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Back in December, things were looking pretty bleak for us financially. I mean even more-so than things have been over the last 2 years.
Because of the Christmas holidays, I was off work for over 2 weeks, meaning my already small income was cut in half. We were already behind on paying our bills. We couldn’t afford to do anything for Christmas. And worse yet, the early January strike deadline at R’s work was quickly approaching with no resolution in sight.
We needed a back-up plan in case the strike happened. We needed more money. And we needed it fast.
A New Job?
I finally caught a bit of a break, and landed an interview with another childcare centre in town. It went really well, and by mid-December I was offered a full-time job at a preschool!
At first, I was really excited by the prospect of working full-time again. But as I learned more about the job and the specifics of this position, I started to get this gut feeling that this wasn’t the right move for me.
This gut feeling was heightened when I found out that HR had made a mistake, and had told me the wrong location and the wrong hours.
Instead of being a short commute with a schedule that worked alright for us, the position they had open was for early mornings all the way across town, which did not work for us. It would mean relying very heavily on cabs to the point where the added expense almost negated the income from the job.
But what choice did I have?
If the strike happened, we were going to need every cent would could get.
I accepted the job, not knowing if it was the right thing for me to do or not.
Quitting a Job I Loved
Admittedly, part of my hesitation was that accepting a full-time position meant I’d no longer be able to nanny with the family I’ve been working with since the summer.
This broke my heart. I honestly cried as I told the family that I’d be leaving. It was awful.
Because of the bond I’ve formed with them and their daughter, they really wanted to keep me on. And I really wanted to stay on.
I kept looking for ways to try to make it work. The mother had even began job hunting for me by asking her friends and colleagues if they needed part-time childcare (with my permission). I was able to get a few casual babysitting jobs thanks to her help, but nothing that could justify walking away from the full-time position.
Change(s) of Plans
Things were quiet over the Christmas break, while I waited for the new year to hear back from HR with a start date.
Unfortunately though, things stayed quiet long after the break as well.
Days passed, and I hadn’t heard anything from HR. My phone calls and emails went unanswered for weeks. I had no idea what was going on!
Between this and not knowing if R was going on strike or not, it was a very stressful and confusing start to the new year.
But much to our relief, things at R’s work were finally settled at the last minute, and the strike was avoided. Phew!
So with that hurdle behind us, and over 4 weeks of silence from the childcare centre, we were once again reconsidering this full-time job offer. I was tempted to send a “thanks, but no thanks” type email to HR and just move on, but instead of doing something rash, I continued to wait to hear back from them.
I did, however, decide that this waiting wasn’t fair to me or my nanny family (who I fortunately had kept working with in the meantime). They hadn’t found a replacement for me, and were so understanding with everything that was going on, I decided to stay on as their nanny after all – regardless of what happened with the childcare centre. It felt like the right thing for me to do.
Naturally, the day after I came to this decision, I finally heard back from HR. (It turns out that their only HR employee had had a medical emergency.)
And guess what?
The full-time position they had offered me and that I had accepted, no longer existed…
BUT! They had a different job offer for me instead.
There was a part-time after-school position available. It was closer to our house, and close to R’s work. It worked almost perfectly with our schedules, and allowed me to keep working with my nanny family in the morning. And working with older children would reduce the chance of me getting sick all the time (which was a big issue for me at my last childcare job).
Somehow after all of that, things actually worked out for the best!
It’s a Job, Not a Career
I’ve been working at this new job for a month now, and I like it.
The kids are great, my coworkers are all good at their jobs, and although the pay is low, it’s enough that we’re already caught up on our bills.
But it’s not where I want to be career-wise.
I think part of my initial hesitation with this job is that I’m scared that I’m pigeonholing myself into this career path that I don’t want. That with each new childcare job listed on my resume, the harder I’m making it for myself to get back into student support or academic advising, which is where I want to be.
I do like working with kids, but if I wanted to be an early childhood educator, I would have gone to college instead and saved myself a lot of time and student loan debt.
This new job isn’t quit the break I was hoping for, but my current employment situation is a lot better than it’s been in the last couple of years. And for now, something better is good enough.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever worked at a job that you liked, but didn’t fit into your career goals?
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