Redundant at 36, until this point I had a career of sorts. I’ve worked in national museums, local museums and for archaeology units since I was old enough to do so. By pure luck I ended up working in the museum which when I visited as a seven year old child made me want to become an archaeologist (rather than a journalist) and pursue this path. Its been exciting, I’ve seen and done lots of brilliant things from digging up graves full of treasure to caves with early human remains. I’ve sat in fields wearing a hard hat and drinking tea, I’ve been behind the scenes at some of the UK’s most iconic national institutions. I’ve handled specimens collected by Darwin, Sloane, Mary Anning, Dickens and many, many other influential people. I’ve met all manner of people from celebrities to local eccentrics. It’s been challenging, exciting, fun and demoralising. I’m at the end of this journey.

It’s the end of my dream and my career because I have children and a family. Museums and archaeology are not the job for those who have to remain in one place. With three children the salary I could expect to earn by the time I factored in travel costs would mean that I would be paying to go to work. All around me my peers face the same problem, those who gave up their dream early going into law, banking, teaching, I.T and those who find themselves in my position going to work in shops or admin, wondering how on earth they could afford to do a P.G.C.E. or forced into teaching science or maths because those are funded. Its criminal.

I have my up days where I feel the future is full of potential, but there are quite a few lows. I feel written off, wasted. I wanted to contribute to society, make a difference and have a career. I feel stripped of all this, my ambition naked. Quite simply I feel a failure. I’m prepared to work hard, make sacrifices and be a loyal employee. I am virtually unemployable unless I work freelance. I don’t really want to work freelance, I want a career where the amount of effort I put in is rewarded with progression. I want to use my brain and my skills.

I know that a lot of my self esteem was wrapped up in my job, I didn’t realise how much. What am I now? Who am I? When people ask me what I do I find it embarrassing saying I am a mum and not much more really. Yes its a valuable job, but frankly anyone can do it, its something you fall into not something you have achieved. I don’t think people respect that.I’m not depressed as such, more fed up. Fed up with my lot in life. I don’t see much future other than clearing up after people, cooking dinners and being a slave.

When I was a child I felt as if I could do anything, now I feel as if I can do nothing. The world doesn’t want or need me, I have no value, I cant contribute anything other than bringing up my children. Its hard to come to terms with. I should have at least 28 years where I would have some value, where I could contribute to society. Instead its looking like 28 years of skivvydom. At the moment I wish I had chosen a different path, any path, just not this particular one. The careers advisor suggested I get a job in our local supermarket, I’m not putting down anyone who has chosen to work there, but if that is where I end up you have to ask: what was the point?


12 Responses

  1. Sandy Calico 16th March 2012 / 9:17 am

    I'm really sorry to read that. Don't throw yourself on the scrapheap just yet. You never know what's round the corner. Thinking of you x

  2. PippaD 16th March 2012 / 9:26 am

    I know how you feel, nobody ever grows up thinking their dream job won't happen or grows up thinking they will work as a dinner lady or a checkout assistant. At the moment you are feeling down, but as Sandy said something may be just round the corner. I know that happened for me so I don't see why it won't happen for you too.

  3. Sally 16th March 2012 / 9:26 am

    I agree with Sandy. Having been made redundant three times I know it&#39;s a blow, and I think your post is SO important because this is an experience shared by so many women of our generation, this experience of talent that&#39;s squandered by a society that doesn&#39;t understand how to support working mothers. <br /><br />But you don&#39;t know what&#39;s around the corner. You really, really

  4. Potty Mummy 16th March 2012 / 9:45 am

    I so, SO identify with what you&#39;ve written. When I stopped working after Boy 2 was born, it was such a wrench, and such a shock to realise how much of my sense of self worth was tied into my job. I felt very low indeed. <br /><br />But – and you probably don&#39;t want to hear it right now, but I&#39;ll say it anyway – you will get past this. You will find other roads – or perhaps a way

  5. Jo 16th March 2012 / 9:45 am

    I had to comment on this post. Growing up it was a visit to Verulamium Museum that made me want to become an archaeologist or museum worker. I went off to University and got a degree in Archaeology, did work experience at the local museum and in the third year started looking for work. Hmm nothing around. <br /><br />So I went on to do an MA in Museum Studies, still getting work experience where

  6. Katie 16th March 2012 / 10:16 am

    I agree with all the commenters so far- they are far more eloquent than I could be. I know it must be difficult to write about the raw dissapointment, but I really appreciated reading this. I do hope you find a new direction that fulfills and excites you.

  7. Jude 16th March 2012 / 10:49 am

    It&#39;s nearly 7 years now since I was made redundant from my museum career, and although I was interviewed for a few local(ish) posts in that time, since the economic crisis I have given up on thinking that I am ever likely to go back to it. As you say, even in the unlikely chance that a museum job becomes available in your locality, the level of pay is normally too small to make it a viable

  8. SAHMlovingit 16th March 2012 / 11:53 am

    Big hugs to you. I can relate totally.<br /><br />I was made redundant in 2007, 2 months before I was due to get married. I&#39;d worked at the company since I was 16, started as a YTS in Sales and eventually working my way up to Marcoms Manager. <br /><br />I felt totally unwanted and thrown out like rubbish after 16 years of service to the company. So I know that feeling that you&#39;re talking

  9. Tasha Goddard 16th March 2012 / 3:14 pm

    Being made redundant is a big blow to most people, but to someone with such a specialised career, I imagine it must be a lot worse. <br /><br />First of all, as others have said, it&#39;s not over yet. There may be other opportunities once they&#39;re all in school, you might come up with something different that you enjoy doing that&#39;s more flexible. <br /><br />In the meantime, you&#39;re

  10. Jacqui 16th March 2012 / 8:43 pm

    Ditto everything you have said- I was a teacher but with 3 young children it&#39;s impossible to do properly. I have applied for other less demanding 9-5 jobs but have been turned down due to being &#39;overqualified&#39; so I am stuck being just a sahm which is great but not really reaching my potential. Humph

  11. Trouble Doubled 16th March 2012 / 9:55 pm

    Argh! Just left you a very long comment and blogger lost it.<br /><br />Just wanted to say that I feel your pain. It&#39;s a frustrating business, but please take solace in the knowledge that you&#39;re not alone. Far too many highly-qualified and skilled women are having to quit the workforce for a range of reasons, and please just try and enjoy the time at home with your children, because

  12. mumsdotravel 17th March 2012 / 3:43 pm

    I empathise so much with you. I have never been redundant, but gave up my career as a radio producer after having kids. I always want to do my best at work and as a Mum, and found it impossible to do both. When I first left work I did find it really hard, but it does get easier. It really is true that being a parent is the most important job in the world. If others don&#39;t get that, it&#39;s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *