Humiliating Interview: Stay at Home Mom Applies for Job

I don't need your stinkin' job anyway!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Razvanjp

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Razvanjp

Dear Executive Recruiter at the Hospital Where I Applied for a Position:

I know you mean well. Really, I do. I know that you probably have a protocol tucked away in some drawer that dictates how you proceed with the interview process. I also know that, based on those cute plastic frames on your desk and on top of the filing cabinet by the fern, that you have two kids.

It made me very happy, those pictures. Hey, I have three. We are both educated women trying to have it all, aren’t we, sister? Career (in my case, part-time, please), children, home and hearth. Together we can blaze trails with the flame given to us by Gloria and Naomi and N.O.W. and work toward genuine equality and intelligent …..

“It looks like you have a rather significant gap in your work history. Would you care to explain that?”

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You clicked that nice pen of yours and poised it above your pad of paper so expectantly, that perchance you overlooked the three paragraphs that deal with that “gap.”

“Well, as I highlighted here, here and, um, here, I was elected to our school board for a term. And here is where I talk about the volunteer work that led to my award for volunteer of the year. You might also note that here I list the places my work has been published as a freelance writer. Oh, plus my regular column on the parenting website that I noted, here.”

I waited for you to click your pen again and set it back on the pad, but you just looked at me. Had I forgotten something?

“Yes. I see that. But what have you been doing professionally during this time?”

“Okay, yes. In addition to the 30 or so hours a week spent on those boards and, uh, stuff, I have been raising my three children and coordinating all of the activities that, of course you’re familiar with (here is where I smiled warmly at you, to let you know that I know we’ve both pledged the same maternal sorority). In addition, of course, to the significant community service.”

You smiled so politely. I noticed that you had really white teeth. Is it just me, or does everyone these days have teeth that look like Chiclets?

“I see. And due to your lack of professional development over this period of time, can you elaborate as to how you’ve kept abreast of relevant health care and social work issues?”

This is where I really wanted to make you laugh. It’s the universal ice-breaker, no?

“You mean other than all of those times spent in doctor’s offices?” Hah!

Click. “All right. Moving to your last paid employment, it says here that you quit. If I were to contact your former boss, what do you think he would say?”

“She would say that she let me quit because I no longer wanted to work until 5:00 or 6:00 at night so I could be home when my kids got back from school, and that she was unwilling to work out a more flexible schedule. She’d also tell you that she raised three children and they were all schlepped to daycare and they turned out just fine. If you don’t count the fact that her oldest enlisted in the Marines just to get out of the house and her daughter was having regular sex by the eighth grade. Who knows how her youngest will fare, but she outsourced the care of her kids to nineteen year-old daycare workers, so I’m confident. Aren’t you?”

So you see, I understand your choice to go with the more qualified candidate. You made a tough call, and that’s what you’re paid to do. I just hope that the condom doesn’t break anytime soon, because your maternity leave program really sucks.

Very Truly Yours,

Jennifer Magnuson

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  • Jaque

    Surprised that no one commented. Staying home to be a full-time Mom, while lauded, is not respected. It is a sad statement that people do not “get” that we cannot have it all and do it all. I would say that being a homemaker is the most demanding career there is. We are raising the next generation of people who will contirubte to society. Until society recognizes the contributions we make, this sort of thing will continue.
    I can well remember when my two children aged 2 and 5, people asking me “do you work”, to which I answered: “Yes, I do, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”. To which I received, a smile and “no, I mean do you “really work”? Second reply: Yes, I answered you.