We’ve lived in Derbyshire for nearly a year now and I couldn’t put off getting a job any longer. I’ve tried hiding in the boiler room so the husband didn’t notice I was still at home, and making a packed lunch and disappearing for a few hours a day but he found me out eventually. (Oh and of course, I’d already tried the third baby suggestion but he was never going to fall for that…)
I applied for a couple of jobs and ended up with two interviews. I haven’t been interviewed since, I can’t remember, trying to get into University? That wasn’t very successful, I still cringe thinking of my interview at the University of Westminster. “What newspapers do you read?” “Erm, errrr, I read more! magazine and Elle, does that count?” Needless to say it didn’t and I didn’t get in.
From the first ever Saturday job at a hairdressers to working as a Gallery Assistant at art college, to my first job on a magazine, I’ve either popped in with a ‘don’t suppose you have a job going…’ and started a few days later or blagged work experience that’s led to work, or been put forward for a role by a lovely friend and then been asked to go in for a ‘chat’. Perhaps that’s how things happened in the 90s?
Not anymore. For a start living here I don’t casually bump into people who could possibly offer me a job. The only person I see every day is the postman, and although I’ve considered asking him for work, the early mornings put me off and I’m not sure the uniform would suit. So I’ve found myself filling in online applications. They’re a joy, let me tell you. All in a different formats and just when you think you’ve finished, you see your name is in the job position and your sexuality is in the aims and ambitions bit.
After struggling with those I managed to land two interviews. These are for part time admin roles, nothing too la-de-dah, but they did need a new outfit (“speculate to accumulate, darling”) as dog walking attire apparently isn’t the done thing in an office. The first one involved a 3 hour ‘carousel’ interview along with 5 other people. There are only so many times in three hours you can explain why you want the job and having to ‘role-play’ the phone message I’d leave if the school was closed due to snow nearly made me say a swear at the end. The words role-play should surely be left behind after GCSE drama?
Anyway, I didn’t take the 3 hour carousel interview job, I took another at a local secondary school but I’ve gone from being a full time mother, wife and dog walker to working 5 days a week in that job plus a Saturday morning teaching journalism at College. That’s not to say I am no longer a full time mother, wife and dog walker because now I do all these things as well, as I managed to get a job in school hours. Lucky old me still gets to do the swimming pick up, the ballet lesson run, the school drops, the dog walking, the supermarket trips etc, etc. You know what I’m talking about as so many of you already do it, only working full time hours.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time being at home and feel really really lucky that I’ve been able to do it. When I handed my notice in at my ‘proper job’ when my second child was just 10 months old, I always wondered if I’d regret it and there have been times I’ve felt a bit crap about giving up my career to bring up the children. Yes, I know it is a very important job bringing up children, yet society doesn’t make you feel like that. It’s more a, ‘what on earth do you do all day?’ look, if you say, “actually I’m on a career break to bring up the children”, especially once the children are both at school all day. I have always struggled with whether it’s setting a good example to my girls, putting my career on hold. What does it say to them? Yeah, go for it girls, be what you want to be, but once you have children it’s bloody hard to keep your career going unless you have flexible working hours and an understanding boss (“Erm, my little one is in an assembly at 9.30am playing the part of a donkey, do you mind if I’m a bit late in?”), you have grandparents nearby who will help out or you earn a massive salary that can afford you a nanny.
We came to the decision for me to give up the ‘proper job’ because the cost of two children in childcare almost made it impossible to work as there was no family nearby to rely on and what I earned + travel costs + cost of childcare for two = not much left. So for the past 8 years, we’ve muddled along and I’ve done a bit of freelance work (erratic and difficult to find), a bit of work at a local Estate Agent (locked someone out of their own home) and a bit of work as a Teaching Assistant (had a pee soaked sock flung at me), whilst obviously looking for the nirvana of a part time job that fits in with school hours, inset days and holidays that utilises my skills and pays well. If any of you find that job, I’ll fight you for it.
So we are where we are, I am very happy to announce I now have an admin job in a school. Does this mean I have to change my career on my passport? Can I no longer say I am a journalist?
The thought makes me weep a little….