Stay-At-Home Mom Catapults into a Job Search

When my kids were 10 and 7,  I went on my first job interview in ten years. My husband was laid off from what he thought would be his forever until retirement job at Hewlett Packard, and we suddenly faced the prospect of his severance package running out, living off savings, and if he didn’t find a new job soon, selling our house. Needless to say, I no longer had the luxury of analyzing potential  new career directions and obsessing over possibilities.  As stressful as it was, in some ways, the single goal of finding a job, any job, was a welcome break from the constant wondering, wondering, wondering “what work can I do now that my kids have started school?”

I opened my laptop and started applying for jobs. I cast a wide net and applied to anything that I was qualified for.

Within a week or so I had an interview with Concordia University for a position supporting international students. Since I had hosted a large number of international student in my home over the years, I thought I was a great fit. It was a great feeling. For the first time in a long time, I interviewed for a job that I really wanted. I could have my own office. I could counsel and advise people. I was perfect for this position! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job.

Next, I had an interview with Northwood High School. It was an administrative position and the hours aligned with my kids’ schedule. I put great effort into my interview attire, wore the most uncomfortable pointy pumps, and waxed enthusiastic about my passion for teens and education, even though I was not very excited about the job. I got to the third round of interviews, and thankfully, was not chosen.

About the same time, I took and passed the real estate license exam. Real estate had always seemed like something with flexible hours that could be fairly lucrative. So I asked a friend of mine who was a broker if he could take me on. He said yes, and within weeks I was helping him work on some leases. I began by tidying up a little condo and making it look presentable for showings. The money I made was an intern’s pay, but at least it was a start.

It didn’t matter if the job was a right fit anymore. I just needed an income, and that, for the time being, was enough.

Author: Patricia Tina Wu

I'm a teacher educator, realtor, mom, and now also a blogger. I've worked in corporate sales and marketing and as an elementary school teacher. Settling into a career has always been difficult for me. I hope that my experiences will help career seekers, young people, and their parents navigate what is sometimes a confusing and difficult area of life. I'm not out of the desert yet, but things are finally starting to make more sense.

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