"Planning" your life – share yours & help

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 16
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

Well it looks like I’m in the minority here, but I stopped persuing my “dream” job as soon as I realised that even if I was lucky enough to eventually get into that field, it would take an extremely long time to get a permanent position that would allow me to have children. Also the more I thought about kids in the future, the less my dream job was appealing with an hour and a half commute. So I went in a different direction and now am looking on track to be settled in a permanent position before my now fiance and I have kids 🙂 

It sounds like you don’t actually have much desire to study and advance your career at this point, and that’s fine! I couldn’t imagine anything worse than studying while also working full time, when you have little drive to do so. If you’re still comfortable financially at this point then in my opinion family should come first, kids are only little for a short time and if you want to study in the future then you can! Plus from your last comments it sounds like you’re not sure if the business you’re in is even the right one for you in terms of work/life balance? No point studying for three years to put yourself in a position you don’t want to be in anyway!

Good luck with whatever you decide 🙂

Post # 17
1027 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

My first thought was that you shouldn’t plan your whole life around hypotheticals that aren’t under your control (what your coworkers might think of decisions that you might make in three years, etc.). When you said studying would be expensive, that means your work isn’t paying for it, right? So you wouldn’t be betraying anyone if you did this program now and then left your job in a few years.

I also don’t think it’s a good idea to put your career on hold for your children when those children are nowhere close to existing yet. When you say your partner wants to marry you, does that mean you’re actually engaged, or is that just a hypothetical as well? Because you can find a whole lot of threads on this forum where women have thought an engagement was coming and then ten years went by. Your partner is probably one of the first people you should be talking to about where you see your life going in five or ten years.

But regardless of all that, as I read more of your posts, it seems like you’re just not interested in this career at all. If you don’t want to embark on this program of study because you’d consider it a waste of time if you died next week, then don’t do it. Find another career that you like more. You know you don’t want a career where you’re expected to work crazy hours, so find something that’s more reasonable. There are plenty of careers that are more compatible with having a family, and seeking out one of those careers is something that you can work towards right now.

Even if you ultimately don’t want a career at all and just hope to be a stay-at-home mother, I would work toward finding a career that you’d be satisfied with in the long run. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you never know what will happen, and it’s important to have some means of supporting yourself on your own.

Post # 18
198 posts
Blushing bee

I think it’s silly to put your life on hold or plan it out because of hypothetical scenarios. You have a great job and no immediate plans for children or marriage. I see no issue with embarking on your studies. You will still be 28 when you finish, which is still very young to have kids and marry. If your heart is not in your job and if your employer is not paying for your study, don’t study. 

But please don’t plan your life around the what if’s. That is no way to live! I sometimes get down because by the time I finish my degree I will be 27. But then I look at the bigger picture and the reasons why I waited to go to uni. I wasn’t ready, I didn’t know if I wanted to study law, I worked for a long time (and still do work), I wanted to travel. I’m nearly 26 now and I’ve got a great partner, just got a new job (promotion) and I’m kicking goals. It wasn’t my ‘original’ plan, but I’m happy with the path I’m currently on 🙂 

Post # 20
2613 posts
Sugar bee

To answer your question, yes, I’m a planner. My path has meandered a bit, but I always like to have goals I’m working toward and rough timelines for when I want things to happen by. Those goals keep me focused and on track. And for the most part it’s served me well — I’m a person who outwardly has things pretty together, though that doesn’t mean I always feel 100% confident about my path.

I have struggled with many of the same questions you are now struggling with. It’s hard to know whether to prioritize family, friends, and community or building a strong career trajectory. While my heart tells me family is the most important thing and you’ll never regret spending time with and for loved ones, I also think it’s important to balance that with some pragmatism. 

I have pursued a competitive field that I really enjoy, with the trade off that it doesn’t pay very well and it doesn’t have a lot of job security. Luckily my husband is in a more reliable field, though one he isn’t passionate about — it’s just a job to him, but it pays decently, the hours are good, and he leaves his work behind when he leaves the office. We’ve both made some compromises with our careers. And ultimately, we are both willing to try new careers if our current ones don’t pan out; neither of us is married to the idea of staying in the fields we’re currently in if better opportunities arise. 

I’m in my late twenties and recently married. My/our five year plan is to move away from our current area (where to move is TBD), buy a house, and start trying for kids. Ideally I’d like to buy a house within 2 years and try for kids shortly thereafter. There will also be a lot of career decisions to be made in that time — like whether to apply for jobs wherever they are available to stick to a more limited area where we decide to settle down. At the end of the day, our family is more important to us than careers, but we want to be practical and set ourselves up to be working jobs we at least sorta like that also pay the bills. 

It’s a little overwhelming sometimes to think about all the stuff we have to work out soon, but we’re taking it one step at a time. The “five year plan” is just a guideline of when ideally those things would happen, but we’ll roll with the punches. 

I can’t say what to do in your shoes, but I do think you should do some soul-searching. I find journaling really helpful in these situations. There are also a lot of great books out there. I liked one I read last year called “Designing Your Life” which focused on practical steps and exercsies you can do to help figure out a life plan that is right for you. 

Good luck! 

Post # 22
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

View original reply
halehann : “Borrowing trouble” means worrying about hypotheticals, which is something other Bees pointed out, too. You’re assuming a lot of things will happen between now and the mid-term future that may never come to fruition, let alone in that time frame.

What industry do you work in? Few things are ACTUALLY 24/7 (you mention you’d worked in a hotel — hospitality is a good example of actual 24/7 jobs/industries), instead it’s just individuals who choose to work long hours. Which is what your situation sounds like so 1) there’s nothing to say that you can’t begin to establish boundaries now around the hours you work and the hours you reserve for family (or your boyfriend currently since you work with family) that only increase and/or become firmer if you have kids, and 2) that your dad won’t become a big ol’ softie who wants more free time with his grandkid(s) and the whole corporate culture shifts. 

Re: work/life balance, I met my husband when we were both beginning mid-level positions. I’ve since been promoted three times so now I’m basically upper mid-management (there’s only 1 job title above me but it’s a huge company so there’s still plenty of room for growth). I started school right after getting married and right when I got pregnant so for 2.5 years I was sacrificing something in the work/school/personal trifecta. Where your time and energy goes will ebb and flow — nothing is a permanent situation. Often it meant doing work while in class, and doing homework or finishing up work after the kids were in bed. It’s not fun, but that’s an example of a mid-term sacrifice (which is actually short term in the scheme of life) for long-term goals. 

Post # 23
350 posts
Helper bee

I’m also 25 and I feel like we’re looking for some of the same things! My life has taken dramatic turns over the past five years and 20 year old me would have been appalled with where I am now, but I’m much happier for it. 

I do have plans for the next five years, but I try to plan on things that are within my control, or seem like they might be on track. Some of the planning is because I need to purchase health insurance in advance, or that I want to finish what I’ve started… I also try not to take things for granted, a lesson from when my life was turned upside down a few years ago. 

Anyway, my plans for the next five years are to get married (booked for the next year), get my PhD (should be within the next three years unless I take time off), and have a kid. The kid part is harder because we can’t control fertility completely. But we’ll see. 

Post # 24
1023 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

I usually would say to go for the career, that you can make children and a family work in the future when you need to. However, I would also say to never spend money on an education to work in a career that you don’t actually want. Figure out what you DO want. You’ve figured out that you want a family in the future and that’s important to you. Okay, then figure out a career that will also work for you, considering the other goals you have for your life. Just because this career is presented to you doesn’t mean you have to take it. I know someone who went through years of college and law school and SO MUCH work and MONEY only to realize after everything that she hated being a lawyer. Don’t put yourself through the time, money, and hard work for something you already know you don’t want.

DO figure out what career you truly want in the future. Don’t put your life on hold because you want a family one day and your career may not fit into that. But DON’T choose a career just because it’s an option and you feel like you should. Work at finding a career that you truly love. And keep in mind the work-life balance. That’s clearly important to you. That can be important to someone even if they DON’T have a family. There is a lot to consider when choosing a career, and you should consider all of it. It’s not about choosing family over a career, it’s about figuring out a career that works within your goals for your future and how you want your life to be.

Post # 25
1485 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

My advice is don’t rush into anything you’re not really financially prepared for. 

Example: me getting a dog. I have wanted a dog for over a year now, but did I get one? No. Why? I am in school 2 times a week at night, and was going through another weekly program (3 nights total a week) which was tying up finances. Financially and time wise, it did not make sense. 

Someone close to me, on the other hand, got a dog because they wanted one with no planning whatsover, did not do their homework about introducing to new pets, etc. I’m sure it will work out in the long run but because of lack of planning, it will hurt her in the short term. This is also the same person who wanted a new car and went out and traded a perfectly good car in for a more expensive car with a higher payment that they dont even drive (their husband mostly drives). 

Eduction is key. No matter what anyone says, your life will be more challenging without a degree or certificate. Yes, you can do it. yes, you can make money and be prosperous, but it will be harder. You have to weigh your options- do I want to be in student debt? How long will it take for me to pay off my loans? Can I still put 10% towards a ROTH IRA? 

If you don’t already have a retirement fund, get one set up and start contributing 10% of your income to it every month without fail. 

And don’t put more than 25% of your income towards rent/mortgage. 

I hope these random nuggets help. 

Post # 26
1027 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

Is it possible to stay long-term in your current job at your current position, or do you have to move up or out? And would the education that you’re considering be at all helpful in your current position?

It sounds to me like the main thing you need to focus on now is establishing boundaries at your work. If you’d be satisfied staying there but are concerned about the expectation to work excessive hours, start pushing back on that now. For example, don’t let the new program of study eat up all your free time, even if that means doing it part-time and taking longer to finish. If your work is really not willing to negotiate on this and requires you to do full-time school along with full-time work, then that’s a sign that you need to look for a different job.

Realistically, I think you also need to add a bit more time to your children timeline even without any of these work considerations, unless you’re planning to have a quick wedding or have children before marriage. You had said 2-3 years, but realistically, if you get engaged in a year, it probably takes a year to plan a wedding, and then a year before you have a child…. and that’s in a best-case scenario where the engagement happens exactly when expected, the wedding planning goes smoothly, and you get pregnant within a few months of trying. I don’t think 2 years is feasible at all, and I’d guess that 4-5 years before the birth of a child is more likely. Does that change any of your work considerations, or is there anything you’d do differently in terms of the engagement/wedding/TTC in order to speed up that timeline?

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