This give away has now closed. Congratulations to Rachael – who left the comment:

Diploma of community services work would be fantastic! After spending the last 15 years trying to work out what I wanted to do. I had 2 beautiful girls and discovered love like I never knew existed! The thought of any child not getting the chance to live to their full potential makes me sad and motivates me every day to help in any way I can! I would love to help kids of all ages make the most out of their lives and show them they can be whatever they want to be in life!

Career inspiration

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

For the first time ever last year, I asked one of my kids “what do you want to do when you grow up?”. I asked this of my son in year seven. Of course he gave a fairly typical answer – “I don’t know!”.

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were growing up? I remember wanting to be a few different things. A vet was one of the first things I wanted to be (worked out that my hands had to go places I couldn’t imagine so it was dropped pretty quickly), a radio announcer, a kindergarten teacher, a journalist, a stock broker – yes I know where did that come from??? I put it down to watching too many episodes of Capital City…..

My career journey

In my career to date, I have never actually been any of the things I thought I wanted to be. But I have crossed an interesting spectrum in my career. After my son responded that he didn’t know what he wanted to do, we had a chat about what I had wanted to do as a kid and what I ended up doing. I am grateful that my journey is one I can use to explain to my kids that while Year 12 is important, it isn’t the be all and end all of your career.

When I completed my last year of secondary school it was called VCE and it was only one year. At some point in the year you needed to rank the courses you would like to enrol in, if your marks permitted. I lived in the country, going to uni was always going to be a large expense for my family and when it came time to rank my options, my practical side came out. My fist choice was a Bachelor of Business (Finance). To me this was the most practical choice in terms of return on investment. What my heart wanted to do was a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Literature).

From day one at uni, I pretty much knew it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. But when I commit to things, I stick them out, so I finished my degree and headed out into the big wide corporate world. I veered away from pure finance and found job satisfaction with numbers and spreadsheets in an analytical role (who couldn’t see that suiting me!).

I climbed some corporate ladder and then pretty much all of a sudden, I just wanted to have a baby! Luckily my husband was okay with that, so we set about making our lovely family. I worked in between babies number 1 and 2, but resigned from the paid work force after maternity leave with our second child.

From that point, I was at home full time, but once our fourth child was about six months old, I felt this need to do something separate to family life. As the adorable Mr I was undertaking an MBA at the time, I was pretty house bound and didn’t have loads of time.

I was acutely aware of the fact I had been out of the paid work force for over six years. The prospect of trying to enter the workforce after such a long break freaked me out! While the discussion on whether we had finished growing our family was not complete, I really wanted to update my skills regardless. I can remember feeling very lost in how I could find advice on how to do this.

I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do, but knew for me online was the way to go. It represented the greatest level of flexibility for our young family. I had been reading a number of blogs for some time, my friends kept asking me to share my spreadsheets, recipes etc, so I decided to bring both of these things together and I started blogging.

What to do next
I never imagined that blogging would become my part time work, I thought it would help me accumulate Web 2.0 skills and it would be something I could place on the resume when I wanted to apply for online opportunities. It was a slow process as I taught myself, read books, read blogs and banged my head against my computer many, many times along my journey!

Fast forward three years and I have had my first book published and blogging enables me to stay at home with the kids, whilst providing additional income for my family.

I am so thankful I took the step to do something for myself. It also lets me point out to my kids, that it might have taken me about 20 years, but I eventually found my way to do what I really wanted to do when I grew up – communicate and share my knowledge with people.

What to do now?

It is around this time and throughout March each year, I receive lots of emails from other mums, asking me about:

  • How I got into blogging?
  • How I find a way to fit blogging into my family life?
  • Tips on how to work out what to do next.
  • How can they plan time for their interests around their family?

It is not a surprise really these questions are asked more at this time of year. For some mums, their youngest child may have just entered primary school or like me, their youngest has started kinder and they find themselves with time on their own and only one child at home – something that they may not have experienced for years.

Unfortunately I don’t have a formula or plan that can be followed which can assist this decision making process for what they should now. As you can tell from my own story, it didn’t happen overnight or necessarily as planned for me.

Who can help you?

SEEK Learning though do have a free, personalized service that will help you find the right career related course for the direction you want to head in. The consultants at SEEK Learning are fully trained to help you find the right course for your career needs. They will stay with you the whole way through the process including enrolling them in the course.

You register online or by calling 1800 89 1011 to start the process. From there they will talk to you about:

  • your career goals
  • your study and work experience
  • your lifestyle demands

Then they will talk you through:

  • SEEK Learning’s range of courses
  • flexible study options available
  • financial options available (including government assistance through FEE-HELP)

Deciding

What SEEK Learning won’t do though is tell you what career path you should take, but they will:

At the end of it all, it is you who needs to decide what it is you want to do. SEEK Learning will give you guidance and then when you have made your decision on what course you want to do, they will assist you with the course enrolment, making it as easy as possible for you to return to study.

Should I really be doing this?

By far the biggest concerns I read in the emails I receive from women who are contemplating returning to study or the workforce is:

  • Will I be able to do it?
  • Will I be able to keep up at home and with study?
  • Can I justify the expense?

When I first started to have time to myself to learn more about blogging, I remember feeling guilty and as if I needed to make up the time elsewhere. Mr I is such a rational bloke and he would encourage me to keep going. He saw it as an investment in my happiness and the future income earning capacity for our family – and he was right!

Start Here
With SEEK Learning as there is no outlay to begin discussing your potential career paths with them, I see this as a fantastic opportunity for those mums who feel ready to pursue a new career path. Of course it isn’t for everyone, but for mums like me, who are thinking about re-entering the paid workforce it provides a fantastic place to start.

Sometimes all you need is to know where to start………

Give Away – a $200 Voucher for Red Balloon

SEEK Learning is giving away 1 x $200 voucher for Red Balloon to a lucky reader of Planning With Kids.

You could use the voucher towards experiences like these that can help you work out what is the right career for you:

Full T&C’s are here. To enter all you need to do is:

  • Leave a comment below letting me know which one of the courses on SEEK Learning appeals to you the most and why.
  • The giveaway is open to Australian residents only.
  • You may only enter once.
  • Entries close at 5pm Monday March 12, 2012.
  • Entries will be short listed. From this list of entries, Nuffnang will judge the winner.
  • Winners can spend the voucher as desired
  • Good luck!

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45 comments...read them below or add one

  • RedDoll February 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I would love to do a Cert IV in Small Business, my plan is to set up my own business and be my own boss in a few more years when my daughter is a bit more independent. I would love to do it now but as a single mum I wouldn’t have to time to enjoy my girl and keep things moving! The Cert IV would be great to do to give me the background.

  • Marie Pohnetalova February 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Cert IV in Accounting – it’s the only way I’ll get close to handling alot of money (if I rule out bank robbery as a profession!)

  • Roberto Colombi February 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Diploma of Fitness – Aiming at the middle age market, I can inspire people to be like me – ‘Fit and Sporty’ not ‘Fat and Forty’!

  • Kathy February 27, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Like you, my career’s taken many a twist and turn, most of them unexpected! One area I’ve always been drawn to, but have never pursued, is counselling / psychology. I’d love to do the Bachelor of Applied Social Science degree offered through ACAP and see if I could do a career about-face and reinvent myself in this way.

  • Simone February 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

    After having 8 years in teh hospitality field and halting du eto motherhood my tiem has came back to get back into the field, this tiem I want teh paper work behind me on my resume as well as my already experience

  • christine February 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator
    I’ve always enjoyed sorting out my and my friends computer issues. I’d love to be able to have a business being able to sort out individuals computer issues. There are not a lot of women in the industry and some people would feel more comfortable having a woman coming into their home.

  • James February 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Don’t talk to strangers, but then I wouldn’t have met my wife lol!
    Bachelor of Social Science (Criminology and Forensic Science)

  • Alanna February 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I like cert in education support so I could work at our local school and help special needs kids.

  • Linda Hynson February 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Cert iii in business admin:-)

  • ron February 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I always wanted to be a carpenter like my grandfather. he had this wonderful big workshop in his backyard. and I would spend my school holidays In there watching In total amazement, at all the wonderful things he created,to this day after 61 years the smell of saw dust takes me back to mycare free childhood.

  • Abby February 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Cert IV in Accounting as I’ve always been good with numbers, just a shame I can’t be good with lottery numbers!

  • Sarah@Mum's gone 2 Aus February 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I agree with RedDoll about Certificate IV in Small Business Management, I’m already saving to do this. For me, my blog is just the start of my online business empire (I hope!).
    P.S. Funny how TV shows influence us, I studied Languages with Computer Science but shortly after graduating I got addicted to Ally McBeal and decided I wanted to retrain to be a lawyer. I couldn’t afford it but a few years later ended up working as an IT Trainer for a law firm…that satisfied my ‘legal’ calling :-)

  • Maxabella February 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I really enjoyed reading you career path in a little story like that, Nic. I’m all about the “what do I want to be when I grow up” right now!! x

  • alesha mcrobertson February 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I was a carer for my mum, now a carer for my dad. So I really don’t have any idea what career path (possibly admin?) I’d like to follow and at 49 that’s tragic.

  • Mary Preston February 28, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I would love to begin with a short course in IT. I have basic computer skills, but would certainly benefit with some much needed input. I could build upon these skills in the long term. At the moment my daughter is my IT guide & that’s just embarrassing.

  • deanna February 29, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Planning Queen you must have read my mind. With only 6 of 8 at school and the 2 little misses wanting to explore the playgroup world i have decided to return to study, my only option being online. I guess having 8 kids means i was destined to end up using the knowledge i have gained through my mumlife to obtain a degree in the field of educating children. With 2 of my primaries with special needs i think that i would do a early education course for primary teaching. Who knows i could be teaching at my kids school one day!!

  • Sonia Mcintosh February 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Having been a stay at home mum for 13 years I decided that I needed to find myself a career. Truthfully, this was motivated be fear with the thought “what if my husband dies, I don’t want to have to do a job that I hate to get enough money to get by” So armed with a science degree that I have never used from my youth, I embarked on a post-graduate course to become a librarian. However, I find that even after finishing the course, I don’t have the skills or experience to get a job. Looking at SeekLearning, a Diploma of Human Resources Management could deliver the supervisory skills that I need to satisfy the selection criteria for many librarian positions that I have unsuccessfully applied for.

  • Jo March 01, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I would love to do an MBA – really get the brain working to it’s full potential!

  • Karen Turner March 02, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I’d love to get my Cert III in Business Administration

  • Laura Jilka March 02, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Certificate IV in Bookkeeping – would help build an income stream during the early years of bub’s life when being a stay at home wife!

  • Melissa March 02, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Diploma of counselling would allow me to fufill my career dream extending my teaching experience into social work.

  • sam March 02, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Cert IV in accounting – now I have ‘multiplied’ my family, I can now do a number on my own career.

  • Leah Staker March 03, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Some marketing to help improve my business, then some serious business management…cert IV or Diploma even!

  • Margaret March 03, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Certificate III in Childrens Services and then Diploma of Childrens Services. I have always had the dream to work with children. But life got in the way and I never pursued the dream. Perhaps now it’s my time to rediscover my passion.

  • Jasmine1485 March 04, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I’d love to do the ‘Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy’, I’ll graduate this year with a degree in Nutrition, but I feel like my scope isn’t broad enough with respect to natural/alternative therapies. I’d like to broaden my horizons and have a wider range of skills and knowledge to help my clients with.

  • laura c March 04, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Certificate IV in Frontline Management would be perfect to help increase my skills before returning to the workplace after several years off.

  • Sacha Pech March 04, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Diploma of Youth Work. Not only do I find it interesting but ti’s also a bit scary that our kids will be tomorrows adults and leaders (and their success depends quite a bit on our ability to communicate and teach); but it will help me in my own life in trying to communicate better (anything is better than nothing!) with my teenage stepson.

  • Claire March 05, 2012 at 6:21 am

    The Bachelor of Social Science (Criminology and Forensic Science) would be a really interesting course. Forensics have always fascinated me.

  • gemmie alliston March 05, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Definitely the Diploma in Beauty Therapy.

    During a long term serious illness, I experienced for myself how taking a little ‘me’ time and having a spa treatment, facial or just having my nails done made me feel so much better. I already have a small business qualification and would love to combine it with beauty therapy with the aim of specifically helping others going through illness.

  • RACHAEL MCILVANEY March 07, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Diploma of community services work would be fantastic! After spending the last 15 years trying to work out what I wanted to do. I had 2 beautiful girls and discovered love like I never knew existed! The thought of any child not getting the chance to live to their full potential makes me sad and motivates me every day to help in any way I can! I would love to help kids of all ages make the most out of their lives and show them they can be whatever they want to be in life! :)

  • Jodie Harlow March 08, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Diploma of Counselling – would add practical to my theoretical and make me employable.

  • Kim B March 09, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Beauty Therapy Course so that I can have all my gal pals, myself included looking gorgeous and glam!!

  • Donna @ NappyDaze March 09, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    The Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Publishing has my name written all over it :) I always envisioned myself working with words and hope that one day that will indeed be the case (on a paid basis!) :)

  • Gem Alexandra March 09, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Certificate in Real Estate- I’ve always wanted to be an investor!

  • Eden Flynn March 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Cert III in Business. I left Admin because Retail hours were more child friendly. After 5 years I’m ready to go back to Admin but desperately need to update my skills.

  • Deb March 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Certificate in OH&S – no-one should go to work and die, that’s so bad, bad, bad – so maybe I could make a difference!

  • Caprice March 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Love reading everyones answers!

    I love learning, if I won lotto I would just keep doing courses forever! I’d really like to do Advanced Diploma of Marketing or Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) and short term I’d like to do Adobe Photoshop so I can make all my pictures look pretty!

  • Lyndall Crisp March 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    As a practising Doctor, Chef, Cleaner, Vet, Accountant and Child Carer I am still not fulfilled! I would love to complete a sewing coures along with a Business Administration course to pursue a Business idea I have.

  • Lea March 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Well it wasn’t wrinkled, worried and grey

  • julie ford March 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    certificate 3 in business to help me understand and be able to focus my business a little better small but my own

  • Ally March 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I’d like to do a Diploma of Business. I was a physiotherapist before having my 4 children, and once they’re all older I’d like to use this course to help me start my own physio business

  • Janelle March 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

    The Cert IV in Small Business has caught my attention. We’ve just started out own business & I’m fumbling my way around things & crossing my fingers that the bookwork is right. Somethings are just so complicated!!!

  • Kara March 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I wanted to be a Nun. They mystique, the order of it all and the absolute love and devotion to a cause really inspired me. However the teenage years kind threw the chastity element out the window!

  • Courtenay Heuston March 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Diploma of Remedial Massage, it would compliment my Midwifery skilss and help me help women to birth naturally.

  • Nikki March 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    When I was younger I thought the world would be full of flying cars and things of all sorts so I wanted to be a airway taxi driver wow how wrong I was. I am tryring to start my own business but worry about having enough business knowledge to be successful.
    Cert IV in Small Business course is the one for me.