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Is there anybody out there who has managed to successfully switch careers after having a baby and how did you do it?

(38 Posts)
nm Wed 08-Dec-04 17:14:35

Well is there? I would love to hear any stories - good and bad. This is afollow on from my last thread "Decisions Decision!" (sorry can't do a link)

spacedonkey Wed 08-Dec-04 17:29:01

oops I just posted my experience on your other thread nm!

whatanenormousturkey Wed 08-Dec-04 17:35:12

am in the process.

it's bloody hard work!

work in marketing and project management and found it totally impossible to go back part time after having a baby. nature of that kind of work at the level I was at, is that you have to be prepared to put very long hours in when it's needed.

co-incidently, decided I didn't want to work in that area anyway any more, so am retraining to be a counsellor. I'm working part time on marketing/project management stuff, and one day a week, i'm doing my course.

we can't really afford it, but we're struggling through. it's difficult to get the studying in, but i just have to be really clear that I need that time.

what are you thinking of doing (haven't seen the other thread)

nm Wed 08-Dec-04 17:39:39

Not really sure what I want to do. Am a bit concerned that my brain has turned to custard as well so feeling a bit wary of taking on anything too academic (although previous career did need me to exercise the old grey matter)

Spacedonkey just looked at your note on the other thread - wow - I am very impressed. What are you thinking of turning your hand to now?

spacedonkey Wed 08-Dec-04 17:44:20

Frankly I don't know yet nm! I would like something part time and not too mentally taxing for now - I really fancy working in a bookshop - but longer term I don't know. I want to do some studying and make time for some creative pursuits in the new year.

What were you doing work wise before you became a SAHM?

OldieMum Wed 08-Dec-04 17:47:08

Whatanenormousturkey - how did you deal with the fact that counselling courses all seem to require that you already have some relevant work experience to draw on while you train? It seems like a catch-22 problem. I'm asking because I am working on various options for a career change and one had been family or child therapy. I couldn't see how I could get through this problem.

AMerryScot Wed 08-Dec-04 17:49:53

I went into teaching, from R&D in cosmetics industry, after my second child. Fairly easy to do, apart from lack of dosh (yet still having to pay for childcare) during the training year. The main reason for switching was that I couldn't hack the travel commitments in my first job.

With my third child, I became a SAHM - which was an excellent move.

nm Wed 08-Dec-04 18:09:56

Spacedonkey - are you me? I quite fancy working in a bookshop as well! In my previous life I was a tax consultant with one of the big firms - like others have said - if I want to continue to do that at the level I left at I would need to work a lot of hours - if I do it at a lower level I just get bored.

spacedonkey Wed 08-Dec-04 18:10:44

Goldfishincenseandmyrhh Wed 08-Dec-04 18:20:29

I used to work in an accounts office before I had my children, and now I am a teaching assistant in a first school.

Poshpaws Wed 08-Dec-04 18:34:41

I did.

Left work (junior sales analyst) when DS was 4 momths old (now 3 years), did a years voluntary work with Homestart, went to work for Victim Support for a year, now a support worker, supporting women suffering domestic violence.

2.5 years (almost) of hard graft, but loved every minute of it. Am now where I wanted to be, earning surprisingly good money for 4 days a week in the voluntary sector.

What helped was having a brilliant DH who was 100% supportive (and still is), childcare in the form of mum and sis and actually being more ruthless about what I wanted than had ever been before.

Good luck whatever you do.

prufRockingAroundtheXmasTree Wed 08-Dec-04 21:02:08

nm - thank you for starting this, I am in a very similar situation, well, I will be in a few of years.
I am currently thinking of either homeopathy or librarianship as a possible future career, because of the chance of job satisfaction and work-life balance. Both would require studying which I can do whilst being a SAHM.

merrykittymas Wed 08-Dec-04 21:08:52

I'm planning to go back to teacher training college in August, MerryScot I would love to hear where you studied etc how difficult you found it with a little one.

I'm currently a food microbiologist so it will be a big career change for me also.

ladymuck Wed 08-Dec-04 21:14:12

nm, have you considered contract work? Usually some flexibility for someone experienced, and cover is usually wanted at a variety of levels.

Caligulights Wed 08-Dec-04 21:14:58

I did.

Previously worked in advertising, was lucky enough to get a maternity cover as Head of PR and marketing of a charity. That got me into the charity sector, I now work as a volunteer manager.

It's quite an easy transition if you have transferable skills, but I found that my lack of knowledge of how the voluntary sector works, plus how statutory services work, was a slight disadvantage at department head level. Hence downshifting slightly (I have a much lower level job now), partly so that I have time with my children, partly to learn about voluntary / statutory sector practices from the bottom up.

albosmum Wed 08-Dec-04 21:19:34

I currently work as a librarian, but am completing my cert ed as I am hoping to do more PT lecturing to fit in with family - but don't want to give up first career completely. Plus money is better in lecturing than librarian - but if you have any questions on librarianship as a career prufRockingAroundtheXmasTree - I will do my best to answer them.

Studying with DS, house etc requires support Plus I found that I had to accept that my aim was to pass and did not flog my guts out trying to get distinctions

EniDeepMidwinter Wed 08-Dec-04 21:25:03

I was an art director/copywriter but then moved to the country/had two children and since the birth of my second child have moved into arts administration/art gallery management/fundraising. Lots of transferable skills and a fantastic job shift - my lack of charity experience and work with management committees was a bit of a disadvantage but its amazing what you can learn from the net if you are motivated enough!

I can honestly say it is the best job I have ever had and I am absolutely made for it (tricky colleagues notwithstanding).

spacedonkey Thu 09-Dec-04 10:04:26

just bumping this thread up because I'm loving hearing everyone's stories

skerriesmum Thu 09-Dec-04 15:44:07

Yes, but it's too soon to see if it's going to work! I used to do marketing/business consulting and now I'm doing technical writing. It's an entry level position and my dh already works in the company. I've negotiated a four day week for the first three months and hope to be able to take parental leave after that. I am enjoying being back at work, in many ways less exhausting than being at home with a 22 month old!

AMerryScot Thu 09-Dec-04 15:56:15


I didn't find the teacher training year too hard. It was much harder working for an American multinational, LOL.

The course hours were pretty much along the lines of the school day, and since we only taught a 50% timetable, there was plenty of time to prepare lessons, mark children's work and prepare the uni assignments.

The one thing that I didn't have any control over in that year was the distance I had to travel to uni and schools.

phatcat Thu 09-Dec-04 16:03:28

ooh interesting thread - I've been a SAHM since May this year, having given up my job as a software developer. In a couple of years time I hope to train to be a motorcycle instructor.

Snowbell Fri 10-Dec-04 09:51:18

this is a very interesting thread as I too am looking for a new career. I was made redundant when I was pregnant and it is not an industry I want to work in now. Don't want to highjack your thread, nm, but was very interested to read Skerriesmum's message about working as a technical writer as this is something I would love to get into. Skerriesmum, how did you get into it? Is it an IT company? I know that many technical writing jobs are in the IT industry and they seem to want people with hardcore IT skills to write the documentation.

merrykittymas Sun 12-Dec-04 15:13:51


I have applied to several unis and am waiting to hear back from them for an interview. I've got the academic qualifications but lack any recent school/children experience (I suppose 24/7 with DD doesn't count).

Was it difficult finding a job once you qualified?

vict17 Sun 12-Dec-04 15:17:55

another librarian here. Prufrock - hours can be very flexible and if you work in a public library flexible working is fairly easily accommodated. But there is a lot of evening and weekend work involved so not necessarrily good for work/life balance.

AMerryScot Sun 12-Dec-04 15:18:50

I didn't find that it was necessary to have any experience. A lot of ITT students are straight out of uni themselves.

I found a permanent job in the next town while I was still a student, so no, it wasn't difficult. There is an element of luck, though, that a vacancy arises in a convenient school.

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