A Progress Report: Working Mama

Since I’m approaching my three-month mark for my part-time job, I  thought I’d share a kind of progress report on how we’re all faring.

Work Update

Work continues to go well, though I’m learning what I can realistically achieve in two days with a more realistic part-time mindset instead of the full-time one I previously had.  I certainly am NEVER without something to do, which is good, since I like being busy.  However, I do not like busy just for busy’s sake, and fortunately that is NOT the case in my job.  I feel like I am well-connected to the overall goals and am developing marketing strategies to help support those goals (while still completing every other marketing task that falls under those strategies too).  Overall, I feel like I am making important contributions that are making a difference. Did I mention my days go by very quickly?!

Preparation is KEY

Part of making my mornings and evenings run smoothly entails being organized and using time wisely, as I mentioned in transition back to work.  Sometimes things do NOT go according to plan, as is commonplace in parenting.  Today, for example, I thought my alarm didn’t go off because I woke up 20 minutes late, when in fact it DID go off, but someone turned the volume dial WAAAY down, so I couldn’t hear it. I also FAILED on my own “getting ready the night before” tip on Monday morning, when I realized I had a car seat in the trunk, and not properly installed in the backseat.  I was a little upset and frustrated, but I figured out how to install it, and only ended up being a few minutes late for work. Summer weekends are BUSY, and I’ve been exhausted after very fun and full days, making it easier to just go to bed verses taking 10 minutes to prep everything.

Lesson: Take your own advice!  If you don’t plan in advance, you just have to suck it up and make it work.

Work mode to Mom mode

After taking in the wonderful comments on my work mode to mom mode post, I have slowly become better at being more relaxed during my mom mode time.  Tonight was a pretty good example of our standard evening – heated up leftovers for dinner, had to reprimand the kids for chucking baby carrots, clean-up, do dishes, let kids play, give daughter a time-out for playing with a wire hanger, bath time, watched So You Think You Can Dance with the kids, then stories and bed.  Now it’s finally my time to sort laundry, do some cleaning, blog and relax.  AHH!!!

Some lessons learned:

  • Don’t always wear dry-clean only work clothes, or try to change out of them before eating dinner.  Today my machine washable dress pants were hit with baby carrot and applesauce.
  • TV / Shows on Netflix help buy time when I need to get dinner ready, or just some peace!
  • Every night does not need to be “perfect,” so I try to take it as it comes and get through the mis-behaving and savor the sweet moments with my kids.

Parents – what do you do to make your weeknights easier?  I’d love to read your comments.


HIRED! 5 Keys to Getting my Job

I am thrilled to share that I have been HIRED!!

As I mentioned in my interview questions post, I have been looking for a job for about six months.  I’ve interviewed three to four times with a few companies, while others ended after one phone interview.  AT LAST I found a job that is a great fit for me both professionally and personally!  It is a part-time marketing management role for a small business that is located only about 25 minutes from my house.  I am very excited to get out of the house two days a week (and send the kids to “school” a.k.a daycare), and still have three days at home with the kids.  It really is the best of both worlds! Without further ado, here are the details on how I was hired.

5 Keys to Getting my Job

1. Be honest & open – I was extremely nervous about explaining the year gap in my resume, when I was staying at home with my children.  A friend once said, “Well, just tell employers what you were doing, and if they don’t like it, then you wouldn’t want to work there anyway.”  She was spot-on with this comment!  And chances are you are NOT the only parent that is employed at the company, though sometimes it may feel like you are blazing your own trail!

I was careful in explaining that I returned to work after having my second child, but left due to the long commute and wanting to stay home with both children while they were so young.  After my son reached one year, and I had the opportunity to do some consulting work, I realized that I missed the professional interaction and development.  This led me to take eMarketing classes online and some additional consulting work that again re-affirmed that I wanted to work outside of the home.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask – There were very FEW official part-time marketing roles that were being posted, so I did participate in the recruitment process for several full-time roles. Knowing that flex hours would be important to me, I asked about the “flexible work environment” mentioned on the job description during a phone screening call with HR. I was pleased to learn that this particular company offered flex time, meaning you had to be at work during core hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but could schedule your 40 hours as needed (and according to your job’s requirements).  I was impressed and certainly wasn’t penalized for asking that question early on in the process.

In my new job, my boss has provided the flexibility for me to set my own hours as long as I’m there for the Monday morning meeting.  With a little schedule juggling at day care, I will eventually work Monday – Tuesday from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m., giving me enough time to pick up the kids and get dinner going at a reasonable time.  YAY!

3. Be prepared –  I tailored my resume and cover letter to highlight experience and skills mentioned in the job description, showcasing accomplishments in three areas of direct marketing, event planning, and online projects.  This helped me past the first hurdle and led to an hour long phone interview and subsequent face-to-face meetings.  To prepare for these conversations, I researched the company, industry, and came armed with numerous interview questions and several marketing ideas. Being prepared with ideas was key in showing that I was truly interested and motivated to help their business grow.

4. Timing is everything! I tapped into my network to hopefully get some inside info on new opportunities, but ultimately I reacted to job posting in my search. After applying to a job, I could not control how quickly a company would respond to my application – if they chose to respond at all.  I played the waiting game and was rejected too.  Some companies had to wait several weeks or months due to budget issues or simply the time of year in responding.  When I finally received an email or call, I had to dig back through my job search folder and emails to remember the job opening!  I did have time on my side, waiting for the right opportunity, while still working as a stay-at-home-mom.

I actually was interviewing for my part-time job and a full-time job with a flexible working environment at the same time.  The day I received my offer for the part-time job, I was contacted for a second round of face-to-face interviews for the full-time job.  After some soul searching and talking it over with my husband, I needed to choose the opportunity that was best for me and my family.

5. Do what makes you happy – When I reflected on both potential jobs (though I only had one offer at this time), I considered which job would make me more happy.  The part-time arrangement AND the industry were more fun and interesting than the full-time position. Ultimately, I chose what would make me happiest!

In your own experience, what are the keys to getting hired?