Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nothing will work unless you do

I don't think there is anything more humbling than looking for a job.
10 years ago, all you needed to land a general office job was a functioning brain and a High School diploma, but these days employers are asking you to have a 4yr degree to answer the phone, and then they want to thank you for humbling your educated self to this entry-level position by paying you minimum wage.

Needless to say, I have not been able to find a job.
Not only do I NOT have a 4yr degree, but aside from a little retail here and there, I've been a stay at home mom for 7 years now.
It used to be that all I had to do was get an interview and I was guaranteed a job.
I'm a very capable, friendly person and I'm no dummy.
If it can be taught, I can learn and excel at it.
But so many more educated people are out of work these days, people with recent experience that trumps my ability to charm my way into a position that would have otherwise required a degree.

Then there's the whole "is this a legitimate job posting?" problem.
Last week I sent my resume off to about a dozen advertisements on craigslist and 1/2 of them responded with requests for things like a full-length color photo of myself, or my height and weight, and 3 of them wanted me to sit in my home and wait for their packages to be delivered, no questions asked.
Every single one of these ads were legitimate looking.
They must have been copied right from another job board.


Of course, in my frustration over feeling under-qualified and unable to find any REAL job postings, I began to think about the things that I do on a daily basis. What would my job duties look like if this stay at home/ homeschooling mom thing was a paying gig? What would my job title be?
Let's see:

  • Appointment Setter (Dr, dentist, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, parent-teacher conferences)
  • Cook (3 meals & snacks for 5 people, 7 days a week)
  • Home Health Aide (bathe, dress & assist 3 people in misc. personal functions)
  • Order Processing (homeschool supplies, replacement of missing high school textbooks, etc)
  • Janitorial/Sanitation (this should be self-explanatory)
  • Records Management (immunizations, birth certificates, IEP paperwork, report cards, receipts, Lego manuals)
  • Travel planning (accommodations for 6-8 people)
  • Transportation (to and from 3 different schools on opposite sides of the city)
  • Mail processing
  • Receptionist duties (must be able to handle multi-line phone, in case teenager gets detention the same day 8yr old bites through his lip at recess and 2 schools need to call at once!)
  • Personal Shopper (and returns!)
  • AP/AR (though, I do a lot more paying than I do receiving)
  • Data Entry (somebody has to keep track of who takes what medication, who is allergic to soy and who is allergic to dairy)
  • Educator (curriculum planning for a 3 & 5yr old, field trips, evaluations)
  • Home Maintenance (toilet plunger, drain un-clogger, tightener of screws, assembler of bookshelves, etc)
  • Party Planner (plans all parties for 6 people, creates menus and activities, prep & clean-up)
  • Children's Advocate 
  • Disaster Preparedness (ability to entertain 4 children while the power is out for 6 hours)
  • Highly Skilled in Time Management (take everything listed above and throw in some kind of disaster like the stomach flu. Now try to get it all done while somebody is puking in their bed.)
  • Most importantly: Must Work Well Under Pressure

In a perfect world, employers would recognize real-life skills, but unfortunately for me and a lot of displaced home-makers (don't you HATE that term?), they just don't.

I'm going to keep on looking, though, in hopes that someday soon, some company will see the potential I have, because if they could actually see everything that I do for my family, I'm pretty sure they'd be begging me to run their office.


  1. oh boy.
    hope something turns up and works soon, dear!!

  2. Oh. and Ack.
    So tough Mrs. Misc.
    My b*friend has been unemployed for going on 2 years now. Yes. He's whip-smart, hard working but no college degree. And the job market is so intense right now, lots of people looking for work, and not a lot of work to offer.

    I've been in food service. Which always hires, right? So while he was struggling I felt grateful to have a job, even thought the perks got cut, my hours got cut, and eventually the job got cut. I played practically and went over to a larger company (I am tired of working at small biz that go out of busness which is 3/4 of my resume) and got fired! So yes, I too am unemployed and STRUGGLING! And trying to keep positive for 1)my sanity 2) because nobody wants to hear that you are not doing well.

    All that being said, I feel the future is developing a cottage industry. Lots of folks working out of their homes. Yes it is still a struggle, but nobody can mess with you.
    Is there anything you can do while you are doing what your doing?
    Book-keeping? Making arts and crafts? Consulting?
    I feel the best approach for a more viable future is to work on the supplemental income while you suss out the "full time work."

    At least that's what I'm trying to do.

    I wish us all lots of luck. -Bella Q

  3. (((hugs))) I totally know where you are coming from! my MIL has been looking long and hard for a job with no luck either and it took my hubby almost 2 years to find one. I'll keep sending you "hire-able" vibes!

  4. I am totally serious I think you should put that all on a resume. my mom has been running her own business since the 90s and hasn't worked for someone else since 91. She is trying to get a job out of the house (she has had no insurance for way too long) and people laugh at her that she hasn't worked in 20 years!!! Just because she worked out of the house she it isn't a real job?! How the hell they think she's put food on the table? She works 5 time as hard because she doesn't know when to stop because it's right there!


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