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Wondering whether to give up work (mum of two and struggling to juggle)

(5 Posts)
Parabolica Thu 02-Feb-12 14:39:59

Hello, I'm looking for some advice...

I work for a company in the City as an in-house lawyer. If my kids hadn't come along when they did, I'd probably have left a long time ago as company is v tight with pay, perks & no real chance to progress as structure v rigid and hierarchical. But it made sense (sort of at the time) to stay for the maternity pay (though only statutory) and use goodwill/good reputation I had built up internally to negotiate part-time working arrangements.

After 1st child, I went back for 4 days/week - in reality ended up doing 5 days work in 4 days as did a lot of extra (unpaid) work in the evening or on day off. After 2nd child, I managed to persuade them to agree to 3 days a week. When I went back last year, I felt like I wasn't really part of the team anymore - I wasn't sat with the rest of my team and manager wouldn't move team meetings to a day I was in the office (though I was senior member of team). Just before Xmas, a full-time colleague went on mat leave and having failed to recruit maternity cover for her, it was decided (without consulting me first) I would take over her client portfolio and they would bring in a consultant to cover the work on the days I was off. The other consultant isn't joining now and I'm worried I will end up having to run this portfolio myself with only a bit of ad-hoc help here and there. While I was 'willing' to do some work outside my working hours when I had one child, I wouldn't be able or remotely willing to do extra work now I have two kids (the oldest started school in Sept and school life is v busy to say the least).

To complicate matters, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy in January and have been off work since then - due back next week. Out of the blue last week, I got an email saying I was now on half-pay. I was pretty shocked and a bit sceptical (as they have been wrong before in calculating holiday etc) and I checked my original terms & conditions which provided for 6 months full pay (no revised terms have ever been given to me re sick pay). I pointed all this out and they replied saying they had given me "incorrect information" and so I wasn't on half pay after all!!

To be honest, I feel like they just tried it on with the sick pay and I shouldn't have to double-check everything they tell me. I also think they shafted me with my part-time holiday entitlement but you can't fight every battle. Basically every employee is just a number to them and their attitude is how little can they get away with - which is why all the good people tend to leave.

The money is helpful but not crucial (we can manage without it if we make the odd sacrifice) - by the time I've paid nursery, childminder + commuting there isn't much left (few hundred £). My husband works long hours and we have no family help so everything else (kids, stuff at home etc) falls to me. The thing is I've always worked and would have previously thought of myself as quite a driven, motivated person (even a high flier) but kids come along and life changes. Its just a really big step for me to give up work - just wondered whether anyone has reached the same crossroads. All thoughts/advice much appreciated.

Thanks!

StillSquiffy Thu 02-Feb-12 15:58:24

Very brief as am snowed under. Yes I did and jumped ship. Had a great career and was facing option of taking the final leap to partnership or jumping off the pot. Can't believe I actually jumped.

In retrospect it was the best thing that ever happened, but only because I was able to switch to doing other stuff. I now work ad-hoc, and I run a business when I'm not doing that. I was able to tap into a large network for this which was the key to making it work - without a network I would have been bored to tears sitting at home (I tried that too, but went bonkers after 3 months)

Are you sure you want to give up, though? Sounds like all your problems are because you're in an environment that is suffocating, not because you hate your job? Why not look around. I spent 5 years working in a bank where almost all the legal team (including head of legal) worked part-time/from home. It worked really well (mostly because they were all individually very good so no-one minded that they shared work between them and we never cared who answered the phone when we called. PM me if you want the name of the org - you may know a friend of a friend who works there. They really were very good with working mums etc.

KatieMiddleton Fri 03-Feb-12 10:31:18

Could you have a look around for another job? Try a job share agency like www.eatyourcake.co.uk or flexible/pt recruitment agency like www.womenlikeus.com but also network like mad. Which consultancy were your employer going to use? Could you get on their books as a freelancer?

I have gone from a very corporate, welll regarded position to freelancing. I was "helped" by redundancy after maternity leave but I control what work I do now and I also volunteer. I am much happier even though my work friends are amazed because I used to live for work.

Paid work isn't always the most rewarding. You can still work but unpaid and get lots out of it. Could you volunteer for CAB or similar?

ESTATE Fri 03-Feb-12 14:35:00

I agree it may not be your job but the enviroment you are in.

However with two kids life gets crazy.I only have one for the time being but I already fear the chaos of two. So change job but also be clear how much time you want to dedicate to work and to your family ( and to volunteer, friends, yourself etc).

I have just been made redundant whilst on maternity leave ( seems a trend in the current climate) and althought I am very angry and feel unfairly treated I see this as an opportunity to have a life revaluation and see how I position myself as a working mum: certainly I am not prepared to do the hours and be constantly under the stress of a 10/12 hours a day 5 days a week job.

There are some financial sacrifices to be made but may be well worth it. I think you need advices but also some "space" for yourself to connect to that voice inside us that usually does not fail. Good luck

jcj1 Mon 29-Oct-12 23:08:18

OP - I know it's a while since you posted but I wondered what decision you made? I am in a similar position, considering leaving a highly paid 3.5 day a week job where the demands are increasing to unmanageble levels and my confidence and self-worth are diminishing by the day. It would mean severe financial cutbacks for us as OH doesn't earn as much and I'm scared about loss of status/independance/security etc but don't think I can continue in the current situation.

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