I was working on a job spec for a new team member today and it got me thinking about how raising a child can demonstrate many of the essential or desirable criteria people are asked to reference in job applications or interviews, but nobody ever uses their experience of what is, arguably, one of the hardest jobs there is.
This is how it could go…
Adept at problem solving:
Every. Day. Without. Fail.
You solve a problem, the next one pops up like that Whac-a-Mole game. Aside from the big challenges like sleeping through to potty training, things that weren’t a problem 24 hours ago become the new thing to be solved.
Just this last week has seen me come up with a creative contraption to stop Harriet flinging wardrobe doors in her face when child locks don’t fit, find suitable bed wear that keeps her cool enough on muggy evenings but warm enough when the temperatures plummet overnight and making alternative plans for a Saturday with friends when nanna and grandad unexpectedly couldn’t babysit.
Happy to work non-standard hours:
This doesn’t need much explanation; ‘working’ full on non-standard hours with a little one alongside the day job on standard hours and you’ve pretty much summed up any working parent. Keeping a little person alive and firing on some/most/all cylinders at work on little sleep is a new normal that doesn’t even warrant mention, it just ends up being communicated in that glass-eyed knowing look between parents.
Ability to multitask:
Holding a squirming toddler down while putting on a nappy and trying to stop them emptying a whole pack of wipes… check
Feeding them breakfast while trying to put their hair in bunches and trying to stop them taking off their shoes and socks… check.
Wrestling them into a car seat with one eye on the clock while trying to engage in polite chat with a neighbour or trying to discuss business with the man who’s come to lay your paving… check.
Comfortable working alone and unsupervised:
See all of the above, plus trying to administer Calpol to a wriggly toddler before bedtime or stripping sicked-on bed clothes and bathing a puke-coated baby at 2am (where do you put a crawling baby covered in sick while filling the bath??). No scenario ends up fazing you.
Ability to work to tight deadlines:
Making any baby group on time takes SAS level planning and execution, with contingency built in for last minute poonamis or minxiness, like when your toddler refuses to put on a coat thinking it’s the funniest game ever. Getting to a 9.30am playgroup deserves norhing less than a medal.
Demonstrate professionalism in all you do:
Evidenced by not losing your sh*t when your little one…
Decides that eating Rice Krispies one by one is the only way to eat breakfast when you know you’re going to be late for that meeting.
Takes their shoes and socks off for the fifth time in 10 minutes.
Stands up wide awake in their cot after you’ve spent an hour stroking their back, singing 10 Little Ducks 10 times (that’s 100 blasted ducks that have gone over the hill and far away).
So do I get the job?
The next time you’re having a mare of a day take some comfort in the fact that it’s giving you really valuable experience that could help you nail that job interview!