By Clare McVey
Part-time job, full-time salary (From City law firm to music teacher)
‘When I had my children, I left my job as a PA at a large law firm – going part time wasn’t an option for me and the long, long hours and commute meant I would never see my babies. Then, 18 months ago, I was sorting through some mail when I came across a letter asking for someone to run the local branch of Musical Minis – a class where babies and toddlers learn action songs, nursery rhymes and try out different instruments. My boys had been and I had seen them develop, learning to mix with one another and improving their language through songs and actions. I really felt it might be the thing for me as it sounded as though it could really pay off in the long term. I also knew it would fit in perfectly around the children’s schooling, which was important. I phoned my husband straightaway to ask what he thought and he said “Go for it” – so I did. It couldn’t have been more different than my last job, which involved attending meetings with clients, liasing with their solicitors and managing huge budgets. As with all new starters, I had to run a class in front of a team from the head office of Musical Minis and work my way through a tough training manual to prove I was up to the job. I was quite nervous the night before my first class, but it really went well and I knew I was doing the right thing.
Since then the business has grown almost of its own accord – most of the mums hear about it from their friends. I run 10 classes a week (each 45 minutes long) at various locations and I have assistants who help me at each class. My eldest son is at school now and the younger one goes to pre-school, so I timetable the classes to fit around them. I work term-time only, so I have all the school holidays off. Its a dream! There are other rewards, too. It’s lovely when a mum tells you her child has responded to the stimulation they get in the classes. One of the little girls who comes along has profound speech and physical disabilities but has started to do the actions to the songs, which is a real step forward for her. I’ve also met so many great people through doing this. If someone had told me 10 years ago when I was working at the law firm that I’d be doing the hokey cokey 10 times a week I’d never have believed them – but now I wouldn’t want to do anything else.’