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Opinions needed- Work, study or both?


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21 replies to this topic

#1 DontPokeTheBearMum

Posted 05 February 2020 - 09:43 AM

I have been a SAHM for 12 years. An opportunity for work in my previous field has become available to me, but I have also applied to do a full time university degree this year. I have three children, (13, 11, 5) all of them with special needs but who are well managed currently and in good schools where they are comfortable. My husband works from home 90% of the time but was looking to change jobs this year. He is able to take on a lot of the kid care. I also have a lot of help from my mother if I need it.

My previous work is as a support worker. My degree is Social work. I have previously completed 18 months of the degree but deferred after giving birth to my third child.

In these circumstances, would you work, study, or try and do both?

#2 Tokra

Posted 05 February 2020 - 09:45 AM

Go for gold girl - start with all and if it becomes too much, then cut back where you need to.

Back yourself because you are important too!

#3 Freddie'sMum

Posted 05 February 2020 - 10:25 AM

Wow OP - that's a lot going on.

I agree with Tokra - have a go, see what you can realistically do / handle and take it from there.  Always make sure you can step back if it becomes too much (less study, more help with the kids, whatever you need to do).

Good luck !

#4 DirtyStreetPie

Posted 05 February 2020 - 10:37 AM

If you feel like you are capable of doing it, then go for it! I think your gut will tell if you really feel up to it.

Some people (like me) are not quite as capable of taking on a lot of responsibilities and a full schedule, but I do know others who are naturally better at it.

Good luck, whatever you decide. :)

#5 bees-knees

Posted 05 February 2020 - 10:55 AM

I would probably look for work and study, but only part-time.

I just completed my social work degree last year, and worked either part-time or full-time through the duration of my study.

When I started the study I was working in a completely unrelated field, and a few years into my degree, I got a position in human services. I really found that made the study a lot easier, because I had that current, practical experience to draw on.

#6 IamtheMumma

Posted 05 February 2020 - 10:56 AM

Is work full time or part time?

I'd do one full time activity and one part time activity. I do know a couple of people who have done fulltime of both and it was only with very supportive families and all older children did it work. The ones with younger kids, myself included, burnt out quickly.

#7 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:03 AM

Does support work excite you?  Could the role be used to assist your studies?

#8 seayork2002

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:11 AM

View PostDirtyStreetPie, on 05 February 2020 - 10:37 AM, said:

If you feel like you are capable of doing it, then go for it! I think your gut will tell if you really feel up to it.

Some people (like me) are not quite as capable of taking on a lot of responsibilities and a full schedule, but I do know others who are naturally better at it.

Good luck, whatever you decide. Posted Image

This is what I think exactly, When DS was a year or so old I worked 3 days a week and tried to study externally, I completed a bit but worked out it was not for me, I had all the help I needed but I did not have the drive to do it. So I withdrew.

I think you need that drive in you to do it - if it is there then I say go for it!

#9 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:12 AM

Do you need the money from working?  - Im assuming its not essential because you didn't mention that.  In that instance I would try to get the degree finished since its very specific and you have already done part of it.

Can you do the degree part time for a semester to see how you go?  

The other things to think about is will your previous study lapse if you leave it too long, and will you need to do any long placements - how will you arrange them?   Good Luck!

#10 RichardParker

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:17 AM

I'd do the job and move the study to part time, or full time if you can manage it.  Work experience and establishing contacts and networks is crucial for getting work straight after a degree.  

If work opportunities are scarce, then I'd take what you can now, because there's less of a chance of getting employment (even with a completed degree) if you've spent too long out of the workforce.

#11 ineedmorecoffee

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:36 AM

After a 12 year break I would take the job and see how that works out. Much harder to find work when you've had a big break, in most industries anyway.

If it's not right for you, then you can always start studying at a later time.

Universities have year round enrolments so you wouldn't be losing much time.

ETA: if you try to do everything at once it may or may not massively stress you and the family out, so I would pick one thing to focus on at a time.

Edited by ineedmorecoffee, 05 February 2020 - 11:38 AM.


#12 Jersey Caramel

Posted 05 February 2020 - 12:07 PM

View Postineedmorecoffee, on 05 February 2020 - 11:36 AM, said:

After a 12 year break I would take the job and see how that works out. Much harder to find work when you've had a big break, in most industries anyway.

If it's not right for you, then you can always start studying at a later time.

Universities have year round enrolments so you wouldn't be losing much time.

ETA: if you try to do everything at once it may or may not massively stress you and the family out, so I would pick one thing to focus on at a time.

Yep, I agree with this.  Getting work after 12 years out can be really difficult,  so I would take that as a priority. Study can easily be delayed a year or two (check that your prior subjects won't lapse) or done part time - even just one subject at a time, or online or in block subjects depending on what your uni offers.

#13 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 05 February 2020 - 12:09 PM

If you can do both work and study part time, then maybe this.  But I've just started postgrad study part time and just one subject is 180 hours over 10 weeks. So 18 hours a week! I work part time and it's not going to be easy.

#14 DontPokeTheBearMum

Posted 05 February 2020 - 12:26 PM

Thanks everyone for your input so far!

I also have to be honest that I worry about my age- I know it's silly, but I am 38 and if I go full time I will finish my degree and graduate by 41. If I go part time I could be 44 or more. It's so silly but I feel like I will be too old to start a brand new career and it worries me that employers will think I am too old to do a good. All the people that I first went to uni with started in their late twenties.

I could kick 23 year old me for not thinking about this stuff more deeply!

View PostHypnic Jerk, on 05 February 2020 - 11:03 AM, said:

Does support work excite you?  Could the role be used to assist your studies?

It doesn't excite me per se- but I did enjoy it and I was very good at it- I am a people person by nature and I enjoy working with people. Social work and support roles would kind of overlap in ways, but I am looking to work in child protection eventually. The support work I did was primarily with disabled adults.

#15 DontPokeTheBearMum

Posted 05 February 2020 - 12:28 PM

View PostJersey Caramel, on 05 February 2020 - 12:07 PM, said:

Yep, I agree with this.  Getting work after 12 years out can be really difficult,  so I would take that as a priority. Study can easily be delayed a year or two (check that your prior subjects won't lapse) or done part time - even just one subject at a time, or online or in block subjects depending on what your uni offers.

This was my next thought. I would do only two subjects a semester for a year, while working full time to get some experience under my belt and my foot in the door again.

Expecting a phone call from my potential future boss in a few minutes- arghhh wish me luck!!

#16 justbreath

Posted 05 February 2020 - 12:40 PM

I would do full time study and part time work (especially if some of the study could be done online/external to save on travel time etc).

#17 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 05 February 2020 - 01:39 PM

Take the job, fit in study if you can.

Even if you finish your degree, having recent work on your resume will be so very very helpful in finding work related to the degree.  Any work at all is better than none. And maybe, after working for a while, you can get a good part time position and then study more. Getting your foot back in the workforce can be really hard to do, so I’d take that opportunity.

I don’t think 44 is too old to start a new career, especially one that is related to your current career. That’s more like professional development, and would be well respected, I would hope.

#18 BusbyWilkes

Posted 05 February 2020 - 02:10 PM

I’m not sure what it’s like in your state (there are always variations based on location) but where I am there are lots of jobs for support workers now that NDIS is rolling out further. Based on this, I don’t think a large gap in work history (especially when caring for 3 children with additional needs) is a problem.

I would start by returning to full time study now, while things at home are settled. Even doing 1 year full time makes your degree completion much quicker. If you can fit some support work around your uni schedule, that’s a bonus. While you may be used to working for a company as a support worker, many are now self employed (need to consider insurance etc) and are employed directly by those who self manage their NDIS budget.

Good luck (and 41 -or 44 - is not old to be starting a new career!)

#19 RichardParker

Posted 05 February 2020 - 05:02 PM

I would have thought that a support worker was very relevant work experience for a career in Social Work.

Don't worry at all about being 44 when you finish.  I just hired a woman in her forties and she's fantastic.  She's fantastic because she's in her forties.

#20 Dianalynch

Posted 05 February 2020 - 05:19 PM

Agree with pp there’s lots of roles where life experience counts. Like mine, it helps to be in my forties.

Not sure where you live, but maybe take a look on seek to see how many jobs are going for disability support workers. That might help you decide if you need to take the job now, or can wait a bit to get more study under your belt.

good luck, it’s an exciting time for you

#21 Moo-me

Posted 05 February 2020 - 05:43 PM

I’d throw myself into study as it’s an opportunity that might not always be available ie family or financial circumstances change. Work or job opportunities will come and go.

And don’t think you’re too old to study!!! I don’t think you’ll regret it.

#22 DontPokeTheBearMum

Posted 06 February 2020 - 09:43 AM

Thank you everyone for your input.

My phone interview was good, I have an in person interview on Monday!

I've decided to study part time this year while working, see how I manage and adjust from there. Because I also have to pay up front (only a permanent resident, not a citizen!) its makes more financial sense too.




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