Drastic Career Change - for Working Mamas!

Updated on August 27, 2011
C.P. asks from Hurst, TX
14 answers

Hi Moms - I thought this might be the best forum to ask this! I'm looking at making a major change in careers to put more focus on my family. My oldest is about to finish Kindergarten and youngest will be in Pre-K next year. I'm a supervisor at my job and I don't get home until after 6pm most days. I have several night meetings and work some on the weekend, as required by events and such in my job. I'm really thinking about trying to get a job as a school secretary or something along those lines that would allow me to work less hours and be home with my kids in the summer. I know it's less pay, but daycare expenses would decrease and I'd be home more with my kids. Has anyone done this and been able to enjoy your new job? Been able to manage the difference in pay? I've always worked and loved working and get a lot of satisfaction out of what I do, but I'm realizing it's not going to get any easier, especially when my youngest starts school in two years. I'm willing to sacrifice my career, but still want to work and do something that I get satisfaction out of. Thoughts? Suggestions? Personal/similar experiences?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the great input! As of today, I'm still at my same job. I've considered many options, but have decided at this point in time, I have the most flexibility with my current job, since I've been here almost 7 years. I've also been able to hire more help, so that is taking a little more off my plate. I may be able to go part-time if my husband's situation changes, but for right now, I'm staying put. Thanks again for all of the suggestions and feedback!

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

How much have you looked into what your new job would be? School admin positions are COVETED by at least half the student body's parents in most schools/districts and are nearly impossible to get. Also, many school admin jobs are "full" time (meaning you'll be working until 6) and often have weekend hours required (because sports and things run on campus, budget meetings, teacher/staff meetings held because that's when the district can get everyone together), plus student half days & days off are usually not teacher/admin staff half days, summer hours are either required at full time OR not paid at all (depending on the district). My friend who is a school secretary (Masters degree in school admin) says she gets at least 3 or 4 parents a week asking about her job, assuming it's a McJob kind of affair... HOW she doesn't get insulted is beyond me, but she always finds it funny that the vast majorty turn on their heels the moment they find out she works full time all summer. Not all districts is that true, but in hers, she works *more* in the summer than she does in the school year.

Now... I HAD to change jobs when I got pregnant (my job had me in warzones in 6mo-2yr stints... Can't lug a baby through a warzone -or rather, one would be insane to do it on purpose). I hadn't gone to school yet, so I decided to go to school (and 8years later am *still* in school, sigh, I'll be done about the time my son is heading to school himself... or you know, the apocalypse <rolls eyes> I sometimes feel like I'll be done when I'm 80). Now school has been the 'best of both worlds' for me... but REGARDLESS of what you do, I'd make sure that it's something that you love/ can be passionate about for the next 20 years before you jump ship.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I changed my career at the age of 30. Six years later I still love my job. I am an esthetician and HHP. You can get your esthetician career done in about 8 months and work at spas on your time. It's ideal for moms that have kids in school because they work during the school hours and are home when the kids get home. You are making your own hours, making your own money and have some left over for fun things to do. I love my job and the fact that on the weekends I can give massages to some clients and facials is an extra bonus. I say when and where I work and it makes my life so much easier. My son is 7 months old and I work 2 days a week right now, my mom watches my son on the weekday, that is her special day with my son, and my husband watches him on the weekend. He gets to have his special time with him. I am going to start picking up some evening shifts while my son is sleeping, he goes to bed about 5ish and so I don't miss out on time with him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

LOL! Let me know how it goes when it happens . . . I myself consider myself a "career" gal who can work nights and sometimes weekends. I make great money and enjoy bringing in over half of the bacon but it has it downsides. Daycare expense is crazy as mine are under the age of 5. Mine are now starting to recognize when I am not home which hurts when they look at you sadly as you walk out to door on a Saturday. I do make sure I am only five days a week so I have days off during the week if I work on the weekend but I am such a busy body that I resort to cleaning, laundry and such as opposed to keeping the kids home with me. I am looking, not hard, but looking into figuiring out what else I could do and love that would allow me to work more "normal" hours during the week. Ok, so I didn't answer your question but just needed to talk :) Been at work since 5:30am and needed a little mental break. Let me know!!!



answers from Dallas on

Jobs are so hard to find right now. My suggestion is talk to your boss, see if there is way you can step down a level. Then in 10 yrs when your kids are older you can possibly step back up. If you boss is a good person and the position is available, they will work with you, rather than take the chance of loosing you.

I agree it would be nice to have less hours and more time with your kids. My company moved out of town almost a year ago and it took me 6 mths to find a new job. 4 mths in I accepted a position paying 1/2 of what I was making, just to get by. Finally, I found something getting me back up where I was. But it was a long stressful road.

The reason I'm saying this is because Jobs are not easy to find. Especially ones that pay decent and give you the kind of hrs your looking for.

Good luck, in whatever you do, Pray doesnt hurt either.



answers from New York on

Although I didn't change careers, I did take a small step backwards (but not in pay, just in title and responsibilities).

I love that fact that I am not a manger. I have no one to supervise but myself. I get my job done and I go at 5 PM on the dot. I never do OT. I never get in early. It's great. And when there is an issue, I pass is off to my boss to handle. Also, I tey not to let many people know that I am totally capable of doing more since I don't want to.

It has worked out very well for me.

One thing is that it is hard to take a step down and remember that you are no longer in charge of certain things or might have to get somone's approval on something very trivial. But you get over it quickly.

I'd say go for it. I think that if you are working a schedule you love, it will make your personal life happer. Good luck!!



answers from Memphis on

Are you really willing to sacrifice (wish I had italics!) your career, or just put it on hold? Those are 2 pretty different things. If you really enjoy your job and would like to return to it when your children are older, you might think twice about completely abandoning it. Fields like law and medicine can be hard to jump back into. In my field, if we just leave (again, italics!), it's really hard to get back in. We have to stay certified and things like that. A lot of moms stay at home with their kids for a few years but maintain their certification and continuing ed. On the other hand, if you don't really enjoy it and can't see yourself returning to it, you could find something that's compatible with the schedule you'd like.



answers from Dallas on

Have you considered an opportunity like Mary Kay? You own your own business, set your own hours & can work around your kid's schedules...BUT you can also earn SERIOUS money! It doesn't take a super sales person...quite the contrary, it takes the skills of a manger...organiziation, attention to detail & an ability to motivate yourself! I am a MK consultant, so of course, that's the first thing I think of...I am sure there are other opportunities out there as well...I wouldn't count them out...they might be the answer you are looking for! (If you ARE interested in learning more about Mary Kay, feel free to contact me!) Best of luck in whatever decision you make!


answers from Lubbock on

hi just wanted to give you a response to your question about working at school verses somewhere else. I think you would be wise to work at school because there is nothing better in my opinion. youll be off summers holidays early dismissal days snow days and one of the biggest rewards you can transfer your children to your school or maybe get hired at their school. I work at a school and i see this all the times the moms teachers bring their children with them take them home with them, able to pop in their room at all hours and give them a kiss or a little encouraging word you have lunch to run and see them. it really is the best of two worlds plus you have the entire staff of school employees to be your friends. I work at school and my grandchildren attend there because im their afterschool provider and they love being there and i love seeing them everyday and throughout the day. It really is ideal. Good luck and think about all the money youll save. you wont need sitters.


answers from Cleveland on

Sounds like a fantastic opportunity IF you can get a job like that. Good luck! I'm jealous!!


answers from Dallas on

I agree with Riley, school admin jobs are very hard to get and are demanding positions. You could more easily get a job as a teachers aid but the pay is minimal. I work in an insurance agents office. The hours are m-f 9-5. Closed all major holidays. It's usually no problem to get off for kids events, dr appts, and what not. All you have to do to be qualified is pass a state exam. The test is around $75 and the training class to take the test is around $150. Once you are licensed you would never be without a job again. Licensed reps are always in demand. So, it's easy to get into and there is a lot of demand. Good hours. Average starting pay in this area is 25-30,000. With 5 yrs experiance 36-40. You wont be home in the summer, but at least no weekends or nights.



answers from Dallas on

I know exactly how you feel. There is this false belief that once kids go to school it makes it easier, especially for families where both parents work. It is so not true. As my kids have gotten older it has required more from me than ever (they are 16, 12 and 4). And I constantly feel like I am shortchanging them; they are my first priority, not my job, yet I find myself putting in time some evenings that should be dedicated to them. That being said . . . I get paid well which helps to finance their various extracurricular activities (especially the older childen). I made an attempt last year to move to part-time hours, but financial considerations made me withdraw the request.

It may be difficult getting a school job considering most of the school districts are laying off both teaching and non-teaching positions. I know a woman with 3 kids who scored a school secretary job and was very happy because it allows her to be available to her kids when they are home, even though the pay isn't the best.

I have no helpful tips . . . but wish you the best and hope you're able to do it!



answers from Seattle on

I work for a company that allows IR's to sell products and services online. Here are a few reasons why I recommend this business, I don't handle shipping, purchases, or products. I also don't have to beg people to buy what I sell because it's products & services that every one buys. I use inbound marketing to help people find what they purchase & find me, I also incorporate this business into my daily life. I will help you do the same if you are interested.
This is not an hourly job, it's a business opportunity with an unlimited income potential.



answers from Dallas on

I made an unplanned career change a few years ago, partly for a job slowdown, mostly for a sudden serious health problem. I'm working part-time with the school district ow and taking a class or two at the community college while my daughter is in school.

Being home when my daughter gets home has been wonderful. My daughter is 15 and finishing ninth grade now. We have grown closer, both through my health crisis, and just my being available after school.

My husband's career is very solid; he makes enough money to cover the household. I have taken over some of his household chores, like yard care, because I have more time. That helps with expenses, not having to hire someone.

When my daughter was young a very wise woman told me that teenagers need more time and supervision than toddlers. She was right!!

I'd rather NOT have had a health crisis to get me at home, but the end result was well worth it. Sit down and figure out the finances first and get the whole family on board. It's worth it.

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