I mentioned in an earlier blog that a few years ago, I applied to a job post for a hospital social worker. I was both enthusiastic and stunned when I was called for an interview. At this point, I had not been formally working for 7 or 8 years. I washed my hair, suited up, and headed to the interview. The hospital was part of a larger conglomerate, so the first part of the interview covered all the basics with H.R. You know all the general stuff: I had to work a year before accruing any vacation days; there was no flex time if I wanted to attend school programming for my children; parking was my own responsibility. A dream job – right? Ha!
The interview continued on to the actual department that I would be working in – a basement women’s health clinic. (Everyone put your political views aside – that is not the point of this). I met with the woman who currently held the position, and I even moved on to the head of the department who was ready to offer me the job on the spot. Did I feel lucky? No. Why? I was being viewed as desperate, vulnerable, and needy. It was crystal clear that this was not a valued position, and that they viewed me as desperate enough to accept it.
As at home moms who want to return to the workforce, are we expected to fill the positions that no one else wants in order to “get our foot back in the door”? Is there no value on the choices that we may have made to stay home for a period of time with our family? What about the life experiences we may hold? Furthermore, clearly career moms may feel forced to stay in a position instead of taking a little time off because they know the secret – you cannot come back to a great position!
Over the last few weeks, I have spent some time over the phone and in person with moms who have been out of the workforce and are ready to join in again. WOW! What an interesting experience. At some points during this time period, I found myself speechless. When I spoke with these moms, I could not believe their experiences.
One mom that I spoke with had a degree in Foreign Language and International Studies, a Master’s in Education, graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, was a full-time teacher before kids and was active in the preschool and grade school of her own children. This mom’s youngest was now in school full-day, and she was looking to get back in the door somewhere. This FABULOUS woman talked honestly about her self-esteem being under attack while trying to break back into the work world. She applied for a position in a preschool. Throughout the interview, the woman was continually made to feel sorry for herself by the interviewer who had always been a career woman. The attitude was – “what else would this mom expect to be hired to do”.
How could someone not feel used or taken advantage of in these circumstances?
This mom (like me) is forging her own opportunity. At home moms can feel encouraged by the fact that we can create our own spaces! We can define who want to be and mold it to what we want! We are hungry and we can be mompreneurs! I have spoken about mentors before – if there is ever a time, it is now! If you are a mompreneur and you think that you can help in a positive way – DO SO!