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To leave my career to become a cleaner?

(40 Posts)
minicorrect Thu 20-Oct-11 15:09:59

I am currently on maternity leave (DC2) from a great job in London which has real career prospects if I'm willing to dedicate myself to it, but having spent the 18 months before I started maternity leave commuting 2 hours each way at a monthly cost that is higher than my mortgage payments, I am considering not going back but job prospects locally aren't great (and I doubt I'd find similar level work here).

However, my parents are buying a house to let out for holiday rentals and have asked me to be the change manager. Some relatives are also looking for a cleaner for 3 hours a week at £30 and apparently there are lots of people looking for similar.

So basically, I am seriously considering giving up my career in London to pursue these part-time opportunities. The money won't be enough to pay all the bills so my DP would also have to work, but hopefully between us, we could manage our hours to always be about for our DDs, I would actually get to see them and wouldn't be throwing a quarter of my salary away each month on travel and would hopefully have the energy to enjoy any time I do get to spend with my family instead of being constantly exhausted.

Am I crazy to even consider giving up a career with potentially fantastic opportunities that I've worked hard to build up over the past decade to work very ad hoc and part time for a lot less money? I keep swinging between certain it's right to being scared at the enormity of it. Please come talk some sense to me (whatever way you lean).

Beaverfeaver Thu 20-Oct-11 15:15:12

I don't think this is unreasonable at all. In fact I had a very similar thought myself.

altinkum Thu 20-Oct-11 15:15:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LindyHemming Thu 20-Oct-11 15:16:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lasvegas Thu 20-Oct-11 15:18:15

I would do what you are thinking about. My normal commute is 3 hours today. This morning had to wait for bus for 25 minutes my feet were numb with cold. Coming back train cancelled so hanging around station for 15 minutes. My cleaner has more holidays than me!

Snuppeline Thu 20-Oct-11 15:21:14

Before taking drastic measures could you not ask to work from home at least one day a week to help reduce the commute time and cost? You've nothing to loose by having a conversation with your line manager.

minicorrect Thu 20-Oct-11 15:24:35

To be honest, my current income alone minus train fares is just enough to be able to live comfortably rather than have lots of holidays (what are they?!) and go mad on nice things. In reality, doing just these two jobs would be just under a quarter of my current income so if I could do a couple of other bits (more cleaning) and DP does the same, we should be ok.

altinkum do you ever get frustrated at the lack of brain power needed now. I think that's what I'm worried about as I'm quite ambitious and enjoy a challenge mentally, so am concerned that working in a job that is more straightforward (in that I know what to expect each day pretty much) might be difficult.

PopcornMouse Thu 20-Oct-11 15:25:14

YANBU but I think you should consider your long-term plan; where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years, career wise? Will cleaning be enough to keep you motivated and satisfied, or would you bet better sticking out your city job while it pays badly, to get something better in a year or two?

(fyi we pay £10.50 an hour (we are not in London) for our cleaner and we supply all the cleaning products - hth grin )

mumsamilitant Thu 20-Oct-11 15:25:48

I left a job in the City when I fell pregnant with my DC. I now work part time for a local firm for much less. On balance it was the best thing I ever did.

Earlybird Thu 20-Oct-11 15:26:08

The woman who cleans for us is intelligent, educated, trustworthy, reliable, cheerful, thorough and diligent. I have no doubt she could have a successful professional career but has chosen to do this work. When she came to us, she was a single Mum, but in the last few years, has married and had a baby.

Obviously, I have no insight into her finances (other than what I pay her, which presumably is similar to what she is paid by others), but there is enough money that her older child goes to a private school. I also know that she owns her home - which was hers before she married.

She takes a lot of pride in her work, and is very much in demand. She has keys to our home, lets herself in, puts on her headphones and goes to work. She has been known to 'drop' difficult or demanding clients, and fills the slots immediately (seems to have an unofficial 'waiting list' of people who would love her to work for them).

If it suits your schedule and meets your financial obligations, it is a fine job.

minicorrect Thu 20-Oct-11 15:29:06

[whispers] I don't have a pension (oops!) so nothing to worry about there! Only concern is the enhanced maternity pay but hoping I could take voluntary redundancy instead of someone else to get around that.

Already work from home one day a week but didn't find that it really made enough difference and they rejected my request to do 2 days last time and it's not a role I can go part time either (nor could I afford to with the travel costs). My current hours are 40 per week, plus 4 hours 4 days a week travelling, so going down to 12-16 hours would be a massive difference to my lifestyle and shouldn't mean pt+pt+pt+pt = ft!

Earlybird Thu 20-Oct-11 15:36:15

Fwiw - I supply all cleaning supplies (she gave me a list of products she wanted), and I re-stock as needed.

She comes to us twice a month, and the is paid by the visit. If broken down to hourly rate, she earns in the region of £14 per hour. I wouldn't usually pay anything close to that (my previous cleaner was paid £10 per hour), but she is worth it for all the reasons described in my previous post.

Swankyswishing Thu 20-Oct-11 15:39:33

If it's a career that you might regret leaving and would be hard to get back into then no, I probably wouldn't take the risk. If it's something you'll be glad to see the back of or something you could pick up where you left off then go for it.

kitsmummy Thu 20-Oct-11 15:44:18

Realistically, how are you going to be able to clean houses if you've got a baby?

altinkum Thu 20-Oct-11 15:52:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

minicorrect Thu 20-Oct-11 15:56:18

Earlybird - that is great information and I would hope that the description you gave of your cleaner is how people would see me - the fact that I'd be starting off working for family means I wouldn't take the pee anyway as I'm too close to them!!

Having just tried out some figures on entitled to and salary checker, it seems I'd be around £4k a year worse off if I went to minimum wage at 16 hours a week compared to my current salary minus travel. I feel like a mug shock

Perhaps I'm overthinking this!

P.S. Kitsmummy - my DP would look after the DC while I worked and I could do the same if they worked - if I'm pretty much setting my own hours I could work around anything they got in theory.

altinkum Thu 20-Oct-11 15:58:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeresTheScaryThingBooyhoo Thu 20-Oct-11 16:02:29

i would do it in your shoes OP.

eurochick Thu 20-Oct-11 17:49:59

Think about money and career not just for the year or two while your child is very young but longer term too. Is your career something you could pick up again later?

The difference might only be 4k now, but what would it be in 5 years time if you had gone back to your job after mat leave? How will you feel about that?

Would you be bored and unfulfilled doing the cleaning work part time once your children are at school?

I am not saying you shouldn't do it. I just think it is important to think beyond the short term financials.

ImperialBlether Thu 20-Oct-11 19:56:20

I can understand why you might want to change your job, but why cleaning? It's such hard physical work, you have no friends at work, you don't get paid if you're off sick and it means doing the jobs that nobody else wants to do.

I just don't understand why, when you have other options (eg moving house) that you would even consider it.

LadyEvilEyes Thu 20-Oct-11 20:07:31

I've cleaned holiday homes during the summer, I also clean our tiny primary school 1 hour a day.
It's boring but brings in a bit of extra money, and I really don't mind it (single parent).
But if there were other options here, in the middle of nowhere, I'd jump at them.
Oh, and I will never wear a tabard grin.
I suppose reading so many threads on mn from posters who discuss 'their cleaner' as some sort of sub species winds me up a bit.
But if it makes you happy, go for it just don't mention it on mn.

Therupaxim Thu 20-Oct-11 20:37:02

Just one thing to think about OP is what happens if you get ill? Any sick leave you may need to take will be unpaid (obviously!) so if the worst were to happen could you cope financially on just one salary (or on SSP) if you had to? I only mention this as I became ill quite suddenly and unexpectedly and was off work for several months - had I not worked for an employer with a generous sick leave policy those few months would have been even more stressful. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Indaba Thu 20-Oct-11 20:44:58

You should realise if you become a cleaner you will have to log off from MN for good otherwise you will get v v v stressed about posts from MNers moaning their new cleaner didn't polish their kettle correctly!

Think what will make you happiest and follow your nose. You could always try it on an interim basis and if you don't like it, try to go back on an interim/contract basis.

corriefan Thu 20-Oct-11 20:46:19

Is there any way you can do just 1 day? Just because when my kids were very little I had no inclination towards my career and did more flexible work but as they got older and the eldest started school I started to feel a bit left behind. Luckily I could do supply teaching and now have a permanent part time job in special needs. I do feel very glad I didn't abandon it all because once you're out it can be hard to get back in and your thoughts about your career may change over time.

Deflatedballoonbelly Thu 20-Oct-11 20:49:01

You will be LESS tired hmm as a cleaner, mother of three. I am KNACKERED! I work hard and fast and a lot of people muck me about, expect me to change my hours at the drop of a hat but dont like it when I need to change a time.

Some people are overly overly fussy and nitpicky and want you to run yourself ragged, and others totally lord it up.

its not as laid back/easy money as you think. Also, if you miss a day your not paid. if your ill, your not paid.

Its hard work!

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