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To just want to get a bloody job!! I think ive screwed up being a SAHM for too long.

(26 Posts)
SunshineisSorry Fri 27-May-11 11:46:14

I just want a sodding job - i just NEED a sodding job. Have i really screwed up by being a SAHM for five years?

I got pregnant at the end of my PhD, for one reason and another i was a SAHM until DD started school. She is in year one now and ive been seriously looking for a job for over a year now. Whilst she was in reception i felt i needed to help her settle. We really REALLY need the money.

I apply for jobs every day, mostly shitty admin jobs that pay pants money - not that i mind the shitty admin job, or the pants money but it puts a knot in my stomach because i have no one to help with childcare in the holidays and after school so will probably pay out more in childcare than i earn at this rate. I had a job as a cover supervisor in a really tough school, coudlnt handle it and only stayed 6 weeks, it was six weeks of hell but i berate myself all the time for not sticking it out. I niavely thought something else would come along.

Im an intelligent, capable woman but i don't seem to be able to get this across to people.

I am currently volunteering in my old university lab, but there is categorically no chance of this converting into paid work as the department is a hairs breath from closing down, but im going crazy at home all day. This is a positive step, isn't it? or am i wasting my time? time and money? Bus fair, food while im there (i take sarnies, but still) - i can't claim expenses, it has been made clear to me there is no money.

I live in the south east of england so am now competing with thousands of science redunantees (is that even a word) from pfizer - in fact, lost out on a GTP position to a pfizer employee :-(

My elder daughter recently went for a minimum wage, job at a really shabby play centre, just in the cafe, there were 103 applicants ffs!!

I hate myself for not contributing financially, i feel guilty for doing the volunteer stuff, my DP struggling with his business (works all the hours god sends just to keep our heads above water and we arent really managing that) and i go and "play scientist" He tells me its ok, but i know he thinks i should just get a cleaning job - which i would, i really would but how could i ever make that work with childcare in the holidays. Also, and this is really vain, but i worked bloody hard to get my PhD, i left school with no qualifications and slogged at university and college for nigh on ten years whilst raising my eldest DD. I had my parents to help with her.

Sorry this is a long rambling whinge but im running out of ideas, and hope sad

SunshineisSorry Fri 27-May-11 11:46:36

omg that was long, sorry

tryingtoleave Fri 27-May-11 11:49:50

Did you get your phd? Could you tutor (or demonstrate, or whatever science people do)? That would bring in some money and would leave your holidays free. Why not email all the universities around?

KvetaBarry Fri 27-May-11 11:51:08

does your old uni do any DBL courses? I know mine had some tutor positions available if you knew who to ask (it's something I'm considering when my grant doesn't get funded next year <pessimist>).

do you have any other local unis where you could look for a post doc/tech position? I know it's easier said than done, but if you're motivated enough to volunteer and can get a good referene, then what's the harm in trying?

I do get where you're coming from on the job that is unrelated to your PhD, I really do, but I did temping work and bar work for a year after the PhD, and the money made it almost worthwhile. I was placed in a lot of NHS temp positions because of my science background (not sure quite why molecular biology experience helps a receptionist, but there you go!).

fuzzysnout Fri 27-May-11 11:56:35

If you really want to do a GTP you probably need to think about what you can offer schools. Clearly you have good subject knowledge if your phd is relevant, but compared to the Pfizer people maybe lessup to date science experience. Instead, you could think about getting some more recent school experience (in a slightly better school). I wonder if ATM your downside is that because you are back at the uni your quals & experience give an impression that you don't yet have skills in managing children. A voluntary placement at a school might then be a better bet.
The problem with the lower paid jobs is your qualifications & skills indicate to employers that you would be unlikely to want to stay in the role too long if you got the job.
Good luck with your search. It is very hard but updating your skills in a relevant area will always stand you in good stead.

WeirdAcronymNotKnown Fri 27-May-11 11:56:47

Keep going with the volunteer work. Lots of different things.

I have just been offered my first job since SAHMness (and never had any decent job before this, I was 20 when I had DD) - I am convinced getting involved in the community - as well as increasing my confidence and sense of fulfilment - has made me more attractive to employers.

I work in a charity shop, I'm a BFing peer supporter, and I do volunteering for my children and family centre, including being on the committee. These all involve different skills - team work, stock management, using tills, communication and empathy etc. Each only involve a few hours a week but they made a big difference.

SunshineisSorry Fri 27-May-11 11:58:56

tryingtoleave, yes i did get my PhD smile yay me! Its a good idea but frustratingly, my local uni will only use current phd students for "demonstrating". Im too rusty for tutoring. So frustrating, just applied for a job as biology lecturer at local college but of coures, ive been out of the game too long so they not interested. Thats the thing, i'm out of the loop for science but other employers simply assume im some sort of geek who would leave their position the minute a juicy science job accepted me - which of course, is true blush

Temping agencies - i might give that a go though

Kveta - only this uni locally and i would be in a long line of unemployed post-docs waiting to jump on the first post that gets a grant and they are more experienced than i am. Its pretty grim.

SunshineisSorry Fri 27-May-11 12:02:09

fuzzy, thats my dillemma, its bad enough having five years gap on a CV that due to SAHMdom but how would i explain the years i was doing my PhD if i leave that off? I honestly think im never going to get a fecking job.

Im registered with Redcross to do some voluntary work with them, still going through their training courses atm - again, frustrating because whilst this is brilliant for building up my CV, i need the money now sad

KvetaBarry Fri 27-May-11 12:05:49

this may be of interest



could you write your own grant proposals, do you think? Wellcome Trust do career break grants, but you have to have been out of the field for more than 2 years. No idea how competitive they are, I'd imagine hugely so, but worth a thought?

teraspawn Fri 27-May-11 12:08:30

I think there are organisations that fund re-training and childcare for women who are trying to get back into science after a career break. You could try doing some Googling to see if you could apply for that.

TotemPole Fri 27-May-11 12:08:50

Have you considered teacher training?

tryingtoleave Fri 27-May-11 12:10:18

Yay for you, indeed! Oh dear, that is frustrating though.

olderandwider Fri 27-May-11 12:10:31

First, stop feeling guilty. You have been raising you family and studying hard, and you should be congratulated for it.

At the risk of teaching grannies to suck eggs have you tried everywhere/everything you can think of for a job?

Job Centre; websites for companies you might be interesting in working for; polished up your cv and interview skills; talked to friends, friends of friends who may know of an opening/opportunity. People can be very generous with their time and offer to give you advice/look at your CV/arrange a mock interview etc. Could you tutor children? £20 an hour plus seems to be the going rate in London/SE. If the children came to your house, then you don't have childcare problems.

You write fluently and well - is freelance science journalism at all appealing? No idea what your specialty is but if it is at all mainstream then many consumer magazines pay well for articles that touch on topics that interest their readers. It's a skill writing popular science stuff, but it might be worth looking into. You may have to offer pieces for very little money to start with, but you can build up your portfolio that way. Pitch an idea to a local radio station for a 5 minute item on your area of work. Send in a draft script and see what they say (check out the How to write for Radio tips on line).

Sorry, I know this won't put money in your pocket straight away, but longer term, it could be a career you can do comfortably from home, even with another job.

Final thought. There are some very weird and wacky technical publications out there - check out the internet for magazines aimed at specific areas. I began my career as a journalist (since retrained but did it for 20 years) for an obscure chemicals publication. Good luck!

mrsbaldwin Fri 27-May-11 12:19:11

If you live in quite an affluent area what about setting up a science playscheme for kids (or something). I know that isn't a proper academic job etc but it would be using two important skills (eg kids and science).

You could try once a week after school.

Or a week-long thing in the holidays.

Would this be a viable business - I've no idea. But there are plenty of people out there earning a living running ballet classes, art classes and the rest of it.

Sunshine's Whizz Bang Science Club for 7-11.

You could augment this with some private tutoring whilst you consider the options.

If it works out you can buy me a pint grin

TotemPole Fri 27-May-11 12:23:12

Sunshine, is there anything on here that you could do:

people per hour

brandnewme Fri 27-May-11 12:26:54

Are you seriously after 'any' job to get cash.....or a sciency related position, and a career?

brandnewme Fri 27-May-11 12:27:50

mrsbaldwin idea sounds fantastic!

ExpatAgain Fri 27-May-11 12:32:24

how about exam marking? Personal tutoring for A-levels etc etc?

BsshBossh Fri 27-May-11 12:32:51

MrsBaldwin what a fantastic idea - I'd be itching to get my DD into something like that (and would pay good money to do so)!

brandnewme Fri 27-May-11 12:35:05

Sorry for the short post...I just wondered if it was simply for cash and to fit around your childcare, had you considered any kind of 'party plan' direct selling - you can fit around school hours or do in the evenings and you can earn around 25% commission depending on the company. A few good parties a month could get you a couple of hundred quid???

Gives you experience for your CV too....Just a thought

(and yes I do this for some fun and extra pocket money - but am not pushing you to join which is why I've not said who i do it for smile - this is a genuine suggestion to make some quick easy money, not me touting for recruits)

WhatsWrongWithYou Fri 27-May-11 12:40:37

Turn2us have a list of charities which supply grants for umpteen different people and situations. There might be something for a 'scientific female returner,' or similar.

You input your details and they do a search - you never know, something might come up.

Dozer Fri 27-May-11 12:42:30

Think you are being unrealistic looking for a job that uses your qualifications and will need to do something else for a bit.

Your earnings will probably only cover the childcare, but in the longer-term you could make progress and earn more.

There are lots of options - teaching for a start. Sounds like you only want to work in science and are emphasising obstacles such as child care etc. so that you don't have to take a job you perceive as beneath you.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 27-May-11 12:47:33

If you want an admin job then temping jobs often turn into permanent jobs.

nijinsky Fri 27-May-11 12:49:18

Not much use to you, but just to give you a bit of an idea, where I am, employers really struggle to get suitably qualified employees in the sciences. This is Edinburgh, and also in Aberdeen. They recruit a lot abroad because they just cannot get any locals to apply for the jobs. My DP recently recruited a scientist for his engineering company and it took nearly 8 months (and the guy seems not to be too competent but thats another story). They have to do a short test as part of the interview process and none of the local candidates have ever managed to get anywhere near passing it, even when they do actually have the qualifications asked for in the job advert. (He also needs a C++ programmer that can actually programme in C++ but thats another story).

My friend was recently begged not to leave her job as a scientist at a company partly run by Edinburgh University and partly private to go and work for Wyeth but did so anyway, and she knows even now, 7 months later, they would have her back in a flash because they haven't managed to recruit anyone else. (For flip's sake, even the last two jobs I did as a solicitor were empty for about a year each before I did them!)

Would it be an option to relocate for 9 months or so to get back on the career ladder? Thats what my friend did and she now has a fab job.

SunshineisSorry Fri 27-May-11 14:31:06

Some really helpful suggestions thankyou - Kvetabarry i am thinking about a similar thing to the welcome trust grant, but i may look into that too. The woman i am working for just now has done this with someone else recently, so im basically doing a bit of work for her and then am going to suggest it. Thanks so much for the agency links, when i get a bit of peace (its half term .early here!) i will have a good look at those.

I did think about teaching but if i am honest, i dont want it enough - does that make sense, the cover supervisor job put me off.

Dozer, i dont perceive any job to be beneath me at all, i am merely stating the obvious, that i need a certain amount of income to cover childcare and travel costs. I have actually only just started relooking at science jobs as i have struggled to get jobs elsewhere. If i could get cleaning jobs, believe me i would, i can fit them in school hours and they pay quite well, but then i would be buggered in the holidays.

it is only after having been unsuccesful in getting a job in another field that i have returned to science. People just assume that i only want to do science, which actually isnt true.

relocation not an option im afraid, although i would jump at the chance at a move to scotland smile

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