In case anyone is keeping track, I’m still failing at wordpress. My followers are few, my posts sporadic, and I have yet to UPGRADE! my account to receive the bountiful pleasures that await me.
But not to worry – I’m failing elsewhere too – most importantly to me, I’m failing to keep what a former employer frequently referred to as a “PMA” or “Positive Mental Attitude”.
You see, I applied for a job. And not some random, off the cuff, “oh, I bet I can do that” kind of job, but rather a niche job with a weird skill set that matches my life and education, a job that I was asked if I had any interest in a couple of years ago – a job I once held.
It’s a job I didn’t return to, and at the time there were good reasons for that – first and foremost, the whole child-rearing/childcare debacle… reasons that hadn’t changed when I spoke to them the last time the position was vacant.
But things change, and so seeing this posting, and being in the position I’m in, I thought “Well why not. At very least, it’s an interesting conversation; I’ve got this knowledge of the institutional history, and ten years away from a place can really give some perspective! I’ll at least meet with them to chat.”
Or so I thought.
Days passed, and I didn’t get a call.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not so overconfident that I’d assumed the job was mine – I merely thought that I warranted an interview. I was good when I was in the role. It’s a hard skill set to find. They’d invited me to apply previously. And so, me being me, I called to find out why I hadn’t heard anything.
Cue the awkward conversation.
“We had a lot of executive directors apply for the position”
(It’s not an executive director position)
“The job has changed a lot since you were here”
(Then may I recommend taking 15 minutes to update the job posting that I wrote ten years ago?)
“We just had some great applicants that have been… working for the past ten years”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when you should thank your lucky stars for the fates unfolding in your favour once again, and get on with it.
But of course I can’t. Because I have been working for the past ten years. The pay has been absolute crap, the benefits intangible, the hours hellish, but trust me, it’s been work. And the paid professional work I’ve done as a consultant in the last few years and the volunteer work for which I’ve used professional skills aren’t even a part of it. I’ve worked at parenting, at managing a home, a family, a budget, renovations. I’ve been a corporate wife, advising and strategizing. I’ve been many things, just not an employee.
Which brings me to the awkward part of what I want to say here – and what is going to cost me my followers, my wordpress credibility, and may even leech into my linked-in profile, ruining my tenuous chances of making those six remaining connections standing between me and success.
I’m a better parent than you.
No, I didn’t say that. But yes, I also-fucking-loutely did.
I know that parenting is a democracy and that everyone is just doing their best and that “HOW DARE SHE SAY THAT WHO IS SHE TO JUDGE I’M BLOCKING HER I HATE HER” but let’s just take it apart a little bit.
We don’t dispute that someone that spends their days counting widgets in all likelihood, is better at it than someone that does not. We don’t dispute that someone that has been “working” for the last ten years has had the opportunity to develop job skills superior to someone who has not.
And yet, as parents, we’re all equal. The fact that I’ve largely been home with my kids for the past decade IN NO WAY suggests that I might have skills beyond those parents that immediately returned to work. Because as parents, we are all equal. Put in a 3-hours-until-bedtime shift or 24 hours, seven days a week – we’re all doing it equally well. It’s a lovely double-standard that almost any trip to my local Wal-Mart gives me an opportunity to contemplate, never mind a volunteer shift in my children’s elementary school.
I’m better at parenting than you. I’m better at knowing when to take a hard line, and I’m better at holding it. I’m better at making the unpopular decisions tolerable, I’m a better motivator. I’m better at time-management, I’m better at multi-tasking, and I’m better at working with multiple bottom lines. I’m better at saying no. I’m better at those awkward conversations (see above). I’m better at conflict resolution. I’m a better listener. I’m better at choosing my battles. And all of these things, to the right employer, will be invaluable. Just apparently not at the *ahem* “Women’s Centre” I applied for a job at.
And on that note, I should probably just leave this here.