I was a financial analyst, which required hours at the computer. I started to feel sluggish and uninspired by my work and wanted more flexibility in my job so decided to retrain as a childminder

I quit finance to retrain as a childminder. I refuse to pay for stepkids and it’s been the best decision of my life.

I quit finance to retrain as a childminder

Woman holding a child's hand

In January, I opened the doors to my own home nursery (photo courtesy of Getty Images). )

I own a company, but it’s probably not the kind of company you’re thinking of.

My new company is growing, and I’m relishing the experience of becoming an entrepreneur, which was sparked by a life reassessment when I was in lockdown. I work with fantastic individuals and my job is diverse, hectic, and enjoyable.

While the term “entrepreneur” may conjure up images of start-ups and beyond, I’ve taken a totally different road. 

I work as a nanny. My coworkers are usually under the age of five.

My days are filled with messy play, park visits, and creative endeavors. It’s not just a fantastic profession, but it’s also a vital one. I’m working to guarantee that our youngest children get the high-quality early childhood education they need to succeed.

People, on the other hand, are often bewildered when I speak. ‘Childcare?’ You can see them pondering something. ‘Wasn’t she supposed to be a professional woman?’

I was – and still am – one of them. However, most people didn’t expect me to transfer to operating a nursery from home as my next professional step…

Prior to retraining as a childminder, I worked as an Assistant Director of Finance and Business Support for the same firm for 17 years. 

I like my work and put in a lot of hours. I was ‘always online,’ responding to emails and phone calls at all hours of the day and night, including on weekends and vacations – a habit I maintained even after my son was born ten years ago. 

Until lockdown, I felt I had the juggling under control. 

I couldn’t stop working. While frantically attempting to educate my kid, I worked from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the epidemic, far too many working parents were faced with this reality. 

For years, I’d been steadily burning out without noticing it.

It had gotten to be too much by July. I was depleted to the point of exhaustion. I wasn’t sleeping well, was nervous, and had a profound tiredness that I couldn’t shake. I realized this wasn’t normal, and I couldn’t keep up any longer, so I went to my doctor for aid.

I was signed off work for the first time in my career for four weeks. During that period, I was able to take the time to think about my career, my health, and what I wanted out of life.

I immediately realized that I needed more than a respite. For a long time, I’d been running on fumes, but I’d accepted it as a necessary part of being a busy working mom. However, the pandemic’s shift in gear meant that everything came to a head. 

For years, I’d been steadily burning out without realizing it. It didn’t take me long to realize that I owed it to myself, my baby, and my partner to make a more basic life shift during those four weeks off.

I accepted voluntary redundancy after 18 years with my firm. I was terrified and unsure whether I was making the right choice, but it largely felt like a great relief.

I’d considered going into daycare before since I’ve always enjoyed children and thought it seemed like a fun career. However, in comparison to my successful job in finance, it never felt like a reasonable next step. 

My decision to leave my work led me to evaluate what I wanted and valued in a profession. So, when I saw a Facebook post about tiney, an early years initiative organization established by the creator of Teach First, I decided to sign up for its childminder training.

I started the training in September 2020, which was mostly online (thanks Covid!) and involved learning how to deliver education to children under the age of five using the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework – as well as plenty of training on early childhood development and the advantages of learning through play. 

I also received First Aid and Safeguarding training, as well as guidance on how to achieve the requirements set by Ofsted, which tiney is subject to. It was quite flexible, which meant that some weeks I just worked a few hours and other weeks I worked larger hours in order to qualify as quickly as possible.

I really enjoyed the 12-week training program and was soon opening the doors to my own home nursery in January 2021.

It was intimidating at first since I’d never managed a company before and was worried about expanding my network and informing families, particularly since I launched during lockdown.

I’m glad to be defying that stigma and, perhaps, inspiring others to choose occupations in which they can help others.

But I was given a lot of advice on how to manage the marketing, including how to join Facebook groups, contact with parents via local community centers and school forums, and use Instagram to promote my nursery. 

In February, welcoming the first kid to my nursery was a watershed moment. It gave me the courage to go on when I saw a little child begin to learn in the atmosphere I had built. It’s grown from strength to strength since then, and it’s only become busier with each passing month.

I’ve never had any doubts that I made the best decision. As a consequence, my spouse, kids, and friends can see how happy and pleased I am. Along the road, though, there have been some startled and bewildered replies. And it all emanates from our society’s lack of respect and consideration for caring duties. 

While positions in finance, law, and insurance are seen as “respectable” and compensated appropriately, roles that entail aiding people – such as social work, childcare, and adult social care – are far too frequently regarded as unskilled or one-dimensional. 

We don’t think of them as aspirational – yet we couldn’t be more incorrect. Caring professions are very satisfying, and you really feel like you’re making a difference.

Changing jobs had clear financial ramifications at first, as I had to start my company from the bottom up. But it’s a long-term investment, and as the company expands, I’m generating more money each month. 

However, far too many individuals are blinded by misconceptions about what aspirational occupations should be. I’m glad to be defying that stigma and, perhaps, inspiring others to choose occupations in which they can help others.

more: way of life

Since retraining, I’ve met former dentists, HR executives, and even a diamond dealer who have all opted to work as nannies instead.

If caring occupations are to be given the respect they deserve, we must highlight and celebrate their success stories. 

People who work on the front lines of health, education, or care seldom get the respect, salary, or true acknowledgment that their jobs deserve. Ambition, intellect, aptitude, and work ethic are more than mutually inclusive with jobs that aren’t generally seen as ‘high-flying.’ People like myself and my colleagues childminders demonstrate this.

In more ways than one, switching from finance to childcare was a big step forward. It’s past time for everyone else to notice.

Do you have a personal story to tell? Send an email to [email protected] to get in contact. 

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

MORE: Why is it so much more painful to be treated unfairly at work by a woman?

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MORE: I had to leave from my work because I couldn’t afford to pay for daycare.

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The “mosquito manchester” is a person who has quit their job in finance to retrain as a childminder. They have found that the work was not satisfying and they are now happier.

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