Agh! I'm hating my career change...
MidlifeConfusion · 09/02/2023 21:43
I recently joined my dream industry in a very junior role. I'm in a great company with kind, talented people... but I'm absolutely hating it. Anyone else experienced this? I'm looking for career change stories, good and bad!
I work part-time but I miss being fully involved with my children. My job is uncomfortably junior and, frankly, dull. I don't need to bring in a wage, but I'm very conscious that I have no financial independence. For background, I've been a SAHM for a few years, following a successful career in a related industry. I was hoping to kick-start a whole new, exciting chapter...but I bloody hate it! I don't know anyone else who's changed career so late.... and never heard of anyone then regretting it 😩Any experience/wisdom out there?!
PointersPlease · 09/02/2023 21:55
How old are you. I changed career at 29 and took another 5 years to get anywhere near secure
WinterFoxes · 09/02/2023 22:28
Not sure what you are saying. Is it no longer your 'dream industry' now you have first-hand experience of it? Or do you just feel uncomfortable in such a junior role at your age?
It is very common to hate a new job for the first few weeks until you get the hang of it. I knew a confident, capable woman who admitted she came home and cried every night for a month every time she changed job - it was such an information overload and culture change.
Look long term. If you like the industry still but not the job, stick around, learn as much as you can, check out the ideal job for you within in the industry, start acquiring the skills you need for it, volunteer to work under the person doing it etc etc and then make some career moves until you are in that role. Give yourself 5 years and set regular goals.
2Bornot · 09/02/2023 22:44
Yes me, I gave up a stodgy but well paid interesting prestigious job with nice people for a lower paid glamourous job with lots of travel. The people were assholes 🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️ but what was worse was that having achieved a certain level of success in one career and managed people, I simply couldn’t cope emotionally with being given crap admin tasks and treated like a 21 yr old again.
Sympathy OP. And go with your gut. Is it that the industry isn’t what you hoped? (I hear fashion and TV are surprisingly horrid to work in). Or is it the junior level?
MidlifeConfusion · 09/02/2023 23:24
Thanks @2Bornot - it's absolutely this that's the problem: "I simply couldn’t cope emotionally with being given crap admin tasks and treated like a 21 yr old again." It's surprisingly soul-destroying isn't it?! I've totally lost my sense of self. I keep getting flashbacks to my early 20s, this job seems to have eroded the past 15 years! Ha, I've worked in fashion (awful) and TV (fun but insane).
Yes @WinterFoxes, this industry and company is genuinely great - the area is a lifelong passion for me and everyone is genuinely lovely - I just loathe being so junior and bored when I could be playing with my children (I was a very happy SAHM. Just thought it was the right time to try to build something new, for me, for all of us). I feel I could quit tomorrow and we'd all be better off. But then I worry I'd regret not giving it a good shot. Interesting to hear it's common to hate a new job at first - I only had that feeling once and it was totally validated! My gut instinct this time is this isn't right, but without it, I don't know what my future looks like.
WhoNeedsSleepNotISaidMyBody · 10/02/2023 06:28
I'm sorry you're not enjoying it! It must be even harder knowing you don't have to be there!
I think if you want some real help/advice we need to know your age/childrens ages, what hours you're doing? it makes a big difference.
Have you discussed progress within the company, or are you expected to stay in your current position?
Are you learning much about the industry/your company/things that'll help you move up?
Whattheladybird · 10/02/2023 06:32
I only took one step back for my career change (at 40) in terms of grade and it doesn’t sound like as big a change as you but, yes, it’s hard.
I was quite happy to shake off the responsibility of my old post and learn something new, but I’m exasperated at the decisions taken by people at the two grades higher than me (ie in rank where I was in my old sector). You can change sectors completely, but managing people and taking decisions is still managing people and taking decisions.
tribpot · 10/02/2023 07:38
Where do you want to be in 5 years? I know it's a daft interview question when everyone knows the real answer is 'who the hell knows' but as you've made this career move, you presumably had some idea how you want the next few years to go. You start at the bottom but how do you earn your stripes so you can move up? How do you use your experience elsewhere to help do that faster?
It would be great to seek out a mentor, although might feel weird as could be someone younger than you.
Merlott · 10/02/2023 07:40
Mark out the months! Build up your cv and always be applying to jobs for the next step. Max 18 months where you are now!
GetOffYourPhone · 10/02/2023 07:58
Someone I know was given this advice about whether to stay in a job they didn’t like or not - “are you earning or learning, stay - if you are not doing either, leave”.
Earning - if it is financially worth it - good money, or necessary to live.
Learning - gaining experience/skills that will lead to better job
From what you say, you are not in it for the money, the earning. Is the potential ‘learning’ in this job in your dream industry going to help you step into a better role in it later on? The answer to that is the decider. Could you talk to someone about progression opportunities? Also I’d give it three months - you’ll know by then. Good luck!
MidlifeConfusion · 10/02/2023 07:59
@WhoNeedsSleepNotISaidMyBody one's in infants, the other will start school in September. I work 80% hours: commute for 2 days, WFH 2 days. There's plenty of room for progression but a lot of competition, there are lots of people at my level, but for most it's their first job. I have a huge amount of experience/transferable skills but I don't know their systems etc.
@Whattheladybird yes it is frustrating. There are processes in place which make no sense at all, and a sense of "fairness" which, while commendable, means my general life/work experience doesn't give me any more opportunities than colleagues at the same grade but 15 years younger. For example, I've been promised "some interview experience" by the autumn...in my previous role I was a senior manager who built and recruited a team of 20.
I guess I feel miffed that I actually have to be entry level. Which is what they told me, but still 😂
sunflowersandtomatoes · 10/02/2023 08:08
Just wanted to pop in and say, I’m 45 and training in a new area, bottom of the pile. Can you embrace it, and accept that it doesn’t change who you are and what you’ve done? If the job as is will lead to better things, just do your time (18 months max, as a pp said) and take everything you can from it?
there’s a caveat though, particularly if you enjoyed being a SAHM. Some of my training cohort are working for a shitty organisation that’s badly managed and they work in a way that’s unethical and irresponsible. I’d have left that job by now, no question. I’d be gutted, but I wouldn’t sacrifice time with my children for that.
TheCheeseBadge · 10/02/2023 10:32
I am in exactly the same position and have been surprised at how much the huge drop in seniority has affected me mentally.
I took the job because it offered me valuable experience alongside a qualification I am completing. Not long after starting I realised that it didn't give me quite the right experience, and started looking for an alternative.
I'm glad I took it though, after a month of getting my head around things I started gently suggesting some changes to the way the place operated, and implemented them. As a result, I've made a good name for myself within the company and three months in I've been offered an alternative role more suited to what I was looking for. I'm still a the very bottom of the heap but I've been very careful to stay in my lane while applying my experience and transferable skills.
So you never know, you might find that as your managers and team get to know you, they start to value your skills and you settle in a bit more.
Goodthingsahead · 10/02/2023 17:07
Me! Left web development and digital marketing and joined architecture as an architectural technician.
Absolutely HATED it. Not only that, my CV looks ridiculous and I'm struggling to find work doing what I used to do!
I'm 35 and time is ticking. Or so I've been told by a million recruiters. Apparently I'm "old" for the digital marketing industry
My colleagues are fresh out of University after studying 5-6 years. Blerghhhh
Goodthingsahead · 10/02/2023 17:08
And also, architecture is so highly pressured that part time isn't doable and I struggle "switching off" when at home with the children.
MidlifeConfusion · 10/02/2023 20:32
Ahh there are some really encouraging responses here, thanks everyone.
@tribpot agh, 5 years' time! I thought I knew the answer, but now knowing that the vast majority of the people doing tidy are 28 feels pretty dispiriting. Yes, I've applied for a mentoring scheme.
@Merlott I fear 18 months is 17 months too long 😂You're right about carving up the time though.
@GetOffYourPhone I love the "earning or learning" thing!! Really puts it into perspective. Genuinely, at the moment, it's neither.
@sunflowersandtomatoes thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, I totally feel like I'm sacrificing time with my children for...nothing. The very worst feeling!!
That's really good to hear @TheCheeseBadge. I haven't given this much time at all, and I guess I could put my money where my mouth is and actually try to effect positive change using the experience/expertise I keep moaning about! Sounds like you approached it brilliantly.
@Goodthingsahead Oh no!! Why did you hate architecture?! (Beyond the inability to do it part time, which is awful.) Always seemed like a dream career!! So sorry to hear it's not working out. I used to have a lot of digital marketing and UX experience too but I genuinely am very, very out of touch. It's not an easy field to take a break from is it? Sounds like you have bags of transferable skills though, I really hope you find an enjoyable path where you can put everything into practice.
I had today off and spent a glorious day with my children, pottering around, seeing friends and walking the dog. I'm not setting the world alight but it's a far more fulfilling lifestyle than hotdesking in various white cubicles and being taught how to book meeting rooms and fill in spreadsheets by people old enough to be my offspring!! Sigh.
Goodthingsahead · 10/02/2023 20:38
Ummm good question. I would say
- the software is intense. They no longer use easy AutoCad as standard
- 100% billable and every minute has to be accounted for. Every single minute. Even your piss breaks
- Clients are generally nasty and have more money than sense. Millionaires swearing at you over a £3 invoice.
- there is a huge mental health issue in the industry and suicide / self harm / severe depression is very common due to pressure and burnout. I wish RIBA would do more. Toxicity and bullying is rife. Especially towards women.
😔 it was a shock to the system. Grand Designs it is not...
Itsrudemeghan · 10/02/2023 20:45
OP you aren’t enjoying it and it doesn’t sound like you are learning much. They don’t sound like they understand your skills and your potential value. The interview skills thing is a red flag. You might not know their industry but you weren’t born yesterday. I’d throw this one back and try again in a year or so.
The drop in seniority is very difficult to overcome once you get pigeonholed into the box of ‘female administrator’. I know you might have been out of the workforce for a while but I’d aim higher.
MidlifeConfusion · 10/02/2023 22:30
Oh god @Goodthingsahead , so sorry to hear that that's the environment you're in. Sounds utterly horrendous, hope you get out soon.
Yeah @Itsrudemeghan, I worry I'm becoming the "friendly mum who helps us in the office" rather than the shit-hot strategic creative I was hoping to be! It's SUCH a competitive industry though, I don't know how to aim higher within it.
makingarunforit · 11/02/2023 14:36
Yes, it's incredibly difficult. I had a decent career then restarted another career at the bottom and retrained. People seem to assume that you have the knowledge of an 18 year old if you are on the bottom rung. I've also had to put up with dire systems and poor management who give helpful advice along the lines of needing to manage my time better when in fact what I needed was training on processes and an actual induction. I ran complex projects in a different life. I know how to manage my time!
I'm at a semi-decent level now but on the verge of jacking it all in and going back to original career. I changed for a number of reasons which haven't actually materialised and actually feel worse off in this career than I did previously.
Unfortunately, if you work part-time, have kids and are surrounded by bright young mouldable things who work all the hours then I predict you will have a hard road ahead. I chose health which is great for women of a certain age with lots in senior management but it brings it's own problems!
What did you do before? Could you do some sort of consulting? Sounds like the SAHM aspect was important. It would be nice if you could work around them somehow.
makingarunforit · 11/02/2023 14:39
Also, hot desking is the pits. I refuse to go into the office for anything other than meetings or training because I am happier working at a desk and chair that is permanently set up for me that works and is comfortable and not having to lug loads of equipment around with me.
Nightesonhorseback · 11/02/2023 14:54
I think this is the reason why many women set up their own small businesses after having dc. My personal vanity (and motivation) couldn’t take the humiliation of going back to do endless drudge tasks and if you are conscientious about them, you end up with even more! I somehow became the default person to whom everyone came when certain hits of machinery broke. That was the last straw for me!
The op who diplomatically suggested improvements to systems and worked their way up has the right idea so that’s a potential route op, and another is a more head on approach, having worked there a bit longer, you could let your bosses know that you are hungry for more. But take required tech courses in the meantime. I imagine those are vital to get ahead.
Either way op, no experience is a total waste of time. Situations like this teach you things. No decision is 100% right or wrong. Maybe this experience will spur you on to setting up your own business or doubling down on improving your current position. Good luck.
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