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Any ex-City (or high flying corporate sorts) mums or dads who gave up when they had kids ?

(44 Posts)
katface Tue 16-Sep-08 14:29:14

Would be interested to hear your views re. why and when you packed it all in and what you are doing right now ?

I know there is another thread going on about how to stay in the City as a lawyer, but I am also interested to hear views re. getting out of the City or other corporate environments - why did you give up and what are you doing now ?

I gave up when I was 36 and heavily pregnant with my son who has just started reception at age 4.3. I worked in City banking for 3 years having previously worked in various other multinational institutions after leaving university.

My son was the main reason I decided to stay at home, but I also had many question marks re. the rat race well before he was born and whether it was worth it.

I must say, the fact that I don't actually like working for other people (i.e. bosses) was a major turning point for me.

Any other views on this please ?

littlelapin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:59:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claricebean Tue 16-Sep-08 15:07:44

I used to work in banking and management consultancy. I went pt after having DD1 and left when DD2 was born. I now live in Spain with DH, who also left a city job, and we've subsequently had DS and DD3.

I left because, although I loved my job in my 20s, I was becoming a bit disillusioned with City life by my 30s, and once we had our first child, it just didn't seem to be worth the sacrifices any more. The first week I went back to work after having DD1 I was told I would be working in Zurich from the next Monday, and I returned home to find out that DH was to be in Antwerp from the Sunday. Although we had 2 very understanding and helpful sets of parents, it just wasn't how we wanted to bring up our family.

DH retrained as a secondary school teacher and we are now MUCH poorer but MUCH happier. We lead a very family oriented life and DH feels he is doing something he loves and that is worthwhile.

katface Tue 16-Sep-08 15:39:21

clarice - that ditching it all to live Spain sounds fab : )

littlepin - self-employment is a good choice for people who don't like bosses breathing down their necks 24/7 ; )

littlelapin Tue 16-Sep-08 15:45:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pagwatch Tue 16-Sep-08 15:53:35

I was inthe city- started as Dhs boss grin
I gave up for a short while when DS2 was born but ended up giving up for good when DS2 developed SN.
I pop back to see DH and I am always amused to notice how little I really do miss it - compared with how nostalgic I am about when i worked their.
It is hard to go from being someone who is generally seen a deeply significant to someone who cooks tea for small children while they tell you all about playgroup.
But the truth is I think I actually have more genuine significance now. And my days are much happier.
But the adjustment is hard.

One of those classic things where you really don't 'get' life on the otherside until you do it. That is why the WOHM/SAHM threads always get so bloody - people defend what they know.

( it really does help when i pop back to be forcfully reminded , as I often am, of the huge percentage of shallow self obsessed self important wankers there are in corporate enviroments grin)

littlelapin Tue 16-Sep-08 16:16:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

katface Tue 16-Sep-08 18:50:42

yeh, i had a friend who worked for another investmnet bank, where THE female trader there (yup, there was only the one !) got called a f** c** every time she walked past the men ! NICE !

mine wasn't quite so bad, but the constant sexist/racist jokes i had to listen to got to me after a while. ok the jokes weren't directed at anyone i knew, but they were bad enough to give me a very bad image of City folk.

people joke about builders with their "tits out for the lads" jokes, in fact the so-called educated lads/lasses of the City have a similar sense of humour to our good old workmen, i am not sure people realise this. the most commonly read papers in the City are the FT AND the Sun !!!

it isn't just the City though, i agree that corporate life in general can be a real shock to the system, and it most certainly isn't child-friendly. i can see why many women/men change their views about working there once they have had children.

i think i am regarded as a born-again hippie by most of my ex-colleagues because of the choices i have made post childbirth, but it doesn't bother me a bit. i am not like them and they are not like me, thank goodness as life would be very dull if we were ALL the same !! smile

katface Tue 16-Sep-08 18:55:02

littlelapin, yes and remember your colleagues getting p** out of their minds, esp. the young ones in their 20's and then being sick all over you lap ? not much different from babies right ? grin

mckenzie Tue 16-Sep-08 19:30:43

I worked on a busy trading floor for a foreign investment bank and had become disillusioned way before I feel pregnant but kept going purely for the money (not somehting I'm proud of). However, it worked out for me as while pregnant, rumours were our desk was to close so I kept the pregnancy quiet and sure enough, desk was closed and I got made redundant. Perfect.
I was offered a part time role at the same company, pretty much doing what I did before, about 3 years ago. It took me 3 minutes to turn it down.
I've re-trained this year too so now for sure I will never go back.

pagwatch Tue 16-Sep-08 19:40:00

when I was pregnant with DS we were meeting a humungus client and my Chairman made me sit behind a desk and not stand up for fear they would notice my <<ahem>> delicate condition.
Couldn't quite believe that one grin

Dontcha love predopminately male enviroments

<<pag gets doe eyed remembering long lunches and dates with stupidly handsome men >>

<<snaps out of it and goes back to making dinner>>

<<sigh>>

katface Tue 16-Sep-08 20:23:22

anyone given up to do something really wacky like sky diving instructor or something ?

anyone else set up their own business ?

katface Tue 16-Sep-08 20:33:10

what about the mothering/fathering side ? anyone else found it to be the most rewarding thing they have ever done ?

Onlyaphase Tue 16-Sep-08 20:40:44

I worked for 11 years in the city - 6 years in magic circle firm, 5 years in a bank - the usual long hours and unexciting trips to Geneva and Frankfurt. Loved the work though, managing a team, always new deals coming through. Before I had DD,I did fully intend to go back to work after DD was born, even booked the nursery etc in my normal control-freaky way BUT then I actually had DD and just knew on that first day there was no way I was going back to work.

So, we sold the house and relocated north. DD is approaching 2, and I may retrain as an IFA at some point, but no hurry. Have very understanding DH who claims not to mind the rather drastic drop in household income.

I wouldn't have been able to deal with someone else bringing my child up. No regrets either (especially at the moment given the financial market mess)

ByTheSea Tue 16-Sep-08 20:54:17

I was in the City/Wall Street in a reasonably senior IT position. Married DH and he included two stepsons who were babies, but I kept on FT. Then had DD1 who is now 9. After six months back at my old job, I found it too demanding and missed her, so I took a slight pay cut and moved to an internet startup brokerage (just as the dotcom bubble was bursting). I was still FT at the time, but was able to work from home once a week, no travel (other than long commute) required, and regular hours. Up to this point, I had a combination of a wonderful nanny and good nursery so I was very happy with my childcare situation. After DD2, now 6, was born, I went back to that job PT - 3 days a week. This lasted almost a year and a half. Unfortunately, though, DSs weren't thriving and one was exhibiting some fairly serious emotional and behavioural special needs, and I wasn't happy with the childcare, and DH and I decided that I would give it up for a while. It's been 4 1/2 years now and I haven't looked back, although we certainly miss it financially. I honestly was getting a bit bored with it. I took a preschool practice qualification last year and now work very school-friendly, low-paid, part- time nursery assistant, which I really enjoy. I love being available for the children, although DS-11 has made me a bit wacky. DH is still at his City job (not high flying but respectable), but as you can imagine, it's precarious and the possibility always exists for me to go back to higher paid work, although I won't go back to the City.

littlelapin Tue 16-Sep-08 21:49:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mckenzie Tue 16-Sep-08 22:23:13

I loved it too littlepin for 8 years but for the last 2 years it was starting to get too political, too much like hard work as well if i am honest. I think I had the good days of long lunches, expenses, days at Ascot/Wimbledon, morning meeting at 8am. But by the time I left that had all changed. Morning meeting was at 7am!

Katface - I have retrained as a Personal Trainer and fitness instructor. Not as wacky as sky diving but different by miles from Eurobonds!

katface Wed 17-Sep-08 16:48:36

mckenzie, that's great, yes very different from eurobonds, but defo more challenging physically : )

katface Wed 17-Sep-08 17:03:49

anniemac - i hope you get to read this - in response to what you said on the other thread:

I hope you don't think this is a let's bitch about City types thread, it isn't, I think we all have good and bad memories about our previous careers, nevermind what sector we worked in.

I found the City excessively bitchy and unpleasant, political with lots of back-stabbing going on, lots of up-their-own backside types. All the very short men drove Porsche or BMW's, as though to cover up something else lacking in their lives !

It might just have been the 2 places I was unlucky to work in though, not a general scene in the City wink

City or other high flying jobs are possible with children, but where it is no longer feasible for people with my personlaity (i emphasise the personality thing because some people thrive on the cut-throat, competitive, sorry to say even bitchy nature of some jobs, but I don't) is where the job always ends up taking precedence over children.

When that happens, and it would have if I had returned to the City job I used to have where I was doing an average of 12 - 15 hours per day, doing complicated deals and transactions so you could never get home to see you child mid-week. I didn't have a child just so that I could only ever see him at weekends or at half-term.

We had a very senior female partner where I worked who returned to work FULL-TIME exactly 3 days after having her baby. She had a full-time, live in nanny and a dh with a similar job, so the children never saw their parents mid-week.

I could just see that that is where I would have ended up if I had had ambitions to to become a partner.

Please, this is NOT a criticism of others lives. It just didn't appeal to me and my personality. I am a really hands-on mum, very mother earth sort, I would have found it emotionally too difficult to spend long hours away from my son.

I can see the other side too though, the resaon why many women/men return to the City after children and how they need that sort of pace to thrive.

Any other views ?

seeker Wed 17-Sep-08 17:07:25

I was a pretty senior Civil Servant - does that count?

katface Wed 17-Sep-08 17:18:39

yes seeker - anything high octane !

seeker Wed 17-Sep-08 22:21:23

I had my nanny and all arrangements lined up and I left work on maternity leave saying "You know where I am if you need me - see you in 6 months". That was nearly 13 years ago and I haven't been back to work since. Don't regret it for a second (well, I do a bit when something exciting happens in the political world and I'm out of the gossip loop).

giddykipper Wed 17-Sep-08 22:26:34

I worked in investment banking for 10 years, decided I couldn't go back when I came to the end of my maternity leave. The prospect of hardly seeing DS because of the long working hours was too much for me. I changed direction and have gone back to accountancy where I trained originally. Local firm, massive pay cut, but very sociable hours and a family-friendly environment. I work 4 days a week, leave at 4:30pm and have hardly any commute. I am actually enjoying work again.

katface Wed 17-Sep-08 22:27:47

so what happened seeker, what made you decide never to go back ?

seeker Wed 17-Sep-08 22:57:31

I realized that I would have to do two difficult and demanding and stressful full time jobs. And there weren't enough hours in the day to do both of them properly. And that somebody else could do my "work" job at least as well, probably better, than I could, but NO ONE could do my "parent" job anywhere near as well as I could.

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