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To give up my job to focus on IVF?

(36 Posts)
TheEdgeOfNowhere Thu 05-Oct-17 23:01:59

I've been working in a male-dominated industry for nearly two decades now. Three years ago, I moved from a role (within the same company) where I got an 'outstanding' appraisal to my current role. I didn't quite realise at that point who the people I'd be working for are. Basically, they are people who want you to do everything perfect (and heaven help you if you don't), but if they had to do what you have to do, they make myriads of mistakes they suddenly care little about. The money is good – about 60k – but it seriously plays with my sanity now.

There was already one other woman with my current job title who moved sideways in the company to avoid this team (really!) and did so in tears. Unfortunately, I can't do the same thing as she's in a completely different location/country to me where there are more options. Surprise, surprise... now, they're complaining about me and my performance. They want me to constantly move it up a notch, learn more things, etc. – which is unsustainable, and if I don't, there may be a disciplinary thing in future. But the thing is I physically can't.

What they don't know is that I've gone through several rounds of unsuccessful IVF over the past two years. I've also had a cancer scare. I've been scheduling my 'holidays' (read: IVF treatment and cancer check-ups) around my workload. Everything came second after my work, when my actual health and wellbeing should have come first. Of course, you never tell anyone at work that.

A friend of mine told me that one of her colleagues in a similar industry actually had to give up her job to concentrate on IVF. I feel that if I'm as stressed as I am now, it will never work. I'm soon going to turn 39 and time is running out.

I really am thinking of resigning and DH supports my decision fully. He's pissed off that I put my health and our ability to have children at risk because of my work. But it does mean I lose a well-paid job and it will likely mean 'goodbye career' – it's difficult to get back into the saddle in this industry after you do have kids.

What annoys me is that my company is spending loads on creating women's clubs and events, etc. All to encourage more women to stay in work (because there are so few, we actually have less bathrooms for women than for men). And yet, they never think about WHY women may give up their jobs.

stillvicarinatutu Thu 05-Oct-17 23:04:01

can you have a career break?

paq Thu 05-Oct-17 23:08:30

It’s really hard to advise what’s right for you. I moved from a high pressure job to a much more junior role when I had ivf and while I never regret my DD of course 10 years later my career is shit and I am fed up about it. What do you do if you don’t have a baby?

Regardless of the ivf your workplace sounds disfunctional.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 05-Oct-17 23:12:26

Can't you get a different job?

TheEdgeOfNowhere Thu 05-Oct-17 23:17:40

stillvicarinatutu I would love a career break, and that's how I would 'style' this. But the problem is: getting back in the saddle again. It's difficult in this industry.

paq It IS dysfunctional. Some of my colleagues and I still don't know how it can be such a big name in the UK and yet, on the inside, it's years behind other companies I have worked for.

NeonMist Thu 05-Oct-17 23:29:10

It sounds like a highly unhealthy environment if you feel that you couldn't even discuss your cancer scare with your line manager. By law they're obliged to support you to take time off for medical appointments (I'm talking about your previous cancer appts). I understand that it's more complicated to discuss taking time off for ivf - as someone said above, a career break, or unpaid leave, might be a less risky option? A friend works in a male-dominated job in the city, and she has managed to keep her job and have two children, and has negotiated to work only 4 days a week.

KenBarlow Thu 05-Oct-17 23:39:46

I don't think stress is worth it, especially if it's that bad someone left crying.

We have one life, and while it's important to be earning etc I think family and simply being happy is always more important.
Getting severely stressed over a job is never worth it unless it's your passion.

Do what is right for your health and your chance to start a family, every time.

On your death bed you will not lay there and think "those years working under immense stress were worth it"

OlennasWimple Thu 05-Oct-17 23:55:42

I would be looking for another job, rather than quitting

The pressure you would be putting on yourself would be immense ("I gave up my job in order to get pregnant"), and having a baby isn't exactly cheap.

TheEdgeOfNowhere Thu 05-Oct-17 23:58:45

NeonMist One of my colleagues got an arrangement like that but she was working with a different team. My company is a difficult place although on the surface it looks almost idyllic – the Glassdoor reviews are quite telling. Another colleague took several weeks stress leave over the past few years (once, nearly two months). What happened was... people talked behind her back about how bad it was for her to do that. They never thought about the WHY. I don't think unpaid leave is really an option because people will b*tch behind my back.

KenBarlow That's what I have been thinking, too. DH and I were already contemplating moving to another country in the next two years anyway, where living costs are lower than in the UK. This may just speed things up a little.

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 00:11:29

OlennasWimple It's not that easy for me. The only other jobs in my field are to be found in London (the City). The company I work for isn't. We moved out of London years ago to be in car commuting distance to my DH's workplace (the town had no train station!). I had a really long commute to London back then (up to 2 hours each way), which prompted the move to my current company about 6 years ago.

The idea was always for me to work until we could afford to live on my DH's salary, after which I would follow my heart and do what I actually want to do (which resulted in more money than what I earn for some of my friends who did exactly what I want to do, but it's a hard industry to break into... took some of my friends years to be a success).

yorkshireyummymummy Fri 06-Oct-17 00:27:03

I'm no expert but this sounds like very unfair workplace bullying.
It's compounded by the fact that you have been using your annual leave to go for important medical appointments and you seem too - scared? Worried? - to tell your bosses about your health problems.
Are you in a union?
Personally I would be going on the sick, seeing my doctor and getting some workplace legal advice. It sounds utterly dreadful and for what you are expected to do the salary isnt brilliant.
If your husband is supportive ( and he sounds like he is. How lovely) then get the hell out of there and de stress so you can have your baby. Don't put your career first.
A career matters not one jot in the grand scheme of things. Six months after you leave they will have forgotten your name. You can devote your whole life to your career but who has that on their gravestone?? No one. They say, beloved wife, beloved mother.
If you really need to work then get a part time job doing something you enjoy or do some volunteering.
You need to have se de stressed time to mend your mind and body so you can get pregnant.
You are a clever woman- you know what you need to do.
Now set your alarm, and phone in sick tomorrow!
I wish you so much luck and hope hope hope this time next year you have or are having a bundle of joy X

KarateKitten Fri 06-Oct-17 00:35:24

Hard to know. I don't think your work life sounds good regardless of IVF so I'd get job hunting now.

I've a friend who gave up work to focus on IVF. 3 yrs of failed attempts and sitting around at home knowing that she should have been at home to look after her baby, not sit waiting for the next round, made her utterly and extra miserable. I advised her strongly to take a job offer she had although she was afraid IVF would work and she'd have to quit after only starting. I said fuck that, you can quit anytime you want eve if it's after s week but it's killing you sitting around waiting for IVF to work. But she took the job and got pregnant shortly after and now 5 yrs later is still working in that job but as a mum to two lovely boys. Shockingly (to herself) she didn't want to give it up and be a SAHM in the end.

I don't think it's healthy to put life on hold for IVF as life being on hold amplifies that it hasn't happened yet. But your job doesn't sound like it's good either so honestly I'd try to move jobs as a separate issue to the IVF.

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Fri 06-Oct-17 07:26:39

Where will quitting leave you if IVF doesn't work out for you and you end up 3 years later still at home? Are you sure that the best thing for your mental health would be sitting at home with absolutely nothing to think about other than whether the IVF is working or not?

You obviously need out of this specific job, but i think you need to make a longer term career plan about switching fields/locations/retraining etc rather than just quit. If you can afford to do IVF and not work, then perhaps you can afford to quit work and retrain? In the meantime, why not go on long term sick anyway since you're pretty much done with this job? If you don't want to stay with the company it really doesn't matter what they think of you.

Even when you aren't having fertility issues, putting everything on hold to focus on getting pregnant leads to immense pressure and mental stress. I do think it's worth continuing to make plans and move forward with other areas of your life.

DrRisotto Fri 06-Oct-17 07:32:38

Your DH is pissed off that you (hypothetically) put you health and ability to have children at risk because of work??? That's a bizarre assumption!

Leave your job if you want, it sounds shit. But don't think that focusing on IVF is actually going to improve your chances or that it won't drive you crazy. You surely know how soul destroying it can be, how would you be without the distraction of occupation?

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 07:35:46

Tiramisu I wouldn’t be putting everything on hold for IVF... I’d basically do something I wanted to do since... like... forever. You can call it ‘retraining’, or more... spending time doing a life-long hobby that some of my friends have turned into their profession (earning more than me).

KenBarlow Fri 06-Oct-17 11:19:49

If you can afford to live on your husbands wage while you set up your business that you’d love to do then I’d say go for it.

If you’re experienced enough and ready to go down that path then why wait? It might be better to get that set up before a baby arrives anyway!

Lily2007 Fri 06-Oct-17 11:31:22

Why don't you explain the situation to HR? See if they can think of a solution? I would be tempted to do say reduce hours / take unpaid leave rather than resign.

My SIL did resign to do IVF at a similar age had 2 years off and on about 5th attempt got donor IVF to work at 42 or so. She then got another job but was in accountancy so relatively easy to find jobs.

May even be worth telling your boss if its that or resigning, he may just surprise you though I would go with HR first as a safety net. I told my manager when I was doing IVF and he couldn't have been more supportive even offered me extra holidays but was public sector.

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 13:47:44

Liy2006 Our precious HR manager was great. The current one is on the side of the manager before I even met her.

Did a quick survey of people I know – most of them think HR always takes the side of the manager apart from the few gems.

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 13:56:36

Oh... and yeah, said HR woman said something about work hours like “we’re flexible but not that flexible”. And that was just about coming in at 9.30 a few times a month rather than 9.00am – even if over the week you would still work your contracted hours. That even though sometimes, I work on a Sunday from home (when a request comes in to get something done by Monday AM and it’s Friday PM and I can’t drop everything else that day).

A colleague I talked to said the HR manager was talking BS really. Yeah, so I doubt I could do reduced hours / unpaid leave.

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 13:59:01

P.S.: In my previous team, if you worked weekends / evenings, you could claim the hours back. In this team, they think you should work overtime without being able to do that... and actually look down on the “progressive” working practices of my old team.

Bearsonstairs Fri 06-Oct-17 14:01:59

I'm a bit disturbed to see the people advocating just 'going on sick leave'. It's people abusing the system that makes it more difficult for those with anxiety or depression or other conditions who really need to be away from work.

I agree with those who say that trying to stop work entirely for IVF is a mistake. A career break or sabbatical could be a good option - they have to let you come back, even if you think it would looked down on. Getting some HR advice is also a good idea - they might have some other solutions. I wonder if you have a mentor? If not, maybe there are some senior women in your industry you could go and talk to get some more specific advice and support?

Although there's a definite link between stress and struggles to conceive, don't give up on the job entirely until you've tried some other options! And good luck with your IVF x

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 14:06:22

Bearsonstairs I am actually suffering from anxiety. As I said, our current HR manager is useless. In my experience, there are two types of people in HR: those who actually care about people and those who are just a mouthpiece of management. Due to lines of reporting / seniority the latter seems to be more common.

TheEdgeOfNowhere Fri 06-Oct-17 14:07:13

When I say anxiety – crying, shaking hands, insomnia... check, check, check.

Bearsonstairs Fri 06-Oct-17 14:51:16

I'm really sorry to hear that. It does sound like you need to see your GP about that - maybe some time away from work would help you decide what you want to do both about the IVF and your career. Sending positive thoughts.

I moved from an extremely stressful job (had got that way -didn't start out so bad) and am so pleased I did. Hubby says I'm like a different person in the evenings!

Lily2007 Fri 06-Oct-17 15:02:52

I would get signed off with anxiety as you don't sound well enough to be at work, you need to be looking after you. That may also force a solution one way or another.

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