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Career break / change giving me the fear

(11 Posts)
Spudlet Mon 19-Sep-16 22:21:22

This is whizzing around my head, so need to set it out and perhaps get some impartial advice.

I've been employed by a charity for 8 years, had many ups and downs in that time. It's a job I took on because I really care about the cause but the prospects for career development are very poor and the organisation isn't always the best at looking after its staff. There can be a lot of pressure and not much support, and I've had bouts of anxiety and depression while working there.

I've toyed with leaving many times, but jobs doing what I do are non-existent in this part of the world. And, having been very seriously broke a few years ago, the thought of relinquishing any degree of financial security scares the life out of me.

However I now have a child, am currently on mat leave. And I don't want to go back. DH is fully supportive of whatever I decide although, if pressed, he will say he thinks I should give something else a whirl for the sake of my happiness. I could try some freelancing at what I do, and also have a couple of hobbies that could be turned over to making money. One of them is something I'd really like to be getting paid for, it's something I'm good at although I would need to seek accreditation to really make headway.

I am so torn. A huge part of me is yelling at myself to go for it now, while I can. But another part is terrified that if I walk away from my job I'll never find another and will end up stony broke again.

We could manage on DHs salary alone, although it would mean being frugal. We aren't big spenders really. But we haven't really had to economise much in recent years.

I'm not sure if I'm more scared of leaving that job, or of being trapped in it forever...!

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flopsypopsymopsy Tue 20-Sep-16 13:30:13

Can you go part time in your job and try the freelancing/hobby option out? It would at least keep the pennies flowing albeit it at a slower rate.

With regards to developing your hobby, what is it? How difficult will it be to get accreditation? There are plenty of cake makers, bakers, crafts people and florist who make beautiful things but do not turn huge profits because they just aren't commercial enough (and then the hobby becomes something else!).

Spudlet Tue 20-Sep-16 19:04:51

Work aren't really flexible - and to be honest, I want out. Otherwise I'm going to turn around and still be there in ten years time.

My hobby is dog training. I taught a class for a friend for several years, so I know I can teach it well. I'd like to become accredited and in time qualify as a behaviourist. smile

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SleepyRoo Tue 20-Sep-16 19:15:22

Watching with interest. I am also thinking of not returning after my 2nd. I don't expect freelance life to be lucrative. We are practicing be

SleepyRoo Tue 20-Sep-16 19:16:04

...being frugal already, ie Lidl, no hols etc etc

flopsypopsymopsy Tue 20-Sep-16 20:53:00

Well, why don't you leave and get a part-time job for now? Then you can train/take on some clients.

What's the worst that can happen?!

SherryRB Tue 20-Sep-16 23:06:04

What exactly is it that you do for the charity? Have you looked at other Third Sector organisations? With your dog training, is there a niche or specialist aspect that you could focus on?

Spudlet Tue 20-Sep-16 23:26:51

Would rather not say exactly what I do as it might be somewhat identifying, but I do indeed keep an eye on what's out there. In short, my kind of job tends to be in London - but I'm not, and I don't want to be. So time to change. Although there may be the possibility of some freelancing / consultancy? Would be nice to keep my hand in, but I'm not wedded to this career path IYSWIM.

With dog training - yes, I could look to specialise and probably would, in gundog training. Gundog breeds are very common around here and I do think that many breeds of dog can benefit from some light gundog training, focussing as it does on steadiness and working with a handler. The accreditation scheme I have in mind does allow for such specialisation.

Thanks for all your input guys, it is appreciated smile

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hutchblue Wed 21-Sep-16 11:22:23

You could take the rocking chair test...

Imagine yourself sitting in a rocking chair, towards the end of your life.

What choice do you wish you made right now, when you look back on this part of your life?

The stable job with no future prospects or the chance to set up your own business as a dog trainer?

They both have pros and cons. To me they almost look directly proportional:

stable job = money
dog training = passion

stable job = painful/passionless with no future development
dog training = no money now but potential for the future

Before making a decision I would try and connect with a dog trainer or two and ask a few questions, if they could be in your area, even better. I'm sure there would be some out there willing to chat to you. People love giving advice and opinions about their work and what they do, I have found.

That would give you more info about a future career in that line of work which sounds like it could make you much happier.

Spending on pets is increasing year on year (£7 billion - yes BILLION! forecast for 2015) so I think your chances for making money in this line of work could be worth looking at!

Marmighty Wed 21-Sep-16 11:48:19

I'd encourage you to go for it. I left my job a year ago, having gone back to work nine months previously after maternity leave. I went back on slightly reduced hours, which was good, but found I really gave even less of a toss about the job and the petty politics than before I had DC and couldn't wait to leave every day.

I've gone freelance and it has gone far better than I thought - the work is more interesting and being flexible and taking short term contracts, including working from home, has led in unexpected directions. I am much happier. And I have quite a boring professional job! If you have something you are passionate about and you think you could make a new career out of, then I believe you will not regret the change. And if it all goes tits up, then I imagine you have sufficient skills and experience to get another reasonably paid job.

Spudlet Wed 21-Sep-16 19:23:09

Thanks again! I do have a couple of training friends I hope might be willing to act as mentors so not totally out on a limb. smile And there are lots of naughty dogs around here even worse than my reprobate grin

I'm going to go for it. This is the best chance I'll ever have and if it all goes tits up, I'll just enjoy being a SAHM and find another job in a couple of years.

Argh! But also, yay! smile

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