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Career move or crap job with child-friendly hours?

(9 Posts)
BadHair Tue 18-Jan-05 16:17:59

Sorry this is really long, but here goes:

I'm in a deadly dull, low-paid job that I hate. Plus side is that its in a university so its term-time only and just 18.5 hrs per week so I get loads of time with children. Downside is that it pays peanuts and is weird, unsociable hours. I voluntarily took a sideways move from a much better (PA) job when I returned from mat leave after having ds2 as I couldn't work 9-5 due to childcare (couldn't afford nursery for 2 children so needed to work evenings and weekends when dp or my mum could look after them).

Anyway, the financial ends just aren't meeting and the debts are building up, so I need to earn more. Ds2 is now 2.3 and ds1 is 4 and at nursery, so I guess I wouldn't feel too bad about working full time again. And we really need the money. Childcare isn't a problem at this stage.

I've been looking for something like one of my old jobs - PA at Board / Chief Exec level paying around £20k working Mon-Fri 9-5 with an exciting company (ie not a college) with 5 wks hols and fab benefits. I've signed up with agencies and am applying for two jobs that sound great. Both would be a good career move, ie back into PA-ing again, but both would mean at least an hour's commute each way and obviously paying for all the extra petrol (no, public transport is not an option). Big downside would be the extra time away from home, and working during school holidays. Also I'd lose touch with the few friends I've managed to make here through ds1's nursery.

Then I found out that there's a job going in my old office, and that if I applied I would most probably get it. It's still in the college, is almost full time and is 44 weeks, ie almost term time only. Pay is same grade as I'm on now (ie crap) but there would be more of it due to the extra hours. But its still dull and way below the level I'd been working at before having ds2.

I've never really been a career person, but I'm worried that I'd be selling myself short by taking the crapper job. So, what do I do - take the child-friendly but dull job or chase after the better, exciting jobs and have less time with family?

beachyhead Tue 18-Jan-05 16:23:23

Can you ask exciting job is they would consider 5 days during term time and three days during holidays? Put it to them as a percentage time worked. 44 weeks at 100% and 8 weeks at 60% - it doesn't sound so bad then - or maybe look around for fab exciting job which is a job share. There are probably other PA's who are of family age and might welcome that..... some agencies are better at flexible working initiatives than others...

BadHair Tue 18-Jan-05 16:25:22

Hhmmm, hadn't thought of that, Beachyhead. I've told agencies that I'd ideally like 4 days but they weren't that encouraging. Could see if I get an interview then bring that up after I've dazzled them with my brilliance (ahem!).

beachyhead Tue 18-Jan-05 16:28:06

good plan that's what I did - got the five day job, then said '''actually''' only want three!!!!

BadHair Tue 18-Jan-05 16:29:06

Isn't a bit risky, though? What if they tell me to b*gger off?

beachyhead Tue 18-Jan-05 16:31:11

Very risky and I wouldn't reall recommend it unless you know they really want you - mine was a bit different as they needed my technical speciality and three days was better than nothing!!!! Seriously, I would try to look into agencies where you know they are approached for job shares - where in the country are you? You could do a search or a ring round the agencies or look in the papaer to see if any of them offer p/t work.

BadHair Tue 18-Jan-05 16:35:22

My location is the problem - I live in the middle of nowhere, or North Shropshire as its more commonly known. Local jobs are really badly paid and anything more lucrative is an hour or so's drive away. North West and Warrington seem to pay better than Telford or Shrewsbury but I've been looking for pt pa stuff since last July and only one's come up. And I was too late for it.

BadHair Tue 18-Jan-05 18:46:38

Any other ideas? I need to let the crap job people know by tomorrow if I want to go ahead.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Tue 18-Jan-05 21:42:13

Badhair, I don't think I'd take either: they're both crap pay and neither will make you happy by the sound of it. Are you the sort of person who would enjoy temping? Because temping would mean working full time, BUT getting paid a bit more to compensate for the lack of security and benefits and, potentially, working term time only. As a temp you'd just have to say in July 'I'm not available until September'. I work on a contract basis and intend taking the school summer holiday off to spend with dp and my children and I like working like this. I get paid more as an interim and it suits me to work very hard in intense bursts like this (dp is a sahd) and take time off when a contact ends. I appreciate it's not for everyone though - you do have to be comfortable with going into new places and meeting new people while not quite being a full team member. Anyway, just a thought. Good luck, whatever you do.

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