Back to work issues(14 Posts)
This is a bit of a thinking out loud thread so I'm sorry if it's a bit rambling.
I'm expecting a second child soon.
I don't think going back to my current job will be an option - it has worked ok with one child, but I can't see it working with two, partly because it's an hour's drive away, and partly because I will make a loss after paying for childcare rather than just about breaking even (yes I know cost should be split but ultimately it's still the case that I would be costing the household money by going to work). I'm quite frustrated about this as it's part time and I know how difficult it is to get a new part time job.
Husband has a well paid job (earns more than I ever will) and so it would be silly for him to cut hours or similar to help with childcare. We could cope without me working, at least in the short term, but as children get older and more expensive money would be tight. Not working for any length of time would also not be good for my self-esteem I don't think.
So I really want to find some sort of paid work but am feeling a bit pessimistic about jobhunting because:
-I have no local family so just getting to an interview will be a significant childcare headache.
- I have significant professional qualifications but would need to make something of a sideways move to find a job that has predictable enough hours to work with childcare (eg one of my previous roles would have an unpredictable finish time at 7pm at the earliest)
- I am in a rural area so there are a limited number of employers within a reasonable distance.
- The need to take time off when children are ill or have hospital appointments - so far this year I have had to take three days off for hospital appointments (routine outpatient stuff but hospital is a long way away so takes all day), two days off for child sickness, and one for me being ill. I only work two days a week so this makes me feel very unprofessional although my employers luckily have not complained. I worry that a new employer might take a dim view however, esp as with two children the number of days off is only likely to rise.
I just feel frustrated that despite a lot of qualifications it seems so hard to make a paid job work!
Not sure what sort of advice I'm actually looking for but needed a bit of a rant, thank you if you've read this....
My advice would be to think very carefully about the long haul, before giving up a PT job that you are qualified for, because your finances will take a hit for 2 or 3 years.
Will you be able to get back in to your career?
Will it be easy to find PT work from a position of not working?
Think about the next 35years +, not just the next 3 yrs.
Thank you, yes I do worry about giving up this job and will be looking for another one after the first few months of maternity leave, so the ideal situation would be that I find a new job more locally before I have to resign from the old one. However if I don't find anything I will have a problem.
For example, I currently take my toddler with me and put him in the nursery at work, but by the time I would be going back to work then he will be at school so will need to be in afterschool care with a childminder where I live (i.e. an hour's drive from work) and I will have trouble getting back in time to pick him up by 6pm when it closes.
If I can solve that problem then I might see if they'll have me back one day a week as that would mean I make a smaller loss. Although husband earns quite well, it's not six figures or anything so it would be a problem if I'm making a significant loss month in month out for two years (until younger one gets their 3 year funding).
I actually think that my job is one that is relatively tolerant of gaps in employment, the problem is more trying to find something more local when there isn't anywhere that does the same thing nearby. I'm quite sure I have relevant skills for other jobs, it's just trying to find something that I can physically get to within the constraints of childcare, and which is part time enough that I don't make a massive loss.
Could you reduce your hours to a day a week to keep in with this company and also keep your experience - sounds like you'd enjoy it too. Have you worked out where the tipping point is financially? - take into consideration the free childcare (30hrs for 3yrs up) you'll get when eldest is eligible. May be better in the long run for you to work despite it impacting finances for a short time.
Thank you. Yes I will definitely consider doing one day a week - there's not a lot of point staying in this organisation specifically because there is no prospect of progression without very very long hours (esp with the commute) which is not going to work for my family situation for the foreseeable future. There are no roles which involve working from home or anything which I could work towards, for example.
I have been looking into the 30 hours childcare but I don't think I earn quite enough at 2 days a week and even if I did I'd only get it for the year I'm on maternity - after that eldest will be at school so I would have 2 years with no funding for either of them.
It sounds like you've made up your mind but I too would think very carefully about giving up a job that is already potentially flexible for the sake of 2-3 years of less money. Friends who have done this have found it very difficult to go back (appreciate your industry may be different but you will still be competing with an ever growing workforce who do not have the gaps).
With a new employer you have to build up trust so yes, they are less likely to look kindly on lots of time off for sick kids (regardless of entitlement). I'd try and work out your after school care if you can. 2-3 years goes pretty quickly in the overall scheme of things and we're a long time in work.
You should try and carry on working.
I took 5 years out as sahm.
Afterwards, I was stuck in nmw jobs just because the hours fitted in with school hours.
Now, I'm above nmw but it's a temp contract. So when this finishes I could be back down on nmw just to get school hours.
Decent p.t jobs are v. V. Difficult to find. Plus you've got to build trust with a new employer and that takes time and there may be bumps in the road with 2 little ones.
I haven't put into a pension properly for years. Consider your long term financial affairs, not just the next couple of years.
Before you know it, kids will be independent and you may be in a terrible financial position. Yes, look after your family, but look after yourself as an independent entity too.
Taking a backwards step to reduce hours is also fraught with difficulty. Just received (another) rejection "we wouldn't be able to meet your salary". I know it's a pay cut, I know it's a couple of levels below where I left work, but I don't want that level of responsibility and travel and hours, and can't get back in .
Did your DH take any time off for hospital or sickness? He should be doing the majority that fall on your work days - you cover the other 3 days, Plus occasional work days. Otherwise, as you say, it's a massive chunk of your working time off.
Thank you everyone - it does help to hear other people's experiences and thoughts.
I hope that applying for new jobs at a lower level wouldn't be too much of an issue as although it's a professional job which I find reasonably satisfying it's quite junior and poorly paid (hence not qualifying for 30 hours funding). Although I do worry that my academic qualifications might be offputting for a recruiter for a lower level job, so that could be a related issue.
Husband has twice taken half days off for sickness (also once worked from home when I had flu) but because he earns so much more than I do it doesn't make any financial sense for him to take unpaid time off too often. However if I got a new job then we'd have to discuss him doing most of it while I was on probation. And maybe try to postpone routine hospital appointments until after any probation period, as I have done all the hospital appointments so far so know my way round the hospital systems and all the different consultants better than he does.
It's a good point about looking after my own identity and financial situation - however I think on a personal job satisfaction level I would really like to find a job nearer home if I possibly can, so that I can get more involved in it, maybe even progress, rather than being very limited in my role because of needing to get out in time to drive all the way home. For example, if I had a job nearer home I would consider doing 3 days a week and I also wouldn't need so many hours of childcare.
I am a bit concerned about the effect on my self-esteem if I am actively costing the household money for two years by going to work rather than breaking even as I am at the moment (actually contributing to the household income seems like a bit of a distant dream!). Essentially my husband would be paying in order for me to go to work which just seems a very strange set up... I already feel like I shouldn't be spending money on anything non-essential because I'm not earning very much. I know that's in my head but it's still an issue for me.
So hard to know what to do for the best!
Ooops sorry I've rambled on a lot again... still it stops me from getting on husband's nerves by going round and round in circles at him!
Sounds like you've made your decision. Maybe this will lead to a different career path further down the line. You mention being worried about your self esteem a couple of times perhaps you could get involved with some of the children's groups that run in organising just to give you a bit of satisfaction? I thought the 30hr childcare was available to all though??
It doesn't sound like your heart is in it to carry on.
I'd suggest consider moving to a new location, less rural, when your firstborn starts school where they may be more opportunities to restart your career.
Two years out is fine.
Enjoy your children and try not to worry too much. I went back after 8 years and it was fine. It's true I had to take a pay cut and I was treated somewhat shabbily from time to time - but this can happen in any job (being treated badly). My confidence returned and I was grateful for the opportunity and managed to gloss over the ego-denting experiences
Any job these days can be swiped from under your feet, nothing is permanent.
With regards to self-esteem - yes - it's tough to keep it up without real 'work' in your life. That's what I found anyway.
I'd suggest volunteering for a local charity for a day a week or a morning a week. That helped me feel a lot better about myself.
Good luck. xx
I gave up a high paid job when we had kids, did very part time when they started school, doing part time but more hours now they are at secondary - I will never earn the same again as I did before kids. But in our situation that does not matter. I am not defined by my job, nor by how much I could earn.
( HOWEVER - I have a good pension built up before I left work, a joint bank account and independent savings and the house is in my name)
Hmm, lots of good food for thought here, thank you.
I think once I emerge a bit from the newborn fog I will keep my eyes open for other jobs and take it from there. Although knowing me I will probably spend between now and then going round and round in circles about it in my head!
With my first I surprised myself by how motivated I was to get back to work. I might feel differently this time so that's a factor that's impossible to predict.
I think some of the frustration comes from feeling that I sometimes have the worst of both worlds - the hassles of being a working parent when child is ill etc but also the lack of financial independence that goes with being a SAHM.
If I wasn't going back to paid work I would definitely look for volunteering opportunities which I agree could help with self-esteem as well as helping to fill any gap on the CV. The only issue is that it would need to be home-based (admin maybe?) or something I could take the younger one to. I can't commit to anything in the evenings (brownies or similar) as husband finishes work at unpredictable times so I can't get out reliably.
Newtothis11: 30 hr childcare is not available to all, it's based on both parents working and I'd need to earn the equivalent of 16 hours per week minimum wage.
Thanks for that about the childcare- I didn't realise that was the criteria.
See where you go the next few months, any decisions made in the newborn phase aren't likely to be the best ones.. they certainly wouldn't have been for me!! Don't stress too much about it - sounds like you have it covered either way.
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