AIBU to ask the best working pattern with small kids(24 Posts)
NC as paranoid.
Since having DC1 (3) I gave up
my career but got a pt job (20 hrs p/w). I'm currently on mat leave with DC2 (10m) but looking at returning to work soon. However I have seen a job at a local school that I really like the look of (35 hours p/w, TTO). I had thought of working in a teaching environment once both children were of school age but this is a very good role that you don't often see.
Current job - Pros; pays well. Not very demanding, leave my desk & don't think about it once out the door. V.flexible in terms of option of moving my days around if needed. Cons; No career progression. Only 20 days holiday pro rata & crappy pension.
New job more hours but hourly rate is less (pro rata) but career progression & be good on the CV.
So what is a better working pattern? Is it better to have 2 days off a week, DC1 is in preschool so I have time with DC2 plus family local so opportunity to have 1/2 day without children. Or work 35 hours, see kids less & higher childcare costs short term but able to spend holidays with them. My parents have a holiday home so in theory I have the option of spending a month out there with kids each summer. On both mat leaves I've gone for 6 weeks.
Sorry that was long & I don't even have the job yet but don't want to waste my time.
When they are little I preferred working part time with full days "off" to spend time with them.
Then when they were at school that time to myself was wonderful! The school day isn't very long though.
I'm full time now and I miss my time to get the little jobs done around the house. (And go for coffee with friends!)
IME school hours, TTO jobs are like rocking horse poo so it might be worth going for it now... you will still get time to yourself in the holidays if you continue to use a nursery. And once they are at school it will be brilliant! (And when they leave can you get a different job? I long for the day I can go on holiday in term time! Can't happen if I work TTO!!!)
Things to consider: does the job term time match the (future) children school term time? You might end up with different holidays to the children. (I can see some pros there myself!!!)
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you apply and even if you get it you can still turn it down.
Honestly, I don't think there's a right answer to this question.
Each family is different in terms of what work/life balance works for them. There's no one size fits all.
Personally, I would take working longer hours with a better pension and career progression. TTO is an added bonus. Yes kids are only young once and if it's possible to flex then I think it's nice, but unless you're increadibly financially secure, I think it's best to maximise earning potential for the long term stability of the family unit.
Just my view and no doubt others will disagree. I dropped to 4 days a week instead of 5, and would like to drop to 3 now that my career is back on track and my pension fund on target. Hard to find the balance, everyone is different!
Schools are very often 'dead mens shoes' because they are so sought after. I'm curious as to what career progression you think is available assuming this is an admin role.
If I had to choose I would stay in the current job
Depends how much you want the job. If older child is starting school next September I'd be tempted.
Are there many non teaching jobs that pay 35 hours?
Term time only has been brilliant for me. I'm a teacher, so needed a childminder before and after school, and on training days, but to be always off with the DC in their holidays has been great.
Thanks for all the replies, I somewhat feel that what I currently have is good for now but just a little worried that I won't find a similar role in the future.
onlyjustme Good point re checking term dates although very happy to have some childfree days & will be using some form of childcare. I'm defo going to apply as nothing to lose.
Batman I enjoy working & do miss my old career financial security . If I stayed & carried on progressing I would of been on 70k + bonus but it was so demanding & I struggled to get the balance right (tried for 4 months after DC1). No such thing as p/t or flexi time in that world unfortunately.
fence it's a finance role with progression to school business manager. I was thinking of progression in terms of outside as well as many positions want you to have experiences within schools (which I don't).
Apply, get a job offer and then worry about it!
Is your current employment something that would be easy to get back into part-time if the 35h proved too much?
lastone Normally I would just ping the CV off but public sector jobs tend to have a plethora of forms you have to fill in, hence why I was hesitant.
Re current employment, truthfully I think I would struggle to find something at current pay grade for only 20 hours but not impossible.
Well paid pt jobs are hard to come by, if I were you I’d keep the job you have rather than go full time whilst your children are still very young. That’s assuming you can afford it and you don’t have a burning desire to go back to work full time.
Are you sure it is TTO???
Most school finance roles are annoyingly not TTO! Or they weren't when I was looking and the people I met who did this were fed up with:
"Oh you work in a school, brilliant holidays"
"No. I'm in finance...."
Year End is often inconveniently over the Summer as well.
It's 41 weeks as opposed to a true 39 weeks but the additional 10 days are tacked on to the terms. It's an independent school if that makes a difference & I'm sure senior staff probably do work longer terms which I potentially am happy to do in the future.
I'm a TA and I love working term time only, the only things I am finding slightly annoying are that there are days where I really need some child free time and that it is hard knowing I can never go to school plays, sports day etc no matter how much notice there is as I can't book a day off in term. (this of course would be less of an issue if your DC go to the school you work at, mine don't)
Double check it is TTO, I know the finance officer at my school still has to come in over the holidays, particularly in the summer holidays which are really busy for her.
Working TTO makes a huge difference once both DC are school age, if this decision was in a few years time I suspect it would be less of a dilemma. Right now you have to weigh up the loss of time with DC2 against the likelihood of this job coming up in a few years and the time you'd lose in the school holidays once you've got 2 school age children if it is a once only opportunity.
I'm a little unclear if the job is local authority (public sector forms) or not (independent school). Any local authority would have a legal, as well as moral obligation to consider jobshare, is that an option for you?
It's an independent school if that makes a difference
Would your DC be going to an independent school? the term dates tend to be a bit different to state, as do the hours. DD is at indie and I work in state, her school day finishes 30 minutes after mine, which is fantastic for me but would be a pain the other way round coz of childcare. I know that staff at DD's school get a huge discount on fees for their own DC from nursery up (so from 2 years) and free breakfast/afterschool care which means their DC get private education for less than most of my friends spend on childcare.
stillseeking Yes your are right & that's where I need a crystal ball.
Oops that was me confusing things. It is an independent school but like public sector jobs I've seen the application procedure involves a personal statement and a number of forms. In my head I tend to group school & charity jobs with public sector jobs, not sure why.
Interesting point re job share & something I've not considered. I assume its only relevant for state schools?
sparkly I only mentioned that it was private as unsure if that's why the role was TTO, although I will be working more out of term hours as their year is shorter compared to state.
Re my own kids, they will be in local state primary until at least 8. It's outstanding, 150m away & more importantly I love it. So I would have to arrange a combo of childcare/clubs/rope in my mum for wraparound care.
I have the perfect set up. For me.
I work in advertising and worked f/t until DD was 5 and DS 2, never thinking I would have the option of p/t because of the industry and nature of my role. However, 3 years ago I started a job share and I now work Mon-Weds. It feels like I have won the lottery. But with less money! I do the job I’m trained to do and therefore earn more than I could do doing anything else, I spend more time not working than working, even when work is shit it’s manageable (you can do anything for 3 days) and after 4 days, when the kids and housework start to drive me mad, I can dress up and pop into work 😃
Now DS has started school I have a little time to myself, the house is more organised, I cook slightly better meals and have generally managed to remove chores from evenings and weekends.
In the holidays we go away a lot, but the balance is still good when we are at home - DC do 3 days in holiday club which they love, and I have my regular 2 days with them. Which is enough 😂.
I work 3 days 9 to 5. It's perfect for me - I prefer working full days. 3 busy days where the dc go to wraparound care, the other two I'm off. I still have a career and enjoy it. In school hols I automatically have 2 days off a week with the dc.
The dc are 3 and 5, so one in school and one in preschool. We get 30 free hours for the pre schooler but I keep her home on a Friday to have time together.
Ah... finance in a private school would probably be a very different role to finance in a state school! (Possibly more interesting...)
You would have far more responsibility I would imagine... you would probably have to sort out collection of fees etc and run it much more like a business... which is great as it's good hours for a finance role!
(Itching to see job description now and one for state school to compare!!!)
I still say apply and if you get it but don't want it you can say no. And if it comes up again in 5 years' time then you can reapply...
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