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Career - crisis of confidence

(9 Posts)
user1485561594 Sat 28-Jan-17 00:44:21

I always excelled at school, university and in my early years of work, but am now having a crisis of confidence.

Essentially I worked for 3 years, for a great firm but in the wrong department (an area that was shrinking). I then switched areas to a different but related company. Then disaster struck - I fell ill, and was off work for 6 months (partly bad luck, partly I think from pushing myself too hard in a city career). I struggled back to full time over the next two years.

I am proud of myself for overcoming this, but am no longer enjoying my career. It is very specialised and very well paid, but stressful and very long hours. It is also difficult to find a related job if I decide I don't want to continue in the same career - because it is so specialised. Due to my illness, also missed key periods of training, which now make my job more stressful.

I am now finding it difficult to balance my career, which looks good on paper, but which is making me quite miserable in reality, with what i want in my personal life. The hours are just too long. I would like to downsize, but as it is so specialised I struggle to find related jobs when searching online. I wish I had aimed lower, but in a broader career that had more options to downsize.

Apologies for the moan! Essentially I am looking for others views. I would like to have a family in the next couple of years, but struggle to see how I would balance my current career with this. Has anyone successfully downsized their career as they entered their 30s? Equally has anyone downsized and the regretted it? Very appreciative of either point of view! Similarly has anyone fought back to work after a long period of illness and has any key things they learned to share? It has really knocked my confidence.

user1485561594 Sat 28-Jan-17 01:01:34


mrsenasharples Sat 28-Jan-17 01:09:29

I think the best thing for you to do is to unpick the jobs you have done and work out exactly what you have done. You may feel a bit hopeless but I am sure you will have learnt many skills that are transferable.

What does your ideal life look like? How do you want to feel? Do you want to leave at 5.30pm on the dot or are you a bit more flexible? Get clear on what you want.

Also, scroll around the job boards and see what grabs your attention and why. Dig deeper into those jobs and see what else is around. Indeed is a good website for this.

You've only been in work for a few years not decades so a transition shouldn't be too difficult. Don't get fixated on salary or you really will box yourself into a corner.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 28-Jan-17 01:11:21

Hi Op. I can sympathise as felt very similar to yourself.

I had a high stress/high pay/high hours career but then I had a surprise baby!!

Any career progression stalled, (no matter what my history was) but the workload/responsibilities etc were piled on.

For me- I refused to accept this and after 5 years quit. I'm now back at Uni retraining for a totally different sector.

At the point that I quit, I already had a house, DD and DP and had some savings to get me through. We have downsized our lifestyle considerably but I am far happier and still feel secure in our financial position (ie:not worried about mortgage payments.)

user1485561594 Sat 28-Jan-17 01:33:53

Thank you - I agree part of the problem is working out what I want and whether I am willing to give up my current situation to achieve it. I guess I am just not used to not succeeding at something and it means making a big change is really quite mentally difficult.

Also agree on the salary point - I would be happy to take a fairly significant pay cut if it meant I felt on the right track for the longer term.

It is helpful to know others have made big changes before as well - do you find it difficult to retrain? How is it being at uni with people who I imagine are younger? Or did you choose a course with other mature students?

pseudonymity Sat 28-Jan-17 01:40:04

I have gone back to work after a long illness. I'm never quite better but I work part time only, it's what I can manage. If you are only early 30s late 20s you can change career easily for something you would enjoy. I'm late 30s, would have changed career after illness but had no savings etc. If you have savings you are in a really good position.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 28-Jan-17 01:41:50

When I quit, I felt like I wasn't successful in my role. Hindsight has taught me that I was actually very successful and adept yet just didn't 'fit' the organisation.
It is crazy that workplaces allow good employees to become so demotivated and suspicious of their own capabilities.

For that reason alone, I'd say you need a change.

Retraining is difficult. As somebody who is 'the best' at what they do, I found it hard to go from being the teacher to being the taught. That said, I am really enjoying what I am doing.

I haven't really noticed the age gap. (I'm 31) as if I am honest, I treat Uni as going to work. I have friends/social commitments already and so I am not really interested in the social aspect of University. Other mature students are a real mixed bag as they range from 21 to 90. They are all there for their own reasons (not necessarily the same as mine.)

An acquaintance at Uni is having a baby within the next month and so she has told me some of the arrangements that the Uni have organised for her. It sounds better than my previous workplace to be honest thus I would not rule out having another child whilst in academia.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 28-Jan-17 01:44:43

And yes- significant cut in pay. I now work 1 or 2 days a week for a local organisation that I like. They can't afford my old rate, I get paid around £50 a day for it.

Money is tight.

That said, I am happier. DP is energised by my enthusiasm and I no longer have to cringe when DD asks me what I do at work. (It is harder than you think pretending to your child-who is full of wonderment and optimism- that you don't hate your job and what it does to you.

daisychain01 Sat 28-Jan-17 04:11:35

Please don't feel disheartened about the "downsizing", it's a question of "be careful what you wish for". I was promoted to a role with the big salary, benefits, privileges that I thought was the be-all and end-all of life, and I was miserable. I have downsized in a different industry altogether and like having a lower salary, less pressure, better work/life balance, time and energy to spend on family and interests outside the workplace. It's no longer about live to work, it has increased my quality of life massively.

"Status" is a very over rated concept. Increasingly, people are realising that life is not about churning on a hamster wheel day after day, its a balance of fulfilment and having enough funds to pay the bills and not worry, rather than having lots of 'disposable' and an impoverished life.

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