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I've been seeing a professional guidance counsellor in the past few weeks. I'm frightfully unhappy in my current job (secretary in a law firm) and I've been doing some soul searching about what I want to do with myself. The frustrating thing is, after all these tests and research, I found that the options open to me will require a great deal of schooling, in part because I live in Quebec which is very strict about schooling (most professions REQUIRE at least a 4 year bachelor's degree), and in part because my degree (b.ed. in secondary education) isn't related to the fields I am interested in. I just don't see how I can quit working for 3 or 4 years to study full-time, since I have to pay off all the debts STBX put in my name as well as my student loans, while providing for DD. I've thought of doing a short-term course of study, but there's really nothing available in the fields that interest me, or, if they are offered in another province, they aren't recognized here.<br><br>
I'm left with a handful of mildly interesting distance education programs from a local university, but I don't quite now how I'd find time to study with DD being at this super needy phase (22 months).<br><br>
Have you felt, or do you currently feel that being a single parent restricts in one or another your career options because of the financial constraints? How have you gone about facing such challenges?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Halfasianmomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15420336"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Have you felt, or do you currently feel that being a single parent restricts in one or another your career options because of the financial constraints? How have you gone about facing such challenges?</div>
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YES! And I'm not even technically a single mom anymore. LOL! I will probably always have that mindset that I need to do whatever I can to put ds and only ds first. Even though I do have a partner I find myself picking a career based on if I were a single mom. I am in school to become a teacher. Why? Because I love kids, for one. I *do* want to be a teacher but the deciding factor was that I wouldn't have to worry about childcare for summer/winter break/spring break since I will have all that time off too. (Of course there are some days he will have off that I won't but those are a relatively small number).
 

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Yup. I was taking the prerequisites for med school, was acing them and doing all the other stuff to prepare to apply. Then reality interfered and I realized that my X would never be a reliable "parent," and there went that dream. So I just graduated from nursing school today.<br><br>
There was the financial aspect, but also the parenting aspect. I know I'll never ever be able to rely on him to be there for the kids, do the nuts & bolts of parenting, so that means residency is pretty much out for me. It has been a bitter pill to swallow.
 

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I'm going back to grad school this fall, and I'm really lucky to have some financial help from my family in that -- granted, I'll still be working and it's a super-affordable two-year program (literally half the price of daycare, and I'm not talking expensive daycare <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">). But without my family's support it would be difficult.<br>
So you already have a BA and it would still take three to four years to get a second degree? Not much course overlap, I guess?<br>
Would you be interested in sharing some of the fields you're interested in? We might be able to help you brainstorm.
 

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Would it help if you could see a time when you could go back to school? I'm recently single, and just now starting to take classes part time while I work so that I can go back full time in 2 years. DS is older than your little one I think. But maybe if you tell yourself that you'll work on the debts really aggressively then go back to school in a couple of years? I usually find that having an out-plan helps me deal with a dead-end situation. I don't know how old you are, but don't let yourself fall into the trap of thinking you'd be too old in a few years. These days, there's no such thing. I'll be 36 or 37 when I start a program that usually takes at least 4 years. I'm terrified, but I feel much more at peace with my job knowing that some day I can get out and into an academic environment.
 

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limited in careers, yep, limited in shifts, yep<br>
Get out a calculator and punch in the figures, it may still pay off to go for a 4 year degree!!!!
 

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The four year degree was still worth it for me!<br><br>
I got a BScN in nursing (I work in trauma/emerg as an RN) and while it requires more planning on my part re: shifts, travel, work) the salary is amazing, the job security is wonderful and I'm working in a profession I'm passionate about!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow thank you for the awesome responses mamas. It really helps to know there are others in the same boat as me.<br><br>
Here's where I'm at right now:
<ul><li>I have a 4 year bachelor's degree in teaching at the secondary level, in English and Moral education, along with a provincially granted license to teach.</li>
<li>I have a 2 year diploma in musical theatre performance (useless, I know).</li>
<li>I have many years of experience (5 to 7) as an admin assistant in various fields, like pharmaceuticals, banking, telecommunications, etc.</li>
<li>I have some experience in the classroom (2) because I dropped teaching right away to go into performing arts, but I did work for many years as a private tutor, both for someone else and running my own company.</li>
</ul><br>
My interests at the moment:<br>
I'd really love to do a degree in career counselling, whether in a professional setting or a school/community setting, but as I said, I'm in Quebec and the professional organization here that licenses the profession will only accept a 4 year degree and/or a master's...there's only 1 university in the province that gives that program, and they don't offer distance education courses.<br><br>
This part is REALLY frustrating...there are other provinces where there are 1-2 year community college programs that would give me access to jobs in career counselling, but because I live in Quebec, those programs just aren't recognized! ARG!<br><br>
Alternately, I've thought of a short term change towards human resources, because even in an office setting, I'd get to work with people--which I don't get at all working in a law firm, but in this area, I have very little experience, so I'd need to get a certificate from a local university. In this case, there are two universities that offer a 30 credit certificate in a distance education format...<br><br>
Again though, DD is still quite young and my evenings revolve completely around her until she's asleep at 8:30. Then I'm BEAT. So whether it be a distance ed class or a night class, it's still problematic at the moment.<br><br>
Finally, I've thought of returning to teaching, but it's been quite some time since i've stood in front of a classroom, and I'm feeling a bit daunted by the idea, but as StephandOwen mentioned, there's the tempting summers off for when DD is of school age...BUT it would mean a paycut from where I'm at right now since teachers in this province are the lowest paid in the country...<br><br>
So many factors to consider!
 

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I'd say go be a teacher and take classes toward your goal when you can. I'm a single mom and teacher, and although I may make less than many people, there's no tradeoff for getting my dd off the bus almost every day, and having the summer to spend with her.<br><br>
I want to go back to school and get my Ed.D but it's something that's not in the cards - right now. I'll do it when I can focus more on me and less on her, but in the meantime, I've got a well paying, secure job.
 

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I hear you with how it can be hard to manage distance courses with a very young baby or toddler. By the time I've put DS to bed around 9 p.m., my brain is getting pretty well shot. I took a stats class last semester and even though the material wasn't particularly hard for me and I enjoyed it, I found it hard getting it done after DS's bedtime.<br>
Is there a possibility that you could get a job working in or around HR without the degree, say, doing administrative support for an HR department? That could give you a taste of the profession and give you a chance to see if you like it or not.<br>
Alternately, could you go be a teacher and use the summer break to work really hard on the distance learning?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MamaJen...I've been thinking of switching into the HR field as an admin assist and seeing how I like it.<br><br>
Thanks for the suggestion regarding studying during my summer breaks. I hadn't thought of that! I'm currently gathering all the documentation I need to complete my application to several local school boards (it's unreal the stuff they want...certified copies of birth certificate, diploma, high school, college and university report cards...ridiculous!), and seeing where that leads me.
 

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I'm not a single mama, but I love this forum because you mamas are so inspirational and I learn a lot. (Hopefully that doesn't make me weird <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">)<br><br>
Anyway, I don't think being a single mama in itself is the only factor that makes going back to school difficult. I am married and my DH really helps out with everything, but I WOHFT, have a 25 month old DS, and take my doctoral comprehensive exam next week then start on my dissertation. It is HARD! It is so daunting to feel like you have finally figured out what you want then realize that it might take X number of years of school (and $$$$$$) to achieve it. Then when you look at school you see prerequisite classes and it seems like an impossible endeavor.<br><br>
Partway through my doctoral program (Business Psychology) I had my DS and changed my whole life around. Now I know I want to have my own Nutritional Therapy practice. Currently, I work in B2B marketing for an industrial manufacturer. My super supportive DH looked at me like I was crazy when I told him that I wanted to get another 2 certifications while working on my dissertation in order to facilitate the career change. But you know what - I am doing it. (Factor in to this that I love school and it is my very expensive hobby.) I have signed up to finish one of the certification courses this fall and will (hopefully) start the other next year - while working on my dissertation. I sneak homework in on breaks (yay for extended pumping sessions!), while DS sleeps, and on weekends.<br><br>
It isn't easy. It is a lot of work. It is expensive. But I tell you what....I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. Then I got my Masters, and now I am actually almost 2/3 done with my doctoral program (after 3 years). It *can* be done. And it feels so *GOOD* to see what I am accomplishing and the example it is setting for my DS.<br><br>
All that was basically to say - YOU CAN DO IT if you want to. Take 1 class at a time. Call the university in Quebec and speak with admission counselors or the Dean of your chosen program. Explain your situation and ask them what your options are. Will any of your previous schooling count toward this degree? In the US if you have a 4 year degree, you might only have to take the core classes in another program to get another degree.<br><br>
Also, in the meantime, is there any way to get more people interaction or challenge in your current job? Can you talk to your manager to see if there is a way to expand your role? They might like the initiative. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I've not been even able to have a job for the last 2 1/2 years, much less a career I want. Daycare for 3 kids would be WAY more than I would make given my lack of college education and job skills. I actually think I just landed a nanny position and that would be ideal for me right now(though it's leaving me with 5 kids total, 4 of them being 5 and under!). But honestly, being single is making it so I can't even work. And being that daycare assistance doesn't start until you have 4 paystubs, how is that supposed to help me?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> It's laughable. I would love to get my RN but going back to school with 3 children when I can't even get a job right now is impossible. Thinking of clinicals with 3 chidlren is beyond impossible. It'll just have to wait a few years I suppose.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I think parenting in general can create a desire for better work/life balance. As a single parent what I think you need to look for in a career is job security...... and schedule. Not just the contract hours but how much work / stress will leave each day with you.<br><br>
Honestly it is extremely challenging to work, go to school full time and to parent solo. I am doing all of those things at present - writing from home, school online full time and parenting solo with only part time childcare in part because I LOVE MY DD WITH ME and in part because it's what I can afford.<br><br>
I am learning that I can not give everything 100% of me so something falls to the side and for me right now that is sadly school since writing actually pays the bills and because I am not willing to compromise my time with dd. The challenging part about school falling lower in my poriorities is that school is the one way to ensure security and stability for my dd and I so it creates a cycle.<br><br>
I think you can do school & work as long as one or both is part-time AND if you manage to have full time childcare or outside support to care for your dd. Some people feel it's best to delay your schooling until your kids are older and in school but I find that to appear more challenging because kids start to get more active and have their own calendars which creates more to juggle.<br><br>
What does and did help with the lower energy and sanity on my end was setting up an early bed time for dd!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>StephandOwen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15420555"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">YES! [snip]........... I am in school to become a teacher. Why? Because I love <span style="color:#800080;"><i>youth</i></span>, for one. I *do* want to be a teacher but the deciding factor <span style="color:#800080;"><i>(to off set the low pay)</i></span> was that I wouldn't have to worry about childcare for summer/winter break/spring break since I will have all that time off too. (Of course there are some days <span style="color:#800080;">she</span> will have off that I won't but those are a relatively small number).</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: I am in the same boat as Steph
 

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Did you look into private schools? The salaries are sometimes better and you might be able to find a position where you can end up doing some counselling too, especially with moral ed. training. Don't be shy to look into Jewish or other types of school, they don't discriminate when hiring. The good thing about private schools is that they sometimes have elementary and high school together so when your daughter starts school (trust me, it happens fast), you might be able to be closer to her.<br><br>
I find that, as a single mother, the environment in which I work i so much more important than the salary and other perks. Perhaps continuing as an administrative agent but in a different field could be a viable option. You might even find a job where they let you shift around your schedule a little to go to a few classes every semester (my job lets me do that).<br><br>
I also know a few people who found jobs in universities (UdM and Concordia mostly). In general administrative jobs, the salaries are pretty decent and they usually can get some free and convenient education out of it.<br><br>
Also, with Quebec student loans, you can defer repaying them if you are in school and they consider you full-time even if you are part-time if you are a single parent so it might be looking into that a bit further. Not having to repay your loans (and possibly getting some more financial assistance) while studying can make a huge difference in your budget.<br><br>
Finally, I am sure you have already looked into it, but besides the option of getting a master's in a counselling-related field, there is also the option of doing a CEGEP program (with your B.Ed, you can probably get credited some stuff).
 

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Have you considered a Master's in Educational Counselling? Try checking out online programs. Athabasca University in Alberta is internationally recognized and has a wonderful Masters in Counselling Program.
 

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The Quebec organization that legislates the practices of guidance counsellors does not recognize Athabasca's Masters of Counselling program. I already checked that avenue <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I would have to go back and redo an undergraduate degree in psychology before even undertaking a masters from a recognized Quebec university...
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Halfasianmomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15420336"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've been seeing a professional guidance counsellor in the past few weeks. I'm frightfully unhappy in my current job (secretary in a law firm) and I've been doing some soul searching about what I want to do with myself. The frustrating thing is, after all these tests and research, I found that the options open to me will require a great deal of schooling, in part because I live in Quebec which is very strict about schooling (most professions REQUIRE at least a 4 year bachelor's degree), and in part because my degree (b.ed. in secondary education) isn't related to the fields I am interested in. I just don't see how I can quit working for 3 or 4 years to study full-time, since I have to pay off all the debts STBX put in my name as well as my student loans, while providing for DD. I've thought of doing a short-term course of study, but there's really nothing available in the fields that interest me, or, if they are offered in another province, they aren't recognized here.<br><br>
I'm left with a handful of mildly interesting distance education programs from a local university, but I don't quite now how I'd find time to study with DD being at this super needy phase (22 months).<br><br>
Have you felt, or do you currently feel that being a single parent restricts in one or another your career options because of the financial constraints? How have you gone about facing such challenges?</div>
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YES! I am a single mother of 3 and my oldest is on the Autism Spectrum. Parenting him became so challenging that I was let go from a few different regular 8am-5pm jobs due to being called to pick my son up from school/daycare so many times. I ended up having no way to work and had to sign up for welfare. I even had an exemption from welfare that I did not have to participate in school or work in order to qualify for benefits. But that left me sitting at home doing nothing! I tried finding a way to work from home but my youngest is not in school yet and I couldn't figure out how to work with her at home.<br>
So now I'm in school and hoping to start my masters degree in midwifery in the fall. Welfare told me I couldn't do it but I figured out how to get it to work. Also, once I get financial aid in place for grad school, I won't even be no welfare anymore and will have only been on welfare for about 9 months. They wanted me to just sit at home and do nothing while collecting a welfare check - with no prospects of ever finding a way to get off welfare.<br><br>
I do know that as a single mother there is no way that I can afford to support my family and meet their needs as a regular 8-5 office employee. When the idea of being a direct entry midwife presented itself I felt like that was the answer to everything. It fits my knowledge and experience base (except my BA was in International Relations) and I won't be finished until Fall 2013 when my children will be older and more independent and I will have had time to network with other midwives and women in creating a better support network for my family. I anticipate that my income as a midwife in the state in which I live will be one that will support the needs of my family. I wasn't able to get anywhere in the office world because of my lack of availability to go above and beyond regularly scheduled hours or even be there constantly without missing work sometimes.<br>
It took me about 4 years of being a single parent to figure this out and it just sort of came to me in a flash. I only came up with this plan right after Christmas and so far it's been working. *fingers crossed* Maybe if you keep searching and be patient you'll find that perfect thing.
 
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