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Facing a huge crossroads in my life after bereavement

Discussion in 'Personal' started by bonzai_killer, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. bonzai_killer

    bonzai_killer New commenter

    Hello folks,

    Sorry if my post doesn't read particularly well, I'm not thinking very clearly at the moment.

    I gave up a full time permanent post to move with my partner almost two years ago now. During the move, my partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer so instead of taking on supply in the new area I became a full-time carer for my partner. He died at the end of last year & I have moved in with family due to financial constraints.

    I now have absolutely no idea what to do with my life, I have no inclination to go back to teaching, I always struggled with the work/life balance involved and now am even more aware that life is too short to spend working. Only my opinion, of course.

    Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I would really appreciate some advice or even some words of encouragement from those who have been there. I am now starting to feel like I need to work again, I am happy to take a pay cut but volunteering and/or additional study are not an option because I need to start bringing money in. I have worked all of my life but realise that my days behind a bar or in a shop are far behind me and I really don't know which way to turn.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I don't have experience or advice... but I'm sorry to read of your loss and I hope you get through it.

    Hopefully others can be more helpful.
    bonzai_killer likes this.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Sorry to hear about your situation, and condolences on your loss.

    I can't offer advice from my own experience, but (if you think starting a new career is not right for you), I would look to what you know: hence supply, or full/part-time work on temporary contracts. If you live close to a number of schools, and have your own transport, you may well be able to work as much (or as little) as you want/need to. And teachers on fixed term contracts (or supply) are - in my experience - put under much less pressure than their permanent colleagues.
    Yvette111 and bonzai_killer like this.
  4. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    So sorry for your loss. Taking care of yourself must be your first priority at the moment, but I do understand that there are always financial pressures. Good advice above - try some supply, then you can do however much you want to, and maybe find out if teaching is really not for you any more. Who knows, you may feel differently if you find the right school? Best of luck x
    bonzai_killer likes this.
  5. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I'm sorry for your loss. I agree with what the others have said - to, at least, start with what you know. Supply or short term contracts might seem less of a commitment and you will be able to take a break if you need to.
  6. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter


    I would say it is important to remember we all grieve in our own way and so do not try to tell yourself that by now you should be at this stage, tomorrow that stage.

    It takes time and you need to allow the time.

    It may help to think what your partner would want you to do - normally to be happy and carry on. But he would also say I am sure, to do so when ready.

    Do not let others tell you how you should feel or what you should do - but remember too, they invariably mean well even when they say "I know how you feel'...because they do not.

    I think those of us who have lost close relatives know that pain (anger, even) that hits you and where there are times you really think nothing can hurt so much or continue.

    But it does and it is best to just let it hit you!

    For as much as this might seem impossible now, it is true that in time you will come to terms with it all and feel better.

    Then remember your partner with the smile and warmth he would want.
    bonzai_killer likes this.
  7. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Don't then.
    Apply for jobs (think transferable skills) that will allow you a more relaxed pace of working, perhaps P/T initially but with the possibility of promotions and F/T work into the future. You need gentleness in your life. If the environment around you is not kind/gentle, you need to be the one to provide the kindness for yourself.
    Yes, I got out of teaching and started to put myself first a little bit more than I had been. Don't work in an industry that revolves so much around guilt and responsibility to others. When you are hurting and vulnerable you need to put yourself first and choose a job that does not demand more than its fair share of a finite you.
  8. RuthTom

    RuthTom Occasional commenter

    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    Am I right in thinking that you need to work but are unsure as to what as you would like a better work/life balance than you get from beIng a teacher?
    There is a book by Barbara Sher called 'I Could Do Anything, If only I knew What it Was' which you might find useful.
    I've been through several career changes and found that particular book the most helpful.
    Take care of yourself
  9. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    Maybe you should just keep to the routines you've developed and not rush ahead into something new just yet.

    If you perceive your situation as at a crossroads, it might be better to take it easy and try to stick to things you always did at home and then consider your skillset.

    Maybe self employment or a job in logistics for a small firm. Possibly just a few people working in a small firm.
    bonzai_killer, InkyP and kibosh like this.
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Are you signing on at the Jobcentre? You should still have an entitlement under your NI contributions thta pays a personal allowance of about £75 per week irrespective of any savings you have.

    If your funds are low, you would be means-tested for benefits and would get free NHS services. You would not be able to claim Housing Benefit if lodging with family.

    Either route would give you NI credits to protect your future state pension etc.

    Whilst you consider alternative careers, supply teaching would appear to be the obvious route to being able to get back into work fairly quickly and you would not have the same assessment and planning demands that are involved ina contract post. You would have to consider how you might cope with more demanding pupil behaviour though.
  11. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    @jubilee makes a very good point. Do make sure that your NI contributions are kept going by signing on.
    bonzai_killer and lindenlea like this.
  12. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I'm sorry to hear about your partner.

    There are more ways to make a living from helping others to learn than simply re-entering the state system's hamster wheel. Would you still like to teach others if it could be devoid of all the paperwork and management waffle? Maybe not, but if so, consider what those other avenues might be. Don't underestimate the value of your existing skills and experience.

    If I could give one piece of advice it would be to diversify. Don't just think in terms of one career route or one income source. That way you're not putting all the metaphorical eggs in one basket and you will be able to drop any options that aren't doing what you'd hoped for. I left formal teaching nearly five years ago and have three jobs, plus a voluntary activity I'm involved with. One of the jobs has become a bit routine and frustrating so I may drop it later this year. Oddly enough it's the one where I'm still managed by other people. I can probably expand the other activities to fill the time gap and recover the lost income, which isn't stupendous anyway. Have at least one job that can be expanded to fit any spare time, or contracted when other things demand your time. Some sort of independent selling or commercial craft activity springs to mind - you can switch it on or off to suit.

    Whatever you go for I wish you well. However you may feel right now you haven't driven into a cul-de-sac.
    mothorchid and bonzai_killer like this.
  13. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I'm with the others and so sad to hear what you've gone through. I would consider looking for something that isn't stressful, at the moment, but where you'll perhaps meet supportive, kind people and where you'll do work where you perhaps meet people on a social basis. Why not try looking, perhaps, for work as a receptionist in a hotel. Yes, it will not be "teaching" but will gradually draw you back into the human race in a gradual way. Only an idea.
    bonzai_killer likes this.
  14. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    On a practical level you need to sit down with a piece of paper.
    write down all you might like to do and alongside what skills you consider you might need... then consider what skills you have and what is transferable and what you might need to learn. be realistic but not downhearted.
    Then make enquiries about some of those jobs,,you might need to move and its hard if you do not have a friends' base to support, but if you wish to realise a dream you have to make decisions.
    As an ex teacher you have a wealth of skills you can apply, so look around ...get your famiy to back you up.if nothing else, if it makes you independent, they will be happy..as long as you are working at it.
    I know from my own nature it to easy to lamant what you might have been,done or lived.
    So outside the frame
    tourism...a tour guide
    supply as mentioned by others,
    work in.a local place. bar staff are always wanted and it gets you out of the house,receptionist,care worker, working helping out say on a farm or small holding.
    Not sure what your age is or fitness level but you have to accomodate that and try..nothing ventured nothig gained.we do have to get off our deriere and get going or you will wallow in self pity .
    Yes, i am sorry you lost the one you loved.....but in the mourning the crying must cease, dry your eyes,wash your face, look to a life of doing what you might enjoy and try to reach for your dream.As much as your husband /partner loved you and you him you cant bring it back.So we must hold the happy memories and look for new ones.
    Ps you could for example go and mind folks homes. or do work away places home or abroad,,or even cat/dog sitting all around the world. work on a kibutz or harvest grapes in a French vinyard
    Dreams are not realities,they are yet a vision of what might be.Work to reach your dream.
    I hope you do reach your dreams and desires xx
    bonzai_killer and emerald52 like this.
  15. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    So sorry for your loss, no wonder you feel lost. Some good advice above. Teachers have many transferable skills. Maybe working for local or national government or a charity would allow you to draw on your experience. It would also help with building a decent pension. There are also administration roles in schools, particularly independent schools. Universities also have administration roles. I would decide where you want to live and look locally so you don't have a long commute. Put your CV together and get on linked in. Target places of employment with speculative emails or letters. Ask if you could do a day work shadowing for free. Let everyone you know or meet into your work search. Good luck. You don't have to stay a lifetime in jobs so take a chance and move on if it doesn't work out.
    bonzai_killer likes this.
  16. Pageant

    Pageant Occasional commenter

    I have had many traumas throughout my life including the loss of a child but the trauma that happened almost four years ago was the worst ever. It plunged me into a very bleak, dark hole. All I can say to you is don't be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time to grieve and to just 'be'. You've been through the mill but you'll get there in the end.
  17. Toomuchtooyoung

    Toomuchtooyoung Occasional commenter

    So Sorry for your loss. I haven't suffered from such a life changing bereavement but a close friend lost both parents and younger, only sibling in the space of 18 months, which included a period of being a carer and giving up work. What has really helped has been bereavement counselling, she admits she couldn't have got through without it. She has found a way to approach her new chapter, but had to deal with a lot of stuff before she could even contemplate a way ahead. Could you do tutoring as a source of income, while you look for something new ?
  18. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I'm with those who say sign on. Keep your NI payments going in, take your JSA and start looking for work, short term contracts maybe to limit your commitment but something that will extend your experience and make you more employable in the long term. Very best wishes to you and good luck. :)
    bonzai_killer and emerald52 like this.
  19. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    bonzai_killer likes this.
  20. bonzai_killer

    bonzai_killer New commenter

    Thank you all very much.

    I am overwhelmed by how many of you have chosen to reach out to me - I'm so grateful.

    I have just ordered the book suggested by RuthTom & will take on board all advice given.

    Thanks again for the incredible warmth you have shown me.

    Warmest regards,


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