Confessions Of A Working Mother: Part 1

 

I was spoiled. Well, not really, but in a way, I absolutely was. My working career started when I was 15 and a half at Mc Donald’s – surprisingly, I really loved working there. I mean, who wouldn’t?? I had 50% off all the food I wanted, worked one, maybe two nights (until 2 am) during the week, worked weekends and had lifts to go home when I finished late. The staff were pretty great too. Then I moved to Ontario, worked a few part time jobs and moved once more to Quebec, by the time i reached 19, where the majority of my work experience comes from.

The fact that I was fully bilingual really helped me in Quebec, so I had a slew of options on where to work – as a receptionist, as a secretary, manager, assistant manager, full time employee, the list really does go on. All of these job opportunities were full time and if you’ve read previous my posts, I had an accident back in 2013 and have had to change the way that I do things and how I managed my time.

Since 2013, I’ve opened my own business, worked from home and pretty much made a schedule that worked for me by taking breaks when I needed them, working when I felt like it and even went to do groceries in the middle of the day, during the week when there were less people in stores. Of course, if I didn’t feel like speaking to anyone, I could spend days in my own little bubble. It had its merits, and at the same time, working from home was difficult. There is only so many times that you can look at the four walls of the house and not get cabin fever, or have many conversations with your cat – oh yeah, I had the amazing fun of training it. I swear! He understands the ‘out’, the ‘get down’ and even arrives on command. It was really my greatest pleasure trying to train a cat… but I digress.

After 5 years of being at home, knowing that the salary I was currently getting wouldn’t be enough to hold me for much longer, nor enough to cover my accumulating expenses, I had to go back on the work market. Here are the things that I knew:

–          I didn’t want to work in customer service (I don’t people very well)

–          I wanted to try something new, either in marketing, social media or even as a intervener amongst teens – really, something I haven’t done as of yet

–          I wanted a job that I could keep for years

Sounds simple enough, right? I thought so too. The hardest step was always knowing what you wanted and what you didn’t want, and I had that already down and ready, so I started working on my resume. I had the chance to work alongside a company that would help me really determine where I could go work (and even use their connections when I  could) and they also helped me along the interview process and rework my resume if needed.

So step one: dust off the 8 year old resume and hope for the best. I can tell you right now that I had a lot of work to do since I had 3 different resumes for three different sectors, and none of them matched. Not only did I have to update them, but I also had to make them match.

Step two: search for prospective employers. Sounds much easier than it actually is. Do you know how many employers are out there?? Thousands. I almost counted them all and stopped when my folder of saved job interests reached the 400s.

Step three: send out professional cover letter and resumes. Don’t forget to send them in both English AND French if you’re looking at a job in marketing. So far, I wasn`t doing too badly. Had all my resumes up to date, had them translated and each of them had different names so I wouldn`t get them mixed up.

Step four: nervously chew your nails off as you wait for replies by those employers you sent your application. Cue in the face palm moment: forgetting to triple check my information – the first two weeks of my resume sending resulted in nada replies. Why??? Because I sent out resumes for the non-profit sector to the marketing sector. *big round of applause*

Step five: squeal in excitement when you get that first phone call. Oh yes, squeal I did. And rather loudly. I was also nervously walking a path down the house as I tried not to sound like a 16 year old applying for her first job. It had been 5 years and when they ask why i`m looking now, the answer isn’t always easy.

Step six: rage against your closet. Or rather, go out shopping for the perfect interview outfit. After 5 years, I had an impressive collection of jeans, leggings and sweatpants. Not interview acceptable attire. So shopping I went when I realized that my clothes dated to 1990 and they wanted it all back.

Step seven: go to that first interview. Then the second. There were moments when it was touch and go. I went to 8 first interviews before I managed to get to that coveted second interview.

Step eight: Get that phone call that will change everything. After 8 interview, 200 resumes sent out and 10 phone interviews, I was offered a job!! I was nervous, excited and absolutely looking forward to my first day at work. At the same time, I was sad. Remember how I said I was spoiled? Well, all those non-conforming outfits, shopping in the middle of the day and spending my days outside in the sun were about to end so I could start a 8-5 job, inside a building, working in front of a computer.

The hardest thing of going back to work – having to spend copious amounts of time on the roads in traffic, working specific scheduled hours and no longer being able to pick up my little monster from school every day. Of having to worry about what would happen if she gets sick (who would take care of her?); it was easy before, I worked from home so I could drop everything at a dime, pick her up from school and spend the days it took for her to get better. If my partner fell asleep in the middle of the day (he works very early mornings), then I didn`t have to worry about who would pick her up, I was there. It`s a new feeling of having to depend on others for things I took for granted for so long.

Trust me when I say that my hats go off to working mothers. To the single and partnered mothers. To those that decided to stay at home after trying the working mother job description – I struggle not handing in my papers every. Single. Day. All you mothers, you all deserve a medal for not throwing your papers in the air, grabbing your keys and simply staying home. The struggle is real.

~A working mother, Kat

***In two weeks: finding out how the first month at work went with Confessions of a working mother: Part 2***

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