travel with me from SAHM to working mum….
Close followers of my words (you’re now in double figures!) will wonder if I am serious in my byline claim. I write a lot about ‘stuff’ from ‘antisocial behaviour’ to ‘writing’ (really must think of a tag for ‘z’), but not a lot about my quest for paid employment. You must wonder if I am earnest in my job-hunt. Well, relax into your armchair – it’s been an exciting week!
Spurred by cross words with my husband, I attacked the classified ads in my local paper with proactive vigour. Of course, there were the usual vacancies for carers: of the elderly and infant. Three children and a childhood spent trailing a mother with a desire to help the aged of our village bordering on the vocational has caused me to physically flinch when I happen to glance at those ads. I have a great respect for those who can do caring jobs, sadly, the gene skipped this off-spring and landed on both my brother and sister. OK, I tried to teach a long time ago, but I think the mixture of crowd-control and sarcasm I learnt in a London comprehensive had more to do with self-preservation than altruism. There are other jobs which require skills I don’t have: plumbing, catering, hairdressing. Still more jobs which are probably aimed at men: warehouse, HGV drivers. And more jobs which are full-time. Last week, nestled amongst the nursery nurses and full-time receptionists was an ad for a mature person, perhaps a career-changer, who was interested in learning how to make videos to up-load onto websites. Tick, tick, tick, I thought. And, spurred on by pique and and a desire to challenge the status quo of my relationship, I powered up the computer, re-vamped my CV, and before I could change my mind, fired it off to the MD of the company.
As it was a Friday I did not expect to hear anything for a while. My husband, tongue firmly in cheek, asked me if I’d had any reply on Saturday afternoon. Obviously not, in fact, I wasn’t expecting to hear any thing at all, beyond perhaps a thank you. But people don’t even do that any more. However, just as we were getting ready to go out that evening, a reply did ping into my inbox.
If you’ve been a SAHM like me for the last decade then you’ll recognise the panic and thrill that a genuine response to a job application can provoke. Wow, I thought, someone thinks I’m a real human being. A potential employee, no less. I scanned the email and, with hand shaking in a mixture of terror and triumph, passed it wordlessly to my husband. As you can imagine, he nearly bit off his tongue. Ha, I thought, that showed you. I am employable. No more meals on the table, ironed shirts, full cupboards… Of course, I had already fast forwarded several weeks: I’d been interviewed, offered the job and was happily meeting clients, filming promotional scenes and uploading them onto websites.
The MD liked my CV enough to want to telephone interview me. There were a few extra details about the role, checking that I realised sales and networking skills would be required. Great, I thought, the year spent as a negotiator for an Estate Agents would come in handy, and what had I been doing in school playgrounds for the last ten years if it wasn’t networking?! By the time Monday arrived I’d convinced myself that I was in with a chance. After I’d spoken to the MD who’d said the job would require about 20hrs a week, someone who could follow up leads and could I come into see him in person, I’d pretty much booked a babysitter to cover the school holidays. Isn’t it funny how your mind rushes ahead to deal with potential problems, getting everything ironed out in your mind?
So, I’ve been really busy. I’ve booked appointments with doctors, dentists and orthodontists. Arranged to redeem a voucher for a hot stone massage and upped my fitness regime. I’ve cleared out a few cupboards and helped my gardening friend. I’ve been patient with the children: helping with homework, listening to reading, asking about their day and actually hearing the replies. I’ve even written another chapter of my novel.
I didn’t get the job; a couple of days later he emailed to say that they’d appointed someone with video recording experience from an earlier round of applications. But the process has rejuvenated me. And it’s only when you think you will lose something that you really begin to value it.