Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I just want to bang on these drums all day

We had a speaker come in to our most recent Mother of Twins club meeting to talk about reentering the workforce and work/life balance. She was a really good speaker, and very interesting, but I didn't get the answer to what I was really looking for. So maybe someone here will know.

I used to work in accounting, in a pretty high-stress position, responsible for financials and closes and supervising the accounting staff. It was a lot of hours, and the kind of job that was difficult to leave at the office.

When I do return to work, I'll probably return to accounting. My problem, aside from the obvious HUGE time gap in employment, is that I want to return to a much lower position. How do you make that sound okay? I mean, I obviously can't go in and tell the truth, that I want a job where I can work my 8 hours and leave and not get stressed if I have to miss a day because my kids are sick or I want to go on vacation. You know, a job I don't care too much about.

I'm not good at all that office politics crap.

This reminds me of my very first job interview. I was 14 years old, and Burger King was hiring. Because I was so young, I couldn't work at the counter, and certainly not on the grills. So I was interviewing to be the person who cleaned up tables and swept and emptied garbage. The guy interviewing me asked why I thought I'd be qualified for the position. I looked at him like he was crazy, and responded, "how could I *not* be qualified?"

I didn't get the job, you may be surprised to hear, sealing my fate of working as a carny through high school rather than a grill-jockey.

Which brings me back to my more current situation. I mean, obviously I'll stress the whole "think of all the experience I could bring to your company at a bargain price!" But if an interviewer ever asked, "but why would *you* want to accept a position below your previous experience", I'd be hard-pressed not to say something goofy.

Not a pressing issue. I'll probably stay home with the newest little guy until he's at least a year old. Just something I've been thinking about. And preemptively laughing at myself about. Because I know, no matter what, I'll make a fool of myself. I guess it's just as well, though, to get matched with a company that appreciates my insanity. I've not blogged much about my previous work experience, but my very best job ever was working at a company where I was, by far, the least zany person. It was a little slice of heaven to be surrounded by other misfits and oddballs all day. (Is anyone surprised to hear it was a dotcom I was working for? Awesomely insane!)


It's over 90 degrees in Boston today. This weather can bite me. It's April, for goodness sake! I was still hoping for one last snow flurry to tide me over until next winter. I think I have the opposite of seasonal affective disorder. Too much sun and heat makes me depressed.


Luckygirl said...

I would LOVE to work at a job where I was the least zany person. Heck, I'd be happy somewhere with just one other person AS zany :)

Read Stargirl - it was delightful. It would make a cute movie.

No ideas on what to say if you're asked that question. It might be a nonissue as they'll probably assume you're applying for a lower position because you were out of the work force for a while. Actually, they'll know the answer anyway, because they'll know you have kids based on your 4-5 year break.

LauraC said...

I think it would be fairly easy to position this. You can position it as you would really like a position that can help you achieve a better work/life balance. In the past, your only priority was your job and you were aggressive in pursuing your goals. During this short time period when your children are young, you have competing priorities so you'd like to address both.

Or at least,that's what I said when I wanted to telecommute!

Mommy, Esq. said...

You can also discuss how you are looking to reacclimate to the workforce after being absent for several years.

Aubrey said...

I wish we could trade weather!?! CO still thinks it is winter! I'm ready for the sun!!!

Thank you SO much for your sweet comments last week during my SITS day! I appreciated each one!

ElizabethE said...

You can also say that while you like your job and the work that you do, you aren't necessarily interested in management possibilities or supervising others. You can say that in other jobs, you found these tasks to become overshadowing of the accounting work itself. And while you were good at it, it wasn't what you signed on to do. Make it sound like it is the ACCOUNTING WORK itself that you like.

Nancy said...

I think most companies completely understand when women "step down" from something they've been doing before. And more and more are even being *gasp* supportive of it.

AND with the economy the way it is, I'm sure that there are a LOT of overqualified people jockeying for "lesser" positions. (although, I'm seriously hoping it's gonna get better SOON!!)

Threeundertwo said...

A lot of good advice here, and I can't say it better. I'm sure you'll express it well. Companies understand.

Ronnica said...

I worked at Walmart...I'm not sure I want to work with zany people again after that.

Is it weird that I'm leaving you comments at like 12-hour intervals? I'm catching up with my reader by date, and it's taking me this long to get through them all.

Jeanne Estridge said...

I think you can solve this just by being selective about the kind of places you interview. Places like dotcoms and not-for-profits have a different view of work-life balance than major corporations.

Anyplace that won't hire you because you're honest about wanting to have that balance won't be a good fit, anyway.