Unemployment and Motherhood

I quit my job over 3 years ago because it was a really terrible fit for me and my kids.  Well, that and the fact that my boss was as nutty as a bag of squirrels.  I’d never had a problem getting a job, so it didn’t occur to me that this might be a less than stellar decision.

I’ve done a number of things since then and I’ve been paying the bills (barely), but the business investment I made 2 years ago didn’t pan out the way I’d intended.  You see, I had INTENDED to make a profit. It is now two years later, and it continues to bleed me out like a particularly painful hemorrhoid.

For the last 18 years, my primary objective was raising my children.  When I had my first child, I remember feeling really proud of myself (ok, even a little sanctimonious) for choosing to focus on my family instead of “chasing a career”.  I always worked, but at flexible jobs that were mostly part-time and didn’t really have much of a future.

I remember thinking that it was just wrong to stick my kids in daycare.  Sure, lots of my contemporaries made the choice to put their careers ahead of their families.  They made “excuses” about “needing” to work.  I saw the nice cars, homes and vacations and judged them harshly, wanting to gag when they complained about struggling to make ends meet.

That was the 90’s.

Now my kids are in high school and I am divorced.  I am able to work full-time and think that (even if I were still married) I should.  But for the first time in my life, I can’t seem to get a job to save my life.  For that matter, I can’t even get an INTERVIEW.

Suddenly, I am thinking that those full-time career/part-time moms weren’t so foolish after all.  I have seen that while I was at home caring for my family, THEY built their resumes and climbed the corporate ladder so that when their husbands left them, they were fully capable of supporting themselves and their children.

I don’t know what the “right” answer is.  I’m glad I was home with my kids when they were younger.  I’m sorry that my marriage failed.  Just like everyone else, I’ve made choices and I can’t undo them.  I refuse to call them “bad” choices; I did the best I could at the time.  I did my best to err to the side of love.

My kids are at an age when they need my financial support more than they need me to be an arm’s length away.  Next year, my oldest will be going to college.  She needs me to help her with tuition, and it will just about kill me if I can’t.

So now I’m a single mom looking for work and it would appear that I’m over qualified to be an administrative assistant, but under qualified to serve as a Project Manager, despite my experience and PMP certification.  It is exhausting, humiliating and the degree of rejection is overwhelming.  I begin to wonder how much I could get for one of my kidneys.

Humans don’t read resumes anymore; search engines do.  If you’re applying for a job that doesn’t involve scrubbing toilets, if you don’t list a 4-year degree,  your resume doesn’t exist to a search engine.  I have seen secretarial jobs that asked that applicants have an MBA.

I have been working a few hours a week at a Real Estate office.  One of the agents posted a job for an assistant on Craig’s List.  He spelled out what he was looking for; it was essentially Michelle Obama.  I made a snarky remark to one of the other agents.  “If someone is THAT qualified, why on Earth would they want to work for him?”  Imagine my surprise when a pretty little blonde in her 20’s, fresh out of college (with a Real Estate license) showed up for her first day of work at a wage that will unlikely pay her student loans.

So what’s a mom to do?  I will keep scanning the job boards for places to apply.  I regularly attend my job networking groups.  I maximize my connections on LinkedIn and network like crazy.  Most importantly, I pray that someone will give me a break, call me for an interview and just give me one chance to prove myself.

That’s the best I can do.  Hopefully at some point soon, it will be enough.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!

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About howhardcoulditbe

While this started as a chronicle of my many (sometimes ill-conceived) "Do It Yourself" projects, it has morphed into a journal of my 9-year journey as a single Christian woman striving to live by God's design.
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4 Responses to Unemployment and Motherhood

  1. missdisplaced says:

    Even non-moms like me who worked all through the 90s and 00’s and went to extra school to get a masters degree cannot find jobs right now. It is simply a horrible time. As to the “overqualified” bit, I hear that a lot myself, and I personally think it really means “too old” even thought they won’t tell you that to your face because it’s illegal.

    I think maybe the best thing if you’ve been out of the workforce for some years might be to start with a part time job (if you can afford to) as it might be a little more flexible. That and LIE on your resume (and boy I do cringe here). I hate to say this, but have 2 resumes for different jobs. A GOOD one and a DUMBED-DOWN one for more entry level jobs. If you are applying for the Administrative Assistant type jobs, don’t tell them you are a PMP, just pump up the typing and Excel skills. This sucks I know, and I hate it, but we all gotta do what we gotta do.

    • I actually have 3 resumes; the “dumbed down” version, the regular version, and the one that shows all my construction management experience. I’m currently looking for Project Coordinator positions (the assistant to the PM on bigger projects), and those are frequently jobs filled through staffing agencies. On LinkedIn, I show all my experience.

      The thing I have found the most amazing about the current job market is how it has changed so radically in the last decade. There are thousands of jobs out there, but many people who haven’t been unemployed in the last decade don’t know HOW to find the jobs anymore. It has been a real eye opener for me, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for the feedback, and best of luck to you, too.

  2. emjayandthem says:

    I pray that someone will give you a break, too.

    MJ

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