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Is my job too flexible to give up - WWYD?

(15 Posts)
OhDunnoWhatToDo Fri 08-Jul-11 19:56:50

I'm returning to work after maternity leave with my second DC. I've really enjoyed being at home and thinking about becoming a SAHM.

I'll need to go back to work in a few years - can't afford not to. Money will be very tight in the meantime

The job I have now is very flexible and it will be fantastic when the DC are both at school.

- I can work from home every day
- I could ask to go down to a 3-day week and I think I will get it
- I will be able to drop off and pick up the DC from school, making up lost work time when they are not around
- I will earn around £32k for a 3-day week (I've name changed so people who know me, won't find out my salary)!
- It seems jobs are hard enough to come by after being at home, let alone flexible jobs.

I keep thinking that I'd love to be at home, but I won't easily get this kind of job again, and DC being with a nanny for 3 days a week isn't that bad.

Arghhhh, I don't know what to do! If I didn't have the financial pressure of having to work again, I'd leave now. But as I will need to work again in a few years time, is it just silly to leave a decent flexible job?

itsastrawpoll Fri 08-Jul-11 20:00:55


Well, I don't know if I can tell you what to do, but I was in a similar position.

I worked from home full time, went down to three days after DC1 born. Earned the equivalent of around 25K over 3 days (f/t about 40k so obv less than you).

Planned to go back to work after maternity leave with DC2 and got made redundant.

So now I'm a SAHM. I, too, plan to go back to work in a couple of years once DC are at school, but for now, although I never would have chosen it, this feels like the right thing for our family.

I'm kind of a bit gutted about my career, but being with my family FOR NOW, while the DC are tiny is more important to me.

I think I was very lucky though, because I didn't want to go back but if I'd resigned I would have had to pay back my enhanced maternity pay. This way I kept it AND got a redundancy package.

Do you have enhanced maternity pay you'd need to pay back? Is there any chance of voluntary redundancy or anything like that?

Mumbrane Fri 08-Jul-11 20:02:37

Your job sounds like gold dust to me. I would jump at the chance. But only you know if you and your family would be happier if you became a SAHM. What i will say, though, is that jobs like those don't come along very often.

DilysPrice Fri 08-Jul-11 20:07:45

Keep it, keep it, keep it. You can SAH 4 days a week. You can do pick up and drop off.

(unless you absolutely hate the job itself I guess, but otherwise cling onto it for grim life)
What if something happens to your DH or his job?

Did I say that you should keep the job?

MimieD Fri 08-Jul-11 20:32:19

Keep your job!
I gave up my non-flexible job and spent 2 years and a bit at home, desperately looking for a job now and so far no luck.
Jobs like yours are like gold dust. Go back in after your leave and re-asses in a year whether you would still like to give up or not...

OhDunnoWhatToDo Fri 08-Jul-11 20:36:30

Thanks everyone.

itsastrawpoll - "Being with my family FOR NOW, while the DC are tiny is more important to me" - is how I feel. It does feel more important, but the thought of struggling financially for a few years and then not finding a goood job afterwards, fiils me with fear. And it's that fear stopping me from leaving work.

I'd have to pay back enhanced maternity pay but we don't have the money to do this. I'd have to go back for a while and then leave, which feels like a shitty thing to do to my employer.

Mumbrane, DilysPrice, the things you say are why I keep on swerving back to staying at work. I think DC2 will be off to nursery in less than two years, at which point I will think - oooh, we really need some more money now... I'd really like a flexible part time job that fits in with school... I can't find one.... why on earth did I give up that job.... arghhh!

I also do worry about what we will do if something happens to DH or his job.

I know no-one can tell me what to do. It's very helpful to be able to talk about it though; getting people's views always helps me to get things clearer in my own mind.

DilysPrice - so, should I keep the job or not? Whaddya think?

nulgirl Fri 08-Jul-11 20:41:01

Keep it - you'd be crazy to give up that kind of deal. I was out of the workplace for a couple of years and it was impossible to get a part time job. Had to go back fulltime for a few months until they allowed me to drop to 4 days. Am positively salivating over the thought of a deal like yours smile.

itsastrawpoll Fri 08-Jul-11 21:01:03

Does your job fulfill you?

Do you enjoy it?

Are you financially secure in terms of housing without it? If DH was made redundant would there be plenty of other jobs for him, or is it a niche thing?

I would never have chosen to give up my job, but I HATED it. I truly hated it and felt really relieved when it was taken away from me in the circumstances it was. Because I was surrounded by people telling me what a perfect job it was because it was flexible etc etc. But all the time I was at work I hated the job and was missing DD1 and flet as though I was working to earn money to give to someone else to look after her when I could have been enjoying looking after her myself.

So, for me, the absolute, burning ultimate question (IF, you can keep a secure roof over your heads) is, does the job fulfill you?

OhDunnoWhatToDo Fri 08-Jul-11 21:28:11

Thanks MimieD and nulgirl. It's such a shame that more flexible jobs aren't available - seems there's a lot of wasted talent as a result.

Itsastrawpoll - my job does fulfil me and I enjoy it. I had the odd off day, but overall I used to look forward to going in. I hadn't thought about this before. Perhaps if I didn't like my job, then I would find it easier to leave?

It must have been hard for you to hear people say your job was perfect, when you didn't actually enjoy it. I'm glad you've found a way that works for your family. I hope you got a nice little pay-out for being made redundant; that would have been brilliant if you secretly hated the job!

My DH works in a niche industry. He has lots of contacts and says that he could find another job if anything happened, but maybe not at the same level and pay. We would really struggle if his income dropped, even by a little bit, and wouldn't be able to afford to pay the mortgage.

Thanks to everyone for their views, especially itsastrawpoll (you seem to have been in a similar situation and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts).

I've decided to go back to work for 3 months and then decide what to do. By then, I should know if leaving the DC with someone else is too much of a wrench and I'd be better at home, or if they (and I) are fine with another carer for 3 days. It seems the best way of working out what to do for the longer term.

itsastrawpoll Fri 08-Jul-11 21:35:14

Good luck with whatever you decide!

I think I was lucky in that the decision was made for me.

Btw, my DD1 was with a childminder when I was at work - if she'd been with a nanny at my home and I'd have had a decent closed off working space so I could pop in and out to say hello for short breaks but not been disturbed when I needed to get on I think I'd have loved that. Never tried it though so could have been wrong!

MovingAndScared Sat 09-Jul-11 09:44:13

I think you said in one of your posts that you were working 4 days before - I think 3 day a week can work really well - you have more time with the kids than working and I think that makes a reall difference
having been made redundant and looking for work at the moment I would really advice keeping hold of the job

LoveMyGirls Sat 09-Jul-11 09:56:24

I'd keep the job! Without a doubt, if I didn't need the money so much for the next couple of years I would set up a trust fund so though you are doing it so you can keep a good job for when dc's are a bit older you also have the added benefit of knowing you are going to be able to help your dc's have a good start in life when they will really remember it, you can help them go to uni, get a car, maybe a house deposit etc all things that are very very hard to come by for young adults now, the time from them being very small to needing those things goes very quick, I thought I had loads of time but as it happens dd1 is almost 12 and even though we work very hard we can't see us being able to help dd1 with those things.

janey68 Sat 09-Jul-11 12:19:13

Do you ENJOY your job? It's all very well other people saying wow, what a fantastic deal. But how do YOU feel? You see, personally I would hate working from home all the time- part of the joy of working to 'me is getting out and about and the interaction . Do you have a plan B for if your dh gets ill or something happens with his job? Big questions to consider

lechatnoir Sat 09-Jul-11 18:38:12

I'd drop down to 3 days and then see how you feel - it made a massive difference to me especially doing 1 of those 3 days at home.

OhDunnoWhatToDo Sat 09-Jul-11 21:09:38

Thanks everyone for replying. I do enjoy my job and don't mind working from home. It's quite nice to have some quiet and, although I'd never admit this in RL, I, er, kinda like being at home so I can whizz through the clothes washing while on the million and one conference calls my company loves us to do grin.

A good point about saving money for the future. We could just about cope without my salary now, but it means careful spending on food, no holidays, big days out, treats, etc. I hadn't thought so much about the longer term financial benefit to my children if I can save money for them to use in the future - I've been more worried about coping with day to day expenses.

I think I've made the right decision to go back for 3 months before deciding. It's making more and more sense for me to suck up the cost of a nanny for two years, and then (hopefully) reap the benefits of my job. All assuming I don't lose the job in the meantime!

If I do miss the children during those 3 months, I'll go down the SAHM route, knowing that it means working that little bit harder when they are older.

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