You might have noticed it’s been very quiet around here recently. Efforts have been going elsewhere I’m afraid. Gradually things are coming together though I have to report that getting back into the workplace after 7 years of working as a mummy is no easy feat….. it seems there are mountains to climb before mums are considered equal to those who stay in the workplace (controversial). This week has been very interesting.
Last week, after numerous job applications I had my first interview. Yay! By all accounts I did pretty well… got to the last 9 out of 111, but failed at the interview hurdle. I knew where I’d fallen over but rang for feedback anyway…. basically I wasn’t able to talk fluently enough about my past work experience…. well, no, it was 7 years ago….. can you remember what you were up to 7 years ago? I was great on my communications and knowledge of strategy and I knew all about the company I was interviewing for – well I would, wouldn’t I, I’d read about them yesterday… but, blow me down, talking about stuff from a previous life I wasn’t great at. They said I was a hairs breadth away from 2nd interview though, so all is not lost AND they want me to reapply which I will do. Clearly I need to be better prepared, but, given that I really can’t remember the intricate details of the projects I worked on I’m faced with a dilemma: do I semi-fabricate my experience so that I can talk about it fluently? (risky ‘cos it’ll be easy to catch me out) Do I use experience from my 7 years of being a mum to sell myself (after all this is the most challenging job I’ve ever done and I’ve had to employ all sorts of skills to pull it off…. but, somehow I think this might be a risky strategy….. but on the other hand, shouldn’t employers be looking for rounded individuals who can multitask?) or what? (answers in the comment section please…. I really need help here!)
The irony is that this interview was in a sector that I have no experience of whatsoever…. at this juncture perhaps I need to explain myself a bit…. you see I’m a business analyst/strategic consultant, so I could work in any sector where an employer was willing to give me a chance, but therein lies the rub. The above interview was in the public sector where selectors are forced to follow a rigorous and fair process… if you fit the person spec then you get an interview, it’s a question of ticking the boxes and they don’t seem to penalise you when your work experience is in the distant past (at least not at the CV stage). In the sector I used to work in seemingly ALL jobs go through agencies…. so last week I was beginning to suspect that agencies were weeding me out purely on the basis of my “time out”. I’ve been systematically ringing to get feedback from every application but last week was the first time that an agency deemed to speak to me. Yup, my experience matched up but he had candidates who had more recent experience. Brilliant. The one thing I can do nothing about is the thing which is holding me back. Blatent discrimination against mums and dads who opt to look after their kids for any length of time.
So, the upshot is that it still seems that my most likely route back into work is to create a job for myself. On that front, I’m writing a book and considering becoming an MP at the next election should I still not have a job job by then. Seems to me that might be a great platform to shout loud about the vast number of hugely skilled people in the jobless pool who can’t get work because they’ve opted to look after kids for a few years. In the meantime, I trog on in my search for gainful employment. As always, any great offers of gainful employment will be gratefully received.