I am having a tough time emotionally with the job search thing right now. I keep thinking about what I could have/should have done differently in my life so this would not feel like such a disaster.
Should I not have stayed home with my children for 16 years? At the time I knew I was lucky for the opportunity so perhaps I should have been more aware that it might not last... and I should somehow have been preparing to go back into the job market.
I didn't get married until I was nearly 31 and had the twins when I was 35. I worked until 2 days before their planned C-section delivery. I had a nice solid resume going. Management experience, graduate degree.
After they were born I planned to go back to work on a part time basis with the support of the family owned and operated company. In fact, they were in negotiations to sell their company, which they did a month after the birth!
The new company hired me as a consultant - long story - but I worked from home mostly and made some money for about a year. By then, Tom was making a good salary and working very long hours. We decided I could stay at home, which I was very happy to do. It was 1988.
When the twins were 3 I went to work for a friend starting up a children's wear line. It involved regular hours but a long commute. It took a toll on our family and when we decided to have another child, I left that job and had our youngest when I was a couple of months shy of 40.
Tom made good money, I was busy with kids, we moved to a new state and back. The years went by. The economy was changing, corporations were being acquired and broken up and all kinds of nastiness as happening. Through a number of really difficult things that happened with Tom's corporate employers, we found ourselves without much savings, and Tom out of work. He just couldn't see going back into corporate life again and really wanted to be a practicing lawyer.
So he set himself up in our garage and started hustling for work. By that time our oldest kids were in high school and driving. The youngest was in school not too far from our home and Tom could easily take her to and from or she would walk, if necessary. So I started to look for work, too. It was 2004.
The last time I had a corporate job, there were one or two computers in the building. I had a secretary to do my typing. I sent telexes to communicate with European companies.
In the years since I had worked outside my home, I had used a computer to shop on e-Bay and help the kids with homework, do banking and put together photo collages for the sports teams. I had a passing familiarity with Word and had used e-mail. I had never even opened up Excel. I had seen the kids use Power Point. I used Quicken for my own finances.
Is is a surprise that it took 8 months to get a job? And that I was not ever once called for a management position I applied for? I was lucky that a woman with a small company too a liking to me in a phone interview and her first choice candidate declined the job. I was there for 5 years. Loved the work though it was administrative and customer service and, as far as my husband was concerned, far beneath me. I was really good at the job. I was an asset to the company. I worked hard and was on time and devoted myself to being a good employee. I was an idiot for leaving.
His practice is busy and he has been out of the garage for a few years now. He wanted me to work for him. I knew in my heart I could never work for him. I have a hard time living with him...but that is not the point of this post.
The point is, now I am even older. The economy is much worse. Employers are much more picky and paying less and less. No matter how high or low I apply, I can't break through. I can't figure out how to become employed. And more important than that:
I don't know what lesson to teach my daughters.
Should they not stay at home with their children? Keep working, even though I think it is best to be home if you can?
I have advised them about kinds of careers, like my sister's in nursing, which is so flexible and always in need, but they are not interested in that.
My parents said to delay marriage and children until we had lived more life because they had married and had children so young. Yet my mother had a wonderful career which started after I was gone to college - she was only 38 then!
I am awake at night worrying and upset and feeling that I have made wrong turns and bad decisions. How will you advise your daughters?