Career switch - from 6 figure salary

  1. Just wanted to share my situation for those of you who are thinking of changing careers -- you are not alone!

    I currently work in the IT field and make 108k a year (in NJ). I have a 5 month old baby girl, who I only see for 1.5-2 hrs at night during the week, then on Sat and Sunday. That just isn't enough for me. I have decided to switch careers and become a nurse. I am going back to school in Fall. It should take me 2 1/2 years. If all goes according to plan I will take the boards Dec '06.

    I have been mulling over being a nurse for some time. The IT job just doesn't satisfy me. Though the $$ is great, I feel that if I have to be away from my daughter I should be doing something more rewarding and fulfilling. I must admit, the flexible hours are a huge draw as well. As a nurse I would work 2-3 nights a week, and be able to spend my days with my daughter -- no daycare necessary! Plus, NJ has lots of opportunities for nurses.

    I would like another child, but want to make sure I am at least done with my final class before giving birth. They would end up 3 yrs apart, but I don't want to risk not being able to finish school - especially with the investment we will be making (savings runs out after a year - so we are in for loans and any part time work I can get at night to try to make up some of the difference).

    We have a lot to work out, but I am taking it one semester at a time. I think going back to school to be a nurse takes 100% committment - but the good news is at least in the beginning I'll see more of my daughter going to school (taking Chem and Bio first semester) than I do right now working fulltime and commuting 1.5 hours each way!.

    Anyone who is in the same boat and would like support or has any questions, feel free to contact me!

    Melly06
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  2. 111 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hi Melly and welcome to the board. Good luck with your plans - you sound like you've thought things out.
  4. by   casper1
    It's wonderful that you have made the decision to become a Nurse.
    It certainly is a rewarding field of work. But Nursing requires a great deal
    of sacrifice.

    As a nurse you probably won't make the money you are making now without working a lot of overtime. You will be required to work evenings, nights and weekends and most likely won't have complete control over your schedule.
    As a Nurse I missed alot of my Daughters concerts and weekend activities.
    Hardest is being away from your family on the Holidays. I've seen alot of mothers in tears because they aren't able to be with their family on Christmas. Eventually if you get into management you can have more flexibility but you will have to spend a few year on the working on a hospital floor first.

    The plus is you will most likly always have a job. Hard to outsource Nursing.
  5. by   MsBruiser
    I am in a very similar position - work in a consulting field and make a similar salary. I decided to go back to school in August 2004 and become a respiratory therapist (was considering nursing - decided on RT). I am VERY worried about the money issue - but I am very attracted by the medical field and the flexibility when children come. But I am still reeling in my head about the paycut...


    Quote from melly06
    Just wanted to share my situation for those of you who are thinking of changing careers -- you are not alone!

    I currently work in the IT field and make 108k a year (in NJ). I have a 5 month old baby girl, who I only see for 1.5-2 hrs at night during the week, then on Sat and Sunday. That just isn't enough for me. I have decided to switch careers and become a nurse. I am going back to school in Fall. It should take me 2 1/2 years. If all goes according to plan I will take the boards Dec '06.

    I have been mulling over being a nurse for some time. The IT job just doesn't satisfy me. Though the $$ is great, I feel that if I have to be away from my daughter I should be doing something more rewarding and fulfilling. I must admit, the flexible hours are a huge draw as well. As a nurse I would work 2-3 nights a week, and be able to spend my days with my daughter -- no daycare necessary! Plus, NJ has lots of opportunities for nurses.

    I would like another child, but want to make sure I am at least done with my final class before giving birth. They would end up 3 yrs apart, but I don't want to risk not being able to finish school - especially with the investment we will be making (savings runs out after a year - so we are in for loans and any part time work I can get at night to try to make up some of the difference).

    We have a lot to work out, but I am taking it one semester at a time. I think going back to school to be a nurse takes 100% committment - but the good news is at least in the beginning I'll see more of my daughter going to school (taking Chem and Bio first semester) than I do right now working fulltime and commuting 1.5 hours each way!.

    Anyone who is in the same boat and would like support or has any questions, feel free to contact me!

    Melly06
  6. by   gerry79
    Hi Melly. Though you may not make the money in nursing that you make as an IT person, nursing may provide you with the time, and flexibility, that you desire. I say go for it!

    Gerry
  7. by   melly06
    Thanks to all of you who have replied so far.

    I have accepted that I will no way make a six figure salary I am making now.. but I believe that the flexibility in hours (I know I'll have to work some weekends and holidays) and more time with my kids, as well as job security -- will make up for the salary cut.

    We looked at our budget and we believe we can make it on a 60% paycut -- right now we pay 18,000 a year just for childcare! That will not be needed once if I can land a job working nights.

    Melly06
  8. by   llg
    Quote from melly06
    Thanks to all of you who have replied so far.


    We looked at our budget and we believe we can make it on a 60% paycut -- right now we pay 18,000 a year just for childcare! That will not be needed once if I can land a job working nights.

    Melly06
    Don't forget to factor in that you may need childcare when you work nights so that you can sleep during the day. You will need to schedule adequate sleep time.

    llg
  9. by   nekhismom
    I find nursing to be the LEAST flexible job I've ever had in my entire life. PERIOD. I think the U.S. Army was more flexible at times. LOL. Good luck!
  10. by   HUP RN
    My advice is :Stay in IT profession! Nursing as not as flexible as you think. The job is extremely hard and does not pay near as much as IT jobs. As a nurse and a mother of a 1 yr old daughter I have tried to work weekday nights, so I could stay home with my daughter. I did not feel safe sending my child to daycare before she turned at least 1 yr old. After working a 12 hr night, I came home so tired that I just was not able to care for my child! My solution was to work a weekend program. My husband stayed home with our daughter, so that I could work weekend nights and sleep during the day. This was beneficial for our daughter. But not for our family. I feel that I have missed out on having a time with my husband and daughter as a family. By working weekends and holidays I have missed all the special events and all the family functions. Now that my daughter is 1 yr old I am looking for a day care for her and a new job for myself. If I were you, I would stay in IT profession. My husband is an IT professonal and I envy his normal hours and weekends he has off. My husband's employer allows him to work from home when necessary. Talk to your employer and maybe you could balance out your work and family time.
    P.S. I find it very hard to believe that you would trade 6 figure salary job in air-conditioned office, sitting on your fanny all day long and having a 1 hour lunch breaks for working 12 hr nights running on your feet with minimum or no breaks and a 60% salary cut on top of all! GOOD LUCK!
    :hatparty:
  11. by   sbic56
    Nooo! Don't do it!
  12. by   ProfRN4
    Certainly you should consider the above comments. Having never worked in another field, I can't compare. i'll venture to guess you do a little more than sit on your fanny to earn that salary. My friend is doing what you are considering (less of a paycut). She said there was no way she could stay home when she had children, and wanted to see them more than eves and weekends. She'll graduate in December. She doesn't miss the business world at all.

    You got to do what's right for you. It's a big pay cut, but I couldn't imagine seeing my child as infrequently as you described, tired or not. Bear in mind, the flexibility is relative. Sure you can definetely work nights, but I found it hard to get the actual days off I needed to accomodate hubby's schedule. I've been per-diem for 6 mos now, and it seems to be the best bet (if you don't need the benefits).
  13. by   redwinggirlie
    Hey, great for you! Make it easy on yourself. Cut the cable, cell and all those other niceties we use...... makes the paycut issue a bit better. If you think about it, no tv and no cell gives even more time for your family and for your studies (helps the bank account too). I loved not having the bills nor the temptations when I went to school.
  14. by   roxannekkb
    As others have said, nursing is not this panacea of having a wonderful flexible life. It can be flexible if you work per diem or registry, but then, your income is less assured. Also, I have known many other nurses who think that if they work nights, they can save on childcare. Wrong! After putting in a shift all night, you are going to be dead tired, and the last thing you'll feel like doing is caring for a child, or two children. You need to sleep. Believe me, working nights makes you sleep deprived very quickly.

    I would suggest you read some of the posts on allnurses, and get a better idea of what many nurses are dealing with. And perhaps, you should also find out why nursing is losing members faster than it can replace them. Why do you think there's a nursing shortage? Why has there been a chronic nursing shortage for several decades now? Why is it that women fled from nursing as soon as other fields became more available?

    I left nursing because I wanted a better life for myself, and a career more in tune to what I wanted. I was overjoyed my first year away from nursing, when I actually had both Christmas and New Year's off.

    Okay, that all said, I do believe that you should pursue nursing if you really and truly want to do it. But your post makes it sound like it's more a matter of convenience for you, that you're looking for a career that is better suited to family life. Well, you are not going to find that with nursing.

    I would suggest that you check out options in your own field. Telecommuting? Being able to telecommute at least a few days a week? What about working part time? Or doing consulting?

    Unless you really want to be a nurse, you are going to be very unhappy. The work is physically demanding, and mentally draining. There can be alot of abuse in the workplace, and it can be very stressful, especially these days. Despite all you hear about the shortage, many employers are not bending over backwards to retain staff. Far from it.

    Think it over carefully before you make any decisions.

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