When people ask me the question “so what do you do?” I have no idea how to respond. I don’t have one word to describe what I do or to describe what I am qualified as. I find myself fumbling over my words to try to explain that what I’m currently doing isn’t what I want to do but I am good at something. At the moment I don’t “fit” anywhere. I’m lost in the city of career ambition.
I left a good job so my other half could follow his dream of a London career. I thought it was a good choice for us, but in hindsight I never really wanted it. I was a Probation Service Officer. I loved it and I was damn good at it. But the Probation Service has changed and my glasses are rose tinted; going back there wouldn’t be the same. Next choice – Prison Service. It was another tick off my “career to-do list” but it failed to satisfy my expectations. An unexpected pregnancy was a blessing in disguise and it gave me an easy option to leave that career path. A south-to-north London daily commute, mixed with childcare and back to work mummy guilt…..it would have been a recipe for disaster. However much of a blessing this was at the time, having a baby changed my criteria for employment and has thrown me into a cycle of self-doubt.
“Get something stress free, that pays well and is close to childcare” I told myself after 10 months on maternity leave. I was itching to get out of the house and back to work. I convinced myself that all of those things were most important in returning to employment. I chose a job that was right for my family, disregarding what was right for me. Job application, interview, job offer. I knew I was good and knew I would get it but knew I was too good for it.
Seven months on, working full time, in a flexible company and a good salary. “What is she complaining about?” outsiders would say. Well, there is one major issue: I AM BORED. I thought ‘stress free’ and ‘easy’ would be perfect in my new busy life but I hate it. My skills have been brushed under the carpet, gathering dust and disintegrating in silence. Crime and criminals, people and problem solving are my passion. THAT is where I get satisfaction. But every time I think of going back there my search is halted by one factor…..MONEY! Our lives now seem to be dictated by costs. Having a child has meant I have to earn a certain amount to be able to afford to raise that child and in turn it’s squashed my passion to search for what I’m suited to, rather than what suits me.
Over the course of a few months I’ve decided to change career on numerous occasions. Choosing a certain career path because it’s “a change” and maybe a change would solve my problem. Change has always made me grow stronger in the past, surely it would solve this problem? That has been my thought process up until now.
A 60-minute TV programme about addicted parents and their children last week made me realise that changing my career wouldn’t change my feelings. It made me feel some passion again. It reminded me that my time and effort to support someone to change their life is priceless and I shouldn’t put a price on my choices. I was reminded that I have achieved so much in my career so far and I’ve thrived on that success. I have a degree, a masters and training that has given me skills I’ll never lose but I can build on.
I’ve realised that I needed to travel the journey of self-doubt to reach this point. So instead of wallowing in self-pity and cursing the change that my choices and motherhood has thrust upon me, I’ll invest in this time of transition. I’ll build on those skills, in that area that I love. I’ll keep the cogs in my brain turning by studying in my own time. I’ll invest in me. So that when I’m a bit further into this life transition, I can step out of the gates on the other side and back into the career that suits me. I won’t spend this time wishing I’d made different choices, I’ll spend it ensuring that I will have MORE choices.
MGF has two workshops in September to help you find or create a job that will make the most of your skills and benefit your family.
More details here: https://www.mummysginfund.co.uk/invest-in-yourself-this-september/