I am celebrating my 12 year anniversary with DaySpring this week. In fact, it’s my golden anniversary, 12 years on June 12th! These 12 years have been an amazing adventure. An adventure because of what preceded those 12 years…19 years of not being in the workforce. 19 years of being a stay at home mom.
February of 1987, at age 24, expecting my first child, I exited the workforce. I left the workforce where business was tracked on green sheet ledgers, communication came through a desk phone, summoning came through an intercom on that desk phone, and all strategies, plans, and follow-ups were handled in meetings (with real live people and no screens). Our entire buying department had one computer station with Lotus 1-2-3, (spoiler alert, Lotus 1-2-3 is the predecessor of Excel).
Over the course of those 19 years, the world experienced (and continues to experience) a technology revolution. And while I had some part-time jobs, some leadership roles with service organizations and charities, I was beyond deficient in technology. Most of my moments were spent at home raising kids, playing with those kids, doing laundry, cooking meals, running errands, paying bills…pretty glamorous!
And let’s be honest, no one was going to hire me into a marketing department because I can cook and do laundry! Although I am quite proficient in both. The thought of interviewing was intimidating, but the thought of reentering was terrifying. Could I do this? I knew I had value but did I have something to sell? Could I bring something to the workforce that would be wanted or needed?
What did I have that would make someone say, “Let’s give her a shot”?
As I began to build a resume, employ a headhunter and prepare for interviews, I had the task of figuring out a story to tell that would get me in the door.
Around this same time, the concept, healthy employees make healthy companies, was building. Emotional Intelligence was becoming a key hiring factor for many companies. Employers were coming to one conclusion: someone with a high Emotional Quotient, could learn the skills needed but an employee with great skills and a low EQ created issues.
I saw this first hand in my own neighborhood. An accomplished executive at a large corporation was asked (read forced) to take a leave of absence because his personal life was a disaster. His boss gave him one directive, ‘get your life together’. His personal mess was creating a mess at work.
Personal life greatly impacts work performance. It always has and it always will.
I realized that I did have a story to tell and something to sell. I had a high EQ, not something easily learned. I was confident that I could learn excel, outlook, and other company applications, ways, and techniques. So I crafted my story.
At the end of every interview, after all the typical questions had been asked and answered I would begin my soliloquy, my sales pitch.
Let me tell you some things you are not legally allowed to ask me, but would love to know.
I am 43 with 4 teenagers. I am not having any more children. I am heading into the next season of life, empty nest. I am looking for a place to learn, grow and contribute for the next 20 years. I am emotionally healthy, physically healthy, spiritually healthy and relationally healthy (at this point a 20+ year marriage, now 32+)
You should have seen the faces. It was a mix of bewilderment and relief.
After several interviews with several companies, I was offered a role at DaySpring.
During the first few weeks, one of my interviewers told me that after my interview, he went to the president as said,
“Hire her. Who says things like that in an interview? Get her in here!”
What I had to sell was valuable and employers like to hire people who are authentic and bravely speak the truth.
Are you on the cusp of a new adventure?
Maybe you are expecting your first baby and faced with a decision; stay at home or stay at work. Both options are viable. You can do either or maybe even a mixture!
Maybe you are a stay at home mom with several littles and you are concerned if you wait too long you won’t be able to go back. You can. I did.
Maybe your littles are growing up and you are entertaining the idea of ‘going back’, but unsure if you have anything to offer. You do. I did.
Maybe you are an empty nester with a bit too much quiet and time on your hands. You want to try something new, but you hesitate, will a company want me? Yes!
You have value, you have something to offer and you are uniquely you. There is a place for you.
So…Craft your story and take that leap.