I’ve recently experienced a form of discrimination that I never thought possible. It has become increasingly obvious that taking time out of the workforce in order to raise my children has rendered me un-hireable. I never even considered this could possibly be an option. You see it on TV all the time. A mom that’s spent years raising her children returns to work with no problem. She makes a few phone calls, talks to a few people and BOOM right back to work. As with everything, TV tells a tale that reality cannot live up to.
All my life I’ve believed that it was a positive thing to be able to stay home with your children during their most formative years. To give them that access to a loving parent. Then, through choice or necessity, return to the workforce and provide for them. Well I did the first part, but now I’m finding the second to be extremely difficult.
Perhaps if I had a degree in something and had taken courses to keep up with the advances then I’d be a desirable hiring candidate. Maybe if I had a group of business contacts that could offer me a job in my field it’d be easy. I don’t. What I am seeing is that employers only focus on the 5 year gap in my employment history. No, I wasn’t going to school. No, I wasn’t in any kind of trouble. All I did was have the audacity to stay home with my children. Shame on me.
I’m not looking for any high powered position. I’m not looking for special or specific hours. All I’m doing is looking for a job that I know I’m qualified in because I’ve done it most of my working life. Let’s face it, you don’t need a degree to be a customer service representative. What you need is willingness, common sense, and a whole lot of patience. Anyone who has ever been around children knows that being a parent teaches a whole lot of that one.
This may seem like I’m whining about this, but I’m not. I’m questioning the methodology we use to determine who is worthy of work. I’m questioning why staying home with my children to give them a solid footing in life makes me less worthy of a job than the next person. Maybe working moms have it right. Maybe it’s better to keep working. At least they’re not sitting here 5 years latter putting in resume after resume and getting rejection after rejection. Some site my employment gap and some just give the generic “we’ve decided to go with a different candidate” approach, but it all ends the same. Try again.
I’ll keep trying. I’ll keep putting in application after application. I’ll get a job eventually. I just wish we’d re-examine our hiring practices for entry level type positions. Instead of making things more difficult on parents returning to the workforce, how about we give them credit for the skills they have gained. Multitasking, appointment setting, scheduling, time management and patience… so much patience. It’s a change that needs to happen, and I hope that hiring managers start seeing the worth of these prospective employees.