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Feeling trapped

(19 Posts)
Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 09:15:22

I’m late 40s, left school at 15 without any O levels and went straight into the workplace.

Because of my lack of qualifications I’ve been employed in admin roles at various different employers.

Worked evenings when DC were pre-school as couldn’t afford childcare. When youngest DC started school, worked at local school, again to avoid child care costs.

DC are teens, I work full-time in an admin role. Been working for my current employer for 6 months.

Don’t know whether it is a “mid life” thing, but I just feel trapped and I just see years ahead of doing the same boring 💩role. Eldest DC is talking about going to uni in a few years time, so I’m mindful of making any rash decisions.

Obvious answer is to stick out current job as lots of people in department are due to retire in next 2-5 years. But that seems such a long time.....

I only took job because it is close to where I live and as DH works long hours, although DC are older now, felt I still needed to be at home for them if that makes sense?

I just feel trapped and worthless. Only 6 months in and office politics is really grinding me down.

Sigh confused any advice?

daisychain01 Sun 15-Oct-17 10:09:39

Can you develop the skills you have gained in the workplace towards a formal qualification, for example an HNC / NVQ business studies or HR (depending on what your area of knowledge is).

It will give you a step up to the next rung. OK you will still have to put up with the day job, but doing a bit of self-study on the side will give you something to aim for. It could be very achievable doing a FE further education course - ie not HE (degree level), which you may not feel willing or able to do at this point in your working life.

In short try to do something to keep up your interest, to aim towards a more varied role, but not breaking the bank or having to spend years getting the qualification.

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 10:23:04

Good advice Daisychain01

Problem is I don’t have any area of particular expertise as I’ve jumped around a bit. Partly due to the need of fitting a job around DC, hence the evening job then teaching assistant job. I will take your advice and look at FE course, just not sure what direction to go in.

Part of me is thinking to preserve for next few years as quite a few colleagues nearing retirement. Problem of that is no guarantee that department would be restructured and senior jobs would even exist! And even if they did, would I get the job? confused hmm

daisychain01 Sun 15-Oct-17 10:38:50

If your plan is to put yourself forward to take over from people moving on due to retirement, you need to be able to offer the skills they have, otherwise how can you do their job?

Whatever their role is, think about whether you could step into their role, and what skill gaps you need to plug.

Personally, placing a job dependency on someone else’s decision eg retirement, would be too frustrating and slow. I’d be looking at what to do today, even if it means moving to a different organisation. Be master of your own destiny!

AlternativeTentacle Sun 15-Oct-17 10:49:29

Get some surely the solution? What do you like doing?

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 11:15:50

in an ideal world yes, would love to be master of my own destiny but I am limited to my options:
- DH works long hours, so someone needs to be around for DC
Brings me into second problem of being too far away from home

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 11:20:45

As I said, took the job because it is close to home ...

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 11:35:10

AlternativeTentacle I’ve forgotten what I like doing sad

Also guilty of putting DC and DH happiness before my own

Don’t know what makes me happy any more ...

Heratnumber7 Sun 15-Oct-17 11:43:22

Ask your line manager what you need to do to progress in the company, then ask the company to support you in getting the necessary training or experience.

John Major only had o levels. He ran the country.

Frisbeefreedom Sun 15-Oct-17 11:57:11

How about going to local college to just do a short course out of interest? It sounds like you need to relearn how to put yourself first, so do something just for you. DC will be fine looking after themselves one evening a week. Then if you find you like learning, you could look at something a bit more career focused, and you'll be a bit more in the mindset of being able to decide what's best for you.

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 11:58:47

Line manager is one of my colleagues close to retirement. She isn’t interested in her staff, she is just ticking off the days/years until she leaves. She hasn’t been any help with my role and whenever I ask her anything she just says read the intranet

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 12:04:51

Frisbeefreedom good idea ... really don’t know what I want to do. I’m not creative, no artistic flair. Sadly not inherited my Mum’s ability to do anything with her hands, paint, furniture restoration, sew, cut hair, flower arrange, cake decorate, photography, you get the drift.

HarrietVane99 Sun 15-Oct-17 12:18:04

Agree that you should start by trying to find new interests, regardless of whether it might help with your career progression. Join a class or a club. Could be anything - drama, photography, French, walking, art, book group. Also find a new hobby you can pursue at home - handcrafts, writing, a personal reading challenge.

As your teens get older and are out with their friends in the evenings, and if your husband is still working long hours, you'll probably find you have time at home on your own. You need to fill it with things for you.

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 12:30:48


Been looking online this morning in between posting! Just not sure what, I feel intimidated with anything artistic/creative as I’m not skilled in that way.

HarrietVane99 Sun 15-Oct-17 12:54:05

What about something like a local history society? They usually have programmes of talks. Or becoming a helper at Guides/Brownies? Or going for the technical/stage management side in a drama group? Random ideas.

Most clubs/societies/voluntary groups will bite your hand off if you show willingness to get involved with practical tasks like setting out the chairs, making tea, stuffing envelopes if they still do mailings. Your admin skills could be just what they need.

Do you have a WEA branch in your area? They run Adult Ed classes, and are also nearly always looking for volunteers on the admin side.

Frisbeefreedom Sun 15-Oct-17 12:58:03

Doesn't have to be creative - you could pick something random like a history course? Or something practically useful - IT (I bet if you did a short Excel course you'd be so popular at work!), budgeting? First aid?

You could look at Future Learn - free online courses in all sorts of subjects. Plus sides of being free and there being noone to judge you if you struggle, but obviously they have the downside of not getting you out of the house. Maybe think about what TV programmes you like - e.g. if you're a CSI fan they do some in forensic science! I've had loads of people recommend the Mindfulness and Wellbeing one they do for general stepping back and taking a new look at your life.

Oddsocks15 Sun 15-Oct-17 13:38:52

Ooooh some great ideas that I hadn’t thought of. Thank you flowers

allaboutthatsass Sun 15-Oct-17 19:43:42

free online courses do not give you certificates that you can put on a CV and thus move jobs. Do a distance learning certified course.

What about other skills you may have such as baking - could you turn that into a side business and build it up? Or what about becoming a childminder?

Heratnumber7 Sun 15-Oct-17 20:00:31

Have you tried line manager’s manager?

But you need to take the initiative, and get studying. Anything, to get yourself into the swing of it.

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