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(18 Posts)
Bigleap Sat 01-Nov-14 09:23:21

I've name changed for this, as I'm going to include a lot of detail. Apologies if it gets too long.

Three years ago I took voluntary redundancy for a full on job in finance. My children were growing up fast, I was very stressed and it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. The plan was to take a year off, re-charge my batteries and take care of my family while deciding what to do next.

Three months in, I chanced across an advert for a finance job in a school very close to home. I hadn't been looking or even considering work and the way this appeared seemed like an omen. I applied but was never nervous in the interview etc as it seemed like it was meant to be - the job was mine! I have since learned that there were 100s of applications, they interviewed 10 and the decision was easy - I "won" easily.

I'm over qualified for the job and it's far junior to my old position but I've enjoyed it, learned some new skills and it's enabled me to have some job satisfaction and a family life. My boss has enjoyed, rather than been threatened by my experience and has been happy to delegate to me which has made the job more interesting and means I have gained experience in areas beyond my job title iyswim. I'm also being sponsored for a professional qualification.

As part of the course I've subscribed to the Times Ed and in the first issue I received, the only job in my field (finance, rather than teaching) is for FD at a FE college 6 miles from here!. This feels like a bit of an omen again. The salary is 3x the FTE equivalent of my current job and c. 10% more than the job I left 3 years ago. On paper I could make a good case for having the skills it asks for, with my old career and my current job in education but obviously my school experience is at a much lover level than that required for this job.

So, do I go for it?

My concerns are:

-Current school finding out and being (justifiably) annoyed after sponsoring me for the course I've only just started
-Being laughed out of court and blowing my chances if another more junior but still attractive job came up at the college
-Bursar at current school is 55 next year and may be considering early retirement, so there could be an opportunity coming up there
-If by some miracle I got the job, I'd be on a very steep learning curve and probably out of my depth, at least to bebin with. I could end up being as stressed, or more stressed than I was before, although DC are both now at secondary school and home life is getting easier to manage.

I would absolutely relish the challenge but I don't want to drive myself into the ground. Does anyone else find there's a very fine line between being overstretched and not stretched enough?!

Bigleap Sat 01-Nov-14 10:41:15


Flywheel Sat 01-Nov-14 11:07:55

I wouldn't focus too much on the first few points. Concentrate on the last one. Do you really want the job, and all that entails? If so, go for it.
It is a tough decision and I have been in a similar position. For now I am content with less pressure and responsibility, but my dc are still young.
Good luck with your decision

Eastpoint Sat 01-Nov-14 11:15:24

Why don't you apply & see what happens? I suppose your current employer might ask you to refund the cost of your professional qualification but your new employer might then cover it as part of your employment terms.

BeckAndCall Sat 01-Nov-14 11:29:25

DoF at at an FE college is a massive job and is very sector specific and i don't think that the school experience translates that well. Your previous experience, on the other hand, may be enough to demonstrate the public sector and funding environment knowledge that is needed through.

You say that the school is sponsoring you for a professionally qualification - i assume this is in addition to a CCAB qualification? Again, an accountancy qualification would be a mandatory requirement for the FE job.

Hours wise, the FE college job would be a 50 hour a week job even when you're up to speed with the funding regime and the reporting requirements - more for the first 6 months I'm sure.

All of that said, there comes a time when its the right time to step up the career a notch or two and this might be your time.

twentyten Sat 01-Nov-14 11:34:12

Take the longer view- what matters most for the next 5 years? And I have found as have many that the teen years require more input than younger- have a think about your priorities.

Bigleap Sat 01-Nov-14 15:40:10

Thank you all. I've been down the person spec and I think I can at least spin a good line to cover all aspects, using my experience from my previous job mostly.

Whether I want to is another thing. ATM, I am definitely a bit bored and could do with a bot of a challenge but this would be one extreme to the other.

Absolutely agree twentyten that in many ways it's more important to be there for DC when they're a bit older. It's easy (practically speaking) to hand a baby or toddler over to a childminder, becomes more difficult as they develop their own social life and want to be able to do things and see friends after school. For teens, mostly they don't seem to need you very much but it is important to be there when they do need you (not a couple of hours later). ATM I'm here when they come in from school - mostly the hours between 3:30 and 6pm are very boring while they do their own thing. Occasionally there is some emotional crisis or celebration that means I'm very glad I was there.

Lots to think about

Bigleap Sat 01-Nov-14 15:43:27

I think it probably is a bit soon, family wise but it also worries me that if I leave it too long, the experience from my previous job will be irrelevant.

twentyten Sat 01-Nov-14 16:56:54

Are there ways to keep your skills up to date? Networking/ professional devt etc? Taking on voluntary roles- school/ college governor etc? Try and keep your contacts going. Key to job hunting. You are so right about crises and celebrations- and being there when they want you. And with major life decisions for them coming up- the application etc always needs completing tonight/ stuff for tomorrow- etc- I know we should not try and fix it all but the degree of stress I see in dd's school mates is scary- yr 13 now but has been over the last few years.

Hazelnut55 Sat 01-Nov-14 20:14:39

I would wait. The emotional stuff that goes on with teenagers can be a real strain and if you have a choice I would hang around to see them through it. I worked hard through my child's teenage years and she suffered with eating disorders; of course there probably isn't any link but I wish I had done things differently.

On a another point, if you are shortlisted, your current employer will be asked for a reference before interviews due to safer recruitment guidelines.

hamptoncourt Sat 01-Nov-14 20:39:29

I don't want to put you off but I am a manager in FE and I regularly work 60/70 hour weeks. So do all the other managers I know in FE. Mental/Emotional Breakdowns are horribly common.

50 hours would be an easy week.

You just need to be aware of how gruelling FE is before you leap into it.

Good Luck.

camtt Sat 01-Nov-14 20:45:46

I think you could apply and see what happens. Use it as an opportunity to assess whether you want the job, not just to find out whether they want you. I wouldn't pass up opportunities based on the possibility that someone retires and you can take over their job - they might hang on for longer than you expect or you might not get the job after all and then regret not going for other opportunities.

ismellonehugerat Sat 01-Nov-14 20:52:02

What do you want from your life?

You stepped away from your previous job in Finance because you were stressed and missing out on your children. You have since found balance and time for your children even if you do feel a bit under utlised. As FD the buck will stop with you. I very much doubt it will be an easy ride. Be prepared for a high workload, stress, long hours...

After a long time in business I went to work for a not-for-profit on the assumption that it would be more interesting, flexible, caring, etc. Ha! What a joke. The workload was ridiculous. I had to leave after a year for fear of the job killing me. These days I would rather have a lesser job and more of life. A concept that very few employers seem to understand these days.

EBearhug Sat 01-Nov-14 21:37:17

Go for it. You don't have to take it if you are offered it, but if you don't give it ago, you'll always be left wondering "what if?" If you get an interview, that's when you get to see if it still sounds as good as it looks on paper, and you can ask any questions you've got.

JustSayNoNoNo Sun 02-Nov-14 10:16:10

Go for it. At the interview, ask some searching questions about a typical week, pressures and deadlines, why the vacancy arose, staff turnover.

FE & HE are under constant pressure due to ever-changing external regulatory regimes. It won't be a walk in the park, whatever your background.

Notbythehaironmychinnychinchin Sun 02-Nov-14 10:24:38

OP, have PMed you - I did similar, took VR, went part time in piss easy job, now have "leant back in" to use a wanky phrase!

IrenetheQuaint Sun 02-Nov-14 10:30:12

I don't think you have much to lose from applying. It does sound like you're getting a bit stale and just putting the application together, updating your CV and thinking through your skills and experience would be a really useful exercise. If you do get to interview stage then remember it's just as much about you interviewing them as vice versa.

bbcessex Wed 05-Nov-14 19:48:56

If the job ad has pinged your radar, I'd say you are ready for a new challenge. If you really were enjoying the easier life, you'd probably look at it and thin thank god I'm not doing that anymore.

For some people, the easy option is fine, either for a while, or if circumstances dictate it, but for others, I really do think you need to live up to your potential wherever possible if you want to.

I did a similar thing to you in taking VR when my children were small; they are both at secondary school now, I'm 6 years back in to an even more demanding career, motivated, challenged, invigorated and stressed in equal measures. I love it.

I do agree with the poster who said that teenagers need as much, if not more attention than small children - that is a struggle for me, and it is a valid concern. We do get by though. Lots of revision and homework help is given via Skype and WebEx in our house :0), plus earning more means we can pay for tutors etc. and go out for meals / activities etc., so the children do benefit and get a lot of time with us out of hours.

What have you got to lose by applying?

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