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.