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AIBU to wish my career had turned out better

(22 Posts)
Summerdays2017 Sat 08-Apr-17 00:12:29

Looking for advice/sympathy:

Does anyone else feel they made all the 'correct' career decisions along the way, but somehow ended up in career they don't enjoy?

I did very well and school and uni and qualified into a profession that is very difficult and competitive. But I've spent the last 8+ years working very long hours in London feeling very stressed which and left me with some health issues. I have recently moved to a similar job but in house rather than consultancy, in the hope it will give me a better balance.

I feel a bit lost and unsure what to do next. Has anyone been in a similar situation? Part of me wants to retrain in something entirely different. However the other part of me knows that will be incredibly difficult and what if it's just me being over my negative about my current situation. I just feel disappointed with where my career has ended up. Added to this, id like to start TTC in the next year or so which makes me feel trapped.

chastenedButStillSmiling Sat 08-Apr-17 00:24:11

This is something only you can answer (because it would be identifying for you to give too much detail)

But weigh up work/life balance, cost of living, cost of accommodation etc etc etc.

I think the best job in the world is being a school receptionist... the work'd quite interesting and you get ALL the school hols.

You need to work out what the cost is to maintain your lifestyle against what you want your life to be.

Work it back from there (and be grateful you have choices... people on rubbish McJobs on zero hours contracts don't have the luxury of choice, and they've done nothing wrong... it's just they don't have the options you maybe do!)

Summerdays2017 Sat 08-Apr-17 00:38:41

Thanks - I agree with all your comments. I know in lucky to have choices, it just doesn't always feel that way!

sniffle12 Sat 08-Apr-17 00:44:16

Yes, like you I did very well at school but went down an arts path and have ultimately ended up in HR.

I do love it - I like the combination of helping people be their best and helping the business be its best, I like the variety, I like the autonomy.

But I know at heart that I'm an analytical soul. I'm happiest in my job when I'm creating reports, looking at stats, drawing conclusions, working with spreadsheets, making sense of complicated things. I did do half sciences at A Level and always find myself wishing I had gone more down that route - maths/statistics/data etc. But I just think it's too late now and there is no obvious retraining - short of getting a whole new degree for £27,000! - that I could do.

peachgreen Sat 08-Apr-17 00:52:42

I felt exactly the same OP. Like I'd made all the wrong decisions and would never be happy in a job. I moved out of London, took a £10k paycut, stayed in the same industry but a slightly more junior role and I'm happy as can be, with a bigger savings pot and more disposable income. I work 8.30-4.30 and very rarely have to stay on whereas in London I was working 11 hour days regularly. London is the best city in the world to live in but the absolute worst to work in. I couldn't do it anymore and I'm so glad I finally cracked and left. It's saved my sanity and restored my passion for my career.

Summerdays2017 Sat 08-Apr-17 00:53:23

Sniffle that is interesting - I am actually in a very analytical field, but often wonder if a more people or creative focused one would have suited me better. I find to difficult to work out whether It's just a mid life crisis or whether I really do need a change.

Summerdays2017 Sat 08-Apr-17 00:57:00

Thanks peachgreen - glad to hear it's worked out for you. I have also wondered if I'd be happier with a more laid back life outside london. The main problem is my job is very hard to find out side the city so I'd need to try tonmove sideways into something else or practically start again.

SuiteHarmony Sat 08-Apr-17 01:04:02

I am completely over-qualified for the job I now do. And therefore underpaid. But I love it. Took a ten year career break, and did try to move areas, but I am now doing pretty much the same job I did when I was 24. And I'm 45.

I'm 'fortunate' in that my ex is a very high earner and pays adequate maintenance while keeping 90% o his earnings for himself so I don't feel under pressure to earn more.

sniffle12 Sat 08-Apr-17 01:05:27

Sniffle that is interesting - I am actually in a very analytical field, but often wonder if a more people or creative focused one would have suited me better. I find to difficult to work out whether It's just a mid life crisis or whether I really do need a change.

Funnily there was a day at work recently where I was wishing I had just become a software developer or something, and then I ended up in the coffee queue behind somebody who was telling a colleague they wished they'd never become a software developer!

I guess it's just being able to identify when you're just having a 'grass is greener on the other side' moment/in a bit of a rut, and when you are actually unfulfilled in your job to the extent where it's harming your physical/mental health/level of life fulfilment. After all, we spend most of our waking hours there.

If you can't change your job completely, you could start by considering if there are any feasible ways to change it up/sidestep from where you are. I don't know about your field, but I know in HR there are roles which are more data focused, e.g. helping big companies to get the most out of their data, providing insights into effectiveness of different HR activities, so that's something I may look into moving more towards.

ChasedByBees Sat 08-Apr-17 01:21:13

I am highly qualified in an analytical field and had a successful career. I changed my career completely last year and I couldn't be happier. Much poorer mind, but happy.

Darla21 Sat 08-Apr-17 01:53:22

I disagree with peachgreen that the problem is London -- there are a huge variety of jobs in london and many cushy ones with high pay. You are much more likely to find a better paid job with fewer hours than anywhere else in the country. You just need to start looking. Can you reduce your hours at the current job? I don't see why you couldn't retrain as life is too short to be unhappy in a job.

Darla21 Sat 08-Apr-17 01:59:02

Sorry, forgot to add that my DH and I are London based, I work from home and pretty much set my own hours, never go overtime, and my DH works 10-5 and can work from home whenever, has a half day on Friday and never does overtime. This is normal for his industry. So there are lots of jobs out there, in fact with more companies adopting an agile model they are becoming more against overtime and long hours. Don't give up hope!

OITNY Sat 08-Apr-17 03:35:48

Having spent every penny I've ever earnt over 10 years on academia to be in my current career, which I hate, I do sometimes wonder at my own sanity....

I did find some solace in the third sector, where the work is more rewarding and the salaries quite good/flexible hours, but most positions are funded so it's a bit of a risky biscuit - as a result I hold three different jobs. Quite interesting though because it's quite obvious to me recently that my DP has literally no idea what I do for a living hmmgrin

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Sat 08-Apr-17 03:43:13

I am looking for a complete change too. I'm currently a head of maths but after 30 years teaching I've had enough and I have resigned. I quite fancy working in a store, meeting people but being able to leave at 6pm and take no work home. I'm not in a rush, I'll see what turns up.

sniffle12 Sun 09-Apr-17 09:57:35

ChopsticksandChilliCrab I left teaching four years ago and not taking work home is still the biggest novelty.

Sometimes I'll be relaxing at home of an evening and still have a niggling feeling that I'm procrastinating something' - and then realise there is nothing I should be doing grin

I've changed to HR but am still in the point of that career where I can achieve everything within work hours or by staying the odd half hour/hour late if needed. Home is home and work is work now.

I still find it hard to believe that teaching is set up like it is. Yes many careers are overworked and have to take work home in various amounts, but I can't think of any other career where your contracted hours literally only cover half of your job description (I.e. teaching) and you are expected to do the other 50% at home. No wonder resignations are through the roof and yet all they do is recruit, recruit, recruit to fill the gaps.

Good luck in your new life wherever it may take you smile

Didiplanthis Sun 09-Apr-17 13:20:28

Yup. I worked ridiculously hard for years and years pre and post qualification in a professional job. Did 12-14 hour days and post grad qualifications on top. Pity I hate it.... have invested over 20 years of my life into it now. I am pretty broken by it - I can't really get out so have compromised by going part time. It still dominates my life but I now have time for my children too but I wish I had never done it.

UppityHumpty Sun 09-Apr-17 13:25:27

I work in financial analysis & have found in my industry that creative visualisation skills are valued the most. I always was creative, don't have a degree, but have managed to progress to nearly the top of my field by being able to tell a story with the data. It means my workload is more manageable too - people understand the numbers more easily & so ask fewer questions.

UppityHumpty Sun 09-Apr-17 13:26:14

So my point is get more creative yourself, tell a story with all the information you create for others, and the work load will manage itself

April229 Sun 09-Apr-17 14:09:12

Yes, and I feel for you. Could you look for a role where you can work from home? Having more choice in where you live (somewhere more chilled than London) could really help? If you could spare the time could you balance the analytic side of your job with some volunteering work that people orienatated? Supporting a charity for example?

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Sun 09-Apr-17 14:10:28

sniffle it is good to hear there is life after teaching and thank you for your good wishes!

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sun 09-Apr-17 14:20:57

Yes! I am currently working in a job I like on paper but hate in practice as the management structure is challenging shall we say.

Not sure if this is a popular view but I feel that I was lied to all through school (and we are still doing it to school children now) that you could have it all. Actually what happened is I am qualified in a professional job that if I did in it's pure form is very non-family friendly. So I work in a similar field but it will never be exactly what I want. The hours are better but not perfect. I would like to train to a different speciality but cannot afford the fees or the study time.

The trouble is, if somebody had sat me down at 16 and said, don't do that, pick a family friendly career with flexibility that fits around childcare and school holidays, I would have laughed in their facehmm. I had no concept of the juggling involved.

I'm not actually sure things are much better if you are a parent who doesn't have to juggle (e.g. if your partner does all drop offs etc) as then you are often under huge pressure to stay in your own job.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sun 09-Apr-17 14:35:32

Sorry, that was a yes, I agree, as in YANBU!

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