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If you have a degree and have only ever worked in low paid/ nmw jobs? if so, how do you feel about it?

(79 Posts)
ugger Mon 25-Mar-19 04:47:13

Does it bother you? Does it make you feel a bit of a failure? Do you feel unsuccessful? Embarrassed even?

This is me. I feel like this. Only ever managed to get nmw jobs or just a few pence above! What makes it a million times worse is my degree is in a healthcare vocation. I could have earned decent money but couldn't/ didn't! I wish I never went to uni. Should have just messed about at school even. People with hardly any GCSEs are doing miles better than me.

I was talking to dh about this and he thinks im being ridiculous and says im doing just fine and it doesn't matter if you have a low paid job and a degree which I know makes sense. If I knew someone else like this it wouldn't even cross my mind but for me personally it does and I can't seem to let it go and accept it. As im getting older, it making me feel such a strong feeling of loss, I guess, of a life that could have been.

Myfoolishboatisleaning Mon 25-Mar-19 04:55:22

I did not work for many years after my degree (raising babies) and it did make me feel like my degree was a bit wasted. However I always knew I would get a proper career one day. What is actually stopping you from getting a better job?

Decormad38 Mon 25-Mar-19 05:08:42

I don’t understand if your degree was in a health care field ( you probably received a bursary) yet you haven’t worked in that field. If it’s nursing then there is a 40% vacancy hole at the moment!

ugger Mon 25-Mar-19 05:14:52

Myfoolishboatisleaning its lack of confidence and low self esteem coupled with anxiety and shyness. My personal characteristics means that I just can't her past the interview stage.

ugger Mon 25-Mar-19 05:17:30

Decormad38 I didn't do nursing. After my degree I needed to do a training year for which I was getting rejection after rejection. I couldn't find a placement because of the way that I am. I was the only one in the country.

Myfoolishboatisleaning Mon 25-Mar-19 05:25:16

You clearly have strong feeling around not utilising your degree. Have you looked for help for the other issues?

TheQueef Mon 25-Mar-19 05:26:34

Can you still access the year work experience?

BringMeAGinandTonic Mon 25-Mar-19 05:39:18

So what would it take to get to where you want to be? Do you think you can work at a few (make a list of these things) and do those things to advance yourself in your career?

I sort of get where you're coming from. I missed some opportunities while working on my undergraduate degree and I wonder if they hinder me now. It's not ideal but I try and make the best of it by looking at alternative opportunities.

NameChangerAmI Mon 25-Mar-19 06:03:30

When did you resign yourself to this, OP? What I mean is, when did you last stop applying for jobs that were above nmw?

Also, how old are you?

Have you looked at doing voluntary work (even if only a few hours a week) as a way of updating your skills and/or building your confidence?

Is it too late to apply to do the qualifying year?

I think if you really want to address this, there are ways to do it.

I have found myself in a similar situation and it did used to get me down, but I am slowly coming out of that situation now, and it matters much less than it used to because I have found a better paid job that I love. I'm still not earning massive amounts of money, but I have great job satisfaction.

When I was a SAHM, it didn't matter, as it's a viable and worthwhile career alternative, IMO, but once I needed and wanted to find work, then the feelings you've described really started to be an issue for me.

Like you, I would never think that about anyone else, but it was something I felt just about myself.

I am just not materialistic or money driven at all, which I think has been a bit of a factor for me, also, but at uni, I always thought I would have a successful career. That was my aim when I was younger, and I certainly had the brain power and qualifications for that not to be a realistic expectation.

Maybe try and do things that will build up your self esteem. Pursue a hobby which you would enjoy, but that means you have to interact with others, maybe? Good luck.

NameChangerAmI Mon 25-Mar-19 06:04:45

* not to be an unrealistic expectation.

NinnieNouse Mon 25-Mar-19 06:08:43

I didn’t do anything with my degree until I done a PGCE. At the time it seemed like I’d wasted it, but I only worked a low paid job for a year.

Tumbleweed101 Mon 25-Mar-19 06:16:00

Slightly different but I always regret not getting a degree. I was young and silly - took a gap year, met my ex and didn’t go uni then had babies young.

I see so many jobs that sound interesting or I’m capable of doing except I don’t have the degree to back it up. And uni isnt really an option now I’m in my 40’s and a single parent. I just worry about my earning potential once I can’t get that bit of tax credit help as my wage is too low for the household bills. I am doing extra qualifications but the sector I’m in is low paid in general.

Littlepond Mon 25-Mar-19 06:16:08

I’m very happy in my life and my job but uni was a waste of time and money and I wish I’d not bothered. I’d have been better doing childcare qualifications as I’ve ended up working with children and so many jobs want the NVQs. I went to
Uni because that’s just wat everyone did. I came out with debt, mental health issues, and a degree I’ve never used.
While I don’t feel bad about the jobs I’ve done and I’m happy in my current one, i hate the wasted years at uni and it’s made me question what path my kids should take (I still live in middle class everyone-goes-to-uni-ville)

PomBearWithAnOFRS Mon 25-Mar-19 06:16:19

I wish I had got a saturday job while I was still at school, left school and started work.
All my friends from school who got jobs when we were young are still working, have nice homes, cars, holidays - not mega rich, but nice, and I am in poverty with my lovely shitty bits pf paper shiny certificates to keep me warm sad
I wish I had never bothered too!

Myfoolishboatisleaning Mon 25-Mar-19 06:18:36

“Until I done a PGCE” Jesus wept.

blueskiesovertheforest Mon 25-Mar-19 06:24:06

Do you enjoy your job? Does it contribute to society?

As it doesn't sound as though you are on the bread line with your joint income, stop valuing yourself according to your pay packet.

There are lots of jobs which pay well but contribute nothing useful and are intact parasitic.

It's better to be a useful low paid worker than a highly paid corporate parasite.

On the other hand if your job doesn't make you feel fulfilled it's not to late to change direction. As you did GCSEs you can't be older than mid 40s. Stop seeing yourself as incapable - people will only see you that way if you do. After all you successfully completed your degree and someone chose to employ you in the job you currently do.

cliffdiver Mon 25-Mar-19 06:28:37

I also did a PGCE and am now using that qualification.

Prior to PGCE I was educated to post graduate Level but after having children I struggled to get back into my field so was working in a job completely irrelevant to my degrees. At that point it felt like my degrees were a waste of money!

NinnieNouse Mon 25-Mar-19 06:36:00

@MyFoolishBoat Local Dialect.

strawberriesandsugar Mon 25-Mar-19 06:36:55

Yup. I could have worked my way up but I had children and have chosen a different route. It suits me for now although I would like to be respected a bit more in the profession and earn more.

Don't regret uni one bit, I had a great 3 years and it taught me some life experience and gave me some good friends

CuckooCuckooClock Mon 25-Mar-19 06:37:06

I get where you're coming from op.
I'm a teacher and earn slightly above nmw if I calculate my hourly rate. I have a good degree and a PhD.
But I do value other things in my life and I'm lucky enough to not worry about money.

NameChangerAmI Mon 25-Mar-19 06:37:40

NinneNouse what's your PGCE in? If you don't mind me asking.

I did a teaching degree, over twenty years ago and there were people on my course who had got there with only a fragile grasp on standard English.

It was tough to get on the course then, and I thought it was even more so now. It's shocking that this is still going on tbh.

Heulog Mon 25-Mar-19 06:39:58

I graduated in 2010, already pregnant with ds1. I have always worked, but am still way under the personal tax threshold. Any work I do needs to fit in around family life. I am really enjoying my current work, would love to do a PGCE one day when I can stop allowing life/finances/children to get in the way.

donajimena Mon 25-Mar-19 06:42:06

@tumbleweed I am 47 and in the first year of a degree (I did a years foundation first) I embarked on the degree for the same reasons. I will only ever earn NMW without one. Tax credits will cease etc.
The money isn't too bad for a lone parent. Its 13800k pa. Plus no council tax, you still receive CTC and CB and probably HB (I'm entitled but don't claim it). You need to be careful with your degree choice, choose one that will actually guarantee you a better income such as teaching, nursing cyber security etc.
I expect to be struggling a bit if I end up on UC before graduating but I will struggle for the rest of my life without retraining..
Is there a university near you? I'd have a chat and see how it could pan out.

NinnieNouse Mon 25-Mar-19 06:44:34

@NameChanger I am English, I’m from Norfolk, and I don’t know if it’s specific to my part or a county thing but it sounds right me because most people I know would say “done” where I did. However, when I was teaching in a different county I was very mindful of getting it right. The same with bought/brought which most people around here use interchangeably.
I hope most people appreciate dashing off a quick response before seven in the morning is different to teaching/planning a lesson.

chocatoo Mon 25-Mar-19 06:50:35

Why don’t you try and do it now! Seems a shame to waste the learning if you enjoyed it.

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