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Am I mad to consider reducing hours to pursue other career??!

(6 Posts)
bloomingheather Thu 18-May-17 01:51:32

I would really like some advice with something that has been on my mind for a long time. I retrained as a teacher around 5 years ago after 8 years in my previous career in a therapy profession allied to medicine. I loved the field I worked in and remain very passionate about it but felt at the time. I would enjoy teaching more. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong sad I now teach full time but also have my own (very small but relatively busy) private practice in my previous role which I do in my own time (apologies for being vague and not saying exactly what it is. I am trying not to out myself too much as am trying to keep my dilemma quiet at work for now)!

I have spent increasing amounts of time over the last few years thinking about leaving teaching or at least reducing my hours to try to grow my private practice. I love working with children (and feel I am good at it!) but the stress, workload and politics of it all are making it feel like an increasingly thankless task. I am spending longer periods of time frustrated and miserable interspersed with shorter and shorter periods of feeling settled, effective and appreciated. There is a fair bit of demand for private work in my field - I regularly turn work down and have a number of regular, loyal clients now.

I have recently been approached by another organisation to do some private part time work for them in my previous career, which would last at least a year. It is the kind of work I love doing, involving staff training as well as direct therapy work with children. It is also the type of work that I could potentially make a good living from if it went well. I feel I would potentially be much happier working in this way. I have a meeting about it within the next week where I will need to commit to doing it or refuse it.

The main thing stopping me stopping or reducing my teaching hours is financial securityI'm not a saver and while I manage to pay my bills and have a fairly good standard of living, I never have money at the end of the month and have no savings. Private work in my field pays well, and I have been advised by my accountant in the past that I could potentially make more than my full time wages at the moment if I kept busy and managed my business well. I live with my partner and have no mortgage (I contribute to bills and my partner owns the property we live) in although a lot of bills! We have no children although are planning on ttc soon. This may not seem like a very sensible decision given that I am thinking about taking a big financial risk, but I am currently undergoing fertility tests and am also getting on a bit age wise and don't really have the time to put it off. It isn't the best timing to have a career crisis I know, but this has all just happened in quite a short space of time!

Do I take a risk and ask to reduce my teaching hours to part time hours (to possibly 2 or 3 days a week) which would mean I could do both jobs and also have the security of a permanent post with sick pay and maternity if necessary? My boss will not be happy and may refuse (I know that they are perfectly within their rights to do so). Or do I stay in my job until I am more financially secure but potentially miss out on these opportunities in private practice which I may not get again. My partner is supportive and has told me to "be brave!". He sees how hard I work at both roles and how passionate I am about my previous career.

Has anyone left a role and taken a big risk to pursue an alternative career that they had a gut feeling would make them happier? Was it a success? Or would you advise against it? Although I would love to read lots of success stories, the logic, risk averse part of me needs to hear both!! Apologies for the epic and thanks if you are still reading - this has been going round in my head for months and I wanted to explain my dilemma properly!

flowery Thu 18-May-17 10:58:29

I'm astonished you have had time/energy as a full time teacher to pursue your other venture. Imagine how well you could do if you devoted more time to it!

In circumstances where you have a solid base to build from, no mortgage to pay and a supportive partner, I would absolutely explore reducing your hours.

tammytheterminator Thu 18-May-17 11:15:54


What's the point in flogging your guts out doing something you don't enjoy? You have a supportive partner and other than some bills you don't have massive commitments. If you are worried about the money then set yourself a budget and stick to it.

You tried teaching and found you don't really like it. I think five years is long enough to know.

tammytheterminator Thu 18-May-17 11:17:21

Also, the fact that you want to move back in that direction and have been approached is an indicator that you should be moving that way. Nudges from the universe and all that!

bloomingheather Thu 18-May-17 20:53:37

Thanks both of you of the supportive comments. tammy it does feel as if I keep getting 'signs' that I should finally make the break and try this out. In fact, on the day that I was approached by the other organisation, I also heard out of the blue from my ex-colleague who had a very similar, but unconnected, idea for us to work together. It did feel very much like fate and a few other things have happened since then to cement it further for me.

And yes flowery it's exhausting and intense at times trying to manage both and I do feel as if both don't get the best of me at times because I'm trying to juggle too much. I often get home around 7 or 8 at night having been out since 8am and then have more work to do at home. I'm just lucky (in some ways) that I don't yet have children or other caring responsibilities and can use my time like that.

So now 'all' I have to do is approach my head teacher and submit my request to her (I am not looking forward to this confused) I spoke to a colleague at school today who works part time and is interested in upping her hours and I was wondering if they might consider us job sharing. She already works in a job share partnership however and I'm not sure how this would all work. It seems pretty complicated!

daisychain01 Sat 20-May-17 13:16:56

I'm going to risk setting the cat amongst the pigeons, but hope you take my thoughts as constructive not judgemental:

Your circumstances as you describe are heavily biased towards risk (rather than stability) as regards your personal financial planning/security.

This would concern me if I were you >>> I live with my partner and have no mortgage (I contribute to bills and my partner owns the property we live) in although a lot of bills! We have no children although are planning on ttc soon

You are potentially spreading yourself thinly, reducing your teaching role and moving towards a pursuit, albeit a high quality one, where your income will be unpredictable, all this while you don't have financial security behind you, and you are ttc. Hopefully you know that contributing to bills gives you no financial security regarding the house you live in.

I'd be worried about that whole big picture, when considering career choices and securing your future personal financial stability.

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