How do you make the transition from dead-end job to career in mid 30s

(18 Posts)
Dampcustard Wed 19-Jul-17 11:28:15

As the title suggests, I'm in my mid-30s and never really held a position of authority. I've mainly worked in healthcare and services, with some admin thrown in.

Strangely, I have always been career minded and wanted to suceed in life, but this has never really happened to me and I have always been stuck in dead-end jobs. I guess it has taken me a while to realise hard-work doesn't always mean promotion, and you need to network and sell yourself. I got a degree as I thought this would make me more employable, however I had DC shortly after graduating 5 years ago - getting a very good grade - but have been stuck in a job I hate since, as it fits around childcare. There are zero prospects of being promoted as I work in an environment where you need a specific degree.

I do feel like a total failure. I just want an opportunity to prove myself. I have started to look at going in to the world of tech(even though it's very new territory for me), and I have took a few online courses to add to my CV, but I'm worried that my work history means that nobody will even consider me. On paper, I look like someone who has worked in dead-end jobs all my life and has no ambition.

Has anyone been in this predicament and managed to finally get on the career ladder in their 30s? What did you do to achieve this? I'm struggling to see how I would get an entry level position in some places, since they all want someone experienced.

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gandalfspants Wed 19-Jul-17 11:33:43

What's your degree?

My career didn't quite get to the level I was hoping for before DC, which means it's still very family unfriendly (a bit higher up the ladder and I could have got out of antisocial hours).

I'm going into teaching, but I can only afford to do it because I have a degree that means I'll get a bursary.

Would that be an option?

Dampcustard Wed 19-Jul-17 15:46:23

I'm in a similar position and working unsocial hours. Would love a Monday-Friday job too.

I did Psychology, so no help with bursary, I think, but did get a 1st, so might get something for that if I do Primary.

I like the idea of being a teacher, but the hours really scare me. I've heard 60hr weeks, plus endless scrutiny and poor work/life balance. I'm not sure if this is true in all cases. It may just be in the initial years finding your feet.

I can't really afford not to earn for a year too whilst training, so I think even if the above wasn't true, I probably couldn't do it unfortunately.

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user1495915742 Thu 20-Jul-17 18:03:28

I felt very much like you. Got a degree then worked in an unrelated field. Reached top of that field (couple of rungs up!!!) then got stuck. Absolutely no chance of promotion in that role or CPD.

I've since gone completely back to basics and I'm now working within the NHS as a therapy assistant. The money is a bit pants at the moment but I can see a future where I can progress and actually learn something. I have been on more training in the last few months than I have in almost 20 years working in business!

onemorecakeplease Thu 20-Jul-17 18:09:44

There is a new way into teaching now where you can do the conversion degree over 18m whilst working

I know Aberdeen university as distance learning do it so maybe others do too.

I'm thinking of doing it next year.

Dampcustard Fri 21-Jul-17 09:58:02

Thanks for your replies everyone.

Teaching seems like an attractive route for a lot of people in a similar position. I didn't know about the conversion course where you got paid. That might be worth a look. I've heard about funded SCITT, but I've heard getting a place on paid SCITT is really challenging, and usually goes to people with lots of TA experience. I can't really afford to take a pay cut to do TA (not that it's much of a cut, but I do need the money I get). I still feel that teaching would only be something I'd consider if the culture and long hours change.

User what did you do before your therapy assistant role, if you don't mind me asking? Did you work in the corporate side of the NHS, then switch to clinical? I'm hoping to go from clinical to a more corporate role, as I can't do a degree to go in to nursing or AHP, and I'm also wanting to move away from clinical work anyway. Either that, or move in to an analytical role in the private sector somewhere, but think I will have more chance of getting somewhere if I stay in the NHS. I'm just worried they won't value my experience at the level I'm at now. I'm trying to fill the skills gap with courses, but not sure how I can make up for lack of hands-on experience.

Just wondered if anyone had made this kind of change themselves and how they navigated through the challenges. My mind is boggled by what to do next. I tried to write my CV the other day, and it just looked a bit hmm. Nothing really exciting to make me look like someone with a go getting attitude!

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user1495915742 Fri 21-Jul-17 18:09:44

I worked in business with no previous experience of the NHS or healthcare. My role has a large organisational element to it as well which I had lots of similar previous experience!

If you are already in the NHS then I would try to do a side step into a different area and gain experience. There seems to be little to no training in private companies these days.

I am amazed at the amount training within the NHS. Moving around and changing jobs is much much easier than in private sector.

FlowerFairyLights Fri 21-Jul-17 18:12:39

I'm looking for a non teaching role. I really don't think jumping into teaching is a great idea at the moment. most people I know want to leave after they have kids/ get managed out. It's a young person's game now sad

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 21-Jul-17 19:07:32

Can I jump in? I was just about to start a thread. I left teaching for the reasons mentioned above, plus I was struggling with behaviour management alongside bereavement. I've been working as a therapy assistant to but I can see no real future in it as there is a real hierarchy and I'm kept very much in my place. There are probably 35% band 7s and 8s if you can believe it, but I earn a pittance.

I live in Wales and had an interview today for a AHP degree but I'm not going to be able to do it. The new bursary rules in Wales mean committing to two ears working wherever in Wales I can find a job. I love rurally and on the border, so if if I (likely) didn't find a commutable job I would be looking at instant repayment of the £25k+ bursary as well as the reduced loan repayment. Not viable unfortunately. ELQ rules are still in place here so I can't just take the loan and suck it up.

Leaving teaching has not been a roaring success so far. Jobs on Indeed are very badly paid and mainly care work. I'm thinking maybe HR but it's an investment I'd have to make up front.

Pah. So difficult if you may the wrong choice at 18.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 21-Jul-17 19:07:53

too blush

LexieLulu Fri 21-Jul-17 19:35:40

As you've worked in NHS, could you go for a GP practice manager?

FlowerFairyLights Fri 21-Jul-17 19:40:44

Yep Jennifer. I looked at OT but would cost 30 grand and 3 years full time.

I don't want to feel "this is it!" But it looks like basic wage jobs.

SerfTerf Fri 21-Jul-17 19:43:14

Do you know about PG Loans to find a masters?

Is there anything you fancy going into that has a postgrad route in?

SerfTerf Fri 21-Jul-17 19:43:44

FUND (effing autocucumber)

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 21-Jul-17 20:43:23

It's a young person's game now


Either that, or very ambitious types. Problem is that LAs don't appreciate that top of the scale is what an experienced teacher is worth, and that everything prior to that is a saving.

Numberonecook Wed 26-Jul-17 11:21:49

I've just finished a degree at 33. I got a bloody fantastic good degree. Can't get to interview on anything. Applying and either don't get an answer or it's a no.

Took my cv to uni and they said it looks ok, maybe that I hadn't had enough experience before university because I was self employed and bring up kids. I asked what about graduates who came from school to uni? They have no experience! His reply ....

They are young, you are old sad

As the kids say #crushed

SerfTerf Wed 26-Jul-17 11:57:17

That's harsh Number and a bit surprising. One good internship should fix it, though.

Dampcustard Wed 26-Jul-17 21:00:16

Sorry I have been away so long. I have been working, and when I haven't been, my son has wanted a lot of attention.

I'm a bit reluctant to do a masters or another degree, since I did the best I could on this one and even got the best grade in my year, but everyone else has gone on to do good things apart from me. I'm probably not the most assertive person, hence why I am still where I am! I did get asked to apply for fully funded studentship (with what would have been an excellent supervisor) while on my degree, but chose not to as I did not have time to make the application (among other reasons). Big mistake! I guess if I had gone for that, I wouldn't have had my son, so I have no major regrets in a way, just wish I did everything younger!

I think staying in NHS could be a better option. I used to work in an admin role for a large financial corporation and saw a lot of people get completely burnt out. I would say I'm a lot more thick skinned now than when I was then, but I'm still not sure I want to experience that sort of culture now, especially now I have a child.

I think it's unfair that one of the previous posters have been told that they are too old. Ridiculous really, since I think older people bring experience, and from what I can see in my own role now, have similar energy levels. That said, I'm sure if I applied for a grad scheme I wouldn't have been considered. I think some companies might like someone a bit more malleable, and older people might be a bit more unwilling to let this happen!

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