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Giving up work

(13 Posts)
PavlovtheForgetfulCat Thu 06-Aug-09 16:48:55

I am just pondering something.

I had never really considered giving up work completely. And I think I am not doing that now. I had always gone on the assumption of upward mobility, getting a bigger wage, with view of getting a bigger house, a garden, better car, you know the normal things. This meant working, and although not full time, this time around I have worked 32 hours.

I am wanting to reduce my hours with baby no.2 here, so that I can spend time with him, and not miss out with DD either. I would like to be there to pick her up from school, at least for some of the week, be able to cook meals for us all, etc.

DH and I talked vagely about this, which would mean him working full time (up to recently he worked part time hours to share the childcare as he lost less money than me by doing so). As well as working full time, if I was not to work, we would not move 'upwardly; for a long time.

I am seriously thinking, sod it. Just cut my hours right back. Not try to make the maths add up. We ^will Survive, we won't go under, but we won't be in luxury (not that we are). Just saying sod the money, sod my career, lets be a mum for a bit.

I cannot think of not working. I think I need to work. But I am thinking of 2 days. Rather than 4, and normal days not long days, or perhaps evenings. I will be able to continue my career development to some extent in this capacity rather than let it go.

I am just mulling it over. Like I said, I had never ever considered not working less than say 26-28 hours before. But now, I am. And losing a very good wage (for the SW).

Who else has done this? How did you find it? Did you regret it? Did you find it impossible financially afterall? Did you love it? how did you cope with not moving from where you were (if in a small place), did it bother you? Did you not care as you could be with your children? For those with older children, do you think your children benefitted, did they appreciate the time they had with you, do you think? Do you wish you had not done it? Are you pleased you did?

I am not wanting this to be a SAHM vs WOHM in terms of what is best for children, but rather, for those who did it, how you felt it was for you, so I can figure out if what I am experiencing should be just considered, or acted upon.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Thu 06-Aug-09 16:50:15

I think I put 'giving up' rather than 'reducing' in my title as I am also thinking sod it just quit, but realistically I am not sure I could do that for the future of my career. But as close to as possible.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 06-Aug-09 16:54:38

I did 3 days (22.5 hrs) after ds1, and after about a year spread those same hours over 4 days.
I then dropped to 20 hrs after ds2 (I didn't go back until he was 15mo) again spread over 4 days. I was doing 8am - 1pm in order to get in and miss the traffic.

I now do 9am - 2pm as I have moved office, I get to drop the boys at school (meet ds2's CM at school) and pick up from school at the end of the day.

Financially - I have a well paid job, so on 20 hrs a week I still earn a reasonable amount.

For me, it is ideal, I love having time with the boys, but I really enjoy my work aswell.

Can't commment on the smaller place as ex also has a v well paid job so really my salary wasn't important - but is obviously very important now we aren't together.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Thu 06-Aug-09 16:59:57

Thanks chasing - so for you, a balance of both is important. How do you manage on the balance of finances with just your income?

I ask as I think if DH had a well paid job it would be less of a question. But we are talking here about me as the main earner removing most of the family income and leaving us with significantly less money. My wage/joint wage means either staying at around 28hours or reducing right down to 16. There appears no in-between, and if I drop to 16, the income difference will be huge.

llareggub Thu 06-Aug-09 17:01:29

I did this.

After DS1 was born I went back to work full-time. After six months or so I had an urge to go part-time, and after much soul-searching, I convinced work to let me work 21 hours over 2 long days, with the remaining hours worked flexibly from home.

From my perspective, I feel I am a happier person working full-time. I'm not as tired, feel less like I am chasing my tail and have time to just sit and play with the children. I've lost 2 stone because I have time to exercise and have found time to get the house into some sort of order.

However, I have lost out on several promotional opportunities at work, and this has bothered me less than I thought it would. I've discovered that I can find satisfaction from other things but work, and for the first time have started to think that a career change might be possible.

From a financial perspective, I haven't really noticed a difference. Obviously I earn less but it wasn't as much of a fall in income as I expected, plus the recession has meant the people are making do with less, so I don't feel hard done by at all.

I haven't regretted the decision for one moment. I actually believe I am a better employee now. I enjoy the time I spend at work and actually look forward to my working days.

I think I have more to say but I've got to go and change a nappy. I'd be interested in what others have to say.

PrincessToadstool Thu 06-Aug-09 17:06:21

I don't think I can help you much pavlov but I have found myself in a similar-ish position. I am not very career focused but I was at least developing in my job pre-DS and gaining lots of skills and thinking about what direction I could go in (management) and quite pleased to do so. So, not mega work-focused but not wanting 'just a job' either, IYSWIM?

After DS I went back to do 26 hours and have been in a new post for a year. It's not very fulfilling so I've been looking elsewhere for 6 months and finding nothing worth applying for (bar one job I applied for and was offered but tis a long story)

Anyway to cut a long story short after being very sure I would continue working (NOTHING against SAHMs, no attitude, no negativity, just thought I would always work) I have swung completely the other way and handed my notice in altogether. I am nervous and apprehensive but mostly I can't wait.

We are not in a small house, but a big rented house. Had I carried on working we could've begun to save with a view to buying it... very happy here... but then I thought, well we were happy in our first house which was a 2-up 2-down, tiny kitchen (and I cooked all the time) tiny ground floor bathroom, postage-stamp garden. We really were happy. We had great neighbours and it was quiet - that is more important than having a study and a big garden. So we may even go backwards in that respect. Though, should be able to carry on with a bit better planning/money management etc. But I am not frightened of changing our lifestyle - I think we are happy because of who we are, not what we have. I did not perhaps think the same a year ago. Mellowing in my old age?

ChasingSquirrels Thu 06-Aug-09 17:07:42

umm well, I am in the v fortunate position of the house being paid off and ex-h paying a significant amount of maint for the boys due to his income level. plus we weren't spending anything near to our joint income, so I haven't had to cut back really. Although obviously if I wasn't earning at all it would be a different matter.

I have missed out at work in some ways but alot of that was due to my lack of interest - it had become a job rather than a career and the money wasn't majorly important to us.
It is now more important and recently a new opportunity has presented itself which I have jumped on and am really committed to, I think that I have the same opportunities now as I would if I were full time, I certainly don't think that being part-time will hold me back with where I want it to go atm.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Thu 06-Aug-09 17:15:35

I agree re career - I was pretty career focussed pre-DD and i was sure I would always be. But work just is not so important. I mean, yes it is, but the climbing of the ladder, right now, I feel I can do that in a few years. because to do so, would involve a LOT more hours/additional work/effort/outside of work input than I have time for now. I used to be at work thinking 'what policies should I read up on in case a better job comes up, what training should I be doing to increase my skills' and I would spend a lot of time making sure my skills were up to date and used. Now, I spend any spare moments at work thinking about what to do on friday on my day off with DD, wondering what DH is cooking for tea. And now I am pregnant again, I am so tired it is unreal and I just get to work and long for it to be over. I am less concerned about earning money.

But then I am thinking 'is this because I am part time so have to work harder, so its taking longer to progress and the end does not appear in sight for moving upwards, and its more of a struggle' and that if I just persevere a bit longer, and not give up, I will reach the place in my career where I would be happy to stop. Would I regret that if I stopped now? Am I just wanting the easy option (not in terms of raising a family, I mean in terms of giving up on my career) and giving myself an excuse to stop working towards my career?

llareggub Thu 06-Aug-09 17:37:01

Yes, I can relate to a lot of what you say. It amazes me that I'm just not that much into my career as I thought I was. Sometimes I feel guilty about stepping off the ladder, but I fully intend to get back on it once the boys are older.

Have you considered whether you are ready to change jobs rather than cut hours?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Thu 06-Aug-09 17:42:47

yes, changing jobs would be a good thing too, I am a bit jaded. But its tough, I have reached a 'glass ceiling' I guess in my job. I need to move across to go upwards and moving across, if it takes me out of my workplace, means again a cut in money (I am on the higher end of my pay scale, and its a good lower point) as other public sector areas just do not pay a like for like wage. That in itself is not a problem if I am considering a pay cut, but I also worry that it will harder to get a job I really want if I am part time. I am always on the look out for new opportunities, which is why I don't think I could ever not work, I just would not be able to resist that perfect opportunity, and I need to keep my hand in to some extent to be in with a chance. But i really do not have my heart in it right now.

I would like to be a teacher, if truthful, teaching vulnerable/disadvantaged children/young adults life skills/applying life skills to other learning that kind of thing, but it means retraining, and I am definitely not ready to retrain. I want to learn how to make muffins blush grin

llareggub Thu 06-Aug-09 17:46:04

I'm public sector too, and my organisation has a career break policy. Could you do that for a while?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Thu 06-Aug-09 17:51:03

Yes, I could certainly do a career break, for up to 1 year. AND to be honest, they would even jump at the chance of it as they are struggling with budget issues and anyone off their books for year is no bad thing for them!

but, there is a chance, in the future, that we might be able to go to California for a year. And I would like to hold off until/if that happens so that if we need to come back early/DH can't get work again immediately, we have an income to come back to immediately. However, if I am considering leaving anyway, it would be worth taking.

I am loathed to leave really, as I have good benefits, ie good pension, excellent annual leave, flexi hours, almost guaranteed that flexible working arrangements will be agreed in terms of reducing hours to much less, top of my pay scale, I know my job well, I know the staff. You know it all!

llareggub Thu 06-Aug-09 18:05:26

Financially as I said it hasn't made a huge difference, but I am also on a good public sector salary so working 21 hours still provides me with a decent income.

The work I do is still the same work as I did full-time, so intellectually it is still as challenging. I just get to make muffins too. grin

I do feel less tied to work, if that helps. Now that I work fewer hours I can imagine not working at all, and it isn't so scary.

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