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to ask for your advice and ideas? I feel stuck in a work-life rut and I don't know what to do next

(10 Posts)
Cotherstone Wed 15-May-13 12:47:41

A few things have brought this all to a head and I just feel a bit lost, I don't know what to do to make things better.

I have one DC, 15mo. DP and I both work f/t but he does shift work so our childcare isn't too bad. We both commute in to London to work. I've been in my job for 8 years now and it's in a sector which is being royally f*cked by the recession. I'm almost lucky to still have a job. The problem is it is a niche job which I spent a lot of time and money qualifying in to, but what seemed a good idea 10 years ago is now a sector which seems very unlikely to recover fully. This means there are barely any new jobs, and my pay is increasingly crap. I work for a firm which is slowly heading down the pan and outsourcing or a merger in the next few years seems likely, with the potential for redundancy there. On the positive, I like the people in my department and my commute is relatively easy, if long. But there's barely any potential for advancement in this career at all, and I'm starting to feel that I am doing this long commute, taking me away from DD, for not a lot of money and very little job satisfaction. It's starting not to feel worth it.

But I can't decide what to do about it. Ideally I want a new job near home, but that would mean changing sector completely and while I have plenty of 'transferable skills', my qualifications are niche enough that I know it will be hard to get someone to take a punt on me when there might be plenty of exactly the right qualified people going for jobs. Then there might be a pay cut that is even more than what I'd save on a commute, and we're not rolling in money. DP, while wonderful, is a little focused on money and the need for me to get a better paid job so we can eventually move to a bigger house; his job is fixed-pay so he won't be getting any significant increases in the near future. He's still struggling to understand how screwed my sector is. I don't think we can really afford for me to take time out and retrain, not unless there was a guaranteed well-paid job at the end of it.

And then there is DC2. I do want DC2, and it's getting near the right time to think about it (realistically we'd prefer DD to be about 3 when we'd need two childcare places, so we can hopefully take advantage of the free hours). But I had hyperemesis in my first pg so it's likely to happen again, and this scares me; without that, I would probably be more tempted to say, 'f*ck it', and try to get pg again. In some ways it would be easier to stay in my current job, which I can at least do standing on my head, and then hope to get pg in the next 6 months or so, but then again the commute is so far that I might not manage it in my sickest periods and would need to be signed off. Yet getting a new job would probably mean putting DC2 off for a year or so.

I'm just confused. I'm not entirely happy ? a not spectacular job, a long commute, seeing not quite enough of DD ? but finding a new job won't be easy either, and I would like a job that challenges me at least a bit. I just feel stuck. Between work and DD and DP's shifts there's not much time for me to do something else like an evening course that might help or distract me. I don't know whether to stick it out, or try and change things, but I don't know what I could change to make this better. I know this is all probably a first-world whine and we're lucky to both have jobs but... I feel like I am floundering at the moment and I don't know what to do. Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone got themselves out of this sort of rut?

(Sorry it's long, I didn't to drip feed)

GrendelsMum Wed 15-May-13 12:55:26

Why don't you make a start looking at job ads and applying for new jobs? If you get an exciting new job, then great - you can put DC2 off for a year. If not, then at the very least you'll have tried that angle and can make your decisions based on the knowledge that you can't get an appropriate job at this point in time with the CV you currently have.

Cotherstone Wed 15-May-13 13:10:22

Blimey, I've just read that back and that's enormously whiny and self-pitying blush And failed to mention that the crux of the whole problem is that I have no idea what sort of jobs to look for. I know that probably doesn't make any sense but because I am qualified/experienced in such a random field, I feel completely lost knowing how to to even start looking for a new job. I've been looking on local agency sites and the jobs they have there aren't the sort of thing I could do.

GrendelsMum Wed 15-May-13 13:44:50

Judging on some friends' experiences, a lot of supposedly niche jobs are in fact much more transferrable than you might think.

It's not helped by some frankly insane job advert wording - I was taking a look at ads for my field, where I know exactly what the job consists of, and no-one who didn't already do the job would know what they meant. It was all about "transforming understandings" when what they actually meant was 'arrange school trips'.

Why don't you tell us the job and the skills you've got (you could always name change and start a new thread) and we can make some suggestions?

INeedSomeSun Wed 15-May-13 14:00:13

If you will get mat pay & sick leave then I would try for DC2 now. Then you can start a new job/training without interruption.

Tailtwister Wed 15-May-13 14:04:53

I would try for DC2 now. You're likely to get more support from your current workplace if you've been there for a while, rather than a new place where you'll need to prove yourself. Take mat leave (and sick leave if you need it) where you are now and then investigate your options whilst on mat leave. Return to your old place for a bit to get your groove back after being off and then make your move.

Cotherstone Wed 15-May-13 14:09:43

Have nc'd already (so apologies if I lose the OP colour thingy). I'm a legal researcher - technically a librarian, but libraries and law firms are all suffering madly at the moment. In theory it's all information management so it is transferable. One problem is that I don't drive and don't have the time/money at the moment to do it, but I keep seeing jobs that need you to have a car.

Yes, ineed, I get sick pay and some mat benefits here. Realistically maybe this is the better choice for the next few years. But the more I think about being pg again, the more it scares me. Just the practicalities of it, little things like having to get on the rush hour Tube and having a journey that's long enough for me to be sick on. I know plenty of women manage this but I was lucky to have a really easy journey last time around.

I feel like there is a massive 'but' attached to everything I think of, which is probably just me feeling stuck somewhere quite negative at the moment.

NumTumDeDum Wed 15-May-13 14:10:49

Are you able to tell us what you do, or would it out you?

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 14:14:22

I would go for DC2 now while you have Mat pay and sick pay and agree with Tailtwister that you can use your mat leave to consider your options.

ClaireDeTamble Wed 15-May-13 14:19:32

I work in Information Management and it is a booming industry.

If I were in your position I would probably start trying for DC2 now and make the most of your current job security.

In the meantime start training specifically in Information Governance -in particular redaction, data protection and freedom of information (check out the ISEB courses - a company called Dilys Jones in particular). If you work at a law firm, there should be opportunity for you to put any knowledge into practice.

It would also be worth focussing on health and social care - have a read of the recent Caldicott Review to get a feel for the changes that are coming.

Then, when you are back from maternity leave, start looking for new jobs or even consider going via an agency

Trust me - this is a booming industry at the moment and will only continue to get better and there is a real lack of people with the relevant skills and knowledge out there. We have had to pay a premium revently to get someone in to do this sort of work and we had real trouble finding any one suitable.

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