A few years ago, my friend was told she was essentially unemployable after having been out of the workplace for about five years. She was shocked, I was distraught. The last time I was on anyone’s payroll was fourteen years before, so I knew I had basically no hope of ever being offered a job.
Back when my son was born in 2004, I knew I was going to stay at home with him. I had been working as a graphic designer in an ad agency in London and the hours were long, the fun was heavy and the chances of ever leaving at 5pm were minimal. It really wasn’t that hard a decision to make when he arrived a couple of months early and was the size of a kitten. If we had to eat peas and rice and not go on holiday, so be it.
As soon as the peas and rice were wearing thin, and my son was the size of a child, I started working freelance from home and have done so ever since. I know I am not utilising my Mac as well as I could, and it can probably do things I don’t even know about, but I have tried to keep up to date. I watch tutorials on YouTube, I say yes to everything then figure it out afterwards; even if that does mean my hourly rate drops down into pence. I have been on online courses about social media marketing, web development and SEO. I have taught myself a load of stuff and I have tried to stay relevant.
So am I too unemployable?
I’m not sorry that I have spent so many years pretty much devoted to my children, but I am a bit scared that I will have a terrible ‘empty nest’ experience. I really started to panic when I got refused a position as a volunteer in a dogs home.
I used to be trendy and skating along the cutting edge I’ll have you know,” I wanted to shout, “I’ve not always been obsessed with the sun coming out so the clothes will dry on the line quickly.
I remember years ago I had a boyfriend (not hub) whose Mum had been indoors for years and the banality of her conversation, the smallness of her judgy world horrified me. I am not going to be like that, I clearly remember thinking. Shoot me now!
As lockdown three trundled on I decided, no, I promised myself, I would find a job. Any job. I would prove to myself that I was not unemployable, because after all, this was only one man’s opinion to my friend two years previously. It suddenly struck me. I’ve been a div. I have bought into this because it was what I was already thinking. I am more than a Mother: I have skills, I have interests, I have abilities.
Sod this I’m going for it
So I pulled up my proactive pants and got in touch with someone I had previously spoken to, about a different position that I didn’t get.
Do you need anyone to do anything? I asked.
The answer was yes, and last week I signed my new contract as Website Administration Manager. True, I may be older, but I am also not going to need time off to have a baby, I am not going to have sleepless nights and be shattered because I’m looking after a baby or need days off for sports days and school plays. And guess what else? With age comes experience, and patience, and common sense in abundance. I fully intend to embrace this role like my sanity depends on it, because, frankly, it feels like it just might.