Mommyhood & a career change: corporate to nonprofit - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-30-2005, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not currently a mommy...we're not even TTC yet! But we're starting to think about TTC within the next year. The problem is I'm also thinking about making a career change within the next year or maybe a little longer. I'm currently in a management position at a company where I've been for 9 years now. I'm frustrated with the lack of meaning in my work and really feel that I must move to the nonprofit world to be happy in my work life.

So I'm trying to decide what will work the best:
  • Stay in my current position, start TTC, have the baby, take maternity leave, and come back for a little bit, then make the career change...OR...
  • Stay in my corporate job for a few more months, make the career change and get established in the new job, then TTC.

Option 1 is tempting because I'll be making a corporate salary for all that time til I leave, but it also means I have to continue plugging away at work that my heart's not really in any more. Option 2 is tempting because I get the possibility of happier work sooner, but less tempting because I have to wait longer to TTC.

I'm wondering if anyone here has been in a similar situation? Any advice is welcome!

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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Old 07-30-2005, 09:33 AM
 
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I'd say you might want to stay where you are until after your maternity leave. Chances are you'll have better healthcare coverage & other benefits available at a corp. job than a non-profit and you'll be able to save up more money to help you stay home for a bit. Plus, god forbid. if you run into fertility issues, a corp. might have some benefits to help with that - a nonprofit probably can't afford it. Then I'd quit the corp. job after your maternity leave (if it's paid and if you can afford it) and stay home as long as possible before looking for the non-profit job. That's what I would do.... Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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I agree that you should stay in your corporate job. You can save money now, take advantage of maternity benefits, take a decent leave and then re-evaluate. You could perhaps find a part-time job at a non-profit after your child is born. I have found that non-profits want MUCH more work out of an employee at much less pay. Great if you have the focus and drive, but when your focus is on family there is something to be said for well-paid familiar work where you don't need to bust your ass.

I worked for a government agency for 11 years and was pretty sick of it, but they were great to me during my pregnancy and gave me everything I asked for in terms of flexibility after my son was born. I was sick of the work, but I felt totally entitled to ask for accomodations since I had put so much of myself into that job for so many years. I think at a new job you would not be able to ask for as much, since you would still be proving yourself.

That is my 2 cents.
Blessing and good luck!
Kathleen
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Old 07-31-2005, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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These are great things to think about. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!

One good thing is that DH's insurance is quite good and I could easily be covered under that if I decided to make the career change sooner rather than later.

It sounds like the most reasonable thing to do is probably stay in my current position for the money, though the thought of staying there much longer doesn't make me jump for joy. I do worry that after having a baby, if I were to try to start a new career and "prove" myself if it would be super-difficult to make a good impression with a newborn in the picture, such as putting in extra hours, etc.

I guess it comes down to -- what do I want to wait a little longer for? A baby or a new career?

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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Old 08-01-2005, 03:20 AM
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I suggest pursuing a job that you're passionate about. You don't know how long it will take for you to conceive, so do you really want to spend a couple of more years at the same job?

That said, I probably would ignore my own advice and stay at my safe corporate job. But if one of your reasons for staying is to build up a cash reserve, I would try to set definite savings goals so that even if you're not feeling fulfilled there, at least you'll have some tangible and obvious reward.
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:14 PM
 
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Quote:
I have found that non-profits want MUCH more work out of an employee at much less pay.
I work for a non-profit and this can be sooo true. For us it's cyclical so I am willing to put in the extra time as needed but not on a day to day basis. It's hard when others around me are doing it day in and day out but I have to remember what is most important.

Despite the expectations, we have great flexibility. I don't have a real set time that I need to be here. If I get my work done, they are happy. Everyone is pretty nice to work with b/c we all care about the work we are doing. The atmosphere is pretty casual and, in my case, very family friendly...except for those couple weeks a year

If you go to a non-profit before you TTC, be aware of the company size. We had less than 50 employees so they were not bound by the FMLA to give me 12 weeks off for my maternity leave. I asked for it anyway even though I had only been there for 8.5 months. They gave it to me but I know it was a burden on my small group.
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Old 08-02-2005, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNW
I suggest pursuing a job that you're passionate about. You don't know how long it will take for you to conceive, so do you really want to spend a couple of more years at the same job?
That's a good reality check. We're so excited about TTC that I think DH and I assume we'll get lucky the first time we try! If it turns out to be the more typical 6-8 months or even longer, I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck in that job for that time period plus 9 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JNW
But if one of your reasons for staying is to build up a cash reserve, I would try to set definite savings goals so that even if you're not feeling fulfilled there, at least you'll have some tangible and obvious reward.
Great idea! I took your advice and at lunch today, I made a list of reasons to stay longer and reasons to stay only til we finish paying off credit card debt in the spring. All the reasons to stay longer were financial and not as compelling when I put them on paper. And then the first reason on my reasons not to stay was "happiness".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Best Feeling
If you go to a non-profit before you TTC, be aware of the company size. We had less than 50 employees so they were not bound by the FMLA to give me 12 weeks off for my maternity leave. I asked for it anyway even though I had only been there for 8.5 months. They gave it to me but I know it was a burden on my small group.
Ooh...thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten that smaller companies weren't subject to FMLA. Do nonprofits typically offer maternity leave of any sort, or does it depend on the size/type of nonprofit?

Thank you all SO MUCH for your thoughts. This thread has really helped me see where my heart is and what I really want and need for my own happiness. If you can think of other things to consider, please add them to this thread!

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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Old 08-02-2005, 12:16 PM
 
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Hey;
Chiming in on the side of non-profits. Definitely look at the size of the org, etc. Small companies (for- AND non-profit) may be exempt from FMLA, as others have said.

BUT
I work in higher ed. It can be frustrating to work in the bureaucracy (esp. in a state inst.). But the benefits are worth it. I have pretty good job security, and as a salaried professional I get 12 sick days, 22 vacation + 3 or 4 personal days, plus 8 state holidays.

The pay isn't as good as it would be if I were in, say, a Pharm. company. But I can never give up that vacation time. That much time off is worth a LOT of money to me. (The sad thing is that I wish I had more...).

So look at the (somewhat) intangibles, too, like fulfillment, happiness, vacation time...
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:17 PM
 
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Here are my other thoughts. Happiness IS most important and you should follow your gut instinct. I have found that most large corporations as well as non-profits will allow you to take up to 3 months. Small for-profits, probably not unless they are required.

All that to consider, but here is one other thing. Your being happy may impact how long it takes you to get pregnant. If you are frustrated with work now it may take a long time to get pregnant. I had no problem getting pregnant with either of my kids, but my daughter was concieved the week that I finally quit my job of 11 years that was no longer fulfilling. So, for me that was interesting!

Good luck. I know that it is a hard decision!
Kathleen
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