Clawing my Way Back to Work

A fellow mom recently told me that she had to “claw her way back into the workforce” after spending several years staying home with her two children.

Wow.  That seemed a little harsh to me. I’m sure I won’t have to claw my way back to work….or at least I HOPE that won’t be the case.

Yet it seems that everywhere I look, I seem to find discouragement.  In a New York Times Op Ed – “Why Gender Equality Stalled” by Stephanie Coontz there are sobering statistics:

“One study cautioned that nearly 30 percent of opt-out moms who wanted to rejoin the labor force were unable to do so, and of those who did return, only 40 percent landed full-time professional jobs. In “The Price of Motherhood,” the journalist Ann Crittenden estimated that the typical college-educated woman lost more than $1 million dollars in lifetime earnings and forgone retirement benefits after she opted out.”

In my own experience thus far, I have been rejected in two cases because I was overqualified and too expensive for the salary range that was being considered.  I suggested part-time employment at that same salary, but that offer was not seriously considered.  Ugh…

Why aren’t workplaces more mom-friendly?  Why isn’t there more flexibility?  EVERYONE – moms, dads, children, adults with aging parents, or even people with pets would benefit from a results-oriented workplace that offered more flexibility.   Previously I wrote about the Results Only Work Environment in a post about looking for a lateral move instead of a vertical career move.

As it currently stands, it may be difficult making that lateral move or finding a part time role, leaving me to reach for that next rung on the corporate ladder.  I’m afraid this will mean more hours and much more stress – unless I find something that I LOVE to do and can find a way to balance it all on the go. I’m still optimistic that something is out there!

Can career dreams and kids coincide?

This question was recently posed and discussed in a post by Breadwinning Mama.  I think you CAN and SHOULD still have your dreams, but the pursuit of such dreams may need to slow down a bit when you have children.  As I continue to stay at home and be entertained by my two beautiful children during 12 – 14 hour days, I’ll still hold fast to my career goals while trying to claw my way back to work.

 

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The Wait is Over….

and after a relatively FAST moving interview process, consisting of 4 interviews in 2 weeks, I received a call last week, saying they had decided to go with another candidate with more experience.

REJECTED! 

While I appreciated the quick call-backs and scheduling of interviews, followed by my own scrambling for childcare during face to face interview times, I couldn’t help but be disappointed after investing all of that time and effort.  I had dusted off my portfolio, researched the industry and my own field, practiced how I would handle the questions about the 7 month gap in my resume, and composed my own thought-provoking questions for the hiring manager, HR manager, and prospective peers.  Whew…no wonder why I felt let down.  Job hunting is a lot of work!

What’s Next??

After spending a few days in sweats while caring for my kiddos, I enjoyed finding new ventures, while celebrating my own birthday with my favorite people.  It was the perfect antidote to my lift my spirits.  So what am I doing now, you ask?  I am taking eMarketing courses, working to a certification that I can add to my resume. It may come in handy in my consulting work.

I’m also playing around with a FREE online site to learn Spanish. Someday I hope to travel to Spain with my best friend and trek to Machu Picchu.  Having worked and studied abroad ten years ago (one summer in Tokyo and a semester in Vienna), I am a firm believer in having some basic knowledge of the language and culture. These simple phrases can go a long way!  If I hadn’t know some Japanese, I wouldn’t have made it back to my apartment the first night in Tokyo!  Anyway….I won’t be an expert and I have no immediate plans to make either of these trips, but it’s kind of fun starting somewhere.

Beyond that I’ll keep doing my best to stay positive and simply enjoy motherhood.  Years from now I am sure I will look back on this time and wonder why I struggled so.  Until I am the much wiser and older Mama O, I will try to relax & enjoy.

Getting Rejected

Rejection emails suck.  It’s like getting dumped via text, Facebook status or email, except there was never a two way relationship with the prospective employer (unless you count the hot and heavy interaction I had with the faceless job application tool).

I remember receiving rejection letters when I was a senior in college, vying for a limited number of available marketing jobs in an unfavorable economic climate (hmmm, sound familiar?). I at least appreciated the personalized letter on company letterhead that cost the company postage.  It felt more official, even though I was still getting dumped for another candidate. In some cases where I wasn’t hearing back from a prospective employer after the interview, I’d follow up with a phone call to learn companies’ budgets had changed, and they could no longer hire the position for which I’d interviewed.  Bummer, but it was the company – not me – that had done something wrong.  When I ended up landing a great job with a Fortune 500 company one month after graduation, all the rejection letters were quickly forgotten.  Who wants to remember getting rejected after all?!

Fortunately since that first job out of college, I have only received job offers from three other companies, resulting in accepting two of those offers for actual employment that lasted several years.  I have been lucky, and I’d like to think that my education and experience prepared me for such “luck” in the working world.  Still, in eight years since college graduation, receiving a notice of rejection via letter or email DOES hurt. Maybe it’s my ego that’s a little bruised, thinking my resume has “MOM” written all over it, and I’ll never find another job again.  This is a bit dramatic, I know.  Overall I should be proud of my lifetime job hunting and working track record.  From the first babysitting gig and life guarding, to marketing internships and full time sales and marketing roles, I’ve gained a lot of experience and knowledge, while meeting some truly wonderful people in the process.   Even as I’m writing this, I have some consulting work to do, not to mention two adorable kiddos to get to bed.  Motherhood calls….and that’s a job that will keep paying me in hugs and kisses for the rest of my life.   I guess rejection isn’t so bad right now.