Yes, you heard me, I want to retrain as a plasterer.
I have always said that the hardest part is when you start doing something. Once you get past that, the rest is easy.
People want to change jobs for many different reasons, to focus on the future. For me it’s not that the type of job I have previously worked in is not enough of a challenge. I mean Revenge Pornography, Addiction counselling, Social work. These are not exactly – have a cup of tea, listen to Enya, low-stress career choices. People change jobs also because circumstances in their life have changed.
Thinking of a post baby career change?
What more transformative change is there in life than becoming a parent? There’s something about being a mother that makes us reflective, especially where work is concerned. Anything that’s going to impact on the time we spend with our children has to be 100 percent worth it. The way we engage with our work is forever changed.
Going back to work after having a baby isn’t a simple equation, its filled with hope, frustration and lack of confidence. Working motherhood is weighted by factors like flexible working opportunities, high cost of childcare, financial demands.
You may be trying to figure out whether to return full or part time. After the birth of my second child I became a stay-at-home mother reluctantly, costed out of employment and that is not an empowering feeling. Digital business offered both the opportunity and juggle to raise children and bring in a wage. Working at my computer often late into the night has become the new normal.
We all do what we can and make the choices we feel best.
How do you define your successes?
The only person that can answer the question above is you. Perhaps you define accomplishments by the number of certificates on the wall. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down the things you’re proudest of.
Google places success in the terms of wealth, prosperity and fame. I can confidently say I have none of these. It implies a goal that took weeks, months, or even years to make happen. Success for me is getting out of my wheelchair after Meningitis, getting my son to school in the morning, earning a Masters when I was a single parent. Getting to bed before midnight. I thought motherhood would make me passive, PND, the sleep deprivation, but it has filled me with passion instead. To be happy, to be successful, to achieve as a mother, as a person, at work – that is definition of success to me.
It is possible for you to have a career that works for both you and your family. This just sometimes takes a little creativity and a little time.
So, what is it about plastering?
Having a baby with no security blanket of a job to return to was an uncomfortable start to motherhood. I have worked hard to find a way forward as a freelancer.
But, a new challenge is an exciting prospect. A hundred years (or so it seems) ago when I was at school, they taught me how to make a Victoria sponge, but learning a trade, as a girl, wasn’t a route promoted. Our temperamental Victorian house has demanded plumbers, electricians, tilers and, money aside I watched and realised my desire to have a practical skill. There has been very little change in the gender balance in employment in the UK, with women accounting for just 1% of those in the manual trade. The celebration of International Women’s Day made me consider how I want to support my daughter if she wants to work in a male-dominated industry. She may want to plaster; my son may want to sew. My job is to be their role model. Amelia Earhart was 31 years old when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. So, I am currently researching college courses and apprenticeships in plastering skills. Others have asked if this is a serious choice, why would I want to do plastering? Cant my partner plaster? Many are supportive.
It is not easy to leave your comfort zone. Success to me is trying something new, braving, big or small changes or challenges. Take one small step. It doesn’t need to be the perfect step.