Changing Careers Now

Updated on November 12, 2007
S.L. asks from Chicago, IL
7 answers

Hi I need some advice, I'm a mother of a 6m old son and currently 7 weeks pregnant with my second. I work an intense job, that has me working until 2am Sun-Wednesday. I'm home Thurs and Friday with my family but it doesn't seem like enough time. I've been working at my job for 10 years, it's a high paying television job. Anyone would probably love this job, but lately I've been treated terribly. I just told them I was pregnant again, because they wanted to double my hours and I can't do that. The annoucement wasn't well received. So my question is, would anyone in my situation give up a six figure income to start over? Obviously it would take a toll on my family financially. And would you go back to school? Or just change jobs? If anyone has gone through this please let me know. I'm at torn and not sure what I can do as far as what's best for my family and for me.

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answers from Chicago on

Don't through the baby out with the bathwater. If you are good at what you do and like it, don't toss your career just because you've encountered one employer who focuses only on the hours on your timesheet.

When I came back to work after maturnity leave, my boss (a woman) told me she expected me to work 60 hours a week (by the way, the standard work week at that employer was 37.5 hours), something I was not prepared to do. I was ready to chuck it all in and go back to school, but financially that was not an option for me.

Speed forward four years. I stayed in the same career, but focused on finding a job in a company (and with a boss) with a culture that advertized and practiced work life balance. I believed I could find such a job (key) and, after really focusing time and energy on that job search (seeing the time spent on the search as an investment in me and my family), I found a job that offered better balance and a much more supportive work environment (oh, yeah, and a payraise).

Also keep in mind that you may not need to return to school to change careers. You probably have a host of transferrable skills and it could be just a refocusing of your resume or a short certificate program (e.g., 2-3 hours once a week for 6 weeks) that could help you shift careers or focus.

Whether changing jobs or careers, remember that it typically will take a lot of time and energy to accomplish and typically we only discover the need for this change during a time when there are so many other demands for your time and energy. Be kind to yourself. Be sure to surround yourself with support (husband, family, friends), stay focused on the goal and follow-up with a "cheerleader" when you get discouraged.

Best of luck on whatever you decide. And don't allow yourself to be treated terribly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think of life in chapters, sometimes some chapters must come to an end. I have had some career chapters and it is a very difficult decision. I started my own business 4 years ago and LOVE it. I make my own hours, work as much as I choose and control my own income and LIFE! I plan all of my family & mommy activites and then squeeze my work in and still make a healthy income. I am seeking women who are interested in doing what I do (and we are a team of moms and 1 grandma). If you are interested in just having a conversation and getting more information I would love to be a life line.
Check out my website and call if you would like to meet for an hour over coffee. (It could be the smartest hour you spend!!)



answers from Chicago on

Personally I say wait to quit until you get back from maternity leave then you can make that decision. If you are not feeling well at work you should leave...this is a touchy subject with most companies and I can't see them firing you for not feeling well while pregnant.. If they do theres always unemployment.



answers from Birmingham on

My heart goes out to you that you have to bear job stress while being a new mom & pregnant. If the money you are earning is causing you and your foetus too much stress, then probably its not worth all that much. If you can afford it financially, I think the best gift you can give to your 6 mo old, is your time. Everything else follows. If you are a perfectionist, look at it this way - you were great at being a careerwoman. Now can you be great at being a nurturing mom? In your current job, is it possible to ask for a paycut for reduced hours or to work from home?
I decided to have children late because of my career. Then, I had to decide between spending time on my career or my new twin boys, I favored becoming a full time mom because my boys' childhood will never repeat itself, but I can always have a job or career later. Also, I was concerned that if I miss out on experiencing & enjoying this time of their life, I may have regrets later. I believe the first 5-6 years of my boys' life are critical in defining their psychology, personality & their life's ideology, and the more time (and love) I can give them, more confident & happy they will be for the rest of their life! I do plan to eventually resurrect my career. But for now, I am truly at peace with my decision to stay at home for me and my children.



answers from Chicago on

I think it depends on how much financial cushion you have. If your husband can carry the finances while you take a few years off to go back to school, and you know what you want to do, then go for it - my neighbor is doing that right now (with $$ support from her parents.)

Although stories of people who make a total break with the past and go in a new direction are inspiring, it's a long haul, and most careers have a path where you won't start out making that much money. Many people I know seem to find a middle way, using the experience they have to shift around in the same field or something similar in a different industry. For example, I don't know what you do, but just as an example, if you are a TV producer, maybe you could use that skill set in educational publishing (lots of those companies around Chicago) or working for a company that produces videos in the corporate world.

Or maybe there's a less-grueling office job in the organization you work for. Do they need someone in the (totally making this up since I know nothing about it) marketing department, or working with the archives, or the website, or something like that?

My guess is that no matter what change you pick, if you decide to change, there will be a cut in pay for a while. The first step is to sit down with a spreadsheet and figure out what you can afford. And start socking away as much as you can. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I am doing that now.

I don't know if my new career will work out (I go to school part time now), I am constantly torn. I worked very hard to get to where I was in my old career, it was really hard to stop working full time. But I really doubt I will regret trying something else. I can't see looking back and thinking "gee I really wished I had missed all those great childhood moments so I could work more 60 hours weeks."

Best of luck to you.



answers from Chicago on

This one is tough. If you're seriously considering leaving, why not ask for exactly what you want first? The worst they can do is say "no". For example, I'm also preg with #2 and work at a University. I'm taking the summer off (baby is due in June) and just asked my dept head for a 10 hour/week schedule for next fall semester (and I will draw 1/4 pay for that period of time). I decided after having my son that I would NOT put the next kid in daycare so young. So now I'll be home until #2 is 6 months old and then my husband is taking 12 weeks FMLA afterwards - so #2 will be 9 months old before he/she is in daycare. For us, this is a great compromise.

If they like you, they may surprise you in what they're willing to do. The key is to frame it in such a way that you're working to balance your personal and professional needs with their needs as a company. For me, this means a lot of planning up front to make sure I have everything covered for the summer and fall.

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