Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

5.5 Back to basics

Sometimes it might be necessary to make a trade-off and work in a lower-status job, perhaps at low rates of pay, in return for flexibility and proximity to home. You may decide to use this as a stopgap until you can commit more time to work, but remember that you need to consider your work-life balance as a whole when you are planning your return. By all means be ambitious, but be realistic about what is feasible.

Shamin, whose previous career had been as a biochemical researcher in a large multinational company, became a school science technician as her first step to returning to STEM:

… that was my obvious route in because I’d been out of science for so long, and … when the children were little that was quite a big problem or an issue for me because I haven’t got any relatives to look after children in holidays and that sort of thing, so holidays have become I suppose a problem as well so then obviously that’s where the technician job is brilliant because I’ve got the holidays … I thought it would be a good place to start because I was well over qualified for it so it was just a job that I could go and do, and do well to start with. It was within my confidence range and it suited my lifestyle as well.

You’ll get a chance to explore issues to do with work-life balance in Week 3 and decide which is the right strategy for you.