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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    2

    Single Dad looking at career change

    Hi all,

    Recently I've been wrestling with the decision of making a career change (to be honest it may be more selecting my first career..). I guess a bit of background could be handy to give you an idea of the hurdles I'm considering.

    I was married fairly young at 21, first child arrived at 22. I had just graduated with a degree in IT and was keen to start putting it to use. My then wife suffered from severe post natal depression and it was decided the best thing for us was to reverse roles for a while. I happily became an at home dad working part time (just various jobs unrelated to my degree) to help make ends meet and she became a lot better after returning to the workforce. Money was tight but we were happy. Once my child started school I started to review my options for something full-time to relieve the money issues, undergoing some certification courses to refresh my degree after sitting in mothballs for so long. Of course, we fell pregnant again - unexpected but we were thrilled. I accepted a job as a quantity surveyor with a local builder in order to keep paying the bills - the pay wasn't great but it would make a good stop gap while we sorted things out. This time she was able to enjoy being a mother without the depression. 18 months later she has fallen in love with a mutual friends brother and asks for a divorce. I've spent the last few years with the builder while dealing with all the money issues that arises from separation and divorce along with all the more personal complications too. My employer was great, providing me with a company vehicle and flexible work hours while I dealt with everything so I have a fair amount of loyalty and respect towards the company.

    I have my kids 2 weeks a month which is great, but even on a very strict and conservative budget I find myself living from pay to pay. While I don't hate my job, it is only a means to pay the bills and like most places in the world at the moment, the building industry has taken a battering and my position is no longer secure with no chance of an increase in pay. I'm now 35 and have only worked 6 months in a position that used my degree more then 12 years ago. Anything that I may not have forgotten is probably no longer relevant. I've gone through my mourning period, paid off the majority of my debts and feel it's now time I stepped up and actively worked to improve my life and that of the kids.

    I do manage to put money aside, but it would take me years to scrounge enough to get me by while I returned to study - something I would love to do. I guess what I'm here asking is if anyone can offer some advice on how to go about taking the plunge and choosing a new career. Has anyone else successfully done what I'm trying to do? Maybe even a few ideas about possible career paths I might not have considered. I'm not fussy about my job - work is called work for a reason and as long as I get that feeling of satisfaction of a job well done I'm happy. I would just like something that offered the opportunity to work my way up the ladder and be rewarded for a bit of hard work. The only thing I feel I couldn't do would be something that required any artistic ability such as graphic design - I lack any talent in that area.

    Sorry about the essay...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    The Cloud of Unknowing
    Posts
    17,425

    Re: Single Dad looking at career change

    Considering you have a degree in IT, and have been working as a quantity surveyor, you must be good with numbers, logic, computers, etc.. So there are potentially quite a few jobs you would be well suited for. You have more than a decade of work experience as well. The degree still matters, even if it is not for a relevant field, as it shows you are smart enough.

    However, you also need your job to offer some flexibility because you need to be there for your kids, at least when you have them. So, in the case of doing office work, either you need to be able to have some flexible hours, or you need to be able to work from home. From the sounds of it, your children are old enough not to require constant supervision, so that would make matters a bit easier.

    It is quite likely you will have to remain where you live, or at least close to where you live, which means you would have to depend on the local job market.

    So it is a bit hard to offer detailed suggestions as to what you could do, since it will depend a lot on the economy in the place you live. If unemployment / gross underemployment is rampant, you might be better off staying where you are, and doing some informal work / small part-time jobs in addition to that, so you can bring in the extra money.

    What you are looking for could range from IT (whether in an office setting, tech support or a more customer based job in sales and / or repairs), to perhaps even providing support for quantitative research if there are local organizations or corporations engaging in that.

    Usually it is a good idea to depend on your personal networks, and ask around. Social networks can provide a huge boost to your options, so definitely make good use of that.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    2

    Re: Single Dad looking at career change

    Thanks for your input Vautrin. I guess I was just feeling like I'd painted myself into a corner and was trapped. I live in a city which relies mostly on the mining industry and military. The local job market isn't the best, but not terrible and there has been an increase in advertising for positions that may suit me, particularly small part-time jobs as you suggested.

    I've managed to fight my way through a lot of stuff over the last few years - beaten cancer (which is why the ex says she wandered, she was tired of me "not being the person I used to be and needed someone who could be there for her" - sorry for the off topic whine but that still manages to annoy me whenever I think about it...), survived the divorce and managed to get my head above water financially again on a pretty tight income. Leaving my new found comfort zone, no matter how difficult it is to maintain, is a pretty daunting thought.

    I guess things won't get better if I don't give it a shot though. I think I'll try picking up some part-time work to supplement my income like you suggested. I'll use this as a buffer against losing my current position or to help with training / additional costs while I continue the search for a new start.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    The Cloud of Unknowing
    Posts
    17,425

    Re: Single Dad looking at career change

    It does sound like you have overcome many a hardship before, so I am sure you have the strength of character to overcome this one as well. Sounds like your ex-wife did not know what she threw away.

    Mining companies usually can do with people who know their IT, though that tends to be related to administrative work for most part. That may be one thing to look out for as well.

    A major advantage of the small-time jobs is that you keep your skills current while at the same time people of various walks of life get to know that you have these skills. Which in turn may help you find something more permanent in the future.

    Perhaps it is also an idea to discuss things with your current employer, It sounds as if he has been highly supportive of you, and perhaps this is a way to make things work for the both of you - you to keep financially afloat, and for him to keep the business running. Once things are starting to pick up economically, his business should improve as well.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

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