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retraining whilst a SAHM advice and any tips please!

(11 Posts)
mumbadger Thu 10-Oct-13 14:10:59

I'm a first time mum to 6m old. DH and I have decided I am going to stay as SAHM (lost my previous job during pregnancy- little access to childcare to go back to work now), but I will do some freelance work after little one is in bed to help contribute to family finances (very necessary for us!). In the long run I would like to retrain and build some sort of 'career', and want to make moves towards this over the next few years whilst I'm a SAHM (also for my sanity!) .
I am a graduate with an MA in sociology having at one time been close to starting a PhD in sociology (funding fell through and I soon got married and had a baby instead- priorities changed wildly!). I have loads of experience in healthcare (frontline work with brain injury rehabilitation, working with patients suffering drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, womens health, etc.) and had always thought I would retrain in some sort of clinical role. Unfortunately this looks less likely with DD to look after & the lack of part-time training opportunities in my area and so I am having a rethink.

I am basically looking for an area I can retrain into by studying part time (evenings and weekends only for the next few years) so that when daughter is starting school I am better positioned in terms of work and earning potential.

Having looked into it, I am seriously considering a p/t Law Conversion course. Would really appreciate any suggestions, tips, ideas. I'm new to all this - and new to mumsnet- so be gentle with me ;)

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 12-Oct-13 22:25:38

I don't want to rain on your parade, but I honestly wouldn't - for a number of reasons.

Studying law can be v interesting, and do-able part-time. But law as a profession is tricky - can be brutal in large firms (long hours, expectations of going to client events after hours) and pressurised in smaller firms (lesser margins, pressure on billing as a result).

Also, law has been quite badly hit by the recession - there were too many lawyers and there have been lots of redundancies. It's probably settling down a bit now, and the over-supply is probably being corrected. But it remains difficult to get into, and very competitive (possibly even more so now, as firms are taking on fewer trainees). And many firms can be quite closed-minded about their entry criteria, although others are more receptive to (even welcoming of) non-standard entrants (I entered law as a second career, so it's certainly do-able!)

I'm probably not giving a very balanced picture, and my experience is only in big commercial firms - there must be other firms where the picture is different. And it is a profession that can be very stimulating intellectually and is generally well-paid - I am p/t (3 days) and earn a very good salary for that. So I will do it until my youngest is at school, but I will have had enough by then and will be looking for something less stressful and more family-friendly.

Please don't feel that I'm trying to put you off unnecessarily - it may well be the right move for you. But I do find it very stressful, and definitely not for me in the longer term. Good luck in finding what you want to do smile.

dizhin79 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:46:42

perhaps probation services rather than law, that way its usual office hours your degree would be relevant, you could do some volunteer Work whilst sahm and build your expertise up

mumbadger Tue 22-Oct-13 10:28:31

Thank you for posting about your experiences MogTheForgetfullCat, it seems quite in line with what my friends who are solicitors have said about their work; admissions/ tutors at the course provider I contacted made similar comments about availability of work. It does sound like a career that is not enormously family friendly. Hard to gauge this from my friends who are lawyers as none of them have children and I think their idea of 'family friendly' differs greatly from mine right now!

Dizhin79 thanks so much for suggesting this, I will certainly look into it. I would not have thought of this until you mentioned. I did used to work with alot of ex offenders (many of which continuing to offend tbh) in my previous work and used to be on the phone to probation officers all the time! Having a baby has made me feel very different about dealing with particularly tricky characters, somehow feel like I would be less able to stand up to some of the aggressive and threatening behaviour I encountered... perhaps that is the mummy hormones still talking and I will toughen up again soon?! At one point I was looking at going back to my old workplace temporarily, but felt it could be unfair on DD and DH who worries after serious incidents including attempted stabbing happened on my shifts there..

Still miss working in spite of this hmm

Thanks again for your responses, really appreciated.

Choos123 Wed 23-Oct-13 13:55:35

Consider IT, relatively easy to retrain, avoid consulting type gigs though!

dizhin79 Thu 24-Oct-13 23:57:57

you could check out some volunteering work with different aims to try and sample a few different sectors, check out that has most of the opportunities available by sector and location, may be the interim solution that leads to s job!!

LittleRobots Fri 25-Oct-13 00:01:53

With your wealth of experience - psychologist? Social worker? Occupational therapist?

totalyahoo Tue 29-Oct-13 08:25:21

Hi, I would agree with Mog, only on basis of remembering how hard it was to get a foot in the door for aspiring lawyers I knew (uni years). You are talking about hormones and about your DH's views on what job you should do/is appropriate for a mum. That is a real consideration for you, considering the age of your child, and this will change. I am writing after 10 years as SAHM, hardly any strings to my bow, and I think you should do what feels right for you, and definitely keep your hand in somewhere (any p/t or 'back office' roles with former employer?). There is an American saying, "If Momma ain't happy, nobody is".

thepurplepenguin Tue 29-Oct-13 09:20:56

I always trot this out but here goes...

I can't comment on what life is like in a law firm as I am still studying, but... I got three training contract offers in my first round of applications. I applied for medium sized regional firms which I selected very carefully and didn't do blanket personal statements. Ime, such firms really value a certain type of career changer. I only had negative responses from London firms. In the end I went for a uk top 50 firm who were prepared to set out in my interview how they could accommodate me as a working parent. Probably worth pointing out though that I am on Oxbridge grad as that no doubt confers a certain advantage.

The conversion course was interesting and rewarding and I did it part time while working in my old career and with 2 kids around. I am now doing the LPC full time and it is a bit of a shock!

The only thing I would say is that there is no obvious reason in your OP as to why you are considering law. It seems like a big jump! Is it something you are genuinely drawn to?

mumbadger Wed 18-Dec-13 04:49:13

Sorry for the slow reply, had a tricky few months! Thank you so much for your responses. It gave me food for thought and prompted more discussions with dH and a close friend who is a solicitor. I think my motivations for retraining in law were right to be Questioned! Couldn't say hand on heart it's what I want for myself, but rather a means to an end. Having looked at course materials in detail that's evidently not strong enough motivation to tackle such a huge challenge. Hats off to those of you who have managed to retrain in law smile Unfortunately retraining of any (costly) description will have to be shelved for now as our now precarious finances won't allow it sad But I appreciate the advice in the meantime. Totalyahoo that saying struck a chord with me. Now to figure out how to carve out a work life for my sanity whilst keeping dd and dh happy and that saying in mind. I suspect it will be a busy 2014!

GandalfsPointyHat Wed 18-Dec-13 05:03:28

Police service? Lots of interesting jobs, not neccesarily a uniformed frontline officer. I'm in a similar-ish situation, B Soc degree, did nursing with postgrad specialism, thinking of joining the police, just started my research though, so can't offer you much info, but maybe something else to think of?

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