I’d spent more time enjoying my life’

Hollowvictory Thu 16-May-19 12:17:45

1. Flexibility for kids

Memphisblue Thu 16-May-19 12:20:56

I agree with ssd and have done the same. No regrets.

soulrunner Thu 16-May-19 12:32:19

Nobody ever says on their deathbed ‘oh I wish I’d worked more’ but they do say ‘I wish I’d spent more time enjoying my life’

1. The two aren’t mutually incompatible.

2. A lot of people probably do lie on their death beds and feel proud of what they achieved professionally.

TheresWaldo Thu 16-May-19 12:36:45

Definitely work/life balance over money. I am on a management grade but work for a really good company and can work flexibly/from home a few days a week. I value this much more than the extra cash at the moment - I have a teenager. I might have a last push when she's off to Uni / grown up etc. I do enjoy my work also.

soulrunner Thu 16-May-19 12:43:33

For me it’s definitely balance. I have a good degree of autonomy on hours and work an 11 month year but at the same time it’s reasonably interesting and pay is pretty good. I wouldn’t want to compromise heavily in any of those areas tbh.

ladybirdleaf Thu 16-May-19 16:21:27

I think my heart says balance is most important, but my head worries that I am not fulfilling my potential and therefore not doing myself justice and also not pushing myself hard enough to earn money for my daughter which would buy her more opportunities in life...

Fatted Thu 16-May-19 16:33:34

I recently moved jobs last year. On paper I earn more now because I've gone from part time to full time, but my take home pay is less factoring in child care costs.

But it is more enjoyable work and a much less stressful environment. I work closer to home, so less traveling. I am actually home in the evenings and weekends now so can actually spend some time with my family as a family.

It's been a juggling act since having kids. Before having kids, I had a job I loved, working shifts and good pay. The role changed so I wasn't doing the same work and it was just depressing. But I stayed for the money while TTC, having DS1 and then DS2. The job went completely while I was pregnant with DS2 and I purposely volunteered to go into the part time position because it meant I could work around DH's hours and not pay £1k a month for child care. It wasn't a job I would have considered under different circumstances and I always had the plan to leave when DS2 started school. Once my current job came up, although it was earlier than planned and meant paying child care for a year, I jumped at the chance.

Now, the job would have to be amazing money for me to consider moving. It would also risk losing a manager who is fantastic and flexible about me working around my child care needs.

LittleMissEngineer Thu 16-May-19 17:26:05

Work life balance, with enjoyment JUST behind. Fortunately I have both (most of the time) and money isn’t bad (for a 3.5 day week).

EleanorLavish Thu 16-May-19 17:31:14

I definitely don't want any type of managemnet/senior role. I'm an NHS nurse, and I like nursing, not managing, not even being a sister.
I could have had a Sister post years ago but you had to go full time and I did part time for family reasons. Then I had kids and took time out to raise family.
Now back but work in a dept that is 8-6 Mon-Fri, still part time.
For me the money is last, enjoyment is top and work life balance in the middle.
Kids value time over things IMO.
I love it!

ladybirdleaf Thu 16-May-19 22:48:26

Hmmmm @fatted we are TTC at the moment so your comment about staying for the money resonates. It's hard though because it's not going that smoothly (recurrent miscarriage) and I don't want to feel I am putting my life on hold in the meantime...

Fatted Fri 17-May-19 05:53:52

@ladybirdleaf flowers sorry for your losses.

it took us nice months TTC with DS1 so get it. The extra salary is helpful while on mat leave. Plus I've worked in my organisation for a long time and was eligible for a good maternity pay package. If I'd moved to another company, I would only be on SMP. But if you can continue to save while everything else is going on, then it does make it easier to change jobs and not rely on mat pay. Don't be afraid of jumping at the right opportunity when you see it. I'd always planned to look for a new job when DS2 was 4, but the right position came up when he was 3, so I went for it and it's working out so far.

Nacreous Fri 17-May-19 06:06:29

I think for me enjoying my job (or rather, feeling fulfilled, like I am using my brain, my skillset and doing some good) is almost part of the work life balance part. I would rather do some overtime, and be doing something i believed had a point than do just 9-5 and do something dull. But that has to be balanced with work life balance - my old job was complex and interesting but this was totally overridden by the fact that 60+ hour weeks were the norm, and conflict was more normal than collaboration.

I earn good money, but that's ultimately secondary. I am not prepared to sacrifice either enjoyment or balance for money. But I'm also lucky that I work in a profession where making those decisions doesn't limit you to very low wages (it caps the top end but not in a meaning way relative to national averages).

terriblyoriginalusername Fri 17-May-19 06:18:09

Well assuming enough money for food/a roof over our heads;

1. Work/life balance
2. Job satisfaction
3. Money

I work freelance, several different roles/pay levels. This works for me as I can increase or decrease my hours (with enough notice!) pretty much as suits me. I could look for a full time salaried job but I love the flexibility and having lots of time with my children while they are small.
Re job satisfaction, I also take on some work where I am paid less or even voluntary, because I find the work meaningful and important. BUT as said above that's assuming enough money for the basics - I don't think anyone would prioritise job satisfaction over feeding their family!!

Everyone is different and you have to figure out what works for you.

Leobynature Fri 17-May-19 06:21:25

This is an interesting post.

I have a 15 month old Dd and recently took a management position which I start soon. This is full time job. I have been back at work FT since DD was 9 months old. I am the main breadwinner but her dad works 2-10 so she is only in childcare PT
Anyway I do feel guilty that I don’t get to spend enough time with her, she is growing so fast. Occasionally I think about going PT but I don’t think I could as
1. I earn good money (not mega loads) and like the lifestyle. I grew up worrying whether parents had enough money and I don’t want my family to worry
2. I am awful as a SAHP and became a little depressed with feeling like I wasn’t being productive or challenged
3. I can work from home and have good annual leave so I get to spoil my girl holiday and weekends
4. She loves going to the childminder and asks to go on Saturdays confused
5 she is pretty advanced beyond her years according to the health visitor and I believe it’s because she is in a learning environment.

Anyway, for me it’s Money then work life balance. Perhaps I would feel differently if dd was in full time childcare. Also i feel my career had taken a knock from being on maternity for 10 months, I felt I was being prized out so to speak. I went to uni and did a lot of post training to get where I am, so I do not want to give it up. My concern would be for my career if I ‘took a back seat’ for a few years.

I often wonder, can women really have it all ????

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