Life Decisions: Change of Career?

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve received a couple of job offers since I found out about my layoff and now the question of the day is whether or not to take them. I’m conflicted on a number of different levels.

On one hand, although I enjoy the challenges of software development I don’t love what I do. Depending on the project the job can be rather isolating. I can literally spend hours typing code into my computer and not talk to anyone all day. Although I’m not an extrovert, I’m by no means the type of girl who likes to spend an entire day without human interaction.

There are other job opportunities in the technology field that would allow me to spend more time communicating with others and I wonder if I shouldn’t travel down that path rather than taking a job doing exactly what I did before.

In terms of dollars and cents I’d certainly earn more money writing software than performing other tasks and responsibilities. The other issue is that once you leave the world of software development it’s difficult to go back to it. The truth is that technology changes very quickly and most people who leave the world of coding don’t return to it. In order to return I’d have to stay up-to-date on recent technologies, which requires a lot of reading and researching outside of work or seeking out extensive training.

So the first question in my mind is: do I continue working as a software developer or do I find a new position in technology that doesn’t involve coding? Unfortunately, the question isn’t that simple. Once I open my mind to that possibility I begin wondering whether or not I should remain in the field of technology. Perhaps I should look for a position doing something completely different. I can’t say what that might be exactly, but the possibilities seem infinite.

Lastly, I wonder if I should return to the working world at all. With the birth of my first child just a few months away I have considered resigning from the corporate world to become a stay-at-home mom.

If I take this option I certainly need to review my financial circumstances in more detail and determine whether or not I can really afford to stay home and if so for how long. I know I can manage six months to a year, but beyond that I haven’t really run the numbers.

In order to make a decision about staying at home I feel it’s best to see how I feel after the first few months of caring for our little one. My heart strings may help me make the decision by pulling me in one direction or another.

In the mean time I’d like to spend some time contemplating the various possibilities. I wonder what makes people switch careers, what forces convince them to change direction?

6 thoughts on “Life Decisions: Change of Career?”

  1. You have many options, so this will be a hard one. If you don't love what you do, then try switching careers! And if you do decide to live on one income, start trying to fit that in your budget immediately, to see if it works.

  2. For me, I had wanted to be a stay at home mom for a long time (since I was little). But my husband and I agreed that I would go back to work after the first one and get to be a SAHM for 5 years after our 2nd or 3rd child is born. I went back to work when my baby was 9 months. The first 2-4 weeks was really hard, but now I am so glad to be back at work. Right before I was set to go back, I told my husband I didn't know if I could do it. We decided that I would go back and if it wasn't working out, I could always resign then.

    I have a really great work situation. I mostly work from home, so I still get to spend a lot of time with my baby. The downfall is I have to visit clients every once in a while, so I may be gone for 1-4 days out of own, but I think it's worth it to be able to see my baby the rest of the time.

    I get paid a good salary, so it allows me to feel ok about splurging on items that are expensive, but make me feel good about providing for my family (e.g. we just bought an expensive locally made all organic mattress and buy almost all organic produce and 1/2 organic meats).

    And it is a bit tedious being home with young children all the time. If I were a SAHM, I would want to do a lot of activities with other SAHM for connection and socializing, which would lead to spending money while not making money. I find that since I'm with my baby a set amount of time per day, I really treasure those hours more.

    My child is now 15 months old. She's a handful, but she brings such joy to us. I am also really lucky that we have family that cares for her part-time (as well as outside help), so it's really great to see her develop those relationships too.

  3. @Michelle Parker – thanks for the advice. I definitely plan to try the one income approach starting in November. Just in case I take that route.

    @calgirlfinance – thank you for telling me your story! I have similar thoughts on returning to work and figure i can always resign if things don't work out. I think i'm torn between wanting to stay home and wanting to feel fulfilled outside of my home. I worry that SAHM groups won't provide the mental stimulation I crave. My little one hasn't arrived yet and I can already feel my heart tugging. Are you able to watch the baby while you're working or do friends/family/nanny watch her during that time?

  4. Thought I would throw my 2 cents in too. If your finances allow it couldn't you spend some days as a stay at home mum and work part time. I know that i will in due course take time out of my career and be a stay home dad. Been reading that kids really benefit in the early years with the bonding. However with the global economy being the way it is perhaps having your foot in the workforce still is a good thing too. Suppose that its all down to your financial position and desires for job security. Apologies if I sound like I am giving a lecture.

  5. I am also a software developer. It took me 17 years before I was able to find a job where I could work part-time. I went to headhunters and even they said "There are VERY few jobs for part-time developers. You have to work for a company first and make them love you before you ask to go part-time." They were right. Initially I ran into a lot of resistance and I even had a director say to me "We really need people who work MORE than full-time." And he even said after that "What will you do if we don't let you work part-time?"

    Lucky for me, HR was able to fix the solution by adding a Part time job position to my team rather than replacing my full time position with a part time one. My management JUMPED at the chance to add headcount.

    But it literally took me 17 years. And 3 companies. Even now, I have to work longer sometimes to make deadlines and I am constantly fighting them to not overload me with assignments that I can't finish in 20 hours per week.

  6. @FrugalVibe – a part time or primarily work from home position would be ideal. I think it's a matter of finding such an opportunity. If I could find one it would certainly be the best option!

    @Anonymous – Good for you for figuring out how to get youth employer to open a part time slot for you! My husband also fears the 20 hr work week naturally expanding into much more unpaid time as I'd work to meet the demands and deadline of a job. It's hard to convince coworkers that your day ends at a different time or that you're just not in the office certain days.


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