My first real outside-the-home job in 9 years: I’m still useful!

After 9 years at home with my munchkins, I decided it was time to go back to work. Now, I haven’t worked since my eldest was born with Cerebral Palsy. OK, I worked for my brother-in-law for only 4 months when Jamie was 2. My sister kept Jamie for me, so really it was like I was home with him…she IS the next best thing to me. 🙂

Anyway, this is a big deal, me going back to work. My youngest is 4 and I’ve always been at home with her. Thankfully, my husband makes a decent living and I don’t have to work; I choose to do so. I need it for my sanity. I swear, if I watch one more Blue’s Clues or Sesame Street, my brain may turn to silly putty and ooze right out of my ears. Seriously, how many of those freaking shows can one watch? The answer to that is: If you are a child, you can watch the same one over and over until it is so ingrained in the fiber of your being that you can recite it in your sleep. As a parent, not so much.

I began my search to find the perfect job by discussing with my husband exactly what hours I could work. For us, it is about 20-25 hours a week. We have full-time help for my kids, but I didn’t want to be gone for too long. And we just never know what Jamie’s health will be like from day to day. We decided a part time job would be the perfect fit for us. We don’t need the benefits, like health insurance and paid vacations. It is important to figure out exactly what YOU will need if you are thinking of going back to work. If you’ll need to pay child-care, make sure you can afford to do so with your new job.

Next, I opened up the trusty old laptop and immediately searched for part time jobs in my area. There was squat. Not one thing looked promising, unless I wanted to be an escort (which I most assuredly do not), or a customer service representative, which is job lingo for “do-girl” which for me is a no-no as well. I have a background in medical billing and management of said billing office. So, I was looking for an office job. Something relaxed, laid back, friendly, and not at all stuffy.

After about two weeks of searching I finally found something that looked half-way interesting and submitted my resume. I got a call back in a week or so. “We’re really interested in your resume and would like you to come in for an interview.” GREAT! I’m still a valuable employee! After a sleepless night, I got up, got dressed (even did my hair AND makeup for a change) and went in to that interview armed with all the stuff I was good at, the things I need to improve on, etc. I was ready to sell myself to these people. I was so disappointed to find out that this office was very much into micromanaging their employees. This was not a relaxed environment at all. Little things like texting the boss to tell him how many people have called that hour, who they were, for whom they were calling, and how long they talked. Seriously. If you work in an office like this, I am so sorry. But, I’m not used to that. Remember, I’ve been the boss of my kids for 9 years. We are relaxed; I have no one to answer to at my house.

Now, I haven’t been on a job interview since 1997. I’m the kind of person that when I get into a job that I like, I stay. I’ve really only had a couple of jobs my entire adult life. I stayed at the billing office for 7 years, and then had my kids. So, I wasn’t prepared for the interview as much as I had hoped. I was dressed nicely, but apparently not professionally enough. I should tell you this job was at an insurance agency and they were all dressed in suits. Even the receptionist, whom I’d be replacing. I was wearing slacks, with a blouse and heels. I have to admit that the pay and benefits (that’s right, bennies for a part-timer!) were tempting. But I had to call them back and withdraw my resume’. I couldn’t work there as there was no flexibility, or fun to be found in that office.

I continued my search, scouring the local paper, and the like. I kept going back to craigslist because in our area, apparently that’s where the employers are posting. I found another job that I was interested in. It was in a travel agency. I met the ladies at Panera Bread for coffee. I gotta tell you, this is my kind of interview! We talked about our kids, what books we like to read, and a little bit about my resume’. Mostly, they were gauging how well we’d get along. They were already impressed with my resume’ so I didn’t have to sell myself very much. We talked about what they do, and the company a little bit.

I loved this job and the people I would be working with, right off the bat. I got a call about 4 days later saying they would love for me to come to work for them and that they would like for me to start after the first of the year. The best part is the hours are flexible, they understand what it’s like to be a mom who may not have a sitter all the time (illnesses do happen; even nannies get sick!), and our office schedule follows the school schedule. If the kids are out of school for the day (MLK, Jr day) or Winter break, Spring break, Summer break (that’s right! 2 whole months off in the summer!), the office is closed. I have found the perfect job for me.

I got an email about a week ago asking if I was available to come in earlier than the first of January. Of course, I answered immediately with “Yes!”. They had a project that needed to be done before the end of the year. Today was my first day there. I had a blast, getting to know the office area, the computer and their programs, and the ladies in the office. It was a great day!

Of course, I understand that not everyone out there is employed, and if so, they may not enjoy their jobs or the people with whom they work. I know, I am fortunate to enjoy what I do. If you have a work story you’d like to share, please feel free to do so. Remember, this is a positive area to share your thoughts and feelings; if you need help or have questions about how to find another job or help with a job issue, please ask away!

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