Monday, June 28, 2010

Signs of intelligent life

A friend who was recently laid off from his job and I were discussing how our job searches were going. He said he has a few things in the hopper. The best I could say: "It's going." That day I'd applied for one of those sign-of-the-times jobs, as a part-time, substitute technician at the local library. After I expressed doubt about why I was even applying, he said (and I paraphrase), "Well, you've been out of it for a while, so you might have to take what you can get."


Now, we've known each for almost sixteen years, and I'm sure he didn't mean for it to come out like that. Except that it did come out like that.

Maybe he knows something about the job market and the workplace that I don't know. After all, I have been "out of it" for ten years.

Then again, he knows me. He knows I'm smart and capable. It's not like I'm some sixteen-year-old applying for her first job at Taco Bell. I've worked since I was eleven (babysitting for neighbor kids). I have a bachelor's degree. I've got some skill-dazzles.

An employment coach recently told me that a lot of employers hesitate to hire people with resume gaps because they assume they're going to have to teach them everything and hold their hands all the time.

Is Bobby Riggs writing the human resources manuals here? Methinks it is not I who needs updating.

Number one, it's not like I'm Rip Van Winkle. I've been awake, though often sleep-deprived, and yes, even sentient, during the last decade. Google has practically idiot-proofed the Blogger program I'm using at this moment. But for cryin' out loud, is it necessary for me to point out that I'm using Blogger at this moment?

Number two, don't most jobs, apart from the President's, have training programs?

Number three, I can learn, from training programs, and also with the desire to get and keep and improve at a job and just plain old curiosity.

And number four, I dare anyone to try staying home alone with a toddler. Talk about being an independent contractor. With most of the other women my age at work, I often felt like a pioneer woman, out there alone on the prairie. High lonesome winds. Had to invent our own fun and stay sane, and yes, sentient, at the same time. Cookin' up a new batch of play dough. Pitchin' a tent over the dining room table and playin' Indians. Not a hint of adult conversation in sight. Years before I talked in a complete sentence.

Or at least until my husband got home from work.

Surely there are hiring supervisors out there who can put aside their prejudices about resume gaps and the intellectual capacity of stay-at-home moms.

I'm counting on it.