I’ve been thinking recently that when I attempt to return to some form of paid employment, when my daughter starts school in 2014, I would have been out of the workforce for five years. I’ve wondered if employers view stay-at-home parents who’ve been so for a c onsiderable length of time as having been out of the work for so long that they’re pretty much unemployable in comparison with people who have not been out of the workforce for so long, or if the skills you develop being a full-time parent are transferable to the world of the office.
I was thinking about how the interview for my dream job could go.
Interviewer: Thanks for coming to see us, we just would like to speak to you in further detail about some aspects of your application, and would like you to give us some examples of the skills you said you possess.
Me: Fire away cocker, based on what I am about to tell you I’m a shoe-in for this job. *Leans back puts feet on desk*
Interviewer: You say in your application that you have excellent negotiation skills and you have applied these every day. Could you give me an example?
Me: I’ve successfully negotiated with my son, every day, since he was two on the subject of biscuits. He wanted a chocolate chip cookie every day. We negotiate, and when I present him with an alternative option, our friend, the banana. He usually
accepts this. I have a 90% success rate, but I’m willing to undergo training to bring me to an acceptable level.
Interviewer: And an example of your excellent communication skills?
Me: Sure. Across a crowded playground I can successfully communicate to my son that he should not, and will not, try to run off with that girl’s bike. I have excellent communication skills even at a volume that frightens horses.
Interviewer: Tell me more about your level of sickness and absenteeism?
Me: I haven’t had a day off since 2009, working 12-14 hour days through sickness and illness. I’ve been know to get up at 5am and not finish until after 10pm. I’m pretty reliable.
Interviewer: Can you give me an example of a time when you’ve had a particularly difficult problem to solve and have solved it?
Me: Yes. My son didn’t eat much fruit, but I invented the Hungry Caterpillar Week. On Mondays we had apple, and Tuesdays we had pears, Wednesday plums etc etc. He has now started to eat more fruit, but draws the line at strawberries.
Interviewer: You’re an effective multi-tasker?
Me: I have been known to change both my son and daughter’s nappies at the same time.
Interviewer: That’s just one task you’re doing twice though.
Me: Okay, I can cook three separate meals and do the hoovering while balancing a baby on one hip and a child on my head.
Interviewer: That’s a better example. Thanks for that. And one last question. Could you tell me why you are the ideal candidate for this job?
Me: I’m cheap and I look good in a suit. I’m basically eye candy, but if you’ve been listening to my answers to the questions you’ve asked then I can tell you there are an estimated two and a half million stay-at-home parents who would be just as good at doing this job as me.
Interviewer: Well, thank you for applying for the job of Head of The Bank of England. We’ll let you know shortly.
So, now I ask you, my friend, did I get the job?
First published September 27th, 2011.