A little over two years ago I chucked in my job of over twenty years for what was meant to be a three month (unpaid) sabbatical before I looked for another Accountancy job. I stretched this out for a little longer and planned to return to Accountancy early in 2019, however we were dealt a rather rubbish hand in February (Suddenly life wasn’t a bed of roses) and again my return was put on hold.
Now though it is time to think about work again. I love being off – but I can only test my husband’s patience for so long and sometimes I’m not sure I’m making the best use of my time off. I mean it’s great going to the cinema in the afternoon, lunching with my stay at home friend and my retired parents, taking up new hobbies (sketching and pottery), going to the gym and even volunteering in our local library, but none of this really justifies staying at home for much longer. However, the thought of returning to Accountancy only fills me with dread!
It wasn’t as if I ever really wanted to be an Accountant. I’d been working for the same large company for 10 years, moving departments and jobs every two years or so, sometimes progressing and sometimes feeling like I was treading water, when an opportunity arose to be sponsored by the company to qualify as an Accountant, fully financed and with generous study leave included. It seemed like a gift horse that I couldn’t look in the mouth. It took me around 5 years to qualify and involved a heck of a lot of study, along with a stressful full time job and not a great wage. However, once I’d got those letters after my name the wage improved and although the stress didn’t, to a certain extent that was what I was being paid for, so no complaints from me. That was until we got a new boss at work and the finance department was restructured, I found myself no longer in the finance department and no longer respected or rewarded for my qualification and experience, so it was time to leave.
Fast forward to today and my time off has helped me see that, whilst Accountancy has a great many pluses and is a profession that I enjoyed for a few years, it’s not for me anymore. In fact, I don’t even want to return to the nine-to-five of an office and the office politics that was so wearing at times.
So, time to go back to the drawing board ….. after much soul searching I realised that two professions have always held a great deal of appeal for me:
- The first is the police, I often convince myself that I would have applied after uni. if I didn’t have a young child by then. I have so much respect for the British police and their approach of policing with consent, on the whole they keep the peace with dignity and a sense of humour, despite a job which must be full of adversity.
- The second is teaching, in fact in secondary school that was very much the plan, my work experience was at a local school and I remember spending one October half-term, at the age of 15, working hard at my maths to raise my GCSE grade from a D to a B to meet the requirements for teaching (ironic as I later became an Accountant!). It was a dream I tried to pursue 15 years ago too, applying for and being accepted on a scheme where you worked in a school whilst studying, it was a real kick in the teeth when the funding was pulled by local government and at that time I couldn’t afford to fund myself through the conventional uni. route.
So at the age of 44, I am thinking of retraining, changing my career, so that (hopefully) the next 20 years of my working life have more meaning than my first 20. Although there is no formal age limit on joining the police, I fear that at my age (and fitness levels) it might be a step too far for me, and if I’m honest, I’m not sure if I have the stomach for it. Therefore, I am taking steps to follow the teacher route, I have started to volunteer in a school close to where I live and I have booked myself on open days for the relevant universities. I am still a little tentative as I very much believe that teaching needs to be a vocation and not just a job, which is why I plan to volunteer in the school for the rest of this academic year before starting uni in September 2020.
Wish me luck!