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Impact of career break

(7 Posts)
houseproject Tue 12-Jul-11 20:19:12

I gave up a well paid job when I had ds 4 years ago. It wasn't really a well thought through decision, mostly made in desperation after many months of being sleep deprived due to ds. Since then I've worked mostly part time on a self employed basis in a range of roles but none have been particularly career enhancing or well paid but as DS has settled down a little I’m hoping to go back to work fulltime. I’ve been looking around for jobs and find I’m struggling, mostly as my SAHM period/ fill in jobs just don’t seem to be relevant. I’m really happy to do a junior role and start afresh but my past management experience seems to count against me as I don’t fit the profile for junior staff. I’m hopeful that I will eventually get a job but I’ve suddenly realised the impact of the career break.
My dh on the other hand has had an uninterrupted career that has flourished and I feel resentful that there is now such inequality between us for pay/jobs that I may never catchup.
I know that being at home with DS has been beneficial for him (he may have SN) however the consequences financially have been really significant and if DH and I were to ever separate I would be in a very vulnerable position which isn't an appealing thoughtsad
I really hadn’t weighed up the risks of SAHM/part time and just thought I would share with others who might also make similar decisions. Looking back if I had the time again I would have asked DH to step up more and perhaps flex his job so we had balanced jobs.

AndalucianSun Fri 15-Jul-11 22:28:33

Hi, I sympathise entirely, I'm going to try and get back into work, teaching, in the autumn after being out of full-time work for 7 years looking after DD, but even worse, out of the UK for nearly 20 years! We're going back to the UK so that my partner can further his career by doing a university course, and I'm going to have to support us! Help shock We are thinking of separating after he finishes, so it's essential I do get back to work. We're going to be based in Leeds, so any advice, support in that area welcome.
It does feel really unfair, I agree, that partner's career seems to have taken off while mine (which was was going well) has ground to a standstill.

peasizedbladder Sat 23-Jul-11 22:08:54

Oh your experience is really making me think.... I've just gone back to work after my second period of maternity leave (I've only worked one yr in the last three) and am now seriously considering quiting. I've lost my confidence, am trying to manage a team whilst only working part time, have big pressure to deliver or be made redundant in this downturn, my partner is out the house 13 to 14 hrs a day so all childcare is down to me, and ds2 doesn't sleep. Worst day last week involved 4 hrs sleep, up from 5.30, nursery drop off and pick up, 8 hrs in the office, put kids to bed on my own then worked until 12.30 pm. Then had to make many calls on my day off as I was stressing about the quality of what i had sent out. Right now quitting seems the only option.... But I have no idea what I would do next - consultancy doesn't fit part time hours so I would need to change at least the type of employer I worked for. I do like the mental stimulation of work, but this is awful.
My OH is now also earning loads more than before we had kids when we were pretty much equal. This is great now as it gives me a choice to quit but I want to feel like i can maintain my earning potential in a career I enjoy. Ultimately we can't have it all sad

rainbowtoenails Tue 26-Jul-11 11:22:08

The baby penalty women suffer is a huge issue we should all be out protesting about. We are a long way off from equality.

RunningGuerita Wed 27-Jul-11 19:08:15

Thank you for posting this houseproject. It is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

hatwoman Thu 28-Jul-11 09:53:12

I'd like to add a whole other aspect to this - which has become an issue in our household.

I went p-t after dd2 was born - but, in actal fact managed to combine it with a stint at a more senior level, some lecturing and a Masters. All great. I then went freelance - working mainly from home, always around, able to do approx 3.5/4 days a week during school hours. All looks fine on my cv. For me, it's not the cv that's the problem.

The difficulty I am grappling with is that now dds are 11 and 9 - with dd starting secondary school in Sep - I want to pick up the pace again - I'd like to return to a f-t office-based job. And here's the rub: the bench-mark against which my actions (in terms of contribution to the household/family life) are measured has changed. My current plans are not perceived as me, having made a 9-year compromise, wishing to return to "normal". It's become something which will disrupt the current equilibrium. Having slowed the pace a little, that has become the norm. And trying to shake this new norm is hard, exacerbated by the fact my chosen line of work is poorly paid and, possibly that teen years are meant to be v. tricky. If I'm honest, I think, right now, I regret slowing down. The step up is going to be really hard - on family life. I'm hoping that in a few years time, with a decent job etc etc, I'll look back and be pleased with the way I did it. But I think it's going to be tough.

RunningGuerita Thu 28-Jul-11 14:17:22

Thanks again hatwoman. It is so useful to have other people relate their experiences...

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