Growing up I was talked about in terms of my job prospects. I heard people saying that all I would amount to is being a mother. Online I found a statistic that says that in the area I grew up in 83% of students on leaving school at 16 had few prospects of employment. It is hard then, to find myself in my forties feeling like I have never contributed.
I can’t say that I actually even got a paper round. I remember helping my sister with hers and did the odd round for my neighbour but never a wage. My mom and dad were divorced. I lived with my mom and my dad used to transfer money into my bank account each month! Although I did do quite a lot of babysitting – and only some of it was paid.
Fruit and Veg Stall
There was a job at a fruit and vegetable stall and a lot of people in my class had worked there for one shift. I of course followed suit and worked there once for a couple of hours after school. Luckily it was cash in hand.
My First Proper Job: Office Work
My first what I would call proper work was in an office. It was after I had finished my GCSEs but before the results came out. I started in the June and was made redundant by the August. They only employed me out of everyone else because I was white and not over-weight!
Another office work job was part of my NVQ. As I stated in my post about going to University – the job just stopped when I got the qualification. I do remember them stating that my clothing choices were eccentric, or words to that effect.
All this was before I turned 18, including a spot of bar work I did down the road. By that point I was also pregnant. The last shift I worked was as I turned 18. With no more hours being forthcoming.
Why I didn’t have a Job After Becoming a Parent
After becoming a parent there was no real expectancy to work as I could claim benefits. I don’t say this in an entitled way this is how the system is. It was really hard to even carry on with any studies because I would lose my benefits. Any jobs just wouldn’t cover enough – and there was no minimum wage back then. I was however a carer for my own mother up until her death, so did receive carers allowance.
Living on benefits wasn’t something I wanted to do and this is when I went to university. Whilst there I admit I didn’t work as I was juggling university work and bringing up a four year old, who was yet to be diagnosed as autistic.
Whilst at university I was making enquiries into working there after I had graduated. I generally achieved first class honours in my work and was on for at least a 2:1 (which is what I achieved). However, my second son was born just a month after my final exams.
Night Shift Job: Shelf Stacking
When our youngest son was a year old I got a job in a supermarket stacking shelves at night. It was better paid than in the day and fitted around the children better. My husband worked split shifts but in a regular pattern. It meant that every now and then we would both be on nights. We were living with his Nan and she helped out – but the undiagnosed autism didn’t go well in the mix.
Plus the people working there I didn’t feel were very kind to me. We were very fortunate to be living rent free with my husband’s Nan and he was earning more than he ever had – so there was just no need for me to put up with it.
Job as an Assistant Science Technician
I really wanted to do something with my degree so was happy to spot a vacancy for a science technician at the local school which fitted in with the children. I also worked in reprographics too to boost my hours.
Whilst working there we suffered a couple more miscarriages and the head Science Technician wasn’t very nice to me. She told me how in her day it wouldn’t even been considered a baby. Secondary school wasn’t really for me anyway – with one of the children locking me in the classroom.
Breaking point was when the Head Science Technician cornered me to tell me everything I was incompetent at. Telling me things like I had not put the videos back in the right place. There was no reason I would have got that wrong. They were alphabetically. I knew my alphabet. They were also accessible to many people, children included. Needless to say she had me in tears and once again it was decided that my husband earned enough for me not to go through all this.
I found that McDonalds did graduate schemes but somehow I ended up going in through the normal bottom route. I made many good friends there and it had lots of good points. But it really was the team you were working with.
I unexpectedly became pregnant with another son and at the same time the eldest was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome (as previously stated not a term people are now comfortable with and prefer just as Autistic).
After my maternity leave ended we again decided that we had enough money coming in that I would not need to leave our children. The youngest was breast-feeding and I had struggled to do so with the second and wasn’t sure how it would work out with working too.
It will be fourteen years this July since I last worked for anyone else. We then went on to have our fourth child, who also has additional needs, and I have been just looking after the whole family. Of course I have been blogging too, but just to fit around everyone.
I feel as though I haven’t contributed and have nothing to offer. I did apply for a social media role but never even heard back from them. Again my husband earns enough that he says that I shouldn’t just get a job for the sake of it. I do have a lot to do – the school run alone takes up quite a bit of time. But I just feel some clock is ticking away and the children won’t need me soon and I will be left just an empty shell. Sometimes I struggle with things such as booking a haircut for myself as it is all so expensive and I hardly contribute. My husband is always trying to just spend money on me and definitely doesn’t make me feel this way.
Unemployable as I lack experience. I just don’t know what to do now. I’ve been told that since it is 18 years since my degree it kind of renders it useless. It seems so expensive to go on to do a masters. Besides I am not sure how much I remember. My confidence is so low and I do suffer from brain fog. I understand that companies need to make allowances for the menopause but they aren’t going to really want to employ someone with no experience.