I had a job interview last week. The position was at one of my former employers -- the place I worked as an EAP counselor. I hated the company, but liked my co-workers and the job itself. I swore I'd never go back there because my hate for corporate America is nearly overpowering.
But I let go of the hate when desperation about finances crept in. In fact, a month ago at an appointment for reconstructive surgery on my belly, I even considered the plastic surgeon's joking recommendation that he give me implants so large that it would allow me to enter into a whole new profession. For fleeting moments, I considered his recommendation.
Either way -- whether I worked in corporate America or as a "dancer," the outcome would still be the same -- I'd feel like a whore.
I'm not good in situations where I can't say what I'm really thinking. I stutter and give short, vague or senseless answers. And right now, my job is as a stay at home mom -- which is an undervalued job -- yet it's responsibilities are epic. But I've read enough about job interviews to know that you don't bring up your work as a mother.
Because being a mom and the valuable experience you gain from it do not matter.
1. Q: What would you say your comfort level is when it comes to conflict and what is your experience dealing with conflict?
The Real Answer: I hate conflict. When my children fight it makes me go from calm to homicidal in 0.2 seconds flat. I respond by either yelling or putting them in time-out, or flatly telling them I'm sorry they can't get along and walking away and hiding in my bathroom with the sink running, the shower on, and the fan whirring so I can't hear anything.
2. Q: Tell us about how you were a problem-solver at your current or last job.
The Real Answer: It's been 6 yrs since I've had a regular full-time job and I can't remember a damn scenario to give to you. Two years ago I worked for a large psychology clinic in which the owner couldn't keep his hands off my arms, thighs and boobs. I didn't tell a single soul, quit the job after 6 months and am now in therapy for PTSD. How's that for problem-solved? In my current job as a mom, I'm a problem solver daily. I strategically plan how to get the errands done during a 2 hour window of time when my children are alert, happy, and semi-cooperative. I pack snacks and drinks in case we run late so as to avoid melt-downs. If a melt-down is not to be avoided, I dodge all glares from standers-by, quickly finish my business and go on with life. My current job requires extreme focus, ability to be flexible, and top-notch organization.
3. Tell us about your ability to deal with clients who are emotional.
The Real Answer: I'm the mother of 3 girls. Drama is all I know. Give me a fucking break. Did you not see the MSW on my resume? Did you not see that I have almost 10 years of experience as a counselor and therapist. Do you really need to ask me that question? Next question, please.
4. The hours and days of the position we advertised were incorrect. We have increased the hours and changed the days completely. Does that work for you or do you have another job? We really need to know this now.
The Real Answer: I don't know. I'm not sure I can come up with care for my girls in the middle of the afternoon and evenings in a split second. Can't I have time to figure it out? You know what? No it doesn't work for me. Have you looked at the cost of childcare for 3 small children and compared that with the salary I know you'll give?
5. Q: How do you cope with stress?
The Real Answer: Who do you think you are...my therapist? I pop a zoloft, workout, mow, landscape the yard, listen to loud music to interrupt my thoughts, bake, write, and avoid my children.
After telling my mom about the experience she sighed and offered the advice that maybe I should just go get a part-time job at a coffee store during evenings and wknds, "that way you don't have to worry about childcare..and if you aren't going to love the job anyway..." she dwindled off understanding the predicament as she, too, has been in it...and continues to be in it since she still has to care for my sister.
I could do that...but I'm not sure I'd get past the interview....
What I really want to do is spend my days digging in the dirt, exercising, and wearing comfy, moisture wicking dri-max clothes and running shoes.
So does this make me lazy? Am I just a schlump who doesn't want to work and who is so narcissistic she doesn't think she has to? Or am I just unable to tolerate a broken system -- a system in America that is broken and unable to be family friendly...
The War on Moms...The War on Families...it's my newest soapbox.