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Has anyone successfully changed to being "not career driven anymore"?

(12 Posts)
Minormiracle Wed 06-Nov-19 11:47:25

Sorry for a bit of a self indulgent, self searching type of post. I wonder if anyone can relate.

All the important people in my life (DH, my parents, best friends) see me as ambitious / career driven. I worked incredibly hard at school, uni, financial services sector.

I am currently in a senior financial type job which I have somehow managed to get on a part time basis (4 days and some home working) which I am really grateful for. However, the role is quite frustrating (understatement) and I am looking for something else.

I have been offered a couple of roles that were exciting / new sector / promotion and have turned both down because I am worried about losing my good work life balance. If I am honest, the part of my life I love the most is the time at home with my DC, being engaged in their hobbies, outings together etc. On my non-working day I love doing the school run, and on the days that I work I rush home as soon as I can to do homework / bedtime etc.

But every time I consider not working / taking a low paid part time role, everyone around me expresses concern that it is not 'me', I would be bored etc. Which kind of leaves me stuck: I can't move to an exciting new role without it impacting my current work life balance, but the general feeling among peopl who know me is I shouldn't move to a better work life balance role or stop working either.

Of course there is financial stability to be considered - we would be fine with me earning less but I probably would feel a bit odd not being a main contributor to the household income. But that aside would I really be bored if I stopped focusing on my career?

Theresa17 Thu 07-Nov-19 20:07:58

Hi @Minormiracle
Oh that sounds like a tough situation! And it's not self-indulgent, it's good self reflection and there would be fewer people with regrets in the world if people thought more about these tricky questions... I think you can definitely change with things like this! Our priorities so often change throughout our lives (there are some lovely careers theories in this ;-)), sometimes in different ways than we expect (or the people around us). It is different for different people of course, some might get restless when they shift focus from their career, but you might find this is what you want at this stage in your life. And it might change again in the future. To add some cliches (sorry), your kids are only young once and you won't get this time back... People don't usually wish at the end of their life they would have worked more...
But... Your family do know you well, so they MAY have a point. But sometimes it is hardest for the people around us to shift their ideas about who we are...
Is there are chance of you doing some sort of trial run? Maybe take some holiday or even unpaid leave for as long as possible to test the waters and see how you feel if you are at home more or even fulltime?
At the end of the day you are the only person who can make this choice and decide which risk you rather take. Leaving your role and maybe become bored and having to look for a new and more interesting role, or looking back and maybe regretting not having spent this time with your children when you wanted to. Good luck!

Wallabyone Thu 07-Nov-19 20:16:09

I was the same as you-high flier at school, went to uni, then onto study law at post grad level, and then decided to teach and moved onto leadership very quickly. I'm now at home with my young family and I've never felt so content. They're little still, so there's plenty of time for me to 'get back into it' later, but I am asked at least three times a week - when? How are you finding it? Are you bored? Is it harder than working (NO!). The decision WAS a hard one though, but it's defiantly right for us right now. Good luck.

Calledyoulastnightfromglasgow Thu 07-Nov-19 20:20:54

Financial services is stressful and draining. I’m in it too but a lower level so I do 21 hours and manage more time with kids. Is this an option? It’s still frustrating as I see less able colleagues soar ahead.

But this might keep your options open?

Minormiracle Fri 08-Nov-19 15:19:39

Thank you very much for these thoughtful responses.

I've been mulling things over a bit and I do wonder if my relationship with DH is perhaps to some extent based on me being an ambitious career person. I guess it would be a very big change in my 'character' to expect him to go along with - not to mention me not pulling my weight in a financial context. But to be fair I would be totally on board with both of us taking a step back career wise and just being a bit more careful with spending.

I've always wanted to try my hand at writing something, a novel maybe or something else. Maybe the answer is to seek a sabbatical for six months and do that during school hours. I'm not sure work would go approve it though.

Everyone says I will be bored a home after 1-3-6 months, but I actually really really doubt it. Even without the writing there are 1,000 things I'd love to be doing, with the children, in the house, things for me, making weekends easier by getting chores done etc.

Quite difficult when you get to this point in life and you realise you want a life completely different from what you've always envisaged...

Orangesandbananas Fri 08-Nov-19 16:28:10

The key thing that stood out for me from your post is you saying this:

But every time I consider not working / taking a low paid part time role, everyone around me expresses concern that it is not 'me', I would be bored etc.

I think you need to listen to your self, to what you feel, what you want and try and park the perceptions of others. Sometimes (often!) in life a person changes and the people who are not that person find it hard to understand that.

Having said that, it is hard sometimes to work out what is best for you. I'm currently in a very boring job because it provides an excellent work life balance, short hours, early finish, work from home some days, no commute. But I am SO bored! I'm finding it so difficult to work out whether it'd be better to commute and trade in a little of my work / life balance for the days at work to go faster!

I think the work issue becomes more complex and nuanced once you get older and have children (and even if you don't have children), you see more clearly the value of a good work / life balance and you start to value time over money (yet you ideally still want to enjoy your job).

Good luck trying to figure it all out, it's not easy!

Luna9 Sun 10-Nov-19 22:42:26

I slowed down my career and went part time when my first child was born. It has been great for all the family and I have enjoyed being able to share more time with the kids; However the oldest one is now in Secondary and the other one half way to primary and I feel I have more time; I feel I want to go back full time and work for a bigger company with opportunity for career progression. The problem I have found with part time is that it has always been small Companies with not much opportunity to develop and grow professionally, not perks but I have stayed due to the flexibility and time I can spend with the children.

Good luck. You will figure it out.

amyt84 Mon 11-Nov-19 13:00:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

WombleishOfTheThighs Mon 11-Nov-19 13:05:41

@amyt84 Bore off, there's a dear.

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 11-Nov-19 13:15:49

I am in the same position as you. Working in financial services in a senior role, hate the company (but love the role), but due to the organisation’s flexibility re work from home it actually fits my life perfectly.

In your position I would consider the following:

1. Staying in the same company, similar role, but different part of the organisation on a full time basis. This assumes you can work from home one or two days per week and working 5 days is less stress than 4.

2. Moving to a fintech if your role is suitable and negotiating flexibility as part of your package (many will consider part time for staff who are experienced in financial services), or moving on a full time basis to a company that offers a shorter commute / virtual working (eg Amazon Pay) or other benefits your existing company doesn’t

Dontdisturbmenow Tue 12-Nov-19 19:04:26

Definitely me, but maybe at an older than you. Like you, Iwent through each stage of school and entry jobs expecting to move up regularly and do well in my career. I was after both the sense of achievement and the money, as well as finding excitement in my job.

I did so for many years until I reached mid 40s and all in a sudden, I found it all too much, got tired of all the politics that inevitably comes with promotions, the pretending to care and support strategies that were pointless, expressing commitment to plans that just left me mentally exhausted. When I was offered a secondment to a level I never expected to achieve, I went for it but almost by default and was lacking the excitement I always felt before when being promoted. I did it for 6 months and realised that I just hated it.

In the end, I left the organisation and took a role that was one level below and I am so much happier. It's a role that I feel totally confident doing, interesting and where I miraculously get shielded from the politics despite a still good income. Recently, the boss of my boss asked me if I would envisaged moving up as my boss is expected to do so herself, but the idea just horrified me and all I could say that I was happy where I was from a work-life balance.

My OH has gone through the exact same mental process, and has himself gone from extremely ambitious having a reputation for it, to having lost interest in the job and having no interest in going higher despite the company always testing him, as this would involve a lot more travelling, staying away from home and the excitement of the job doesn't outweigh not being home every night.

In some ways, I do feel that it's a pity it's come to it as being ambitious came with much self-satisfaction, but I just don't have the energy and belief to be so any longer.

LolaSmiles Tue 12-Nov-19 19:09:19

It's not self indulgent at all. Self reflection is really crucial and it's good you know yourself well enough to take the time to reflect rather than waste years on things that aren't you.

The thing I realised was that it wasn't going to be a choice between always moving up or giving up to a low stress/lower challenge/lower pay role where I might get bored. Sometimes a new mental challenge and fulfilling job can be found by moving sideways. That's what I did and for the last couple of years I've been really happy.

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