Sometimes, no matter how you try to maintain composure and professionalism in job interviews, some questions just can’t be answered without being vulnerable.
Q: “Why did you resign from your previous job?”
Questions like this, in spite of being a totally normal job interview question, can be a dreaded one especially when you’ve gone from being a confident, workaholic single woman, to a smitten, family-first, full-time Mom.
It would have been easier (and maybe more impressive) to answer this by saying “I was offered a better opportunity somewhere else,” or “I’m looking for a new adventure.” Unfortunately, none of those answers applied to me.
So I dared to answer this question head-on, knowing that my answer would either make me or break me.
This is it, I thought to myself. He’s going to know I’m a mother.
My answer: “Because I just gave birth to twins.”
I went on to explain that the normal maternity leave was not enough time for me to adjust to my new role as a mother, which gave me no choice but to resign.
It’s not that I’m ashamed of it, I’m not! Right now there’s nothing I’m more proud of than my twin girls. But I do know that in a dynamic and demanding industry such as the one I’m in, being a mother can be a professional disadvantage. To some employers, a turn-off even. There’s no denying the fact that a mother’s first priority is her family and everything else takes the backseat (including her job); whereas a single woman, in comparison, is freer to devote long hours into a job.
But a mother is who I am now. And it’s no secret that my family is my priority. In fact, my family is the very reason why I resigned from my previous job, to begin with, and why I started looking for a new job a few months after.
Whoever’s going to hire me should know that.
Amazingly, this particular employer became even more interested to hire me because I am a mother. Apparently, their target market happened to be young mothers and women my age, and they needed someone who has a fresh take on motherhood and womanhood.
I fit the profile. Score!
Everything ought to begin by being personal
“Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal,” I can almost hear Kathleen Kelly thinking out loud. Finding a job is as personal as can be. A job takes your time away from your family, your friends, your hobbies, yourself. If that isn’t personal, I don’t know what is.
Often we try to compartmentalize professional from personal, and I don’t really have any objections with that because we have to know where to draw the line too. But I also realized that if I must choose a profession that would make me happy, one that would set the course of my career in the coming years, then the job has to fit right into my new (personal) profile: A mom of twins. Who has an extensive background in Online Marketing. Who just realized that she wants to be a writer.
And even though I didn’t get this particular job either (the location and the schedule didn’t work for me so I had to politely turn the offer down), it paved the way for me to land the job that God happened to tailor fit just for me.