Monday, 6 June 2011

Long Job Waffle!

Monday, 6 June 2011
Well after weeks and weeks of lovely sunshine the weather has turned a bit glum here. To be fair, we are used to weeks and weeks of rain so we shouldn't complain but we've been a bit spoiled recently.  I'm not normally particularly bothered by rain (unless it's freezing and windy as well) but where we go stay for our stitching weekend away has a lovely courtyard that we can sit out in so sunny would be good.

I'm so on the countdown to going away - I'll be leaving Friday morning early to go pick up one of the others and then we'll head off to a pub lunch and a detour to a not-so-LNS before arriving at the cottages around mid afternoon.  From then on it's total stitchy bliss until Monday morning!

Another bonus of the weekend is that it means a four day working week for me both this week and next which is great because I've gone past 'not enjoying' my job and moved fully into hating it.  I've been here almost 10 years and to begin with it was great - lots of projects to keep me busy and interested, always looking into new technology, meeting customers, solving problems for them and generally being happy.  Then I got pregnant and took 6 months maternity and the job I came back to wasn't the same at all.  I had trained up a junior member of the team to keep things ticking over but she didn't have the skill to do what I did, my work didn't buy in proper cover, and our customers went elsewhere so by the time I got back there was less work. 

I work for the NHS which is ever changing - I've sat at the same desk doing the same job for the same boss all the time I've been here but I've actually been employed by five different organisations.  Within the last five years the focus has been on amalgamating organisations so every time they merged potential customers became less to the point that around 2.5 years ago I was in line for redundancy.  I wasn't bothered, I even got a new job lined up, but then someone new was put in charge and she wanted my skills so I was back being gainfully employed.

But then I got pregnant again and this time took 9 months off.  I've returned to find that I've been moved to another team because 'it makes sense'.  Sure if you look at my job title it makes sense that I, as a Web Developer, am part of the Web Team but I work specifically with Microsoft technology and the Web Team work with Apple and open source.  So in fact, it makes no sense at all because what they do I don't have the skills for and what I used to do is now being done by someone else in my old team (yes, the junior I trained, who still comes to me when she has any problems because she's out of her depth a lot of the time).

In addition to the technology issue, my new 'team' consists of my Manager and one other and neither of them are really around so I'm now in splendid isolation, although still in the same office so at least have my old colleagues around me.  For now.  Because that's the next thing that's happening, we're going to move offices.  I currently work 30 mins from home but the new offices are 1 hour away.  I've told them I cannot work out of the new offices full time because I cannot (and will not) put Lia in after school care five days a week, we do not have the money.  What I can do is work from home two days a week and the money we save on Connor's nursery fees will pay for Lia to do after school club on the other three days.  I'm not happy with this arrangement but I could live with it in the short term.  I did request one or two days a week working out of my current office but I have no idea how flexible my employers are likely to be.

So there is, yet again, a chance of redundancy (if they don't agree to my working from home I cannot afford to work out of the new base).  I'd actually be over the moon with redundancy but I think I'm now in the position of having been here too long for them to afford to pay me off so I'm more likely to be shunted around even more than I have been.

All of which has focussed my mind on looking for alternative employment.  And not necessarily in IT.  I would say I never chose IT as a career but that's not strictly true as I did a Masters in Computing but only because I never really knew what I wanted and I had to do something to move on with my life at that point in time.  The best thing that came out of the course was meeting DH.  Oh and that I doubled my previous salary when I got my first job after graduation.

I've never really had any idea of a career - I know what subjects I enjoyed at school (Georgraphy and Chemistry) but I got pulled away from those for various reasons that made sense at the time (but not so much looking back now) and since then I've kind of drifted.  Of course I now have to work around the kids and their needs as, first and foremost, I am a Mum and that's the only job that matters to me.  What I don't want is to not work (I've said it before, I'm not designed to be a stay at home Mum) but I do want to be around for a good part of their day.

So I have to decide whether to stick at this job for the next ten years and see Connor through Primary school education (as long as this job is available of course) or to make a move soon.  Obviously redundancy will make the decision for me but I have pretty much come to the conclusion that, redundancy or not, I will look to make a career change over the next two or three years.  That timescale is kind of set because I have to be earning a certain amount to cover Connor's humungous nursery fees until he's 3 at which point we get some Government funding that assists with them.  Sticking where I am till he goes to Secondary school will mean that I will be looking for a career change at the age of 50.  Yes 50.  I think I'm pushing it now so I know that in 10 years time a career change will more than likely be impossible.

I need to do a bit more research into my options - I do have a plan but I need to have a good long talk with a particular friend to see if it's actually something I can do - but I think that if I have a goal and a firm-ish kind of escape plan it'll be easier for me to drag myself to my desk every day... 


Gina said...

Oooh - challenging times Joy!! And it's never too late, and even 50 isn't what it was when you think that a 50 year old woman now has a 20 year career ahead of her still, rather than just 10 years as it used to be. I really hope you can work something out to give you a fulfilling career.


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