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Could Mumsnet tell me if its worth working at a stresful job if I barely break even with childcare?

(39 Posts)
oranges Mon 27-Jun-11 18:36:04

Can someone make a decision for me? I haev a five year old and a one year old. I'm too tired and frazzled to think straight. I have a job that can sometimes make me feel ill with stress. I stick with it because a)its part time and close to home b) its in a hard-won field that I've worked in for years and c) Other jobs are scarce.
But its making me ill. The bosses are not great, the culture is tough, and after I pay for childcare I bring home a pittance. Should I soldier on, or just stop?

Iggly Mon 27-Jun-11 18:38:38

You said other jobs are scarce. Can you look for other jobs anyway and give this one up?

fluffles Mon 27-Jun-11 18:38:50

what do you want to be doing when your oldest is in secondary and youngest in primary?

if i were you, i'd work back from there.. i also find that thinking longterm makes the short term easier to handle.

Concordia Mon 27-Jun-11 18:39:09

well we were constantly sick when i was working (kept passing things around the family) DCs were 3 and 1.
i made the decision to stop but am now worrying i will never get a job again.
Many on mumsnet will tell you stopping work is madness.
however, at the moment i am happier and the children are happier but if i don't get another job in the next 20 months we will be repossessed.
you don't mention your financial situation so you may be in a better position to stop.
i made a list of pros and cons one day which i found really helped (situation was long and complex).

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 27-Jun-11 18:39:25

Can you move companies? - find another part time job which is less stressful but in the same field?

If not - I would give it up.

oranges Mon 27-Jun-11 18:39:38

I did keep an eye out for jobs while on maternity leave, but there really weren't much. I'm worried this job is eroding my confidence so I'll never go for something else. But I'm too tired to job hunt while working.

oranges Mon 27-Jun-11 18:40:48

We could manage financially, but my husband doesn't like the idea of being the main breadwinner as he's in a shaky field. We are thinking of long term escape routes but I'm sick of feeling like this.

oranges Mon 27-Jun-11 18:41:38

I want to do something else, I think, when the kids are older - a different field I could start working on now, I suppose. Gosh that fills me with light as I think of it.

twinklypearls Mon 27-Jun-11 18:45:20

I worked and just about broke even, in fact at one point I worked as a loss. at the time I thought it was worth it as I was building my career and paying into a pension ( the irony now amuses me!).

It depends on your job, if it is just a job to pay the bills and you are breaking even it is madness to work. However if you need to get out the house and have an outside stimulus then go to work. If it allows you to build a career and pay into a pension - again I think it is worth it.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 27-Jun-11 18:51:48

If it is not what you want to do for the rest of your career - then quit now!

Yes, you can change direction and do something else entirely. Thousands and thousands of women find that having children gives them the impetus to do something far more interesting (and I'm not talking about all the twee cupcake businesses) than climbing up the dreary corporate ladder.

oranges Mon 27-Jun-11 18:55:03

THank you so much. Concordia I do hope you get a job soon. IT's an impossible situation isnt it? Bibbity. that's just it - I work for a very corporte company and I find I just can't be bothered with that, but am actually fizzing with ideas and thoughts that I want to work on. But it takes nerve to jump off the ladder and hope there's a safety net.

Taffeta Mon 27-Jun-11 18:56:22

"many on MN will tell you stopping work is madness" - yes, thats true.

I stopped work for 7 years to be a SAHM. I got a part time job back in my old industry within 2 months of looking. No one including me can quite believe it, all you hear is the doom.

But it happens. To a lot of people, so don't think your working life is over just because you stop for a few years.

penandpaper Mon 27-Jun-11 18:58:44

Difficult to know what to do for the best sometimes. How sick, what kind of sick? if that's having a bad effect on you and family life not worth it. You probably have many skills that you could use in another job? Not easy to find at the moment but perhaps you will be feeling better after some time out?

I've been home for a few months as it wasn't working for us, but I do miss going out to work. Being home can also be hard work if you're v used to getting out and about. Especially if money is tight and you can't be going out to cafes etc all the time.

Also, even if you have worked hard to get to where you are - if it's not where you want to be don't just stick at it, and don't feel too annoyed at yourself, but make some changes, life's too short.

Mollymax Mon 27-Jun-11 19:15:50

I think you health and happiness is more important than a job or career.
Remember the old line....... Nobody on their death bed has ever said they wished they had worked more.

fluffles Mon 27-Jun-11 21:04:41

if its not in a field that you have long term ambitions and aspirations in then i don't see the value in you sticking it out now, except for the fact that your DH doesn't want to be the only breadwinner.

so... if i were you i'd start looking at other options.. study (can you get support?).. other p/t jobs.. etc.

oranges Tue 28-Jun-11 09:03:19

Thank you everyone. well I rang my deputy boss last night and told her how I was feeling. She made me feel (slightly) better that it wasn't just me who felt like this and there are structural reasons why the job is so stressful at the moment. She essentially said - don't quit because you think you are bad at the job (which is how I was feeling) but only resign if there's somewhere else you'd rather be. That did help slightly, give me a bit of strength to soldier on, at least for a while.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Jun-11 09:13:58

"many on MN will tell you stopping work is madness".

Remember that there is a very sizeable segment of highly risk-averse MNers for whom work is an insurance policy. If you are not of that mindset, don't listen to them!

oranges Tue 28-Jun-11 10:31:56

Bonsoir - I was hoping you'd come on here! What do you mean "work is an insurance policy? We are reasonably well off but could be a few steps from disaster like everyone at the moment. But more - I worry that quitting would mean loss of status (which does matter to me), and inability to get a job in this or any other field later on.

GetOrf Tue 28-Jun-11 10:40:09

I am glad you feel better after talking to your boss - often it does help just to know that you are not feeling alone.

I am one of the risk-averse mumsnetters who work as an insurance policy (or rather because I am too scared to rely on anyone else financially). But I am not a hard face caaah (not all the time anyway). grin

I know how hideous it is to feel stressed at work. I worked in a hideously stressful field for a year, and loathed every minute of it. I was constantly on call - my boss was in LA, my suppliers were in Taiwan - I was often working late in the night with my boss, then started work at midnight (when Taiwan woke up) and then in to work for 7 to catch Taiwan before they finished for the day. Plus so much reporting to the board - I remember once deleting a whole project plan which I had spent days on, and cried and cried (thankfully I was at home). I started looking for another job, moved sideways into a completey different field (with transferable skills) and now LOVE it here. It is completely different, and I look back at how the hell I coped with that old job. It has made the world of difference to my life.

I wouldn't advocate that you give up your job, however whilst you are working really try to look for another similar job, or perhaps one which initially you wouldn't apply for, but can tailor your CV to suit. You may be surprised at what is out there.

Good luck.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Jun-11 10:46:06

By "work is an insurance policy" I mean that many people work for no/little immediate profit and no tangible current benefit to their family just to avoid a disaster scenario. I understand that many people prefer the stress and tedium of a unprofitable job to the anxiety of not knowing how they would manage if their partner lost his/her job (or something). People have different mindsets about these things.

My observation is that no-one I know who is well qualified and experienced who has wanted to return to work after a lengthy break to bring up children has failed to get a good job. There are a lot of doom mongers out there.

GetOrf Tue 28-Jun-11 10:49:19

Oh I see. However I think most people who work when their children are very young are owrking just to pay the childcare tbh. It is so expensive. It is worth it to keep your foot in the door however.

It depends on the job I think - some jobs you can easily take time out, however I know that I couldn't take a year out of mine, technology moves on at such a pace I know that I would feel completely out the loop. It doesn't mean that I am right though. It is such an individual thing that people have to make the decisions which make them and their families happy.

oranges Tue 28-Jun-11 11:51:49

But that "avoiding a disaster scenario" is real, in that if I quit, and my husband lost his job (which is possible as redundancies are looming), we would come unstuck very fast, despite our savings etc. I don't think its a thing to be shrugged off.
I am working to pay childcare, but also to have a voice in society - there are things I care about and I know people listen because of my job. I may look sideways at other jobs - I know that mantra - look for a job within a job is true, but its hard to follow through at times.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Jun-11 13:06:53

I don't know why you think you wouldn't have a voice in society if you didn't work? I have more sympathy with the insurance policy argument than with the voice in society/status argument.

wordfactory Tue 28-Jun-11 14:23:39

Difficult to say, op.
I should say from the off that I did give up my job and re-invent myself as something entirely different. And it happened relatively easily.

That said I a. had a huge financial cushion and b. my DH was perfectly supportive.
I would have felt very nervous without a. and wouldn't have done it without b.

I think you need a proper plan and then discuss it with your DH.

BerylStreep Tue 28-Jun-11 16:19:45

Are there any other ways you can reduce the stress in your current role to make things more manageable?

Is there any opportunity of reducing childcare costs, for example making maximum use of childcare vouchers, or changing childcare from nursery to childminder?

I would love to give up work at the moment - working PT, but doing FT job; but it is a career I have been in for 19 years, and have worked hard in, so I don't want to throw it away. It is hard though, although getting better now that both my DC are going to school.

I know what you mean about the insurance policy - our plan is that if DH lost his job, at least I have mine, with the potential for me to go FT.

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