Am I going crazy...? I am going crazy...(21 Posts)
OK, here we go. I have never posted anything such as this before. I am just going crazy...Had a beautiful baby girl 3 years ago. Now she is my everything. Unfortunately- or fortunately some would probably say? I have a job in banking. It is not the fairy tail some people might think. Or I suppose that is quite obvious with all the bad press it has been receiving over the last few years. A year after I returned from being on maternity I more or less hit the wall. The long hours and knowing how much I was missing out made me so sad that I could not go on. Without any sort of back up I resigned. I completely lost my confidence (which you need in this environment- trust me...!) and stayed at home for five months. It was great. Apart from the fact that my DH ended up dealing with all our bills, and obviously that was quite stressful for him. I was lucky and got a job again five months later. Unfortunately in the same industry. Here I am...a year later and my life (working) is a mess...my confidence is zero at the moment, I am starting to make silly mistakes, other people make me look like I dont know what I am doing and even I am starting to wonder what I am doing? What am I doing...? It is well paid, a great company (on paper) to work for- though extremely tough. I can do a good job if I put in 55-60 hours work a week. How much fun is that though when I have my little beautiful daughter at home waiting for me...? During the weeks I dont get to see much of her at all and it makes me very sad again. Part of me do not want to be at work, but unfortunately due to the current financial climat and our personal finances I have no choice (so it feels like) but to continue. It is so stressful though it is starting to affect my physical and mental health. I pick up infections all the time and feel sad and low most of the time. Apart from when I am with my daughter...My DH listens to my stories but probably think I should just be able to deal with it. I am after all a professional woman and should be able to fend for myself...But why have I so lost my confidence...? Where I am, people are like sharks/wolves. If they sense someone is low- they (some) take advantage of this to make themselves look better. Perhaps this is just the general human mentality? Or is it...I really dont know what to do...I am sure I will be called in for discussions tomorrow with my managers. I have had quite a few days off due to illness and recently started to make stupid mistakes. I had a discussion with my manager and said that I am looking after too many clients. And now I end up being assigned more clients? I also feel that I am being made to look like a scapegoat. I have never directly been involved in any financial errors but still feel like I am being made to look like I have been...what is wrong with me...why cant I speak up for myself and defend myself? I dont know what to do. Or part of me do...but I need to sort this mess out first before moving on to my next adventure. I just wanted to post this here to see if anyone else have ended up in a similar mess as to how I feel I am in...I know I should be happy having a job now...but I cant be happy when I miss out so much time with my daughter. She will only be young once...I wish I could just leave but that just is not an option for us at the moment...anyway...One way or another I must be able to fix this...
No - is the short answer! I think you're perfectly normal - I just think that once we have children our priorities change and things that seemed important to us in the past now seem insignificant in comparison! (Ie work and all the 'rubbish' that goes with it. I know I really didn't want to go back to work (teacher) but because we 've got mortgages/lifestyle expectations we convince ourselves that we NEED all of these things (big house, fancy car, holidays etc) and quite often we already have our money tied up in them too so it doesn't feel like a choice any more to be able to stop working and do what we want to do - hence the conflict - you feel trapped by the sounds of it. I went back to work but part time - best of both worlds - now I'm mad busy for 3 days and can do housework, food shopping etc on my 'days off' good compromise. Your confidence has taken a bash cos of time off - happens to us all - it ll come back. Don't worry - wherever you work people try to put you down. My mum always says 'you can only be put down by someone if you LET them put you down!' Don't let them!
Have a good Xmas and hope 2013 sorts this all out for you :-)
Is there a way you can reduce your responsibility by taking a different role? I effectively demoted myself a year or so after coming back to work for exactly the same reasons as you - I was sick of rushing back to see DS, then logging back on again and working until midnight to try and keep on top of things.
It's not easy, particularly from an ego perspective, but if you can get over that bit, it does make all the difference in terms of not feeling stressed about work. It took a while for it to happen for me as I'm not sure anyone really believed me when I first asked for the move, but all got there in the end. Might be a better balance, even if it's slightly less money.
Thank you...it makes sense what you say. I just need to try and be happier and do something about my situation. Perhaps change completely. I dont mind reducing salary or title...not if I can swap that to be happier and spend more time with my daughter...Merry Christmas to you.
OK, so, how about submitting a flexible working request for a 4 day week? I also worked in an aggressive, long-hours culture (magic circle law firm)after having my son but I worked a 4 day week. I knew, and it was acceptable to me, that I would not necessarily have the same time-scale for promotion as full time lawyers BUT I did not mind about this. I was still doing a stimulating job, using my brain, keeping myself relevant to my profession but seeing my son 3 days a week. The best thing for me was having Friday with him - going swimming, hanging out with his buddies (and mine) and catching up on a bit of pre-weekend admin (e.g. go to the bank, get some shopping done, throw a wash on) - it made the weekend so much more relaxing as a family. I totally understand how you feel - for me there is nothing more demoralising than sitting at your desk working on some god-awful deal at 10pm when you wish you could have put your baby to bed. For me, working late a couple of nights a week and getting home on time a couple of nights (even if it meant logging on after my son's bedtime), was fine by me if I had my Fridays off. I was always contactable by email for emergency queries, especially from juniors working with me. One thing to remember is that your job is something to be proud of - you worked hard for it. There will come a day when your child(ren) are grown up, off to uni, fending for themselves...and throwing in the towel with work completely at this stage may not be the best thing for you in the long run. You are obviously very motivated but also a very heartfelt and involved mama... I think you can probably find a balance that works for you. I have friends who stopped working entirely after their second baby and do not feel it was the best decision...they feel they have lost some of their identity and worry if they will ever work in their profession again. I have examples of good flexible working requests if you want some help on that front, just PM me. I think the key is to think of the type of arrangement that would make you happier, but also keep you happy from a professional (and financial) perspective. Could you request a set leaving time each day (4.30-5pm?) on the basis you will be available on your berry and able to log on to do anything urgent after your daughter's bedtime, and then do a 4 day week? From an employer's perspective it is all about flexibility from both sides. I felt it was a small price to pay that I may need to answer some emails on my day off if I actually had 90% of that day with my son. Anyway, just some thoughts...it is so hard at first but I truly believe there is the right balance out there for all of us!
Hi Emms - I read your post and your situation is almost identical to mine. I started a new job post maternity leave and 9 months in, I am really really struggling. A similar cut throat environment and I am totally loosing my confidence.
Have you decided on next steps?
Thank you for your advise MntBikeChick! Bikes I have had some time off now and decided to look for a new job. It might take a while but having made that decision makes me feel so much better. I don't want to change much but working for a smaller company I think will be easier- and finding my way back again finding a more rewarding and stimulating job I think will help me. I really don't want to stop working but I refuse to believe I cannot find an employer who would hire me where leaving at a decent hour is normal rather than an exception - as oppose to leave at 18:45-21.00... I had some strong conversations with my managers as well before Christmas as I really was at breaking point back then. I think I will also ask to be able to leave at 17:15 2/ days a week where I am now will help before I find my new position. I want a job where I can have a work life balance and not chose to give up on the time with my daughter completely (which I had to last year). I think so far this has taught me to speak up and let your managers know how you feel but also present a plan how the team/ department can work if you leave earlier etc. I had some other conversations with colleagues and friends who told me to not take work so seriously. Which is easier said than done when you spend your life there... But to also put your foot down. In a tough work environment people will always go after the "nice" people... Awful really when you can't be a good colleague but people then take advantage of you and your situation. I will as I said look for a new job, slightly less demanding, if it involves a pay cut so be it. I just refuse to end up now again how I felt and the situation I was in last year and for me right now... I have to change job- and am willing for this process to take a few months. I have had some time off and feel stronger now and want to find a place where I don't have to feel guilty for having a family and a little girl who I love most of all in this world!!!
So ... Today I was turned down and was told no to leave at 17:15 twice a week... And that by my manager, who is a mum- and on a flexible arrangement. She also left work today at 17:20 to pick up her child. And I had to stay to 18:45... Not too happy at the moment! Grrr... I'm still convinced I will find the right employer next time! Life just can't be this unfair surely :-((((
Sorry to hear you were turned down. Can you appeal? Are there precedents you can quote - er, eg your own manager?? Why are you so much more "valuable" than she is?? ie the office can function in her absence but apparently not in yours! Do you feel that your request was given due consideration? Did you present a case showing how your physical absence will NOT affect the outputs of your work? Doesn't seem fair - I hope you can challenge it successfully.
Emma, have a look at the German and Japanese orgs. For two very different reasons they may be more suitable at this stage in your life. (I have experience going back over last 20 years of pretty much evey bank in city, either directly, or as clients of mine). Even front office jobs I think less cut-throat in these orgs.
I completely understand. I worked for a large IB and the treatment I had when I was pregnant made me realise I couldn't go back after ML. A few years ago, many banks offered amazing packages and flexibility but now anyone is easily replaced given the number of people looking for employment. A good friend gave menthe best advice ever. Move to the buy side!! Smaller companies generally mean they look after staff more. Better hours, better bonuses, in my case also a promotion! 3 years on and I've never looked back. Hope that helps!! Good luck OP.
Thank you for your advice. Yes I am looking for a move to somewhere where I can work and still have some sort of work life balance.
I also work for an investment bank and have a three year old- I have found coming back from maternity leave really difficult - I am only now beginning to enjoy it and starting to perform ok but it is a struggle so I have a lot of sympathy.
What do you actually do? Can you move areas at all? The thing I find really helps is working from home - is that possible? Other than your boss are there any other women you can talk to? Do you think there is a need for the hours or can you make a business case for different hours?
However it is always going to be a long hours environment- I sat in a meeting today where a woman who worked9-8 but logged back in from10-2am including weekend was quoted as a good example of flexible working
And...they asked me to leave. So here I am, looking for my next adventure...Always been a high achieving career focused individual. Now I will take my time to find the right job this time...feels very strange!
Not sure if that warrants a commiserations or congratulations?! Take the positives from it I guess - it forces you to start looking which would always have been harder while you still had a job. And in the meantime you get to be mummy which I have to say, I'd be very envious of having just had a lovely Easter break with my little boy - made me realise how much I was missing.
From my own experience of banking at least you should have plenty of options when you start looking for new roles - people were chopping and changing all the time when I was in that industry. As you say, take the time to ensure that you find the right job this time and it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Hope you're feeling okay and fingers crossed that it all works out for the best!
It is ok actually. Maybe what I needed to look into what I really would like to do (I know job market is tough...). And I have a lot more time with my daughter and doing things at home which I enjoy. So really (though it is not an ideal solution) I really will make the most of this and turn it around to something good and worthwhile!!!
Is there any possibility you could build up a freelance consultancy base for US clients so you can work once she's down for the night?
I think tentative congratulations are in order. X
If you could tell us the role you had we might be able to suggest some career options (including banking ones)
I worked with clients who traded derivatives (operations) and I loved the client services aspect of my job. And I know the clients I looked after liked me and the job I did (very much)...I think, this time I would like to get a job in the buy side (smaller company) working with clients again where I can use my languages (as I am trilingual). I would not mind taking a step down either as my last position was very senior. And I have worked in various companies in the city in the last 10 years in different roles (so to some extent flexible as well) Unfortunately/ fortunately since I had my daughter I have been promoted to managerial/ senior roles. Maybe it sounds strange but that was/is a hard combination! At least for me... I know that what ever my next job will be, I will perform well again and therefore would not mind stepping down for a while. I used to be a great performer but did lose confidence since having my daughter. And I might not have had the best experience with my previous job. I learned as well from that experience. Now whilst I am looking for my next move, I am spending my time with my daughter, home, husband, reading, studying for some courses, networking with friends and old colleagues, browsing the internet, researching new roles, running and yoga. I would prefer to be employed rather than self employed as well.
Thanks for all your well wishes on here!!!
As you've worked out, you need to steer clear of managerial roles. Client facing also a bit of an issue as there will be peaks and troughs in activity.
Given language skills and enjoyment of client facing, I reckon if you want to go back you should look at three areas.
1) derivatives mid office. No management, boring, but good pay
2) business manager/COO for top dog on buy side of a larger firm. There may be some periods of stress but if you have a boss that values you you'll get shielded from the effects of that.
3) independent consultant/project manager. To get into that you'd need to do a prince2 (one week course) but then you should be flying - your content knowledge would be valued and there are plenty of projects that will kill for language skills. If you go independent you can also take breaks between projects to spend with family.
I reckon no3, when you get bored of not working.
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