At the beginning of the year I threw the dice and took a risk. I decided to give up my six year career in Social Work, why you might ask? For many reasons, in those six years my life changed dramatically with the arrival of my two girls and with it my priorities changed. I will honestly admit that when I became a parent the sense of responsibility was overwhelming and in truth I found the added responsibility of managing vulnerable young people difficult, especially when their compliance was mandatory and not voluntary. This dynamic did not always make for a comfortable relationship.
If I allow my ego to have a voice, I felt disheartened that despite my best efforts I wasn't seeing much results, my success was dependant on the behaviour and attitudes of others. It started to feel depressing coming into work and constantly hearing about the terrible things people were doing to each other. Life is too short to be surrounded by this I thought, I would like to be in a more positive environment. I want to see good in the world not just the bad. So after moaning about it for far too long I took the plunge and handed in my notice and braced myself for re entering the job market, and oh what a journey it was.
Since then I have had two different jobs. The first I should have never of accepted, the rapid staff turn over should have been a warning sign. The strange friend/family dynamic of the company should have been another. I have learned when an employer says they want someone who is outspoken and someone who can use initiative this is not actually what they mean. I have learned that senior managers sometimes don't appreciate these qualities because they view it as a threat to their authority, when god forbid your only intention is to improve the business. I must admit when on the last day of my probation period I was called to a meeting to tell me my services were no longer required I was shocked. I have never been dismissed from a job in my life and I've worked ever since I've been 14 years old. I found it even more baffling that when I asked why, he in charge could give me no performance related examples and instead said something ridiculous about how I was 'stepping on toes' and had offended a colleague because I moved a table. I kid you not I was sacked because I offered to help someone move a table! You could not make it up.
After two jobs that didn't work out for the long term I started to realise it's one thing getting a job but it's another thing finding a job that fits you as often a job on paper is not the job in reality. I liken it to going on a shopping trip and trying on different dresses, no this one's too tight, this one's too big, ah this one is perfect. So here I am again searching for the perfect dress. I'd like to add that my chest is too small and my hips are too wide so you can see what I'm up against.
Like many families with small children both myself and my husband have to work. So unless I have a secret rich Aunt coming out of the woodwork or a mighty win on the Euromillions I am destined to be a working mother. With bills to pay and a mortgage I will happily work my backside off in a job that adds to my family's stability. I thought I was onto a winner applying to local supermarkets, feeling confident that they'd offer flexible hours and a work life balance. But it appears they don't like to recruit University educated people. They have deemed me incapable of packing ten items into a carrier bag. I'll admit I nearly fell off the chair and spat out my tea when I opened their 'rejection' email.
I live in a City which offers plenty of jobs, that is of course if you are not a parent and you can drive. The realisation that these are my biggest barriers to work is a massive source of frustration. I've seen jobs that look perfect and I can feel myself getting excited as I read through the advert, and then comes the realisation that that 'perfect' job is no longer an option because either I can't get there or the working hours do not fit with my child care arrangements. Jobs that are suitable are thin on the ground and with many mothers like me competition is stiff. I do think the country would benefit if employers loosened up a bit and weren't so rigid about the hours that must be worked. As a mother I feel that I'm a square peg trying to be pushed into a round hole and it's just not happening.
Anyway my rant is over, so it's back to the job hunting I go. Wish me luck....I think I need it.
You'll find me on Mad About Kids giving my take on Parenting and Lifestyle matters.
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