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to ask how to find a job after 17 years as SAHM?

(78 Posts)
ThreeRandomWords Thu 14-Mar-19 19:28:16

Really want to find a job to have my own income and for my own sanity. But I feel I have lost my confidence after so much time out of the workplace and I am battling feelings of defeatism.

I can't go back to my old job as that was in IT and my skills are obsolete now. I have thought about training as a teacher maybe, which is something I have always fancied. I worry that I am too old (48) and too long out of the workplace to be of interest to anyone.

Any advice? Or inspiring stories of people in a similar position?


Jam82 Thu 14-Mar-19 21:14:30

Please also note the OP’s posts saying she doesn’t really want to return to her former field and has always wanted to teach, but is feeling unsure of herself after being out of employment for so long

Jam82 Thu 14-Mar-19 21:18:02

OP you could also volunteer in a school if you’re unsure that it’s what you want to do and are lacking in confidence and then apply for teaching training when you feel more up to it x

TheLette Thu 14-Mar-19 21:33:23

There is a book called "She's Back" and a related Facebook group which would be a good start for advice on how to market yourself and sell the time you've spent away from the workplace. The book covers exactly your situation.

Justanotherlurker Thu 14-Mar-19 21:36:44

Please also note the OP’s posts saying she doesn’t really want to return to her former field and has always wanted to teach

I did miss those, but if she wants to teach then IT would be the obvious choice, so at late 40's take a couple of years to train as a teacher and learn new languages, that could be just as difficult as getting back into a legacy area where she could probably work for the length of time required to retrain earn the cash and not work again.

Wanting a vocation and worrying about returning to work is different scenarios, teachers on MN tell everyone not to bother entering the market because of stress, long hours etc so its a case of utilising existing knowledge for the maximum pay or outlay.

The thread has been framed in a certain way by the OP.

ArmchairTraveller Thu 14-Mar-19 21:40:26

Teach what? Secondary or primary?

ThreeRandomWords Thu 14-Mar-19 21:47:15

Thanks for the responses, you have all given me food for thought.

I thought about teaching at secondary level - potentially maths or French ( have a Maths with French degree). I kind of fell into computer programming in the first place - it was okay, paid well, but generally not that interesting for me. In some ways, it seems the obvious thing to go back to, but I'm not sure it is where I really want to spend my working life. That's if I could get back into that field in any case.

Jam82 Thu 14-Mar-19 21:55:44

I’m sorry but at no point has the OP said she wants to do what pays most.She has said that her previous job paid well, but she didn’t enjoy it. She has been a SAHM for many years, but wants her own money and from the sounds of it to do something new. It does not sound like she is stoney broke and needs to do something she doesn’t like just for the money.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with retraining at that age, to teach IT or whatever else it is that she wants to teach, we don’t know what other skills she has. She may even want to teach primary or in a college.
Lots of people complain about their professions. Many teachers, including me, complain on here sometimes. That’s why I think working in a school for a bit, voluntary or paid, would give her a bit of an insight into what it’s like working in a school (if you have never worked in a school you don’t really know what it’s like and if you will work well with kids). Yes teaching is stressful and long hours if you are looking to build your career and move up the ladder. More stressful if you have young kids at home. However, like with most jobs you can also choose to work part time (as I do). The pay is not as high as in some other careers, but there are also benefits.
I don’t understand why some of you are so determined to try and push her back into her old career when she’s said she’d rather not do it. Being qualified or experienced in something doesn’t mean you have to do it anymore if you don’t want to! (I speak as someone who career changed to teaching despite my previous career being better paid - it’s not always all about the money!)

GeorgeTheBleeder Thu 14-Mar-19 21:56:47

Bear in mind that, if you don't already have a postgrad degree, you will be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan for an MA/ MSc. (Or a PhD.)

Jam82 Thu 14-Mar-19 22:00:00

OP sorry my post crossed with yours.

I’m a Spanish teacher, my second language is French (I provide back up for the French department). I work part time in a high school andprovide cover for the French department. Part time was possible for me because in my part of the country there were language posts going unfilled. I came from a languages back ground (in my previous career and degree). I would try and get some experience maybe volunteering to see if it’s right for you before taking the plunge. There are lots of other jobs you can go into if it’s more using French that you are interested in x

Girlofgold Fri 15-Mar-19 04:42:25

Study short term. Something you're interested in. It will change your perspective, and even if you struggle a bit, it will get your confidence up.

Then decide where to direct yourself.

In the meantime, find out how to get cobalt opportunities. You never know what might come up whilst your exploring other avenues.

FenellaMaxwell Fri 15-Mar-19 04:51:17

Maths is always an in demand subject. Have a look at Teach First.

bmbonanza Fri 15-Mar-19 05:34:56

"I have to say, I too find it worrying that anyone might suggest a previously highly paid and skilled professional could only aspire to (forgive me) very low status work after being a SAHM"

I have to say I find that incredibly patronising. You can get just as much job satisfaction out of being a dinner lady as you can from being a high flyer and you still need to be highly skilled but just in a different way. Clearly this commenter has never worked with children!

Doing time in a school as a volunteer or as a dinner lady is a time-tested route into becoming a TA which might suit the OP. It will also allow her to see what a teacher's working day actually is so she can decide if that is really the career she wants and then go for it!

scarus Fri 15-Mar-19 05:56:01

There are plenty other IT roles where your general IT experience would be valued if you don't want to program.

Software tester - lower paid but probably easiest way to get your foot in the door of somewhere
Business analyst
Project manager

I think as a recruiter I would want to see some recent "work" experience either as a volunteer or evening waitress job or whatever to show you can do the basics of turning up regularly etc.

soulrunner Fri 15-Mar-19 06:16:45

Give the above advice from IT bods re. COBOL being in demand, I'd go back into that as an "on ramp" to the working world and then think about retraining as a teacher after a couple of years. You might see other opportunities at your new company that appeal as well.

I think companies are becoming more open to "non-linear CVs" (mine definitely is- financial services). Plus most are really trying to recruit more women in tech so...

BrightonBB Fri 15-Mar-19 06:23:28

To see what it is like in a school why not try invigilating as an ease back into work. Schools always need more at this time of year.

MsTSwift Fri 15-Mar-19 06:59:24

The dinner lady advice was terrible. How would it “boost your confidence” to work in a minimum wage low skilled job when you are a tertiary educated professional? That would tip me over the edge.

After being out 7 years I did a qualification related to something that interested me in my previous profession and set up my own business doing this so entirely flexible hours. Now higher rate tax payer again.

PeggySuehadababy Fri 15-Mar-19 09:17:16

OP, do a research of the job market in your area and if there are indeed vacancies for Cobol programmers.

If you quickly google it there are not many and are always asked in conjunction with other programming languages. Are you still practical with programming? It seems you are not really passionate about it anyway so why not trying some volunteering in different areas? Even building websites maybe?

I'm not an IT professional but worked as a recruited, and it would be good to have some recent experience on your CV, even volunteering or freelancing.

Regarding the dinner lady advice, it's not easy to step back into work after so many years off, but not impossible. Therefore it's not an insult to suggest that if you struggle to find any other employment you consider it. And I know plenty of SAHMs whi went back to jobs that were way below their education level and slowly worked their way up.

I has nothing to do with glass ceiling but with the time spent off work.

jennymalone Fri 15-Mar-19 09:51:28

If someone posted that their house husband if 17 years , an ex programmer IT professional, wanted to get back into work.... Do you think anyone (posters, recruiters, senior educators) would be telling him to go and be a dinner lady for a couple of years?

I absolutely doubt it.
It's ingrained sexism - little SAHW wants to get back into work, so unskilled, minimum wage job will tide her over nicely and boost get chances. [Hmm]

Jam82 Fri 15-Mar-19 09:54:51

I really don’t understand why some of you have a problem with me suggesting that the OP does some lower level paid work in a school, or voluntary work to see if she actually enjoys working in a school environment before starting teacher training. She has said she would like to be a teacher It is not something that is everyone’s cup of tea and I think some experience working in a school would give her a bit more of an insight before taking the plunge into the profession.
If anything I find your snobby attitudes of someone taking a job ‘below their station’ after 17 years out of the job market highly offensive and frankly quite ridiculous. I’m not suggesting she goes into a job as a dinner lady until retirement FFS!!
Try actually reading the OP’s posts about what SHE wants to do and what HER goals are hmm

Jam82 Fri 15-Mar-19 09:57:56

Btw I said for about 6 months. If he said he had always wanted to woek as a teacher, but was feeling a bit unsure then YES i would recommend he work in a school first to see if it’s actually the right career path for him. You are unlikely to get paid work in a school without the relevant qualifications, even as a classroom assistant, hence the suggestion. Do any of you actually have experience inthe education field????

TheFallenMadonna Fri 15-Mar-19 10:01:47

Maths with French? That would be a great combination for most schools. Do you have any secondary school contacts? Your DC's school? Go in and look around, and apply for a PGCE place. You would get a bursary for training.

prince55bananahammock Fri 15-Mar-19 10:14:12

The Women Returners website is a good resource for women who want to return to work after a career break

Plus they have a conference in May!
Good luck OP!

BishooWishooGone Fri 15-Mar-19 11:53:41

Hi OP have you had a look at the Facebook group "careering into motherhood"?

MsTSwift Fri 15-Mar-19 11:58:55

Our views are not “snobby”. There’s nothing wrong with being a dinner lady but they don’t usually have degrees and computer programming skills. Why should women sell themselves so very short. Sorry but I get so riled that a few years out of the job market means you only fit for menial work and is a death knell to your career because it bloody isn’t. Loads of my friends had years of sahm and now have brilliant jobs. Loads.

MarshaBradyo Fri 15-Mar-19 12:01:38

I’d consider teaching too
It’s an in demand profession and you have a good degree for it

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