When I left university I worked for a temp agency doing a bit of data entry and then, in the November (about a month after I had been offered the job) I started work full-time as a web developer within local government. I worked there, within the web team (eventually as the senior developer), for almost 11 years. On the last day of August, my last day of maternity leave, my notice period ended and my resignation was complete. I’m now a stay-at-home-parent for the forseeable future.
Choosing to resign was a difficult decision, on the plus side I:
- liked my colleagues (except for the evil cow who tried to have me disciplined for doing my job because she was unhappy at her incompetence being highlighted in any way – yes I’m still a bit bitter, does it show?), Eli’s middle name is in remembrance of a fellow team member who passed away far too young;
- loved the work.
However, when it came to the negatives:
- I had to travel, by car, for at least 2 hours each day (a journey of 50 miles each way) – on a bad day, the journey could take 3 hours one way;
- the above evil cow colleague – picking up her slack was quite irritating (I did try to support her for years but she had no intention of gaining skills and preferred getting others to do her work for her) and the grievance procedure she brought against me whilst I was very pregnant was particularly unpleasant (yes really, still a bit bitter I bet you didn’t notice);
- local government is bureaucratic and slow – old servers, old software, no investment…
- I didn’t actually earn anything by going to work – I effectively had to pay to go to work.
It’s the last point that swung the decision – before I had children I was in a decently paid job, after children it started costing me to go to work. I was not entitled to any help towards childcare costs and by the time I had two children my childcare costs were equivalent to my salary – and I still had to pay for petrol and car parking whilst at work!
For a while it seemed important that I maintain my career – after all when the kids were all at school childcare costs would reduce and I could start to earn again. After Eli though it just didn’t seem worth it any more, especially with the government freezing my pay for years… I really enjoyed my maternity leave and not having the stress of travel and working was lovely. So I quit. We may now be entitled to some tax credits – I may actually have more disposable income by not working!
The current situation is silly – why should it make more sense for me to stay home than to go to work? Why should I have to give up a good position with generally good pay and conditions just because childcare in the UK is so expensive?