Can I forget ever having a career again?

(31 Posts)
Dorsetcamping Mon 21-Oct-19 16:56:42

I am 48 and have been a SAHM for the last 9 years.
I would really like to get back out there but my skills and experience no longer seem relevant. Plus the screaming gap in my employment history ensures I get written off at the first stage.

I was previously a risk auditor in the City but feel too old and out of the loop to return to that. the list of requirements that companies now ask for seems to be endless.
I also have a degree in psychology.

I have also done long stretches of volunteering in care and education but don't really want to pursue that route.

What can I do? It seems to me that unless I retrain, take a low paid 'junior' role or get a supermarket job, there is nothing left for me.

Any advice much appreciated, I'm feeling really despondent and irrelevant.

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catyrosetom2 Mon 21-Oct-19 17:00:37

My previous experience came in useful for eventually getting a reasonable job even though not exactly the same thing. What sort of companies/organisations would you like to work for that are near you? Are you still near the City?

4catsaremylife Mon 21-Oct-19 17:06:27

I can sympathise I really struggled to get work following an extended period as a SAH mum. I did eventually manage to get a job but the funding folded after 6 months so I went to university hoping that would help me be more employable but sadly not. I have in the last 2 weeks been offered a graduate role after 2 years working in retail. I have applied for over 80 jobs in the past 18 months and can only send you my best wishes for good luck in your search. I hope something comes along for you. There are many opportunities should you choose to retrain, careers around maths and statistics are available particularly data analytics type jobs but I'm in the North and the jobs market differs tremendously around the country so you may be lucky 🙂

Dorsetcamping Mon 21-Oct-19 17:12:07

Thank you for replying.
I live a good 90 mins from London and the thought of doing that commute again leaves me cold.

I have seen a few local Data protection/GDPR jobs which I do have some very limited experience of, but again even for junior roles these companies seem to want heaven and earth.

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Dorsetcamping Mon 21-Oct-19 17:13:19

I also really need to revamp my CV and somehow put a positive spin on my 9 years AWOL

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BlueJava Mon 21-Oct-19 17:17:08

I'd say be honest about the gap - have you got anything you can help fill it (volunteering for example?) Additionally could you identify what area you want to be in and then take a relevant course? Plus do some reading - make sure you're up to date when you do get an interview.

HotSauceCommittee Mon 21-Oct-19 17:25:09

Hi OP, try the police?
I went in at entry level scale four at age 42 and now, after nearly five years, have updated my experience and moved up into a better job within the organisation on better pay. There are a lot of civilian opportunities and not just at HQ, but at satellite police centres, so travel to central London is not a pre-requisite. Is Thames Valley nearer for you?
if you have experience in education, that gives you a knowledge of safeguarding and there is also plenty of call for audits, if you are still interested. Your degree will prove you can write reports. It's a big organisation, so opportunities vary, but I'd bet there would be something there for you. They give you plenty of training courses, so it's an education in itself. I really struggled to find something I'd be interested in, that I also found worthwhile, so it's been great for me and I never want to work anywhere else.

catyrosetom2 Mon 21-Oct-19 17:27:07

Where are the data protection roles based - could you get a junior role within the same organisation, build up some relevant skills then pounce?

I think you are right about not working in the City again, but it’s an impressive career history. Someone I know who worked in the city now works for a local property firm. I am sure the skills in risk auditing are very transferrable. Somewhere like local government would appreciate them.

Okki Mon 21-Oct-19 17:35:20

I've been applying for jobs for a while. I've had a few interviews but nothing came of it. I was told today my application for a part time cleaner wasn't successful grin. Before my 7 year SAHM I was climbing the accountancy ladder. Whilst being off I've done a degree. I'm just so thankful I am not in a position where we really need the money. Hey ho. Think we'll get there in the end but it's just not much fun whilst we try. Plus I've read so much conflicting advice on CV presentation, I don't even know how I should write my cv any more.

curiouslypacific Mon 21-Oct-19 17:52:43

Have you looked into 'return to work' schemes or returnships? There seem to be quite a few about and they seem to be aimed at people in your situation. Not done one myself, but maybe worth looking to see if any are suitable?

Chewbecca Mon 21-Oct-19 17:55:28

A lot of city firms are doing schemes at the moment trying to encourage people just like you back into the workplace. HSBC and PWC are two I know of.
They both will always consider flexible working requests so it doesn't have to be full time or all office based, home working has increased massively in the last 9 years.

Chewbecca Mon 21-Oct-19 17:58:31

Two more thoughts
- those lists of requirements are wish lists, you don't need to fulfil them all
- screening checks only take place after the role is offered. It's all done by HR and validates the accuracy of who you said you worked for for which dates. It doesn't need twisting, only a factual explanation.

KevinsCarter Mon 21-Oct-19 18:26:46

I am struggling after 5 years away too. I can meet the competencies, but cannot commit to being 'fully flexible' when they ask at interview. They are interviewing for a 15 hour role over 2 days. So then they automatically think I am a risk. Soon, op. Soon you will get something.

Dorsetcamping Tue 22-Oct-19 14:03:13

I hadn't considered the police and there are some hubs reasonably close by that are advertising.

I don't think any of the big firms would be interested in me now...too old and too long out of the game. Also not sure I am up to a another highly pressurised job.

Maybe I just keep firing applications off and hopefully something will come from it. Does a CV have to be tailored to every different job role or can I get away with one?

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Dorsetcamping Tue 22-Oct-19 19:19:30


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mondaysrock Tue 22-Oct-19 22:56:52

Same situation for me. Had a senior brand marketing role 12 years ago. And a business degree. Now after being a SAHM my experience seems to count for nothing. I've had 6 interviews since March and even been turned down for a very basic junior admin role. Very demoralising. Would love to retrain as a graphic designer (or something else creative) but can't afford to. Trying to teach myself but feels like it might be pointless. It's really affecting my self confidence now. And money is starting to become more of an issue. Any advice or magic wands are welcomed!

daisydalrymple Tue 22-Oct-19 23:09:27

I took a career break 8 years ago, combination of young children / elderly parent with Alzheimer’s. I’ve worked part time in a pub/restaurant for the last 7 years for my own sanity (and handbag / make up habit).
Dc3 has just started school full time, dad sadly died last year, so the time had come for me to start looking for a ‘proper’ job. I realised I actually love what I do, and purely coincidence, was offered a deputy manager role at work.

I realise that’s not for everyone, but basically, don’t turn down any opportunity if you think it could lead somewhere. Priority for me was flexibility so I could look after dad and 3 children. Turns out I love the hospitality industry, I love working with people, the social side of it, job satisfaction and basically not a lot of work related stress.

You may find that if you list what’s important to you, you may find opportunities in areas you’d never considered. Good luck!

Dorsetcamping Wed 23-Oct-19 11:10:16

Thank you. Whilst I don't regret my time at home if I had realised it was career suicide think I would've thought twice about options.

Maybe applying for junior roles is the only way to start again

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chiselled Wed 23-Oct-19 14:35:09

I'd strongly advise against taking on a junior role. It's seriously difficult fitting into an office's social dynamic if you're a lot more qualified and experienced than your new colleagues.

And whilst you may have lots of transferable skills to create a great impression in front of your new managers, this can be a double edged sword, stirring up a hornets' nest of jealousy and insecurity, if an immediate supervisor or coworker perceives you as a threat to their own position.

One can end up feeling utterly crushed in terms of loss of dignity, self esteem and general psychological well-being.

Perhaps my poor brain became addled as a SAHM, but my impression is that many of today's workplaces are more akin to medieval bear pits, than the collegiate, productive, stimulating and convivial places that were my experience of yore.

People seem to be much, much more aggressive, competitive and argumentative than I ever remember them being. And this is in low paid, relatively unskilled work, not parliament nor the stock exchange!

I would advise you to try and retrain or get back up to speed in your own specialism, if your finances will allow. I bitterly regret not doing this when money would have facilitated this course of action.

Sreglington Wed 23-Oct-19 16:46:22

Returnships are run by a lot of the big Big companies as there is a serious brain drain. They are often 12 week programmes with mentors / coaches etc do Google it. My gap hasn't been as long but gone into a huge corporate and they're super flexible and very friendly /laid back- and foreve r looking for internal auditors

Elliepegsuk Thu 24-Oct-19 11:20:00

There is no reason why you cant get back into work, I've had a six year gap but honestly it didn't count against me.
I managed to find a great job with better pay. I was picky I only applied for jobs within 15 min of home and I chose companies that would appreciate the 13 years I had spent in my last position.
The best trick I learned was to briefly acknowledge that I had been a SAHM for 6 years, but I didn't list it on my CV just mentioned it in my introduction.
At the interview I took the same tack I pretended, yes I had been at home for 6 years but look at all the great skills and experience I have I just didn't acknowledge that it was 6 years ago which made the employer kind of forget that fact too.
I was nervous going to the interview but I tried not to think about it, I prepared by going over the job description and writing out where my previous skills were transferable. I work in vehicle fleet management and honestly my last job was nothing like my new one I was more junior then but they don't know that. I didn't lie on my cv but I did word it like I had more responsibility.
Employment agencies can be a pain but you can use them to your advantage and they played a role in getting me the position. They want you to get the job so were also happy to gloss over my 6 year gap and sell me to the employer.
Then I got up got ready and just did it, a few hours later I got a call and I got the job. I admit I was somewhat lucky but if you interview like you haven't had a break it makes it much easier.
Remember all the great things about yourself, your older you are more mature and you have more life experience. your previous experience is as relevant as it ever was. Smaller companies are your best bet as the interview process is more relaxed and be picky there is no need to go for a junior role.
Good luck x

ageingdisgracefully Thu 24-Oct-19 11:30:10

It's a pita. But you're still young and you'll probably work until you drop, so perhaps more time than you think.

I didn't work in a "proper" job until dd was 16.

I volunteered at a well-known charity for two years and was then offered a few hours per week. It has turned into a full-time position.

The pay is crap, but i live in a low-pay area and in that context it doesn't look that bad. I'm 60.

It's dead end job BUT it has given me confidence to apply for better jobs (I used to be in post-16 education and I would like to return).

If you DO go down the volunteering route, go for one with proper structured training. At the very least you'll develop transferable skills.

Your previous experience sounds great, by the way. Sounds as though you have excellent skills, knowledge and understanding.

Good luck - you WILL find something.

Peggywoolley Thu 24-Oct-19 19:39:48

I agree with @Elliepegsuk. I didn’t stop working (but worked in a VERY junior two day a week role) when kids were little. I have just got a promotion where I cited experience which I actually gained 14+ years ago. My overall transferrable skills were attractive to them. I would go back over all the jobs you have had and remind yourself what great experience you have then apply, apply, apply.

As regards CV do tailor it but this need only be altering the personal statement. The Police or a local authority won’t usually accept CVs anyway as they have jobs websites. Look at the essential skills list then write everything you can think of that you have done under each bullet point, as this is how they shortlist - interview questions will be based on essential skills too.

ButtercupGirI Sat 26-Oct-19 15:32:32

If you are good with interviews, look for returnships from big companies. Going back to a more junior may not necessary mean you can climb again even if you are doing whatever you were doing before, the salary might stay low unless you are lucky to work for a company who can pay their staff well.

I took 9 years break, I returned to an entry level role, now back to similar skill level role as what I used to do before my career break but my salary is not much better than 3 years ago when I started. I just can't see myself ever going to earn anything near what I used to - I am in my mid forties working in male dominated non management role. I can really see why there is such gender difference in salary in our jobs.

QueenOfWinterfell Tue 12-Nov-19 15:45:16

Agree with every word of Chiselleds post. Workplaces are so competitive these days. I’ve had the same problem- colleagues demanding I share my skills and expertise with them but not returning the favour. I really wish I’d not taken time out.

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