Hey SAHMs: Here’s some back-to-work resume advice

I am a part-time SAHM and a part-time WAHM (work-at-home mom). Which I think makes me a full-time WASAHM. Or some other unpronounceable acronym.

Anyway, I have a lot of full-time SAHM friends who are thinking about going back to work now that their kids are getting older. I have never left the working world, so they ask me for advice. And all of them say right away to me:

I want to go back to work. But I haven’t worked in like six years. What will I put on my resume? 

And I say: HOLY CRAP, woman. You have most certainly been working for the past six years. You’re looking at it all wrong. You’ve got plenty of real skills and qualifications to fill in a resume.

You don’t believe me?

Trust me, mamas. I work with so many people who do a crappy job at work. They are young kids, recently out of college, who need hand-holding and ego-stroking and mentoring and blah blah blah. Or they are complacent num-nuts who have been in the same job for ten years and have no fresh ideas.

You could totally kick their asses.

Let me show you how to rethink what you’ve been doing over the past six to ten years. You need to translate your Mom Reality into Resume Reality. Ready? Here we go.

See? It’s all how you spin it! Grownups throw tantrums in the workplace all the time. You will be well-prepared for that ridiculousness, that’s for sure.

Now of course, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, the way I see it? You are eminently hirable:

* Moms have crazy mad skills that are unbelievably useful in the workplace. We have to be organized, we multi-task like crazy, we get along with/manage/coexist with many different personalities, and we’re pretty freakin smart. Last I checked, these are all desirable skills.

* Another fact to give a you a little confidence? I have been seeing lots of moms snagging part-time jobs recently. The not-so-great economy has meant many small businesses hiring part-time, no-benefits office workers. For anyone whose spouse is already the source of health insurance, and who doesn’t want to work 40 hrs/week, this is a great deal.

* And, by the way, you know all those baby boomers who are retiring? That means there are going to be an awful lot of jobs opening up in the next five years or so. Businesses are going to be scrambling for workers just as you are looking for work.  Or just as you are ready to make the jump from part-time to full-time. Sweet!

Now, I am Honest Mom. So I’m not going to sugar-coat it. It’s not going to be a piece of cake.

Yeah, you may have to take a bunch of steps back in your career from where you left off. Yeah, you probably won’t make tons of money right off the bat. But you have to start somewhere. Just get your foot in the door and go from there!

And just remember: You HAVE been working the last 6-10 years. Don’t discount what you’ve been doing. Any employer (that you’d want to work for) is going to respect the choices you’ve made for your family. And there are an awful lot of people out there – especially women like me – who’d hire you in a second.

I have a lot of experience as a job applicant, as a hiring manager, and as a freelancer/independent contractor. I’ve written tons of resumes, both traditional and non-traditional. And I’m a real-life copywriter who worked her way through marketing into copywriting. So if you have any questions about getting back into the workforce or changing careers, let me know. I’m happy to help however I can!

Today I Quit My Job.

I'm gonna be just like Tina Fey. Except not as funny. Or rich. But my home office will look like hers.

This morning was all butterflies and nerves. This afternoon was all smiles and freedom.

Since fall of 2010, after two years of being a SAHM and doing some freelancing, I’ve been working part time. It’s been great: two days a week as a copywriter at the company I used to work full-time at. I had a steady job but a freelancer’s salary. I got to be around grownups but also got time with my kids.

It was a sweet gig. Until it wasn’t.

For the last few months it’s been pretty tough. I’ve been on a demanding, stressful project. And to make things harder, I had to work with Mr. Big Ego and his minion, Miss Pain In The Arse. I had to deal with work politics and internal warring and all sorts of crap I was happy to leave behind when I quit in 2008. BLECH.

Finally, finally, the annoying project was over. I had new, non-annoying projects. Things were humming along again.

But something was amiss. I was getting restless. I was losing my creative edge. And I wasn’t happy anymore.

I started to think about striking out on my own. For real, this time. Hubs and I started discussing it in earnest.

But the money. Oh, the money. The cash from my job was so good and steady and tempting. And then…

Then I was suddenly informed by my boss last week that he was getting headcount to hire two full-time people. And he would need the two part-timers’ cubes. So I could stay until they hired another writer. But then I’d need to go back to freelancing.

Now, to the untrained eye, this may look like I was let go.

But in actuality? This is serendipity, baby.

And I grabbed serendipity’s hand and ran with it.

I was damned if I was going to sit around, waiting to be replaced by some full-time whippersnapper. Yeah, I could have milked it for a while and then slunk out when my replacement came.

But for the love of Pete, people. I’ve got pride. And AMBITION.

I was leaving on MY terms.

So today, I told my boss my last office day is Wednesday. I’ll help them out and keep the same workload for them until they find a full-time person, but I’ll be doing it at home so I can also get my bonafide copywriting business rocking.

And I won’t lie: Being a quitter never felt so good.

I left the office today with my boxes of stuff and stepped into the lovely spring weather. The sun was warm on my face. I felt a little shiver of a cool breeze.

Or maybe that was the sweet tingle of anticipation.

 

Did you ever quit a job and feel energized when you did it? Are you embarking on any new adventures this year, career or otherwise? 

A Valentine’s Day Love Letter. To Me. From Me.

Dear JD,

You’ve had a really hard few weeks, honey. I know you have. A traveling husband, a puking child, the same child not sleeping, and your work projects exploding … well, it’s a wonder you are standing upright.

I’m here to tell you: GOOD JOB, MAMA! YOU ROCK! AND I LOVE YOU TO PIECES!

I know you feel like you are doing horribly at everything. You feel like you are letting everyone down at work, you’re an inadequate mother, and you suck as a wife. And not in a way your husband appreciates.

You’re not doing horribly. You are holding it together. Pretty well, given the circumstances. You even manage a smile and a big hug for your daughters in the morning when all you want to do is crawl under the covers and hide from them and the rest of the world. And I say bravo, my dear. Bravo.

And listen. You know that little 20-something twit at work who is complaining you are “only part time” and “not dedicated to the project” and sent you an email tonight lamenting that she “wished you were here tomorrow so we could talk through some more things”?

She’s a child. She doesn’t have ANY IDEA about life priorities or that you are working WAY more than you are supposed to on this project and how completely dedicated you are, but that family ALWAYS comes first. Someday she will be cursed with colicky twins who puke all over her every night and look back at the time she was mean to you and understand that karma is definitely a bitch.

And I know Grace’s inability to sleep at night is killing you, both mentally and physically. I know you feel helpless. But you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not your fault. And someday, somehow, she will – and you will – sleep again.

I know you worry about Anne not getting enough attention because Grace is needy and you are so damn tired. But she is doing great. And you are doing great raising her. She loves you to pieces and you love her right back.

You are doing SO MANY THINGS RIGHT. You are carving out time for yourself.  You are getting help via therapy and antidepressants. You are spending quality time with the Hubs. You are working out. You have a job and are making some good money because you are great at what you do. You are still getting quality time with your kids, making cookies and valentines and other things they love to do. You have this blog and you are writing for yourself. And you are full of love for your family and friends.

Now it’s time to be full of love for yourself.

Ya hear me, woman? Appreciate yourself. You rock. Yeah, you’re not perfect. No one is. But you are doing the best you can, and the best you can is pretty damn good.

Life is hard right now. But you are still blessed. And I know you know it. And that you appreciate all you have. So hang in there. The saying “It Gets Better” goes for you, too.

Keep on keeping on with your awesome self. And Happy Valentine’s Day, you sexy lady.

Love, Yourself

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