How do you know when it’s time to change your career course? In my single 20s, it was simple: Find a new job, get an offer, and then give notice. Commute to the city? Sure! Living alone, without kids, my biggest responsibilities were my pets and my health insurance.
But things get more complicated when you’ve put down roots and have a family to consider. When you’re not just a career woman but a career mom.
Pre-pandemic, I was feeling stuck in a job that wasn’t making me happy anymore — and that wasn’t going to change. However, I now had a mortgage, family, childcare, and commute to consider. We moved out of the city and into an area that during rush hour could tack on 30 minutes to a normally straight drive. I felt stuck. Thankfully, my husband took my mood swings, frustrations, and anxiety like a champ. As partners, we discussed the options and agreed that while I couldn’t just quit my current gig to job hunt, it was time to find my next opportunity.
But job hunting can often feel like dating, and as I’d been out of both worlds for awhile, I found the shift to digital platforms and virtual interviews (or first dates) to feel totally different than the last time I’d been through this. Career mom was experiencing a whole different world from my previous life as simply a career woman.
If you’re in the same boat or think you might be looking for your next job soon, take heart! You’re not alone. But now that I’m on the other side of it, let me share seven hurdles I had to jump in case you experience the same!
While hunting for jobs, I applied for more than 80 positions. I’d say I heard back from 10%. Some of them were still posted as open months after I found a new job.
I’ll never forget going through two rounds of interviews that were both positive, yet when it came time to get to the next step I heard nothing.
I remember going into an interview (not even a phone screen) and learning they only wanted to meet me because of an achievement on my resume. The person hiring said I was overqualified, but they wanted to meet me anyway.
Think of a matchmaker trying to pair you up with the best possible position. The tough part is that some want you to be exclusive, and others don’t ever give you leads.
“Cheating” on your current job
Even if you’re unhappy in your current job, you have to sneak around for phone calls, send emails behind their back, and maybe even lie about why you’re late to work (to go to an interview for another job!). It’s stressful.
You may be rejecting an offer, or you may be rejected. Sometimes you’re told you’re not the right fit or they’re hiring from within. If a job doesn’t swipe in your favor, it can be discouraging, but you can’t give up. I remember withdrawing from a position because the travel requirement was more than I could commit to with my family.
Relying on your network
When you’re dating, you might ask friends if they know anyone you can be set up with. The same goes for job hunting — if you have connections in your network that might be hiring or work in recruiting, let them know you’re looking. They might be able to refer you or give you a heads up when a position opens up.
The feelings you get when job hunting can be nerve racking, similar to first dates. What do you wear to an interview? How much do you share? Who pays for dinner (OK, that’s not interviewing)? How soon should you follow up after you meet for the first time? It’s a lot to keep track of, and when you’re also balancing your home life, parenting, and working, it can feel like another job. It took a year, but I found a role that makes me happy and provides me the flexibility I need as a career mom who needs to be able to have work-life balance.
If you’re a mom feeling stuck, you’ve got this. Update your resume, go after what you’re passionate about, and you’ll get there.