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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Children Changing Careers p:12 - Shaney from iMummyBlog

Children Changing Careers, iMummyBlog

Welcome to part 12 of the blog series 'Children Changing Careers' - A series for parents who have pulled off a career change after having children.

This week's post features Shaney from iMummyBlog who is now a Night Tube Train Operator!

Here is her career changing story...

My name is Shaney, I’m a 27 year old mum to a 2-year-old girl and a 6-month-old boy and have recently made quite a big change to my career.

I went to the BRIT School for Performing Arts to study Dance, I also studied Textiles as an extra subject. Over time I realised that my true passion was in Textiles and fashion and that dance suited me better as a hobby. I moved onto Central Saint Martins where I got my Foundation in Art and Design and then went on to study textiles for fashion and interiors at the University for Creative Arts in Farnham where I specialised in woven fabrics.

Every internship and employment that I took up was fashion or textile related in the hope that I would be able to secure a job in fabric sourcing or fashion buying once I had finished my degree. And I did. I joined the menswear buying team of an extremely well known high street retailer and I absolutely loved it. I travelled a minimum of 3 hours a day to get to the office and I worked from 8am until whatever time I finished (usually 6.30pm). But it was worth it as I was in my element and every single day was exciting and different.
Children Changing Careers, iMummyBlog

To give you an idea, here are just a few of things I had to do: Research trends, negotiate with suppliers, come up with design ideas, analyse sales, actually go shopping (who wouldn’t love that?), source fabrics and build product ranges.

When I got pregnant for the first time, I had every intention of returning to my job after maternity leave. I think at that time I was naive about how challenging being a parent can be without adding to that, 3 hours of commuting per day and working long hours. I realised pretty quickly after having my daughter that it was going to be difficult (more like impossible) for me to return to my job and I was absolutely GUTTED.

I also knew that the chances of me finding a part-time buying job that was close to home; were slim to none. But I had a word with the universe anyway and as if by magic, I found a part-time menswear buying assistant job that was 15 minutes down the road. I could not believe my luck! I did have to take a pay cut; but I was happy to still be doing the job that I loved. Because I like to complicate things, I got pregnant again. I had my son in December, again with the intention of returning to my job after maternity leave.

Children Changing Careers, iMummyBlog

10 days after giving birth someone told me about vacancies for “Night Tube - Train Operator”. We had a look online just out of curiosity, I saw that I could pretty much double current my salary for working less hours and thought I’d be stupid not to apply.

It wasn’t that I wanted to leave my buying career behind, it was simply a logical decision based on my new priority — my growing family. To progress in buying, you need to be able commit to the role, put in extra hours and maybe even continue working at home. Aside from that, I calculated that I would be spending my entire salary on childcare. It was not going to work. As much as I love working, I love my family more.

After 5 months of various assessments, tests and finally the longest interview of my life; I was offered the job. I had mixed emotions to begin with, half of me wondering what on earth I was thinking?! And the other half of me excited that I had got possibly the best part time job ever.

Underground badge, Children Changing Careers, iMummyBlog

I’m currently going through an intense full-time training programme, my head hurts everyday — but it is the sensation of learning. I am actually enjoying it a lot more than I had anticipated. I only see my children for a couple of hours a day, which is difficult but it is only temporary. I never imagined myself taking up a full time training programme 5 months after giving birth, but it has to be done and aside from a few tears (mostly mine) we have all adapted pretty well. Once the training period is complete I will only be working 2 nights per week. That means plenty of time to spend with and raise my family, plenty of time to work on my blog and minimal childcare required. LIVING!

My working days will be spent driving a train in the dark, spending long periods of time alone and having to concentrate for extended periods of time on what may be repetitive tasks. Very different from what I am used to. However, a train operator’s role is safety critical and knowledge is key. I will need to be able to deal with situations as they arise, always ensuring that I keep myself and my customers safe.

The best thing about this career change is that I’ll have the freedom I need to be able to nurture and take care of my family without having to compromise financially. I will also have many opportunities for career progression when the time is right. The worst thing for me is probably the training period where I don’t get to see my kids or partner as much as I would like to, adjusting has been difficult.

Children Changing Careers, iMummyBlog

There is part of me that misses being able to make decisions based purely on what I want. But since having children, the decisions that I have to make are bigger, more important and in a lot of ways more exciting because I sometimes have to step out of my comfort zone and do things that I never imagined I would do; like driving a train.

My advice to anyone who has a young family or is looking to change careers for any reason is to go with the flow, think logically, but don't over-think things and do not doubt your self. You have to do what is best for you and your family. Do not worry about what other people think. Try something new and different and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Some of my friends and family laugh at me.

“So you spent 8 years studying and working in fashion… and now you want to be a train driver?”

*rolls eyes*

My theory is that everything happens for a reason, the universe is in control and i’m almost certain that I will have the last laugh. Everything is temporary. There are no limits. Life is strange, but life is good.

Children Changing Careers, iMummyBlog

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