The Breadwinner

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Linda Nason McElherne

After reading the article about Leslie's findings on stay-at-home moms in Newsweek (May 28, 2007), I am writing to let you know, I am apparently the one and only woman -- single, masters-educated, author, designer, educator who has had trouble finding a good full-time job after being home for 10 years with four kids.

Starting at my divorce proceedings in 1999, I have struggled to get a decent job for eight years. Since I am raising four kids alone, I have to have a full-time job and two part-time jobs. My work experience includes a dozen years in the business world working in marketing communication, sales, and trade-show management, 10 years spent teaching full time, and two published books (one of which won the National Teachers Choice Award in 2000). I have continually looked for better work situation for years so that financially, my children and I are not hanging by a thread. I am still not there.

I think if a woman has plenty of time to look for a job and has a support system, like a decent husband, it may be easier. But for all the educated, bright, hard-working, single moms, life in the workplace is hard. We don't make male salaries, and we are not treated as breadwinners.

I'm generally an optimistic person and honor other's views, including Leslie's. But, honestly, her research does not reflect my story, which shows how hard it is for some women to find decent-paying jobs, and the need for employers to see that women are the breadwinners of many households.

Looking back at my career path, I believe I should never have quit my job long ago to stay home with my kids. My children and I pay for that choice on a daily basis.

Linda Nason McElherne lives in Hinsdale, Ill., with her family.

Please see Back in Business in the June issue of More Magazine as well as the Newsweek article for the complete research findings to which Linda refers.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 19, 2007; 6:30 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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OMG. first.

I don't think you're the only one to experience this. Not all tales are rosey.

Posted by: atb | June 19, 2007 6:55 AM

The older I get, the more I wonder what we mean when we talk about getting a "decent" job. I'm apparently not the only one to struggle with this. My family and even some of my friends keep asking me why I stay in an office job instead of seeking out a position that outwardly is more professional and more in keeping with my education. The sad fact is that my office job pays more money than those professional positions for which I'm qualified, and I'm not about to take a cut in salary just for the sake of being a professional, whatever that means anymore. At some point, we all need to decide what it is we want from our jobs, whether the paycheck is enough or whether we want some sort of psycho-spiritual fulfillment, as well. And if money is the bottom line (and for some of us it is), we should not simply assume that professional is going to be better, because sometimes it isn't.

Posted by: Murphy | June 19, 2007 7:32 AM

When I was trying to find a job after 12 years at home with my kids, I felt like I might have been better off if I had been in jail for 12 years - at least there are programs to help ex-cons! Seriously, the problem is with the myth that employers are looking for the best qualified workers - in fact, they are looking for people that fit their sterotypes, which ususally means people like themselves, and they automatically assume that if you have voluntarily been out of the work force for an extended period of time, it means you will not be 'dedicated to your work'. Eventually worked out more or less ok for me, I took a federal job two grades below what I should I have been entitled to and then worked my *ss off and eventually reached a decent pay grade, but never really liked or felt respected at my job, and can't wait until I can take early retirement next year. Sorry I can't offer a happier scenario, but there is no point regretting your time at home, you did what you felt was best, and can't change the past anyway, so I hope things get better for you.

Posted by: mommy war vet | June 19, 2007 7:33 AM

Linda,
You're not the only one. I'm expressing solidarity, by the way! I disagree with Leslie's article also. I had a terrible time trying to get back into the work force. In my area, IT, it is all 60+ hour work weeks, no part time, and you have to have current skills (skills > 1 year old will not be considered). I've said it before, but if you take more than one year off, you won't be able to get back in. Many women in my neighborhood have discovered what you are talking about. In my opinion, Leslie's article hurt by saying the going-back-to-work situation has improved, when in reality, it has not for those in engineering and probably science.

Posted by: dotted | June 19, 2007 7:44 AM

Although it wasn't due to staying at home to raise a child, my wife did drop out of the workforce for several years when she decided to go back to school to finish her degree (I carried her away from college when I married her).

Unfortunately, she chose to return to the workforce right when the economy hit a downturn, and it was very difficult to find a job in her career. Employers wanted experienced workers and more education than she had even with the degree, but going back to school simply wasn't an option after so long out of work.

After accepting any part-time work she could find for about 2 years, she finally landed a job with a small firm 30 miles south of where we live. When their senior engineer decided to start his own consultant firm, he asked her and one other to come with him, and she's now their senior designer and indispensible to the firm.

It took a lot of patience on her part and lots of support and reassurance from me that she was doing the right things, but she eventually did get the job she was looking for.

Posted by: John L | June 19, 2007 7:53 AM

"like a decent husband"

Man bashing time again!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 8:00 AM

I don't have experience with this situation personally but I did watch my mother go through it. Like Linda, my mother was out of the work force for about 8 years raising kids; my parents divorced and she needed to return to work. It took her a long time to get a decent salary. I had hoped things had changed since then. A friend of mine, a lawyer, also was out of the work force 9 years. She is recently divorced and needed to find full-time work. Although a senior attorney when she left to be a SAHM she took a mid-level attorney position and salary just to get a job in the legal field. I don't know about the figures Leslie's article quoted but I think there are a lot of women in this situation. Maybe it's slightly better then when my mom did it, I don't know.

My heart goes out to Linda and others facing this situation. I'm so glad you wrote this guest blog though. I think it's important for parents to be aware of how hard it may be to get back in if you stay home for an extended period, not to scare folks away from staying home, but so parents know what they are getting into. I wonder if stay-at-home dads face the same difficulties. Anyone know?

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | June 19, 2007 8:03 AM

I would like to see them interview normal people who didn't go to top 10 MBA schools like Kellogg or Harvard and had children before they were Vice Presidents and took off 3-5 years and see what the data show. I think your experience is likely to be shared by the vast majority of women and I hope that all your hard work pays off. I am a new mom and I took my maternity and came back full time and can't imagine taking time out of the workforce as it seems hard enough to feel like I am still a professional as I work a bit less than I used to. Good luck to you.

Posted by: katie | June 19, 2007 8:03 AM

I wonder if part of the problem comes from how moms classify themselves. I always state that I am a stay-at-home mom. I feel like that is what I am. I simply do not have the same stresses that my working friends have and my life looks a lot more like a stay-at-home mom. However, I work. It is part-time and the hours are flexible. Not the deadlines but I can work whenever I want. When I go back to full time work I imagine it will be easier than someone who has completely stopped doing paid work. But I still feel like I dropped out to raise my kids and would describe it as such.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | June 19, 2007 8:04 AM

Great piece. Leslie's "research" was obviously ridiculously optimistic. The studies which found women encountering problems returning to work had larger samples and were more scientific.

Posted by: Green Mtns | June 19, 2007 8:05 AM

The original poster didn't discuss this, but it seems from the comments that at least some of the people who are having trouble finding work expected to re-enter the workforce exactly where they left off. It seems to me like that could be a huge obstacle to finding a "good" job.

Of course, I haven't yet started looking to return to work, so I may be totally off-base here. But I do expect that I will have to take a step or two down when I do return to work, especially if I want to work 9-5 hours, rather than the 8:30-7 I worked before I had my daughter.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 19, 2007 8:05 AM

the need for employers to see that women are the breadwinners of many households.
=========================================================

One of the concepts that seems to be widely held here is that pay should be based job performance. Some women have decried the 1950's policy of paying women less and men more because the men were viewed as supporting a family. Is this policy to be reinvigorated for women now?

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 8:18 AM

"the need for employers to see that women are the breadwinners of many households.
=========================================================

One of the concepts that seems to be widely held here is that pay should be based job performance. Some women have decried the 1950's policy of paying women less and men more because the men were viewed as supporting a family. Is this policy to be reinvigorated for women now?
"

Yes. Twist everything to fit this woman's agenda.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 8:24 AM

I think there is a difference between reentering the workforce when (a) the kids are in school and you are still married and have the second person's income and (2) the husband dies or leaves. In the first scenerio, you can afford to enter the workforce slowly and build up your experience. In the second scenerio, you need to be making "good" money fast.

One of the reasons that I chose not to stay at home (and there were many other reasons as well) is because I was afraid of what would happen if my husband passed away while the kids were young. Not only would I have to deal with my grief and my kids grief, but I would have to deal with finding a job etc. Now, I know that you cannot live your life in fear and if this were my only reason, I dont think it would be a very good one, but it was in my analysis. But, I will point out that an adequate life insurance policy would help alleviate my fears.

Posted by: Marie | June 19, 2007 8:31 AM

the need for employers to see that women are the breadwinners of many households.

I think what was meant by this comment is that women should be receiving the same amount as men, not more...No need to invigorate the argument that those with families should be paid more, but for equal work a woman should earn as much as a man. As we have discussed here before, such inequalities exist.
It took me 6 months to realize that the guy in the office next door, working equally hard got $10,000 more than I did. This was pre-kids, when I regularly worked 60-80 hours a week.

I got that equalized and in spite of the kids( now both of us have kids) still work the same number of hours as he.


Posted by: to anon for today | June 19, 2007 8:31 AM

This poster's story - and others like it - is, in part, a vindication of a more traditional view of post-divorce spousal support. While married, one spouse often sacrifices career opportunities for the good of the family unit, allowing the other spouse to advance further and/or more quickly. It makes sense for the sacrificing spouse to receive compensation in the form of a period of support while he or she brushes up skills and finds a job that will allow him or her to more closely approximate the marital standard of living. True, a teacher reentering the workforce will never be able to generate the income of a lawyer who never left it, and the teacher will eventually just have to accept this disparity with the former marital income. But the lawyer should be expected to provide enough support that the teacher won't have to take the first crappy job that comes along and so that the teacher can take classes to update his certification.

(BTW, lest the bitter exhusband brigade attack, I'm a woman who will likely make significantly more money than her husband. If anyone puts his career on hold to raise children, it will be my husband. These principles could and should be applied against me in the event of a divorce.)

Posted by: Not A Mom | June 19, 2007 8:35 AM

"her research does not reflect my story" - oh how nice to hear from someone else that feels this way! Leslie's blog rarely addresses the issues and viewpoints of people that aren't upper-middle class, married and white...

Posted by: jj | June 19, 2007 8:37 AM

employers do not care if women are the 'breadwinners' for a family, employers care only about the job being done. if they see women as breadwinners for a family, what does that say for the women who are not in that same situation? Should those women earn less, and thus invite the whole childless vs motherhood debate?

Posted by: june 16 | June 19, 2007 8:37 AM

to 8:31,

She said specifically " and the need for employers to see that women are the breadwinners of many households."

Nothing anything about equal pay for equal work.

I don't not agree with you interpertation.

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 8:47 AM

I don't not agree with you interpertation.

Meant to type, I don't agree with your interpertation.

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 8:48 AM

Meant to type, I don't agree with your interpertation.

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 08:48 AM

Interpretation?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:01 AM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:04 AM

Interpretation?

If you want to spell it that way, sure!

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 9:09 AM

C'mon guys I am in Jury Duty today and bored stiff. Someone say something entertaining! ;-)

Seriously though, as someone who hires in IT (engineers, scientists, misc. techies and other businesspeople) I always have to seriously evaluate how someone 'justtifies' the time they took off. Because, as dotted says above, their skills absolutely do get rusty.

I can honestly say that in most cases that I have seen, applicants (mostly women) indicating that they took time off to raise children are evaluated no differently from men who ~claim~ they took time off to start their own business, but can articulate no tangible lessons learned or professional development over that period.

Granted, that's just IT. If you are in a field where your skills do not rust so easily (writer?) perhaps it should be much easier to re-enter.

Oh, and by the way, many Executive Management skills should not rust quickly. A P/E Ratio calculation is the same today as it was in 1950. Therefore if you were a VP in 1995 and took time off to raise your kids and you try to jump back in the workforce tomorrow, your skills are probably still relevant. I agree that if Leslie's subjects were too senior, this dynamic will skew her results greatly.

Posted by: Proud Papa | June 19, 2007 9:14 AM

Luckily, I'm one of those women who have always been paid similarly - if not more - than my male counterparts. I think part of the reason is that I don't just have jobs, I have a career and my employers know that. Yes, I am married. No, I don't have kids. In my technical field, I've worked with a lot of women who were planning on having kids at some point and were just biding their time until they could be a stay at home mom. That attitude does not get you raises or promotions. If I do have kids, I will still have a career, its just who I am and part of what makes me successful. I think a lot of employers see women returning to the workforce as just wanting a "job" and they probably want more committment than that. Not saying its right, but it is what I've observed.

Posted by: Career Gal | June 19, 2007 9:16 AM

Someone say something entertaining! ;-)


OK, show of hands. How many lurkers are out there?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:19 AM

I have always worked and will strongly advise my daughter and son to never quit working once they have children. My husband is a steady and excellent provider and so am I. Do I expect us to divorce? One of us to die early? No. But quitting work, for either of us, makes us vulnerable and dependent on things that we can't control. I have made career choices that provide a better balance with family needs at the expense of a more lucrative position, but I never made a choice that put my ability to support myself and my children at risk. At one point, I realized that although I loved my job (part time academic) it was not sufficient to guarantee my financial stability so I moved into something else. To accomodate this, my husband had to change jobs and we had to move. However, he valued my financial independence as much as I did.

I think my husband and I have a strong relationship in part because he knows I can take care of myself and the children if necessary and we know that we are not together for the other's paycheck. It is an enviable position and I know not everyone can get there. I know if one of us fell ill or was disabled or daycare wasn't available...etc...one of us would have left the workforce. But it would have been a high cost necessity, not a choice.

I will encourage my children to do their best to continue working and have working spouses. Not for the rewards of wealth, or personal achievment and challange in the workforce....I hope my children learn that work outside the home for both spouses is good for a marriage and a family.

Posted by: relativelynewtoblog | June 19, 2007 9:21 AM

Then, why did you have FOUR children? Why was your regret staying at home- when, clearly, it should have been limiting your family size? Obviously you can't resent your kids and you love them, as would I if I had 4, but having a large family is very difficult.

If you had 2 children, you would be doing just fine.

I'd find it difficult to raise four children, without hanging by a thread, even in a 2 income married household.

We are a dual income 1 child family and we are not rolling in all of this extra money! Between retirement and college and daycare, housing, gas, etc...

Don't you feel irresponsible for having so many kids knowing full well that one day you may need to be the breadwinner?

I'm sure people will jump all over me for this- but, really, what is the author looking for? How are you supposed to get paid well AND work fewer hours so that you can be there to raise 4 kids? What about sick days and school holidays and vacation days?

She really should have planned for this. You can't "have it all", contrary to what many believe. Something has to go- and, in this case- you CHOSE to have A LOT of kids. Now you have to deal with that.

No sympathy here.

Posted by: Small Families | June 19, 2007 9:23 AM

I wanted to publish this Guest Blog because I think Linda's story is very representative of many women's experience, not directly reflected in what I studied. Hopefully by hearing from Linda and others like here, we can achieve a balanced story. My research showed that women who have been out of work for 10 years or more, and/or are 50+, have a FAR more difficult time finding work, even if they have excellent work and educational credentials.

A ten year gap is a lot harder to explain. But even more pernicious is age-ism on top of gender and SAHM bias. Ageism is something most women who left the paid workforce in their late 30s or early 40s have never encountered. But it's real, and it seriously derails efforts by men AND women to find good jobs after 50.

Given that so many Americans are living active, healthy lives well into their 70s, it is crazy for workplaces to overlook people in their 50s. These employees may have 20 or more years of great productivity to offer employers.

But back to my findings in Newsweek and More. Many former SAHMs who talked with me did so "to get the real story out." The real story is that your career is NOT doomed if you take a few years off. There is way too much fear and negativity dictating women's decisions, whether to stay at work and to stay at home. The women I talked to were eager to allay people's fears that caring for your children fulltime is no longer a black mark on your resume, as perhaps it once was.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 9:24 AM

As I've said before, I personally didn't have too big a problem re-entering the workforce - but I have a niche degree and very specific experience.

And then, once I had a job, getting another one wasn't as difficult.

However, I make far less than I did when I left the workforce, even having been back for almost two years - far less. If I ever make what I used to make it will take quite a while (I was out for four years). And I'm in the same level, for the most part, as I was.

BUT - I work close to home (was a big factor in taking this job) I have an understanding boss and not too much stress with this position. It's all good.

And when my DH decides to quit his job and/or start his own business or whatever, I'll not be making enough to support us, but enough until he figures out what he wants. This gives us a lot of freedom.

That all having been said, I did meet a woman who was trying to re-enter the workforce after 8 years staying at home - and she said she couldn't (she's an engineer) so she' teaching yoga.

Nothing's easy and yes, employers are definitely looking for what you can do for them.

My thought, also, is that companies want you to need them and not be able to quit on a whim - and staying out of the workforce tells them you could take or leave their job. So they don't like that. Even if the reasons for returning to work are that you are now supporting the family.

Marie - just get enough life insurance on your husband, and worry about bad things when they happen. My thought is that if I lost my DH, I would want enough to live on so that I could sell the house and make sure that everything's okay - probably would be six months to a year where I might or might not be working. Life insurance is cheap and buys a LOT of peace of mind. Just a thought.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 9:26 AM

small families -- your way or highway, huh?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 19, 2007 9:26 AM

I agree with Proud Papa and others wo pointed out that Leslie may have focused on more senior people in her survey.

Here's my example: I have only about 5 years of "professional" office experience under my belt, but I am certainly at the right age for kids (28). If I decided to take off a few years to raise kids this year, I would have to re-enter the job force at pretty much entry level. That means a job that pays between 30 and 40K. The we'd have to factor in the cost of day care, the increased gas and clothing costs, etc. Some people might not think that income is worth it. So they might look for jobs that pay more, but then they're not deemed qualified for those. And so the cycle continues.

Posted by: Meesh | June 19, 2007 9:26 AM

The real story is that your career is NOT doomed if you take a few years off. There is way too much fear and negativity dictating women's decisions, whether to stay at work and to stay at home. The women I talked to were eager to allay people's fears that caring for your children fulltime is no longer a black mark on your resume, as perhaps it once was.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 09:24 AM

I agree wholeheartedly, Leslie.
You are in no way doomed after a few years off.
In fact, I have been getting praised for it as of late and it's almost a badge of honor in the preschool parent's world.

I think the key is, as I always tell SAHM friends heading back to work, is to not hide it.
I learned more about myself and the world in those 3 years at home than I ever had. A lot of it was personal growth and seeing the world in a whole different perspective- which I believe makes me a better employee as well now. It's almost like traveling abroad for a year or a semester in college/right after college. You just learn about life in a non-traditional way.
And that's what I told prospective employers about my time "off". And they loved it. I didn't try to hide being a mom- they could have all of me, or none of me, and I received a lot of great offers.

I think women are so scared to admit they are a mom, some back themselves into a corner of guilt and then get angry about it.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | June 19, 2007 9:32 AM

No, it's not my way or the highway- I just believe the author needs to step back and look at ALL of her choices. That included having 4 kids- which is very expensive. She can have as many kids as she wants, but is she suprised that she doesn't have a lot of money? Just something to think about when considering family size.
Where I live, daycare costs alone would be more than 4K/month for 4 kids. That's more than most people would make in a month.

Posted by: Small Families | June 19, 2007 9:37 AM

"Eventually worked out more or less ok for me, I took a federal job two grades below what I should I have been entitled to and then worked my *ss off and eventually reached a decent pay grade, but never really liked or felt respected at my job, and can't wait until I can take early retirement next year."

What are you entitled to after staying home for 12 years with kids? Really, I would like to know? Do you just expect the other people who were working the last 12 years to welcome you and give you the same level of job they have? Be realistic, please.

Posted by: anon today | June 19, 2007 9:38 AM

"You are in no way doomed after a few years off.
In fact, I have been getting praised for it as of late and it's almost a badge of honor in the preschool parent's world."

Oooh! A badge of honor in the parent's preschool world! Just what I've always wanted!


Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:40 AM

I'm lurking and I'm wondering why someone doesn't start an employment agency/temp agency that is just focused on helping stay-at-home-moms re-enter the workforce?

Posted by: Jane | June 19, 2007 9:40 AM

"My thought, also, is that companies want you to need them and not be able to quit on a whim - and staying out of the workforce tells them you could take or leave their job."

Well, it seems to me that career employees are a thing of the past and workers change jobs and companies many times over the course of their careers.

I think that part of the problem is that people expect to walk in where they left off. I think it is reasonable to come in at a lower level, even entry level and work your way back up. A senior attorney returned as a mid-level - the horror !!! most people in this country will never reach the level of a midlevel attorney.

My advice for balance - Offer to start at a lower level and be allowed 6 months to one year to prove yourself at which time you will be elevated to a level comparable to anyone with your total years of experience. The employer then has a chance to see if your time off has hurt your performance or not. Get it in writing. Of course, not everyone can afford this, but maybe you could do it on a parttime basis while you are doing something else.

Just thought I'd offer a suggestion and not just an opinion.

Posted by: nona | June 19, 2007 9:41 AM

I didn't really get a lot of resistance when I send my resume - employers seem to understand a time gap (and we have a small business that I wrote on my resume I run).

In fact, one of the questions was: where do you see yourself in five years (I HATE that!) - and I said something like: able to juggle my life and hope that it all works - i.e., kids, going back to work, home, etc. The questioner seemed to like the answer (and ended up hiring me).

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 9:43 AM

Forget whose show I heard it on over the weekend ... definitely on NPR, though ... but it was an interesting observation. Used to be that women who worked "at home" were "housewives." Now they are "stay at home moms." Not sure when this change in nomenclature took place, but it would seem to reflect a change in the nature of American relationships: whereas the couple was once the mainstay of the American family, now it's the children. Personally, I'm not a fan of either designation. Both strip the woman (or the man in the case of stay at home dads) of her own identity. Where's Betty Friedan when we need her?!?

Posted by: Murphy | June 19, 2007 9:44 AM

I guess my question is why is she raising four kids alone. Even if she and Pappa divorced, he should be paying child support, spending time with his children, etc. Sounds like she is suffering from an ex-husband who got divorced from his family, not just his wife.

One presumes the choice to have those four kids was both of theirs, he should be taking responsibility even if the marriage is over.

And four kids on one salary would be rough on anyone - even someone who stayed in the workforce, so it is not surprising she is having trouble making ends meet after having been out of the workforce for a while.

Robin L.

Posted by: Raising fours kids alone | June 19, 2007 9:45 AM

The term "decent husband" or "good husband" as appeared in 27 posts on this blog.

whereas;

The term "decent wife" or "good wife" has only appeared 9.

The terms "bad husband" and "bad wife" equally weigh in at 8 apiece.

Posted by: Blog Stats | June 19, 2007 9:45 AM

Jane,

Check out momcorps.com

I know there are others out there...

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 9:45 AM

Interpretation?

If you want to spell it that way, sure!

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 09:09 AM

Yea, why would anyone want to spell a word the right way, except as another lifestyle choice? Give every kid a 100% on his spelling test whether he gets the words right or wrong, because we don't want to trample all over his fragile self-esteem.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:47 AM

"Eventually worked out more or less ok for me, I took a federal job two grades below what I should I have been entitled to and then worked my *ss off and eventually reached a decent pay grade, but never really liked or felt respected at my job, and can't wait until I can take early retirement next year."

I have a federal job and have been in federal service for over 25 years. Many people come to federal service and progress to higher levels. Many people don't progress, and not everyone reaches the same level even if they do progress. There are many factors in progression such as, experience, ability, education, budget for the department, politics, who you know, etc.

BTW, many people are eligible for federal jobs at various grades, but no one is entitled to any position. Maybe you should view yourself through someone else's eyes.

Posted by: anon this time | June 19, 2007 9:48 AM

Yea, why would anyone want to spell a word the right way, except as another lifestyle choice? Give every kid a 100% on his spelling test whether he gets the words right or wrong, because we don't want to trample all over his fragile self-esteem.

Do you ever shut up?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:50 AM

Interpretation?

If you want to spell it that way, sure!

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 09:09 AM

Yea, why would anyone want to spell a word the right way, except as another lifestyle choice
==================================================

I did enjoy yanking your chain! (not that their is anything wrong with another lifestyle!)

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 9:55 AM

Q. Why would anyone want care how other people spell words on a blog?

A. Low self esteem

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:55 AM

Good points re the father. What about a helping hand (emotionally, if not financially) from the mom's own family? Don't those kids have grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins?

Posted by: To Raising fours kids alone | June 19, 2007 9:59 AM

I actually care that words are spelled correctly in all of my correspondence, formal and informal. I actually care that my grammar is correct. But once in a while, my fingers go too fast or I don't spell check. Once in a while I enjoy yanking someone's chain also!

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 10:01 AM

Correct spelling DOES make a difference. If your work-related writing is filled with spelling errors, your views aren't taken as seriously in the workplace, and you're going to be considered a less-valuable employee. Very few professions don't involved extensive communications, and one easy way to help yourself is to spell correcly.

Posted by: speller | June 19, 2007 10:02 AM

Correct spelling DOES make a difference. If your work-related writing is filled with spelling errors, your views aren't taken as seriously in the workplace, and you're going to be considered a less-valuable employee. Very few professions don't involved extensive communications, and one easy way to help yourself is to spell correctly.

Posted by: speller | June 19, 2007 10:03 AM

Ok, so how is it we can all have a (surprisingly) nice conversation about this entry, yet people were jumping all over each other when discussing the 'Feminine Mistake' book? Aren't the ideals and consequences of both really about the same?

Posted by: Just wonderin' | June 19, 2007 10:03 AM

correcly: my typo!

Posted by: speller | June 19, 2007 10:04 AM

"Correct spelling DOES make a difference"

when you are presenting yourself as an educated person. You lose credibility if you can't spell (or are too lazy to check your spelling).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:06 AM

"Good points re the father. What about a helping hand (emotionally, if not financially) from the mom's own family? Don't those kids have grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins?"

How is it her family's responsibility to take care of her kids? My sister has four children, and I don't have any yet, and every time she is in a bind, her four kids' needs are suddenly my responsibility. Four kids are expensive. People should consider before they have that many. I love them all, but I work hard and shouldn't have to support them, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:09 AM

How is it her family's responsibility to take care of her kids? My sister has four children, and I don't have any yet, and every time she is in a bind, her four kids' needs are suddenly my responsibility.

Um, family love? You are a hateful and bitter person.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:15 AM

"Correct spelling DOES make a difference"

when you are presenting yourself as an educated person. You lose credibility if you can't spell (or are too lazy to check your spelling).

Yes, I agree, but this is a blog and you people really need to unclench.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:16 AM

"Good points re the father. What about a helping hand (emotionally, if not financially) from the mom's own family? Don't those kids have grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins?"

How is it her family's responsibility to take care of her kids?"


I agree - as a single parent I regard it as my responsibility to provide a home for my DD. I do expect my ex to provide his share, but any help I get from my parents, sister etc. is what they want to offer as gifts whether this is money or time.

As for the emotional support, that is not the struggle the writer is talking about and in that category the more support family AND friends can provide the better.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | June 19, 2007 10:16 AM

"Yes, I agree, but this is a blog and you people really need to unclench."

You mean people need to lower standards 'cause it's a blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:19 AM

Linda, I'm sorry you've had such a rough time of it over the last eight years. I imagine you're experiencing some backlash from being at home and also some ageism, as Leslis mentioned. Getting divorced with four kids is my nightmare situation by the way, so you have my sympathy. Whoever was criticizing you for having four kids, grow up! Nobody has four kids expecting to get divorced. You can't trash people for being optimistic about their marriages, their careers, their lives, etc, that's just really screwed up.
I didn't get enough particulars about your situation to give you much advice, maybe try looking for a job that will allow you to advance, and try to cut back so you can cut out the part time jobs (can you move to a cheaper neighborhood? I always feel wealthy in the public library or the local thrift store). Four kids and three jobs is enough to make anybody feel really, really tired and negative, maybe if you were stretched a little less thin you might be veiwed as more promotable.

Posted by: rumicat | June 19, 2007 10:19 AM

Jane and others:

There are more and more high-end "temp" and recruiting agencies that help moms and others find work (FT or project work) after absences:

MomCorps has a Chicago office now, in addition to DC and Atlanta.

In DC, McKinley Marketing is good.

In LA, United Business Group.

In SF, Flexperience Staffing.

All are cited in my More Magazine article. If anyone needs the contact info, send me an email.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 10:20 AM

You mean people need to lower standards 'cause it's a blog?


Yes, and it should be:

You mean people need to lower their standards 'cause it's a blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:20 AM

Can Linda's older kids get part-time jobs to help cover some of their discretionary expenses? They must be in high school by now.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:22 AM

"You mean people need to lower their standards 'cause it's a blog?"

Cunsider it dunne.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:27 AM

Cunsider it dunne.

Awesome!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:29 AM

"when you are presenting yourself as an educated person. You lose credibility if you can't spell (or are too lazy to check your spelling).

Yes, I agree, but this is a blog and you people really need to unclench."

My mother always said that your true character is the way you behave when no one is watching. Can this be applied to spelling?

Everyone makes mistakes and typos, but I think it matters that you try to get it right. Would you teach your children that it is ok to spell incorrectly when playing because "it's only playing?"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:32 AM

Obviously, the Washpo needs to include a spell check and grammar feature in the "post a comment" mechanism. (Still some people would not no how to use it!)

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 10:33 AM

Translation: I can't find a job that lets me work part time, from home, and pays $150,000 per year.

What makes you think that if you were equipped with a penis it would be any easier? The job you seek does not exist.

Posted by: Bob | June 19, 2007 10:34 AM

"Can Linda's older kids get part-time jobs to help cover some of their discretionary expenses? They must be in high school by now."

This could help, but it's not always possible. I have teens who would love to work because they don't like the level at which they are being indulged by parents. Unfortunately, there is nothing that is walking distance, the available jobs that are biking distance would require biking on major highways (illegal), and public transportation is non-existent. Taxis would cost more than they could make.

In our case, it's either not possible or not worth the effort of the parents to rearrange our schedules just so we can take them to work. My children will get jobs when they are able to borrow our car to get themselves to work. I imagine the author has limited time to get her children to their jobs and limited resources to buy them a car of their own.

Posted by: xyz | June 19, 2007 10:39 AM

"Um, family love? You are a hateful and bitter person."

I'm not hateful and bitter at all. I love her and the kids, and I offer her all kinds of emotional support, and try to offer financial support if I can, but I shouldn't have to bankrupt myself to take care of her kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:39 AM

Obviously, the Washpo needs to include a spell check and grammar feature in the "post a comment" mechanism. (Still some people would not no how to use it!)

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 10:33 AM

Know kidding!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:39 AM

"Translation: I can't find a job that lets me work part time, from home, and pays $150,000 per year"

And let's me continue my martyr act for popping out 4 kids!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:40 AM

(Still some people would not no how to use it!)

HA HA HA HA HA!!!! I really hope that was intentional....

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 10:40 AM

It was very intentional! I no better! Or is it I know better?


(Just a no-ing example of what can pass a grammar check!)

Posted by: anon for today | June 19, 2007 10:43 AM

Megan, you mean intenshunul write?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 19, 2007 10:44 AM

Correct spelling DOES make a difference. If your work-related writing is filled with spelling errors, your views aren't taken as seriously in the workplace, and you're going to be considered a less-valuable employee. Very few professions don't involved extensive communications, and one easy way to help yourself is to spell correctly.

Posted by: speller | June 19, 2007 10:03 AM


Itz a blog peeple --

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:45 AM

"It was very intentional! I no better! Or is it I know better?"

Depend's on there point of view...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:46 AM

The original poster didn't discuss this, but it seems from the comments that at least some of the people who are having trouble finding work expected to re-enter the workforce exactly where they left off. It seems to me like that could be a huge obstacle to finding a "good" job.

Of course, I haven't yet started looking to return to work, so I may be totally off-base here. But I do expect that I will have to take a step or two down when I do return to work, especially if I want to work 9-5 hours, rather than the 8:30-7 I worked before I had my daughter.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 19, 2007 08:05 AM

Fine in theory. In practice, employers don't like to hire someone they think will be bored in a position, regardless of whether you promise in blood that you'll be happy to start there. The bottom line is it's naive to think that you will have the opportunity to take a few steps back to account for the rustiness of your skillset.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:47 AM

LOL, KLB.

Thanks for the guffaw, anon for today!

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 10:47 AM

Ditto a lot of responders on why I always worked; even after children. So, I could support myself no matter what. This was based on being raised dirt poor in a two parent household; I was not going to live that way as an adult.

Ironically; my "career" came up as an issue at the end of the 20 year marriage in that he felt I worried more about my job than him. Never mind that my "career" let my now-ex carry a much less stressful position where HE got to spend more time with the kids (I would have traded his position in a heartbeat) and lots more relaxation time than I ever had. How funny he managed to find a "sugar mama" where the money flow coming in is even more than with me and he can continue his "less stressful" job and relaxing lifestyle that I supported him thru college to achieve.

Thankfully I have my job and can support myself after a 20 year marriage and divorce. I thank God EVERY DAY for being in that position. My employer is wonderful and I thank God everyday for that as well.

Re the comment from Small Families posted at 09:23... another marriage issue is my now-ex wanted a third child; and I held steadfast at two. He divorced me and married a younger woman (who is also a sugar mama) and he now has that third child. I was punished for being responsible and keeping my family the size that seemed reasonable to manage. I would have had a third child if my husband had gotten a better paying job so I could stay home; but he didn't. It is not fair to make judgements when the whole story is not known.

Posted by: C.W. | June 19, 2007 10:48 AM

rumicat: I definitely understand what you are saying, but...

my sister married, then decided to have not one, not two, but THREE children with a man who, before she got engaged, was well aware that he was abusive. It was no secret and she would talk about how she would 'change him' and blahblahblah. He was and is unwilling to think there is anything wrong with him, it's the rest of the world.

So even after all that has happened and how he treats his kids, she is still with him. If, for some crazy reason, she wakes up one day and sees what a menace he is to her and their children, it would still be *her* who married him and decided that he would be a good dad to her kids.

I'm not saying this is what has happened in the case of *this* blog writer, but definitely, people sometimes just want what they want, and don't really want to see what is right in front of them.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:51 AM

C.W.

"It is not fair to make judgements when the whole story is not known."

Do we ever really know someone else's whole story or back story? Are we mind readers?

Posted by: June | June 19, 2007 10:53 AM

Exactly June. That is what gets a lot of folks in trouble- Only hearing and believing one side of the story. There is generally three sides to a story; especially involving couples. His side. Her Side. The truth.

You're right; none of us are mind readers or know the whole picture.

Posted by: C.W. | June 19, 2007 10:59 AM

"If you had 2 children, you would be doing just fine."

What an extraordinarily, uninformed statement. Maybe she would. Maybe she would not. How would we know? Assumptions make an . . . . , you know how the old adage is completed, don't you, Small Families?

I recommend you not buy any more stocks if you are basing your purchases on advice from the same crystal ball upon which you relied in making the statement above.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 11:00 AM

Maybe the name of the article should be: "Why do people in bad marriages continue to make babies?"

Posted by: Tillman | June 19, 2007 11:01 AM

"If you had 2 children, you would be doing just fine."

Maybe she had one baby and then had triplets.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:04 AM

Regret is a terrible emotion to feel. Our guest blogger doesn't seem to feel too great about her decision to stay home for so long, but I wholeheartedly appreciate her unapologetic, refreshing honesty. A nice counter to the cheesy optimism often shown by guest bloggers ("I have the best job in the world!" "I made up my own company: a sorority for stay-at-home moms! I'm a genius!" etc.).

Your tale serves as cautionary to me. If I have children, I don't plan on staying home any longer than I have to, and your blog re-confirms that decision. Thanks for an honest guest blog. :)

Posted by: Mona | June 19, 2007 11:06 AM

I am afraid I somwewhat agree about having four kids. That must be very difficult as a single mom to juggle. The more kids you have the more expensive it gets. I think the caution here is not staying home, its finding yourself divorced with a lot of kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:11 AM

Another distortion or misconception is that women who have taken time off, have to or should take jobs at lower responsibility levels. I didn't find this to be true. In fact, it's kind of a trap; often you are labelled as overqualified and you don't get those jobs, or you do get them and it's hard to move forward.

The better plan is to invest in yourself before beginning the job hunt. Work with someone still in the workforce to update your resume and polish your interviewing skills by conducting mock interviews. If you need to brush up on critical skills, take a class or conduct lots of research so you are up to date. The kiss-of-death for women returning to work is this kind of approach: "I can do anything, just tell me what to do and I will work hard for less money than you have to pay anyone else."

Employers don't want that kind of employee, at any age or stage of life. Figure out what your skills are and how to market yourself. This kind of job search is not that different from a post college or post grad school search. It's going to be tough, the competition will be stiff, and you need to really know who to market yourself in order to succeed.

Also, you need to be willing to return to full-time work. Part time work, or flexible hours, are still the Holy Grail, even for people in the workforce. You dramatically limit your options if you are only looking for this kind of position.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 11:11 AM

I think the caution here is not staying home, its finding yourself divorced with a lot of kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:11 AM

Do you mean that she shouldn't have had such a large family?

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | June 19, 2007 11:12 AM

"Looking back at my career path, I believe I should never have quit my job long ago to stay home with my kids. My children and I pay for that choice on a daily basis."

Recognizing that her career and current lifestyle has been affected by her decision to stay home is not the same thing as regretting her choice to be with the children.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:15 AM

My mother always said that your true character is the way you behave when no one is watching. Can this be applied to spelling?

Yes, like your true character? You are an annoying, nasty person who continually picks at other people's flaws on an anonymous blog. Your mother should be proud. No one is saying that spelling isn't important, but please get over your self and leave people alone. Are you like this in real life too? To answer your question, most people don't care how their kids "spell" when they are playing because most kids aren't raised by a crazy, grammar and spelling czar who thinks "spelling" is playing. What a bad analogy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:16 AM

"I think the caution here is not staying home, its finding yourself divorced with a lot of kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:11 AM

Do you mean that she shouldn't have had such a large family?"

That's hard to determine. I think that large families can be very difficult to support and manage for a single mom

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:20 AM

"No one is saying that spelling isn't important, but please get over your self and leave people alone. "

But note how scarry's spelling has improved over time...

Correction has worked in her case.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:21 AM

OT to scarry and others who indicated that eating cheap can't be healthy:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/15/AR2007061502222.html?hpid=smartliving

(I'm not picking on you, scarry, you were just arguing the other day that it can't be done. Of course, others might have said the same thing, I just remember you!)

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 11:22 AM

Leslie,

When you say "Another distortion or misconception is that women who have taken time off, have to or should take jobs at lower responsibility levels," does this mean that people should not have to take jobs at lower pay also? Are you saying that a person can reenter the workforce at the same level as when they exited, or where they would have been had they not taken time off?

What about the person that finds themselves in a divorce and needs a job immediately?

I agree that updating skills is great, I am just not sure its realistic -- I hope so though.

However, I work and make as much as my husband and can easily support myself and two kids (pretty much at the same lifestyle (because we live well below our means) so hopefully I will never have to directly deal with this issue, but I know others that do

Posted by: Marie | June 19, 2007 11:22 AM

"My mother always said that your true character is the way you behave when no one is watching. Can this be applied to spelling?

Yes, like your true character? You are an annoying, nasty person who continually picks at other people's flaws on an anonymous blog"

LOL - that was my first post of the day, so you must be confusing me with another 'annoying, nasty person who continually picks...'.

Posted by: to 11:16 | June 19, 2007 11:24 AM

"The kiss-of-death for women returning to work is this kind of approach: "I can do anything, just tell me what to do and I will work hard for less money than you have to pay anyone else."

Leslie, the kiss-of-death for a career maybe, but parents should be willing to do anything (legal) to take care of their families, including accepting less money for hard work in order to feed their families.

Posted by: to Leslie | June 19, 2007 11:27 AM

I see this from the other side. I work and my wife and I plan to have a baby next year. She would like to stay home with the baby for a while. We can afford this--that's not the problem--but I have also been very open about my concerns for her in case something happens to me. I'm hardly planning to divorce her, but I could die, and life insurance doesn't last forever.

So we talk about how to keep her skills sharp and her work history current as much as possible, so she can reenter the workplace when she needs to. (Eventually, it's going to happen, I'm sure.) The idea of her being stuck starting over does concern me, as it should.

Posted by: The other side | June 19, 2007 11:28 AM

Someone needs to write a guest blog "Balance and Spelling." Death to dangling participles, execution to prepositions without an object, exile for the lack of noun/verb agreement! Indeed, all misspellings are suspect of being lascivious strumpets!

Maybe the author of this guest blog can provide English consultation to all commenters before their comments are posted! A better world awaits those who heed the call of E.B. White

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | June 19, 2007 11:28 AM

"I am afraid I somwewhat agree about having four kids. That must be very difficult as a single mom to juggle"

Get real! And learn how to spell somewhat!
Your grammar also sucks! At least a billion people would trade places with this chick in a heartbeat!

Wah, wah, wah!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:30 AM

And, Leslie, if/when a company doesn't want to give you a raise if you've been doing above and beyond, because they think they can pay you less - one can always go out and find another position elsewhere. If you have updated your skills, and are now working, and the company that took a chance on you isn't working with you to do what it should - get another job.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 11:30 AM

Shakespeare wrote "FIRST THING WE DO IS KILL ALL THE LAWYERS', he should have written,"FIRST THING WE DO IS KILL ALL THE SPELLING AND GRAMMAR POLICE".

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:33 AM

11:16 AM was my post. Sorry, I hit the button before I signed. I am tired of the grammar talk and the picking at people. If you don't like that they can't spell or accidentally make a typo, don't read their posts.

Also, to anon at 11:21, I make my living by spelling and grammar, so yes, I can spell, write, edit, etc. I just don't get worked up over it on a blog, like some of you do. Most of the time the corrections are aimed at people you don't like, so the sooner you admit that, the better off you will be. There are typos all over this blog, incomplete sentences, and poor word choices, I just have enough class to overlook them and respond to the content.

Altmom that is interesting, I am going to go to that site. I think that sometimes though it is harder for the people who don't qualify for food stamps, but still have a hard time paying for all the necessities they need.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:35 AM

Some women I talked to took a "pay penalty" of 10-30% vs. their prior position. Others earned more -- far more -- when they returned to work. It depends on the field, the job, and luck.

Many of the women who took a salary penalty quickly made up for lost time, regaining their prior salaries within 1-3 years. I think it is okay to take a job at a lower salary or responsibility level, as long as it seems you will have the opportunity to advance fairly quickly.

Employers I talked to reported that SAHMs were very valuable and gotten promoted quickly because they were extremely focused on their jobs and doing well. They didn't care about office politics or who had the biggest office or expense account or other petty things. They just wanted to WORK and their ethic and diligence made them especially valuable employees.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 11:37 AM

That was me, I did it again.

Posted by: scarry | June 19, 2007 11:37 AM

That was me, I did it again

OK, Britney!:)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:39 AM

"I am tired of the grammar talk and the picking at people. If you don't like that they can't spell or accidentally make a typo, don't read their posts."

"There are typos all over this blog, incomplete sentences, and poor word choices, I just have enough class to overlook them and respond to the content."

So why don't you just overlook the spelling and grammar criticisms?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:39 AM

scarry (I'm assuming it's you at 11:35), I just found it interesting. Of course, they didn't buy any meat, and while *I* don't eat meat, I know it's a staple in most people's lives. However, the point was to eat healthier, anyway, and tofu and grains and beans are healthier than pork and red meat. Just sayin...

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 11:41 AM

That was me, I did it again

OK, Britney!:)

Haha, but at least I have my underwear on.

Posted by: scarry | June 19, 2007 11:41 AM

Damn, who riled your feathers this am, pATRICK? I am glad that I am the sheriff rather than the police.

What are the second and third things to do then?

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | June 19, 2007 11:42 AM

Leslie,

I was laid off, at almost 9 mos pregnant, from a company where I was making a whole lot of money - who later went bankrupt. I KNEW no one would pay me what I was making - and even now, 2 yrs later, am sure it would be tough to get that salary. That's fine - I make quite a good living anyway.

The reality is the market has changed during the years that I was out of work. That's the way it goes, really.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 11:43 AM

"Damn, who riled your feathers this am, pATRICK? I am glad that I am the sheriff rather than the police.

What are the second and third things to do then?"

I will tell you then, grammar and spelling posts are inane and lame. SURELY you have something better to post about than a dangling participle. I find those posts petty and boring.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:44 AM

Atlanta Mom -- I'm confused by what you mean about the market changing. It sounds like your experience -- and the company you worked for -- were unique. Individual stories are compelling and interesting, but you can't just take one data point and assume that that is everyone's experience or the market's overall trend.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 11:46 AM

"At least a billion people would trade places with this chick in a heartbeat!"

Peasant.


p.s. I doubt that, given a year in which to conduct a search, and whether in a heartbeat or given some time to consider the choice, you could find even 10 women who would trade places with a single mom of 4 children - no matter how lovely, bright, and compliant - struggling to make ends meet.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 11:47 AM

"p.s. I doubt that, given a year in which to conduct a search, and whether in a heartbeat or given some time to consider the choice, you could find even 10 women who would trade places with a single mom of 4 children - no matter how lovely, bright, and compliant - struggling to make ends meet. "

Nicely and elegantly done, MN.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 11:50 AM

Grammar Sherrif you are not rude with your posts. The anons are rude and only pick on a few people that they don't like.I say we ignore them. If they really cared so much they would be pointing out everyones typos and not just people they don't like.

Posted by: ignore them | June 19, 2007 11:50 AM

"If they really cared so much they would be pointing out everyones typos and not just people they don't like."

It's hard to resist correcting the errors of the windbags...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:53 AM

"Shakespeare wrote "FIRST THING WE DO IS KILL ALL THE LAWYERS', he should have written,"FIRST THING WE DO IS KILL ALL THE SPELLING AND GRAMMAR POLICE"."

Hey, pATRICK, we agree on this one!! And I'm one who gets very irritated by spelling and grammar errors in work materials, books, newspapers, etc. But here?

I'll happily take the errors and the casual atmosphere and skip all the indignant corrections!

Posted by: mEGAN | June 19, 2007 11:54 AM

"She would like to stay home with the baby for a while."

She wants a big, fat vacation, brought to her by the sweat of your brow.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:54 AM

pATRICK,

I rarely post. I may comment in egregious cases. Maybe my satire was lost to you in my 11:28 post? Oh, well, at least I don't yell about it!

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | June 19, 2007 11:56 AM

P.S. to pATRICK

Please don't call me Shirley!

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | June 19, 2007 12:03 PM

pATRICK,

"I rarely post. I may comment in egregious cases. Maybe my satire was lost to you in my 11:28 post? Oh, well, at least I don't yell about it!"

I was actually not directing that at you personally but all the little anklebiters that are overruning this blog with spelling and grammar posts.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Small Families: I found your posting somewhat naive and presumptuous. There's nothing inherently wrong with having four kids. Yes, it's generally harder raising four than one or two (and it's always more expensive), but some people have it harder with one than DW and I do with four.

A few things in particular:

"If you had 2 children, you would be doing just fine."

As has been pointed out, you don't know that, and given the situation I suspect she wouldn't be a whole lot better off than she is now. Maybe just a full-time job and ONE part-time job; maybe not.

"I'd find it difficult to raise four children, without hanging by a thread, even in a 2 income married household."

We don't. Fine, you're different, but don't generalize your experience onto all of us.

"We are a dual income 1 child family and we are not rolling in all of this extra money! Between retirement and college and daycare, housing, gas, etc..."

You're right, living is expensive particularly in the DC area, and you have to work hard to manage it properly. But it can be done.

"Don't you feel irresponsible for having so many kids knowing full well that one day you may need to be the breadwinner?"

Don't you feel irresponsible for having one kid knowing full well that one day you may need to be the breadwinner? Seriously, this comment is offensive and shows a real lack of understanding of the situation. Yes, one day DW or I may be a single parent for one reason or another; we hope it doesn't happen but if it does we're prepared.

"I'm sure people will jump all over me for this- but, really, what is the author looking for? How are you supposed to get paid well AND work fewer hours so that you can be there to raise 4 kids? What about sick days and school holidays and vacation days?"

You don't have to work "fewer hours", you have to have flexibility. Vacation days and school holidays are generally the same with four children as with one, if they're all in the same school system. That leaves sick days from your list. If you have a flexible job - NOT fewer hours, but more workplace flexibility - those can be dealt with. Okay, if your job is totally inflexible (set hours, at a specific location, etc.) it can be harder to deal with having different kids sick at different times, but it's manageable.

"She really should have planned for this. You can't "have it all", contrary to what many believe. Something has to go- and, in this case- you CHOSE to have A LOT of kids. Now you have to deal with that."

She should have planned for a divorce with her husband completely abandoning her? If she had planned for that she shouldn't have married the so-and-so in the first place. Yes, you should have life and disability insurance in case of a death or long-term disability; yes, each partner in a marriage should know what the finances are; and yes in a divorce both parents should know that KIDS have to come first and the finances need to be structured for that.

"No sympathy here."

Nope, none at all.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 19, 2007 12:10 PM

"P.S. to pATRICK

Please don't call me Shirley!"

Ever been to a turkish prison?;)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 12:11 PM

"I was actually not directing that at you personally but all the little anklebiters that are overruning this blog with spelling and grammar posts."

Since the first week of this blog! What else is new? This is the Net!

Posted by: Robin da Hood | June 19, 2007 12:12 PM

To Leslie -- you did the study so I believe you, but I have to admit I am skeptical. I just hope its true.

Thanks for getting back to me

Posted by: Marie | June 19, 2007 12:13 PM

Wow. This instantly made me think of a friend of ours. They have two kids. Mentally, he's stuck in high school and does not want to take responsibility for their marriage and their kids. She's the sole breadwinner now.

She had a free ride to go to college from her parents. She was one semester short of graduating when she decided that all she wanted to do with her life was get married and become a mom, so she quit school. They got married soon after, because they wanted to have sex. She's a sweet girl, but we have nothing in common.

Just because she wanted kids does not mean she should have denied herself a college degree. Why do women think they need to choose between things like these? I just don't get it.

And when they divorce, and she's left to raise two kids on her own, I bet she'll feel differently about the choice she made before. Granted, one semester is quite doable. But I just can't grasp the concept of "Well, I just want to be a Mom. I don't need to do anything to better myself. Or just do this FOR myself."

Posted by: JRS | June 19, 2007 12:15 PM

"all the little anklebiters that are overruning this blog with spelling and grammar "

overruning ?

Posted by: Friar Tuck | June 19, 2007 12:17 PM

Army Brat, kudos to you for your 12:10 analysis.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 12:19 PM

To the skeptics: why would an employer disregard years of educational and professional accomplishments in a job candidate just because she (or he) had taken a few years off to stay home with children?

Let me know -- because I haven't found many compelling answers.

The only logical answer, to me, is that taking time off might signal to some unenlightened employers that a person was less committed to work than to his/her family.

More and more employers are understanding that this isn't true. Many SAHMs are very committed to work, but chose (for many different reasons) to make their children their exclusive priority for a relatively short period of time.

If a SAHM can convince an employer she wants to return to work, this bias should logically evaporate. More and more employers are shedding this bias -- if they ever had it at all.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 12:21 PM

"To the skeptics: why would an employer disregard years of educational and professional accomplishments in a job candidate just because she (or he) had taken a few years off to stay home with children?"

Depending on the field, for a very simple reason: their skills get rusty. I'm having some trouble with that even as I keep working, because I am expanding my skillset. Doing that is good in one way (I know how to do more things) but bad in that I am not as sharp on some things as I was when I did them every day. And that's working full time. Were I not working, I wouldn't be developing the second set and the first would still be rusty.

It is possible to sell yourself as a person who can learn very quickly--I have--but to make that work you have to walk in with something that the employer needs NOW that is ready to go.

Posted by: Skeptic here | June 19, 2007 12:31 PM

As you say, even when you are in a job your skills get rusty. But SAHMs often develop or strengthen entirely new skills. However, I think often you have to have been a SAHM to really understand that. Part of the trick, as in any job interview, is to persuade the employer that you can contribute NOW. Which is why the pre-interview prep is so critical, and why it's easier to find a job in the same field, especially for people who've been out of the workplace for a spell.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 12:34 PM

June 19, 2007 10:51 AM
Okay, three kids with the abusive husband isn't the smartest thing to do. But I would still rather feel sorry for people than give them a hard time. We all have our blind spots after all, I've had some of my own to deal with, just like everybody else. I try not to judge, doesn't really help anybody get past those blind spots from what I can tell, just makes the world an uglier place. Cause and effect have always gone pretty far to get me headed in the right direction. I find that verbal abuse is just obfuscating, people get distracted being annoyed at the messenger and never really listen anyway.

Posted by: rumicat | June 19, 2007 12:36 PM

"Why do women think they need to choose between things like these?"

I never understood this either. You can still be a good mom, even if you have an education, a job, autonomy, and your own thing to do every once in awhile, whether it's tatting doilies or climbing rocks. Even if you do want to be a SAHM, you owe it to yourself and your family to be capable of funding their livelihood, should the need ever arise.

Posted by: Mona | June 19, 2007 12:37 PM

I don't really think it is a matter of employers not wanting to hire SAHM, I think it is the case that the employers don't want to give them the pay or the position that some of them may think they are entitled to.

I think this would be the case for someone who took time off for anything. My MIL took time off for two years to care for her mother and she had a hard time getting back into the work force and had to take a job at lower pay and position. I just think that in some fields you can't have it both ways. This can also be the case in areas that may not have a lot of jobs available too, which was part of the problem for her. She has young people coming out of college who basically had the same skills she had who would work for lesser pay and she was competing with people who never took a break from work.

Posted by: scarry | June 19, 2007 12:38 PM

"all the little anklebiters that are overruning this blog with spelling and grammar "

overruning ?"


I knew that some one would post this.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 12:40 PM

After a dozen years, my marriage is ending. Even though I am a wreck emotionally, I am SO thankful that I never stopped working. I work less hours than my husband and make consisderably more than he does. Thank goodness that, even though our lives are about to go through a lot of upheaval, my children's and my standard of living will not change one bit. Eveyone thinks their marriage will last. Don't bet your financial security on it.

Posted by: DC | June 19, 2007 12:41 PM

"why would an employer disregard years of educational and professional accomplishments in a job candidate just because she (or he) had taken a few years off to stay home with children?

Let me know -- because I haven't found many compelling answers.

The only logical answer, to me, is that taking time off might signal to some unenlightened employers that a person was less committed to work than to his/her family."


Why do you label this conclusion unenlightened? It strikes me as reasonable.

I'm here to get a job done, and in a no-excuses environment. My clients are not interested in hearing why we didn't get them what they needed when they needed it. They have plenty of choices of other businesses to hire if we don't respect them enough to deliver on time, as promised. I am not going to risk those client relationships by hiring anyone who is later going to miss a deadline because a child is sick, than have to endure some sanctimonious drivel about how, if she has to choose between her kids and her job, her kids will always come first. She can lecture some other employer on his dime, not mine. If I have a choice between someone whose career choices indicate that she will respect our clients' business needs, and someone else whose career choices indicate that she will deliver the above lecture some time in the future, I'm going with the safer bet. If you don't think that's compelling, I wonder if you've ever had clients. What you call unenlightened, I call rational acting.

Posted by: Mom who Hires | June 19, 2007 12:42 PM

Why doesn't Linda just find a new husband? There's tons of single men out there.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:42 PM

overrun
One entry found for overrun.

Main Entry: 1over·run
Pronunciation: -'r&n
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): over·ran /-'ran/; -run; -run·ning
1 a (1) : to defeat decisively and occupy the positions of (2) : to invade and occupy or ravage b : to spread or swarm over : INFEST
2 a : to run or go beyond or past b : EXCEED c : to readjust (set type) by shifting letters or words from one line into another
3 : to flow over

Looks like he just made it into a gerund .

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:43 PM

overrun
One entry found for overrun.


"Main Entry: 1over·run
Pronunciation: -'r&n
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): over·ran /-'ran/; -run; -run·ning
1 a (1) : to defeat decisively and occupy the positions of (2) : to invade and occupy or ravage b : to spread or swarm over : INFEST
2 a : to run or go beyond or past b : EXCEED c : to readjust (set type) by shifting letters or words from one line into another
3 : to flow over

Looks like he just made it into a gerund . "

Kill me now, please.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 12:45 PM

Late to the party again, but I must chime in: I see a lot of resumes for a range of positions (technical, administrative, and professional) and it bothers me not one bit if someone's got a gap due to child raising -- although 10 consecutive years out of the workforce might be an issue. It bothers me not at all if someone took a year off and climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro. I couldn't care less if someone took a few years off and kicked back with margaritas in the Virgin Islands, as one secretary I recently interviewed (and subsequently hired on a temp-to-perm basis) had done.

Absolutely, there are positions which require updated skill sets, such as help desk/technical specialists, but many do not. My advice to the Guest Blogger would be to temp in her field for six months or so if possible and then go for a new job, one more suited to what she wants to do.

Got to go grab lunch and head into another meeting! Have a great day, everyone.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 19, 2007 12:45 PM

Mom who hires, can you give a specific example or two of:

"If I have a choice between someone whose career choices indicate that she will respect our clients' business needs, and someone else whose career choices indicate that she will deliver the above lecture some time in the future, I'm going with the safer bet."

Just curious. Thanks.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 19, 2007 12:45 PM

"all the little anklebiters"

Schools out for the summer you know.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:46 PM

"As you say, even when you are in a job your skills get rusty. But SAHMs often develop or strengthen entirely new skills. However, I think often you have to have been a SAHM to really understand that."

Well, you asked why an employer would disregard years of experience/accomplishments. If the employer hasn't been a SAHP, then that would be your reason, particularly when weighing them against candidates who have current skills.

Your suggestions--get work in your field to take advantage of what you already know, or use the new skills--are contradictory. Let's say that you're a network engineer. After 3 years, you no longer remember how to configure a router, and have never touched the current router types. (You could buy simulation tools, granted, but that's not the same thing as configuring a live one or fixing it when something goes wrong and the client is breathing down your neck.) So then you go into a new field using the new skills you developed... but you have no experience there, so you're starting at the bottom.

Some skills rust more easily than others because they are about a specific body of knowledge, not a general ability.

Posted by: Skeptic here | June 19, 2007 12:47 PM

"If I have a choice between someone whose career choices indicate that she will respect our clients' business needs, and someone else whose career choices indicate that she will deliver the above lecture some time in the future, I'm going with the safer bet"

Same here. There are hundreds of more than qualified applicants for our positions. We toss the ones from the potential trouble makers.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:47 PM

"You can still be a good mom, even if you have an education, a job, autonomy, and your own thing to do every once in awhile, whether it's tatting doilies or climbing rocks."

Mental image of Mona tatting doilies: priceless. :-)

Posted by: Laura | June 19, 2007 12:48 PM

Leslie,
When I was laid off, yes, there were other companies in that industry laying off as well. I definitely had headhunters calling me right away, because of my skillset, but I wasn't planning on looking for and starting a new job at 9 mos pregnant. And, those jobs were not in the city I was living in at the time - so no, even if I had pursued those positions (and I wasn't even able to interview for them, EVEN IF I WANTED TO, because dr's say you can't fly after 30 weeks), I'm not sure the pay would have been compatible.

Then there was a sort of recession - and definitely that field took a hit - I know people who had been laid off and they couldn't find ANY job for a year or so afterwards - that's what i mean by the market changed. I.e., there were SO MANY people looking for work, it didn't matter if you are in or out of the workforce for years, if there is a lot of competition and no jobs - then you *should* be willing to take a pay cut.

Certainly, the job market *today* is not that way (labor shortage in most places), but I was referring to that particular time - and the particular industry I was in at the time, which, actually, at this moment, is resurging.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 12:49 PM

I have to say that I am an editor and I've never corrected people's grammar or spelling on this blog (well, maybe once). I edit 8 hours 5 days a week--I consider this my break. Also, almost every spelling error on the blog is actually a typo. I'm sure the people who point these out have a reason; I'm just not sure what that reason could be.

Back on topic, have any mothers considered lying in an interview about the lapse in their resumes? I might be tempted to say that I started my own business or bought a franchise or something and decided to re-enter the workforce because health insurance was too expensive or something. How would they know the difference?

Posted by: Meesh | June 19, 2007 12:53 PM

to mom who hires: does that mean someone who has taken a few years off to take care of his/her kids isn't dedicated, in your opinion? or wouldn't meet a deadline? You're making an awful lot of assumptions.

A year or so ago (maybe not that long) I was reading one of the discussions with one of the WaPo reporters. Someone wrote in saying he had spent a year or two playing poker and making a living off it (he implied he made a lot of money at it, but who knows). Apparently traveling to the tournaments, etc and he was saying he was having a difficult time getting back into the workforce.

I thought: hmmm - those employers are clearly not very bright. His math skills are obviously very good, if he's making money at it, he's pretty bright. This from someone who took an upper level math class in game theory. It was very interesting that apparently many employers looked at it as if he was just playing around - but he indicated in his question that he was *making money* at it, so he wasn't just playing around, he was *working* - which meant he, again, had to have some great math skills. Possibly, he wasn't applying to positions that were good for his skillset -

but it's a similar application to the fact that my mom used to play bridge (grand master) and I flipped thru one of her bridge mags once (never learned to play myself) and in it were ads for jobs on wall street - cause the skills needed to play bridge are similar to other skills needed for those jobs (assuming you had some other education as well). I found that very interesting.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 12:57 PM

To the skeptics: why would an employer disregard years of educational and professional accomplishments in a job candidate just because she (or he) had taken a few years off to stay home with children?

Let me know -- because I haven't found many compelling answers.

The only logical answer, to me, is that taking time off might signal to some unenlightened employers that a person was less committed to work than to his/her family.

Posted by: Leslie | June 19, 2007 12:34 PM

So the "only" logical answer is the employers are unenlightened? I can think of many others.

Another logical answer is that the former SAHM is competing with people often of with the same experience and skills, without the multi-year gap in employment. Who would you rather hire; the woman who has been working jobs similar to the one you are hiring for and who would look at this as a career progression or a woman, with the same education and qualifications, who worked 10 years ago at something similar.

The second woman was also willing to forgo employment altogether for a decade, while in the ideal world, this shouldn't matter, it does. It is a neutral mark against the positive mark of the person with a continous employment history.

There are millions of people out there with experience and accomlishments that don't take time off. This is the competition, and by taking time off, you have given them a head start.

Posted by: devils advocate | June 19, 2007 12:57 PM

Meesh -- anymore, so many companies/firms do background checks (including criminal and financial), so it would be a simple enough matter to determine if someone is lying about having their own company, unless of course you're going to claim that you started a company and never got a cent of business, which is probably not the most intelligent way of building yourself up in an interview.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 19, 2007 12:59 PM

Meesh

"Back on topic, have any mothers considered lying in an interview about the lapse in their resumes?"

NO! I don't hire or retain liars!

Lying on a resume/interview can be grounds for dismissal.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:00 PM

First, for the love of GOD, please moderate this blog. The spelling and grammar sniping have gotten out of hand.

Second, to answer Leslie's question - Employers often have at least two or three and sometimes more applicants who are more or less equally qualified to choose from. Selecting an employee is not a mathmatical equation - it's a complex decision made when a lot of important factors are essentially unknown and unknowable. How will this person fit in? Will she be dedicated to the job? Will she leave in a few months after sucking up valuable training resources? Right or wrong, employers look to signals to make decisions. Years out of the workforce are a signal. They can indicate stale skills, hard (e.g. IT expertise) AND soft (e.g. getting along with coworkers and managers). Time out of the workforce also makes reccommendations stale. People can change significantly in 5 or 10 years. All else being equal, a glowing recommendation from an employer you had 5 years ago is likely worth less than a glowing recommendation from a coworker/manager who worked with you more recently. This might be unfair. It is nevertheless reality.

My take is that someone returning to the workforce after a significant absence should not turn up their nose at a job that involves less responsibility and pay than their last one as long as there are a) reasonable opportunities for advancement/salary increases with the new employer AND/OR b) the market is such that you will be able to move to a better job in the same industry within a year or two. The disadvantage of a break in work history disappears pretty quickly. An employer is likely going to be willing to increase your salary/responsibilities once you've proven your value and, if not, it is always easier to find a job when you already have one. Of course, you have to be willing to go to your employer and ask for a raise/promotion after a reasonable period of time and be prepared to recommence a job search if your request is denied.

Posted by: Not a Mom | June 19, 2007 1:01 PM

A word of advice to those reentering the work force: You are more likely to find success in your job by searching out like minded people. I've seen very little correlation in job performance between those that have taken time off for child rearing or other reasons than those that have continued working. In fact, I've seen numerous examples of parents returning to the work force being far more focused than some of those that have muddled through with small children. It really doesn't seem to make a difference which route you went. What matters is what kind of employee you were before you quit. The high achieving employees that take time off, tend to be the same high achieving people when they come back. A whiny, resentful employee that complains about the returning workers, tend to be low performers anyway. You know the type...busy worry about what everyone else is doing...and not doing their job. These people don't get promoted for a reason. So again, find someone that is open minded...there are lots of those people out there. Not all of us resent the fact that someone took time off. Really.

Posted by: Another person in charge of hiring | June 19, 2007 1:01 PM

anon at 12:34, a gerund is a verbal functioning as a noun. "Overrunning" in this case is just the present participle.

(BTW, I have no problem correcting the mistaken correctors)

Posted by: Meesh | June 19, 2007 1:03 PM

Meesh

"(BTW, I have no problem correcting the mistaken correctors)"

No. You just have a problem with the truth...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:06 PM

MEESH, grammar posts are actually part of the fourth circle of hell. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 1:09 PM

"The only logical answer, to me, is that taking time off might signal to some unenlightened employers that a person was less committed to work than to his/her family."

I do some hiring, and I agree with what everyone else has said already: if I've got a choice between someone with a resume gap and someone without, then I'm going to choose the person without. I don't care if they stayed home to take care of kids, to write the Great American Novel (unless they are Jonathan Franzen and I am hiring a fiction writer), to work on their tan, whatever.

Posted by: Lizzie | June 19, 2007 1:09 PM

So if you started a business walking dogs and didn't make enough to file taxes, your employer would somehow find out? Or if you decided to start selling stuff on eBay? What if you told them you were battling cancer?

I just think that if it's likely that you'll be discriminated against for doing something you thought was right (staying home with the kids), why do your prospective employers deserve the truth? Is it seriously any of their business why you weren't working if it isn't covered by the background check?

Posted by: Meesh | June 19, 2007 1:12 PM

Re: stale (IT) skills: get training if you're going back into the job market in the near to mid-term future.

Okay, there are some circumstances where you might be forced to look for a job with no advance notice (death of a spouse; spouse laid off; whatever), but in general you probably have a few months head start.

Take classes. Take courses in the new hot programming languages at the local college. Find a reputable training establishment that teaches courses in configuring that new router. In general you'll find that if you were pretty good before, you'll catch on quickly - despite the hype, the paradigm really hasn't shifted that much.

When I interview a candidate who's been out of the workforce a while, a combination of "was top of her field before leaving" with "has recently been sharpening the skills and is reasonably familiar with the latest tools" looks pretty good.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 19, 2007 1:14 PM

"to mom who hires: does that mean someone who has taken a few years off to take care of his/her kids isn't dedicated, in your opinion? or wouldn't meet a deadline? You're making an awful lot of assumptions.'

I'm not making any assumptions. I'm going with the safe bet rather than the bet that might work out and might not. Hiring isn't about putting on rose colored glasses or supporting a social agenda - it's matching a set of skills with the candidate most likely to deliver. It's just that simple: which candidate, based on past performance, is MOST likely to deliver?

Posted by: Mom who Hires | June 19, 2007 1:17 PM

Meesh - no lying on resumes, ever. In this day and age, you'll get caught, and that's grounds for being fired, even after you've been in the job for years.

Started a dog-walking company but didn't make enough to pay taxes? Just enter your name and locality, plus "dog walking" and the like into Google, and see what pops up. If there are no hits after a reasonable number of queries, it's likely that you didn't really do it. (SOMEBODY would have posted a review of your service.)

It's just too easy these days to detect things.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 19, 2007 1:19 PM

Meesh

"Is it seriously any of their business why you weren't working if it isn't covered by the background check?"

Honesty is the #1 quality we are looking for in applicants!

Never lie! You'll regret it when you're living in fear of losing your position!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:20 PM

This is not at all scientific...but I've definitely noticed that women in charge of hiring tend to judge those women with a career gap much more harshly than a man in charge of hiring. Call it the "women are their own worst enemies". Instead of focusing on how to more easily transition in and out of the work force, thereby creating more choices...women just want to hop on the nasty attitude bandwagon and punish the women that took time off. You are better off to work for a man in this world. They don't get caught up in this blather...and look more to your performance. Some days I hate being a woman....because they just don't get it...live and let live.

Posted by: another mom | June 19, 2007 1:21 PM

Don't many places promote from within? If so, then wouldn't it also fit that the highest number of open positions would be at the lower end of the pay scale? I would think that if given a choice of someone who has worked their way up with the company and an unknown entity they would be more likely to go with their own person.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 19, 2007 1:21 PM

Back on topic, have any mothers considered lying in an interview about the lapse in their resumes? I might be tempted to say that I started my own business or bought a franchise or something and decided to re-enter the workforce because health insurance was too expensive or something. How would they know the difference?

Posted by: Meesh | June 19, 2007 12:53 PM

Meesh, I'm a little suprised at this from you, but assume you are playing devil's advocate just for fun. In interviews, good hirers ask follow-up questions and can tell when a story doesn't ring true. Where was the franchise? What was it? What about the opportunity turned out to be different than you expected? Check out yesterday's Dilbert for a humorous view of the results of this sort of interview advice.

As someone else pointed out, most job applications require that the applicant certify to that her answers are true and accurate and lying on the app is grounds for dismissal. Is anyone's honor and credibility worth this?

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 1:23 PM

Stop being logical...it doesn't fit here.

Posted by: To KLB SS MD | June 19, 2007 1:23 PM

Meesh, Grow up. It's not about what you owe the employer or the employer owes you. It's immoral and unethical to lie. It's also grounds for immediate, for-cause termination. Most employers will fire you in a heartbeat for this offense, regardless of whether it's one month or one decade into your employment, and they should, since you've proven yourself dishonest. And once you've been fired for lying in the application process, that's a kiss of death in the industry.

(BTW - they can find out any number of ways. You have a moment of forgetfulness. Chance encounter between an acquaintance/relative and a coworker/supervisor. The post-employment medical exam.)

Posted by: Not a Mom | June 19, 2007 1:25 PM

Mom who hires: well, you'll probably lose out on some pretty good performers, then.

Meesh: never lie. I never do - I don't even really stretch the truth, and I know others who do. I know this possibly puts me at a disadvantage, but hopefully not. I would never be able to lie - someone would see right thru it with me, no doubt. And I couldn't live with myself. This has helped me when getting jobs (no, I haven't seen such and such since grad school - but I did use technique/language/whatever) - when I couldn't necessarily program in a certain language day one. Of course, after a few months, with a different mgr, I mentioned : no i hadn't used said language in over 10 years before this job, she was shocked...

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 1:27 PM

Meesh

" just think that if it's likely that you'll be discriminated against for doing something you thought was right (staying home with the kids), why do your prospective employers deserve the truth? Is it seriously any of their business why you weren't working if it isn't covered by the background check?"

Zowie! If you don't know the value of honesty, you are in big trouble! Would you teach this attitude to your kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:29 PM

another mom - I can't generalize, but I've seen anecdotes where that's true. Even when I was a Fed - my boss was a childless GS-15 who was very proud of the fact that she had worked her way up by endless dedication to her job. We hired a new female to work in the office - and the boss took her to lunch the first day and told her that she needed to decide right then whether she wanted "to be a career woman or a mother with a part-time job". The co-worker came back from lunch and told me about it - she was absolutely furious.

It may just be a case of being sympathetic toward people you perceive as being "like you". Bosses with kids tend to be more sympathetic to employees with kids; bosses without kids tend to relate more to childless employees. (At one point, my daughter and my boss's daughter played on the same high school volleyball team. We used to joke that the staff meetings would be in the bleachers at 6 pm - when the games started - since we were always there and could talk about business in between points.)

Posted by: Army Brat | June 19, 2007 1:31 PM

"I thought: hmmm - those employers are clearly not very bright. His math skills are obviously very good, if he's making money at it, he's pretty bright."

I have a good friend who did the poker-for-money thing. He was up sometimes, he was down sometimes, but he budgeted so that year-round, he was making a nice, healthy salary. When he got tired of it, he re-entered the workforce (has a CS degree), and was snapped up almost immediately by a software company who hired him to--you guessed it--design software for poker games. Heh.

Posted by: Mona | June 19, 2007 1:33 PM

"Bosses with kids tend to be more sympathetic to employees with kids;"

Of the same ages and gender. Gawd! The kid talk can be so boring...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:36 PM

Yes, I understand. Honesty is the best policy. I remember that from 3rd grade. I would never lie on a resume, but then I haven't been backed into the corner of desparately needing a job and knowing that I'll be at a huge disadvantage during an interview.

MN, I'm sort of playing the devil's advocate. I really do want to know, though, if anyone thinks it's the employer's business if I stayed home or went to the Peace Corp or cared for a dying relative or sunned on the beach for 3 years, especially if that information could be used against you! There is a difference between full disclosure ("I spent the last 4 years working as a prostitue because I thought I'd make a lot of money") and the brief truth ("I was unemployed").

Posted by: Meesh | June 19, 2007 1:36 PM

"Mom who hires: well, you'll probably lose out on some pretty good performers, then."

I'm not losing out - I'm filling a position with the candidate who has best proved she can do the job. Hiring is about qualifications and fit - not politics and not emotion.

to the person who thinks women are harder than men on women with job gaps. Bwa-HAHAHAHAHA. You couldn't be more wrong. I don't know of a single man who would be willing to interview any man or woman with a gap in job history, and they are not interested in hearing an explanation for the gap. There's just no reason to go there when there is a surplus of qualified applicants with no gap in history. I at least support bringing qualified applicants of either gender in for a discussion of the gap.

Posted by: Mom who Hires | June 19, 2007 1:37 PM

Mona- no joke. The prof who taught my game theory class was not allowed in the casinos any longer.

I did have an HR person from an online gaming company call me once - sounded VERY interesting - but the commute would have killed me.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 1:40 PM

Heh; we just had an ethics refresher course at work this morning, and one of the exercises involved a woman, recently widowed, with three children, no money and one of two candidates for a desperately needed job.

Problem is, one of the requirements was that she had to sign off on the queston "have you ever taken illegal drugs", and she had used pot back in her past.

The exercise was asking was it ethical for her to say 'no' on the form and perhaps get the job, or to say 'yes', try and explain it happened long ago and hope the interviewers were sympathetic, and risk losing the job?

Most of us were saying if the pot use was long ago, go ahead and say "no", but if it was recent (even within the last year), to say yes and explain it on the form.

Posted by: John L | June 19, 2007 1:40 PM

"I thought: hmmm - those employers are clearly not very bright. His math skills are obviously very good, if he's making money at it, he's pretty bright."

I have a good friend who did the poker-for-money thing. He was up sometimes, he was down sometimes, but he budgeted so that year-round, he was making a nice, healthy salary."

I have a friend who did his undergrad thesis on whether blackjack is a beatable game - applied math/statistics stuff. When he interviewed with a major finance firm, his interviewer challenged him to a duel: two hours of playing the $15 tables at a nearby casino. My friend came up about $200 over the interviewer and, of course, got the job.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 1:42 PM

In the legal field, you have (1) firms that have a partnership track (I cannot imagine taking time off and then trying to get back on a track but possibly with a small firm); (2) in-house positions that you have to be in the right place at the right time to get; (3) government where it might be possible to get an entry level job -- plus all three have very different pay scales. If you work in law and then take time off, you may be better off using that law degree in a completely different field rather than trying to get back into one of these three places. But who knows -- anything can be possible I guess.

Posted by: Marie | June 19, 2007 1:44 PM

Well, then, mom who hires, we're in agreement. I wouldn't want to work for you.

For me, I have a specialized degree in a field where there *aren't* a lot of qualified applicants - and my background is definitely desirable to employers.

But, would you really just throw away everyone with a gap? I mean - what if they had a gap, then 10 years of work history (probably wouldn't be apparent from the resume, but what if?)?

Again, if you're so arbitrary on how you throw away resumes, then perhaps the industry you're in doesn't need a lot of education or experience. Cause, at least from what I can see, these days, the employers are having a very difficult time finding employees.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 1:45 PM

Mom who hires -- you sound like you are a bit stringent in your requirements. Also, I disagree completely with your statement about men never wanting to interview candidates with gaps. If anything, the women seem to look at such a thing as more problematic. I have exactly the opposite experience.

Maybe it's because I've been doing this for so long in a particular field, but I can tell within a few minutes whether it's go or no-go with a candidate. I am seldom wrong when I go with my gut instincts, although I have had a couple of rather memorable bad hires. And lately, I'm seeing more and more non-traditional resumes, where people have gaps or field hopped (not job hopped). Are you not seeing these? In any case, at least 85% of the resumes I get for any position are tossed almost at first sight -- errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. I frequently don't look at an attached resume based on the cover email/letter. How about this gem that hit my inbox today: "I see the position is full-time but I want part time but am willing to talk with you." Yes, it's ALL ABOUT YOU.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 19, 2007 1:47 PM

Problem is, one of the requirements was that she had to sign off on the queston "have you ever taken illegal drugs", and she had used pot back in her past.

"The exercise was asking was it ethical for her to say 'no' on the form and perhaps get the job, or to say 'yes', try and explain it happened long ago and hope the interviewers were sympathetic, and risk losing the job?"

The first responsibility is to take care of yourself and support yourself. OF COURSE you answer NO! If it involves money, it involves lying.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:48 PM

How about this gem that hit my inbox today: "I see the position is full-time but I want part time but am willing to talk with you." Yes, it's ALL ABOUT YOU.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 19, 2007 01:47 PM

Okay -- I almost snarfed my soda on that one. That is priceless --

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:50 PM

"I really do want to know, though, if anyone thinks it's the employer's business if I stayed home or went to the Peace Corp or cared for a dying relative or sunned on the beach for 3 years, especially if that information could be used against you!"

Meesh, I only know that if I were interviewing someone, I'd ask about the gap, looking for a credible explanation about how that time was spent. If an applicant suddenly clammed up and declined to answer, I'd consider that the only reason to decline to answer is a prison term, addiction problem, or other life choice that knocked her out of the job market for some time, or that the applicant lacks people skills. Part of interviewing well is having the ability to establish a rapport with everyone on the team that interviews you. In the alternative, I can't think of how it could ever benefit an applicant to leave an employer thinking the worst about a gap, when the explanation is positive, depending on the framing.

For example, in my opinion, good framing is: we had a goal that one of us would take a sabbatical for the first two years of our son's life; we saved to make it happen; he turned two; my sabbatical time is up and I'm looking to provide X to an employer in the Y industry. Now, you said that this opportunity requires X, right? When I was at Z employer, I . . . .

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 1:50 PM

Marie,
Most lawyers who work as lawyers aren't partners and will never become partners after completing the "partner track". I know many who have taken time off and gone back to private firm work as lateral hires, associates, "of-counsels", staff attorneys, etc . Assuming you've kept your contacts, it's probably easier for an attorney who wants to practice to go back to work in a non-partner track job than it is for an IT professional to resume his career with a good salary after a few years off. Of course, "part-time" in many private firms is 40 hours a week, but that's just the nature of the beast.

Posted by: Not a Mom | June 19, 2007 1:50 PM

Here's my question: If she had 4 kids in this day and age, then where is the ex? And what kind of support is he providing for the kids? Why is she having such a hard time? We don't know what led up to her being a single mom of 4. Without that information, then we're just doing what we normally do so exceptionally well on this blog -- pass judgment.

Posted by: where's the dad | June 19, 2007 1:50 PM

Personally, I think you should always think of yourself as a free agent. You will not be there for life and both of you know that. You are there to make the company money and yourself money. It's business. The problem is too many people think of themselves as employees. The only person you are an employee of is YOU INC.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 1:52 PM

One thing to note is that the guest blogger has not just returned to work after a few years of staying home with her children but is returning to work because of a divorce. While that's not something that's on her resume or something to talk about in the interview, I wonder if her body language/vibe at interviews was of resentfulness of having to return to work. Even now, years after the divorce, her blog is quite bitter - i wonder if that was sensed in the interviews during the divorce and since then.

Posted by: sml | June 19, 2007 1:53 PM

To Not a Mom -- Excellent -- that is great. That has not been my experience so I am glad that is others' experience. Is this in the DC area? Thanks!

Posted by: Marie | June 19, 2007 1:54 PM

Mom who hires - okay, I definitely don't understand the career field you're hiring for, so I couldn't judge. But in my career field, there's no surplus of qualified candidates; there's a definite shortage. We'd never be so foolish as to discard a potentially-qualified applicant because there was an employment gap.

(And in my career field, a number of people of both genders have the "dot com" gap. They cashed in several million in stock options back in the stock bubble and took a few years off before realizing they were really, really bored and came back to work. Or they got caught in the bust/market downturn and didn't want to switch career fields. It's not just the SAHPs who have career gaps.)

Posted by: Army Brat | June 19, 2007 1:55 PM

Nice topic and good to hear people's experience.

I think age is also a big factor in this too, as I'm sure the More piece brought out. In my work I talk to men and women over 50 who have gone through job changes and they almost all find it hard - even over 45, as you approach the barrier.

I still think a job is only ONE guarantee of marketability - lots of people with jobs, if they lose them, have a lot of trouble getting new ones. Courses and networking rank high up there too and SAHPs should be aware of those paths, as well as the sometimes less effective but still good volunteer route (make sure it is good volunteering, not just doling out goods at the bake sale).

I also think it depends on the field. When I saw marketing communications my radar went off a little because marketing traditionally is a young field - people get pushed out of it quite often, at least in my experience. Publishing too is a field where salaries are getting lower overall, except for those who market the next DaVinci Code. My favourite example of this would be a SAHP who was in the travel industry pre-9/11 - they are just returning to a completely different marketplace, or at least were for a few years.

So my summary: I think this information is good but people have to know what's up in THEIR field and make decisions accordingly.

Posted by: Shandra | June 19, 2007 1:56 PM

With apologies to the hiring people here, whom I am sure are first rate. Did you ever notice how HR people seem like they don't really know what the hell a job entails or who to look for? I have interviewed with people I would not trust to decide what lawn care service to hire much less a high level position.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 1:59 PM

Marie

Baltimore and Midwest, mostly. Also, if you're thinking about doing this, you should think about working for a State or local agency as an assistant A.G., solicitor, etc. for a while. They don't pay well, but they do offer more flexibility/part time options because they need good, experienced attorneys so much (because of low pay). I know mothers who, instead of stopping work entirely, go work full or part time at an agency for a few years. It allows you to keep making contacts and to develop a reputation in the legal community. It's always a perfectly respectable resume line and can be a decided advantage when you apply for private sector jobs, assuming you've performed well.

Posted by: Not a Mom | June 19, 2007 2:02 PM

Again, if you're so arbitrary on how you throw away resumes, then perhaps the industry you're in doesn't need a lot of education or experience. Cause, at least from what I can see, these days, the employers are having a very difficult time finding employees.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 01:45 PM

I'm sorry you feel that way, atlmom. All culling through resumes is arbitrary, e.g., rather than picking alums from your college or names you like best, you should be applying objective criteria relating to the job requirements, and I am in an industry that has no difficulty finding employees. If you have time to interview 20 people for one position that opens up every 2 years, you are not valuing your own time highly enough. I only need to pick the top 5 of 200+ resumes, having already excluded those with typos, and time-wasting, self-centered cover letters like the one described by WorkingMom X. I spend 2.5 hours talking with those top 5 candidates, and make an offer to the best qualified, again based on objective criteria relating to the job requirements. When we make an offer, candidates say, 'Yes".

When there is competition for few available positions, culling resumes is part and parcel of the job. The only question to ask is, what's the basis for culling. If you consider that eliminating those with job gaps is somehow unfair, you're welcome to tell us all how it works out after you interview and hire one or more with gaps. By the way, working part-time does not produce a resume gap. Neither does significant volunteer work. I support any effort by any applicant to tell his or her story in the way she sees fit.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:05 PM

Hmmm, I agree with you once again, patrick, and I like the "free agent" description. I really don't understand people who are either afraid to act in their own interests (in terms of negotiating salaries/benefits or looking for a new job when they need to move on) or who expect their employers to treat them like family. I have a great relationship with my boss and I like him a lot, but I also know that our obligations to each other are based on the business relationship we agreed to - I do really good work for him and he pays me for it. I put in the extra time when it's needed, but in general I keep my hours reasonable and he knows that, and that's part of what we negotiated at the beginning. He gives me straightforward feedback on my work and I expect him to. It's business, as much as we may have a good rapport, and I consider it my responsibility to look after myself (which includes being a good employee so that I continue to merit good treatment and salary). I have friends and colleagues who seem to think of themselves as being totally at the whim of their bosses - it's like they expect the boss to notice that they're working insance hours and are miserable and fix it for them, and I just don't get that. That's your job to fix, in my mind.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 2:05 PM

"When he interviewed with a major finance firm, his interviewer challenged him to a duel: two hours of playing the $15 tables at a nearby casino. My friend came up about $200 over the interviewer and, of course, got the job."

EXCELLENT. I am very impressed by this.

Workingmomx, similar things hit my inbox. I work in a small research lab at a major university, and all technical e-mail comes to me and another person. We're often the contact person in the lab, which leads post-doctoral fellows and prospective graduate students to believe we are in charge of hiring. Unfortunately for them, almost all hiring is done by recruitment of people in the university network or in other labs around the world with whom my boss has a connection. He finds someone he likes and invites them to join us. We're not ever really at a point where we 'need' a post-doc. These letters never really get anywhere, because if my boss is going to be impressed by your work enough to consider you for a position, you can bet that he's already read a piece or two of it and will contact you when he's darn good and ready.

Posted by: Mona | June 19, 2007 2:06 PM

megan:

It's more difficult these days to count cards, as the casinos use 7 or more decks AND if they even get a whiff that you're *thinking* of doing it, they'll throw you out and post your name and picture up for the other casinos.

Disclaimer: I have never counted cards, but I suppose it wouldn't be difficult to find information on how to do it.

The game theory class had several upper level classes that were prerequisite for it - it wasn't just a 'let's play cards' kinda thing. But it was more fun than some other upper level math classes...even though we never technically *played* any of the games. Really.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 2:10 PM

With apologies to the hiring people here, whom I am sure are first rate. Did you ever notice how HR people seem like they don't really know what the hell a job entails or who to look for? I have interviewed with people I would not trust to decide what lawn care service to hire much less a high level position.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 01:59 PM


pATRICK, I have to tell you I laughed when I read this. I can see how "outsiders" would feel that way. For whatever reason, a percentage of the people who are drawn to HR work are some of the least able to keep secrets of anyone on the planet. Also, some women (younger, usually) in HR seem to equate being a people person or good customer service with being a ditzy, chatty goofball. (Sorry to sound like I'm discriminating, but there aren't nearly as many men as women in this field.) However, I usually work with quite polished folks who know how to handle almost any situation and realize that they need to keep their mouths shut. Employee confidentiality is not something to mess around with.

Posted by: WorkingMomx | June 19, 2007 2:11 PM

MEGAN, early in my career, I was offered a job for 5k more and I told my boss. He called me in later and said that he wanted to keep me, I was valuable etc. I told him great this is what they are offering me. He looked kind of blank and said the best he could do would be a 500 per year raise. I smiled and told him thanks and quit. It was vaguley demeaning and I was insulted because I know they always find the money to do what they want. He thought I was a fool apparently.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 2:13 PM

Personally, I think you should always think of yourself as a free agent. You will not be there for life and both of you know that. You are there to make the company money and yourself money. It's business. The problem is too many people think of themselves as employees. The only person you are an employee of is YOU INC.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 01:52 PM

You've nailed it, pATRICK. As it happens, in my past work lives, I've worked with more people who understood the getting paid part than the "making the company money" part, but such is life. That's not an issue in my present job, LOL.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 2:14 PM

atlmom, I can't really remember how his system worked (my mind doesn't work this way) but it wasn't counting cards in the traditional sense, I do remember him trying to explain that much to me (unsuccessfuly, obviously).

He also shared with me this quotation from a casino owner, which he included in his thesis: "What I like about owning a casino is the risk. Some days you make money, some days you make more money."

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 2:16 PM

Lying on a resume/interview can be grounds for dismissal.

Posted by: | June 19, 2007 01:00 PM

Or not, if they don't want to get rid of the employee, for whatever reason. Not fun to work with folks who lie on resumes and in interviews, because they inevitably bring that "skill set" with them to their co-workers and subordinates.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:16 PM

MN, I learned at the feet of the jedi master of business-MY DAD. LOL

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 2:17 PM

I have wasted my time on interviews with clueless HR personnel, as well.

On the flip side, I also am amused by applicants who don't understand that the HR person with whom they meet is, in our case, not making the hiring decision. Her entire purpose is to handle the administration end of scheduling, offer letters, rejection phone calls. She has no authority. I watch an amazing number of applicants suck up to the HR person and proceed to intentionally offend one of the key decision-makers in the interviews. Judgment, people. Judgment.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 2:20 PM

pATRICK, the larger the organization the less the HR people know. In our company (something like 1,000 employees, I think) the HR people DON'T decide who to hire. They do the initial screening of candidates/resumes, so yes, if your resume has typos or your cover letter stinks, you're out. But after that, a senior technical person in the department that will hire you does a "phone screen" - we call you up and talk to you to see if you're interested, and if you seem legitimate. If we decide that it's worthwhile, we bring you in for an interview. HR handles the logistics and talks to you about the company, policies, etc. but there are several interviews with senior technical people. It is the senior technical people who decide to make an offer or not make an offer. HR's role is then to handle the offer, negotiate an acceptable salary or decide that the person just wants more than we're willing to pay, etc.

I actually like the process, because to me the HR people do what they're good at, and the technical people who are going to have to work with this new person have the say in whether or not she's hired.

But at a large company, or with the Government, I've noticed that most of the hiring decisions seem to be made by HR people who aren't connected to the folks doing the work. One of my best friends was hired by a large defense contractor, and on his first day was shown to his new department, all of whom were shocked to discover that they were getting a new employee.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 19, 2007 2:22 PM

MN, I hate when you go for a job and you get a question like "So, tell me when you synergized your paradigm shifts to drill down to increase yur proactive inner value proposition". I once had this happen and didn't want the job so I asked if they could ask me in plain english what they were after. It was very liberating, of course I didn't get the job.(thank God)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 2:25 PM

"I'm generally an optimistic person and honor other's views, including Leslie's. But, honestly, her research does not reflect my story, which shows how hard it is for some women to find decent-paying jobs, and the need for employers to see that women are the breadwinners of many households."

Posted by Linda Nason McElherne, Hinsdale, Ill.

It's a problem, all right. A social problem. And when I hear about a problem, I wonder. Have we always had this problem? If so, why haven't we found a way to solve it? If not, how long have we had this problem? What might have caused it? What can we do to fix it?

For instance: During the "baby boom" following the end of World War II, families with four or more children were much more common than they are today. Did the mothers of these children run into the same roadblocks as Mrs. McElherne is encountering?

What might have caused this problem? Did the mothers of the Baby Boomers, trying to return to work, have to compete with maquiladora labor in Mexico, coolie labor in Singapore, child labor in India, or prison slave labor in Red China? Why should the boss hire Mrs. McElherne at a decent salary to put together marketing presentations when someone in India can put them together in Microsoft Power Point (TM) for $120 a week and beam them to America over the Internet?

"Looking back at my career path, I believe I should never have quit my job long ago to stay home with my kids. My children and I pay for that choice on a daily basis." (Linda McElherne)

Did the mothers of the Baby Boomers -- and one never can tell, some of them may be reading On Balance this afternoon -- feel the same way? Were they left in the lurch by their husbands as often as mommies are today? Or were they too busy worrying about being investigated by Senator Joe McCarthy to think about anything else but McCarthyism?

What can we do to fix the problem? Do the names "Hawley" and "Smoot" strike a familiar note? Can we put in tariffs, even on Intellectual Property, so that returning mommies don't have to compete with low-wage foreigners? And what's this business about heartless employers not taking into account the family needs of their breadwinner employees, male or female? Is it all, "bottom line, bottom line, bottom line? What ever happened to Louis Blanc's formula from the 1840's, "à chacun selon ses besoins, de chacun selon ses facultés"? Isn't that in our Constitution somewhere?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 19, 2007 2:30 PM

WorkingMomx

"For whatever reason, a percentage of the people who are drawn to HR work are some of the least able to keep secrets of anyone on the planet."

Yes, yes, yes! They tend to blab everything and plan endless parties and collection drives between gossip fests! Blah, blah, blah!

They giggle when they screw up important employee stuff.

And they seem to think that there is a law that says that more then one minute of silence in the workplace is a crime!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:30 PM

pATRICK,

As you might imagine, jargon is not my friend either. My favorite interview story isn't even mine. A stellar candidate, who happened to be possessed of immovable Ken-doll hair, went on an interview and the interviewer was a pompous buffoon. At a point in the interview when it was clear to the candidate that there'd be no job offer, Mr. Buffoon asked what candidate's best quality was. My buddy responded, I like to think it's my game-show host hair. He didn't get the job, but he did get to see Mr. Buffoon's jaw drop, and the several seconds delay as Buffon tried to come up with a follow-up question was worth the price of the show.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 2:33 PM

"What can we do to fix the problem? Do the names "Hawley" and "Smoot" strike a familiar note."

Why yes Matt they do. They were the catalyst to the most devastating depression the world had ever seen. Want to see another one? start hiking up tariffs and choking trade. Then we can all join our friedns in the unemployment line.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 2:34 PM

pATRICK: no kidding. My sister once told me about how her friend was looking for a new job and he started working, then got an offer from one of the other companies and the pay was something like 1/3 higher. So he took that offer to the current employer and they said: here's more money.

For me, actually, i woulda just quit the first employer - apparently, he was worth so much more, but they weren't willing to pay it.

One reason not to go for a counter offer from an employer - they should have been giving you better raises, etc, but they chose not to - it's almost like they're pushing you out the door. Probably 5k isn't such a big deal, but 35% IS.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 2:34 PM

patrick, I have had similar experiences in my past, and it just amazes me. One boss tried to get me stay, with no extra money or incentives, by telling me how much he liked me and had come to depend on me, as if I should make my choices based on what was best for him, not for me.

I think this does go back to something that was raised earlier, which is the attitude and approach of the candidate. I would imagine that candidates who put out an attitude of anger, desperation or entitlement are simply not going to do as well as someone who is simply confident and straightforward.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 2:35 PM

I would imagine that candidates who put out an attitude of anger, desperation or entitlement are simply not going to do as well as someone who is simply confident and straightforward.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 02:35 PM

DING. DING. DING. Folks, we have a winner!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:40 PM

See what happens when you give Matt a hard time for trying to be funny?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:42 PM

Matt - it's called socialism/communism.

And OUR society is based on capitalism (well, not as much as it used to be). So no, more tariffs is NOT the answer. NOT having tariffs *is* the answer - EVERYONE is better off in the long run. Please go study some macroeconomics.

Megan: Well, it probably is similar to the stats behind counting cards - cause it's all based on the same probabiliities...

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 2:42 PM

In the crazy interviewing tactics vein, I was once on a hiring committee for a position. The committee included two women and three men. We brought in a candidate who, I kid you not, simply would not look at either woman. When I asked him a question he looked at the man next to me while I asked it and during the answer. It was simply bizarre. It was so pronounced that at one point one of the men on the committee actually said to the candidate, "Actually, Megan asked that question." I've never seen anything quite like it.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 2:43 PM

WorkingmomX--You are not alone.

When I was out on maternity leave with my first child, my boss hired a temp. He came to work in shorts and a tank top with his own lap top and said that he needed to have a flexible schedule because he had some kind of hobby. He also asked if he could work at star bucks instead of out office.

Needless to say, he was asked to leave that day.

Posted by: scarry | June 19, 2007 2:44 PM

How do stay-at-home fathers fare when they return to the work force?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:45 PM

Megan says "I think this does go back to something that was raised earlier, which is the attitude and approach of the candidate. I would imagine that candidates who put out an attitude of anger, desperation or entitlement are simply not going to do as well as someone who is simply confident and straightforward."

Very, very true. Bitterness against previous employers, current or former spouses, thankless children, parents, etc. -- amazingly, some people do reveal these emotions in interviews. One candidate referred to her current (soon-to-be former) employer as "The Death Star". I always feel sorry for people who've been through a layoff because they are jumpy as well, though they try so hard to hide it.

I've also had people tell me that if we offer them a job, they're going to see what their current employer will do to match the offer. One woman in a memorable interview blew a bubble with her gum and it landed on my desk. Every so often I'm shocked in an interview or during the hiring process at the depths of stupidity to which some people sink.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 19, 2007 2:46 PM

scarry

SpellCheck works!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:47 PM

scarry

SpellCheck works!

Posted by: | June 19, 2007 02:47 PM


Don't get pATRICK excited! Ok?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:50 PM

typically, SAHDs are treated much worse when they try to go back to work. As bad as it might be for SAHMs, at least there is *some* sympathy out there.

But the attitude towards men is horrific - people still have their prejudices and think things along the lines of wow: I guess you couldn't take care of your family then. Or some such.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 2:51 PM

MEGAN, my raise paid for a newer car, I enjoyed driving by my old office tremendously. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 2:51 PM

Nothing misspelled in that post.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:53 PM

oh, Megan, I can't count the number of times this has happened to me with male candidates, and we interview in teams of 2. I'd rather know before we hire him than after, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 19, 2007 2:54 PM

pATRICK

"MEGAN, my raise paid for a newer car, I enjoyed driving by my old office tremendously. ;)"

But what would Jesus do?


Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:55 PM

SpellCheck works!

Spell check works!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:56 PM

Jesus would walk by the Temple in his new sandals.

Seriously, Jesus wouldn't think you were being the best steward of your family's resources if you decline the opportunity for a raise. I respectfully presume that pATRICK sat down with his wife and upped his pledge to his church right after that there raise.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 19, 2007 2:58 PM

MN, that's very true, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised based on some of the other interview stories here, but it still just blows me away that people would be so stupid. But then again, per another one of your posts, I remember in law school going to a session about applying for clerkships where the professor running it felt it necessary to remind us all to be polite to the judges' current clerks and secretaries because the judge is likely to ask them their thoughts after the interview. I mean, shouldn't that be the rule anyway, never mind the fact that they obviously already work for the judge and may share their opinions?

patrick, glad you put that raise to such good use ;)

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 3:00 PM

WWJD immediately precedes sightings of Mr. Mako.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:01 PM

"The only logical answer, to me, is that taking time off might signal to some unenlightened employers that a person was less committed to work than to his/her family."

I don't know what you mean by this. I am and always have been less committed to work than to my family. That doesn't mean that I have no sense of responsibility or dedication to the job or that I choose every family activity over work responsibility. I find it bizarre that someone would be more committed to work than family.

I have plans and back-up plans for child care for school closings, snow days and minor sick days. I attend school and sporting events if I can work it out, but miss them if the work committment is more important at that particular time. If it is a major event such as high school or college graduation, birth of a grandchild, child undergoing surgery, high school state championship, etc, then the family event is a higher priority.

I work to live, not live to work. I am a conscientious and dedicated employee but my family will always come first. You can replace a job, you can't replace your family.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:02 PM

I am here!

Posted by: Mako | June 19, 2007 3:03 PM

"oh, Megan, I can't count the number of times this has happened to me with male candidates, and we interview in teams of 2. I'd rather know before we hire him than after, LOL"

I had this happen too. I was way way down on the totem pole and had a customer with a problem. I asked a vice president, who I was friends with to help me. She came over and the customer directed every question at me and ignored Betty. He then asked me for some decision. I looked at him and said, Mr. XXX, Betty is a vice president, she would be the one to decide that. He looked at me as if I was not a real man or something. Later, I felt bad and Betty (Who in a nice way was tough) smiled and said "Patrick I deal with A holes like that all the time, No big deal". Weird

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 3:04 PM

WorkingMomX, your stories are amazing me. Thanks for sharing some of your experiences!

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 3:04 PM

Matt - it's called socialism/communism.

And OUR society is based on capitalism (well, not as much as it used to be). So no, more tariffs is NOT the answer. NOT having tariffs *is* the answer - EVERYONE is better off in the long run. Please go study some macroeconomics.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 02:42 PM

I am as much a capitalist as the next guy, but unchecked capitalism is brutal and unforgiving. We don't have anything like unchecked capitalism now (anti-trade laws, farm subsidies,etc.).

Do you really believe you can compete with a worker who can do your job for 5% of your salary? I don't care who you are or what you do, there is someone in India or China or some other second world state that can and will be able to do your job for less.

Please define "long run". From my point of view "the long run" requires the first word to go into severe depression as the economies of the second world catch up to ours. And when this washes out, "everyone" will not be better off. Those that were poor will be less poor and those that were rich will be less rich.

So the answer is not NO tariffs, but the selective use of all the tools available to protect our economy and the people of this country.

Posted by: devils advocate | June 19, 2007 3:06 PM

"' Can we put in tariffs, even on Intellectual Property, so that returning mommies don't have to compete with low-wage foreigners? And what's this business about heartless employers not taking into account the family needs of their breadwinner employees, male or female? Is it all, "bottom line, bottom line, bottom line? What ever happened to Louis Blanc's formula from the 1840's, "à chacun selon ses besoins, de chacun selon ses facultés"? Isn't that in our Constitution somewhere?'"

"Matt - it's called socialism/communism.

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 02:42 PM

Louis Blanc didn't want communism. Louis Blanc wanted workers to organize into unions. If all the industrial workers of the world were organized into one big union, the bosses couldn't get away with paying systems programmers and marketing analysts in India $120 a week.

"And OUR society is based on capitalism (well, not as much as it used to be). So no, more tariffs is NOT the answer. NOT having tariffs *is* the answer - EVERYONE is better off in the long run. Please go study some macroeconomics." (atlmom)

Atlmom is right about the long run.

In the long run, assuming that competitors like Red China eventually allow workers to organize into unions and fight for livable wages and decent working conditions, the wages of third world workers will rise to equal those of American workers, and everyone will be better off because every country's workers will do what they do best, both for their own countries and for the rest of the world. This is the doctrine of "comparative advantage" which our son, the mathematics/economics major, studied in college (I never even reached Economics 101, having stopped after Economics 1).

However, in the short run, countries like Red China have what economist Paul Craig Roberts calls, "absolute advantage." They can produce anything they turn their hearts and cheap labor resources to, and (once they learn to leave poisonous chemicals out of dog food and toothpaste) produce it as well as we can and far more cheaply. Engineering and design soon follow production, so we are already seeing big American and Canadian firms opening up design and engineering campuses in Red China.

Linda McElherne's problem is in the here and now, the short run. She's got herself and four children to support. She can't afford to wait until wages even out worldwide. By that time, her children will be be grown up, and she will be on Social Security. No less an economist than John Maynard Keynes said, in 1923, that the "long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 19, 2007 3:07 PM

"Later, I felt bad and Betty (Who in a nice way was tough) smiled and said "Patrick I deal with A holes like that all the time, No big deal". Weird"

It is weird. I've certainly had that happen with people who don't (or think they don't) have anything to lose by acting that way towards me, but in a hiring situation I just don't get it. In this job I've had some of our co-counsel or opposing counsel assume I'm either a secretary or a paralegal and treat me poorly on that assumption. I figure it's a good insight into their personality and let them carry on; usually they are horribly embarrased when my boss sorts them out.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 3:10 PM

At a former position, I was asked to interview one of the candidates. He had come highly recommended and by the time lunch was over, I thought, my boss is going to hire this guy. I thought he was obnoxious and was quite upset, cause I'd have to work with him on a daily basis. I interviewed him, one of the last of the day. My boss didn't even ask my opinion, since he was such an a$$ to the support staff and every person he spoke with, there was no way we were going to hire him - to my relief.
My boss made some comment to me later that day or the next about how one has to be nice to everyone cause it's not only the VPs who decide if you get a job or not....

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 3:11 PM

to HR - serious question.

I am in a field that didn't require a degree when I started. I have over ten years experience. I am interested in making a change to a different employer but every opening I have checked into requires a degree. Does any employer consider experience in lieu of education anymore? If so, how should the cover letter or resume address this without being tossed immediately? I would be a very valuable asset to a company if I could only get a foot in the door.

I'm looking for an answer other than going back to school. That's not a possibility for me at this point in time. Thanks.

Posted by: help | June 19, 2007 3:11 PM

My husband and I are both lawyers at different law firms. A guy in my firm was interviewing at my husband's firm and I told my husband that the guy was a complete jerk. My husband told the recruiting coordinator. Guy went on interview and the attorneys loved him. The recruiting coordinator knowing that I was on to something arranged for another interview for this guy with a 1st year associate. The guy was horribly offended and was a total jerk to the first year associate. Needless to say guy was not hired and guy is still in the office next to me -- stupid stupid stupid -- should have kept my mouth shut :)

Posted by: Joan | June 19, 2007 3:15 PM

Our Personnel office rates our job applicants for suitability, and sends back the resumes stamped "highly qualified", "qualified" or "not qualified" based on experience and education.

Except, basically if they've got ANY engineering experience, they get stamped "highly qualified", and when I interview them it is very quickly (and often, painfully) obvious they haven't a clue what the job involves.

I had one senior manager from IBM apply for a much lower paying job, and in the interview all he could tell me was he had been laid off and needed a job, any job. It was very sad to see him nearly grovel for a job that paid maybe 20% of what he had made at IBM, but he had absolutely zero qualifications for the job and I told him so after 15 minutes in the interview.

Then there was the applicant who had worked with a consulting engineering firm for several years that, when I asked her if she'd ever designed an interchange, asked "what's an interchange?". She didn't get the job...

Posted by: John L | June 19, 2007 3:15 PM

pATRICK

"It was vaguley demeaning "

Posted by: Robin da Hood | June 19, 2007 3:16 PM

My favorite thing was when I would run into an old boss who was a jerk or very self important after I quit. When their power was gone and it was just man to man, then it was "Hey buddy" or just a hey as they slinked away. I always had the urge to kick their a$$ but resisted.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 3:18 PM

Elin Woods (Mrs Tiger) just had a baby. How soon should she establish her own career to be able to support her family in case of divorce at some future time?

Posted by: lurker | June 19, 2007 3:25 PM

Elin Woods (Mrs Tiger) just had a baby. How soon should she establish her own career to be able to support her family in case of divorce at some future time?

You mean the Swedish supermodel married to a rich, rich super star? I think she may be safe.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:27 PM

Lurker: she'd just need a good attorney. :)

Posted by: atlmom | June 19, 2007 3:28 PM

"How soon should she establish her own career to be able to support her family in case of divorce at some future time?"

Depends on how good her post-nup is, obviously ;)

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 3:30 PM

pATRICK

"I always had the urge to kick their a$$ but resisted."

It's amazing how pathetic you are in your stories designed to cast you as the hero...

Kind of a "Legend in My Own Mind" tale gone haywire...

Posted by: lurkee | June 19, 2007 3:36 PM

rats, I should have married Tiger Woods. Now that's a stable career path!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:37 PM

To help:

I am in a field that didn't require a degree when I started. I have over ten years experience. I am interested in making a change to a different employer but every opening I have checked into requires a degree. Does any employer consider experience in lieu of education anymore? If so, how should the cover letter or resume address this without being tossed immediately? I would be a very valuable asset to a company if I could only get a foot in the door.

That can be tricky. There are cases in which we've hired someone without a degree for a position which usually requires it, but it's rare (I'm in legal). I'm thinking of a person who started life as a legal secretary and because of her chutzpah and willingness to take on new tasks, not to mention superior intelligence, she morphed into a Litigation Support Specialist and now heads a Litigation Support department. All without a degree. She switched firms after she became a Lit Support Specialist, but she needed a reference to do it -- someone to affect a meeting with the other firm and really talk up her accomplishments.

Is there someone with whom you work who could do that for you? The other option (probably not as desirable) is to accept a lesser position and then grow it in whatever direction you want, which is how I've always approached my career. A job, a title -- it's just a jumping off point.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 19, 2007 3:38 PM

"Elin Woods (Mrs Tiger) just had a baby. How soon should she establish her own career to be able to support her family in case of divorce at some future time?"


Don't forget Danny Moder. It goes both ways now.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 19, 2007 3:39 PM

"I respectfully presume that pATRICK sat down with his wife and upped his pledge to his church right after that there raise."

Quote of the day!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:40 PM

Help, it may depend on how well you can document your experience. My field normally requires a CS degree (which I don't have, although I do have a degree) but my many years of hands-on experience have got me jobs without it, because my hands-on experience is heavily published and therefore available for anyone to see.

I'd give it a shot. If you've been in the field for that long, it's worth a try.

Posted by: experience vs degree | June 19, 2007 3:40 PM

pATRICK

"I always had the urge to kick their a$$ but resisted."

It's amazing how pathetic you are in your stories designed to cast you as the hero...

Kind of a "Legend in My Own Mind" tale gone haywire..."

Sorry you take them that way. What is pathetic is how little confidence you have that you can't even post a pretend name on an anonymous blog.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 3:40 PM

pATRICK

"I always had the urge to kick their a$$ but resisted."

It's amazing how pathetic you are in your stories designed to cast you as the hero...

Kind of a "Legend in My Own Mind" tale gone haywire...


Huh? Have you never wanted to kick someone's a$$? I don't see how that is being a hero. Being a hero would be kicking someone's a$$ who was hurting someone else.

Posted by: scarry | June 19, 2007 3:43 PM

I agree wholeheartedly, Leslie.
You are in no way doomed after a few years off.
In fact, I have been getting praised for it as of late and it's almost a badge of honor in the preschool parent's world.

I think the key is, as I always tell SAHM friends heading back to work, is to not hide it.
I learned more about myself and the world in those 3 years at home than I ever had. A lot of it was personal growth and seeing the world in a whole different perspective- which I believe makes me a better employee as well now. It's almost like traveling abroad for a year or a semester in college/right after college. You just learn about life in a non-traditional way.
And that's what I told prospective employers about my time "off". And they loved it. I didn't try to hide being a mom- they could have all of me, or none of me, and I received a lot of great offers.

I think women are so scared to admit they are a mom, some back themselves into a corner of guilt and then get angry about it.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | June 19, 2007 09:32 AM


I love you, SAHMBacktowork

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:44 PM

"I respectfully presume that pATRICK sat down with his wife and upped his pledge to his church right after that there raise."

Quote of the day!!!


Unfortunately, I did not. I was not a christian yet and did not have a church. I spent it on my greedy self. I can't pretend I helped my church when I didn't. But I would up my pledge now if that happened.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 19, 2007 3:49 PM

i love it that patrick responds to every single taunt

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:51 PM

Did you see that Hillary chose You and I by celine Dion as her campaign song - blech. Could she have picked a bigger chick song? Next think you know she will be doodling - Hillary and Barak TLA on her folers! Why doesn't she have Kotex sponser her campaign?

Posted by: Chick song ! | June 19, 2007 4:03 PM

"Why doesn't she have Kotex sponser her campaign?"

Spelling Police!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:08 PM

"We don't scare that easy.

You should. He's very easy to find, and you're not doing him any favors by issuing challenges. Proof? His middle initial also leads the third word of his workplace."

Posted by: Maybe we should all change our screen names. | June 19, 2007 4:09 PM

"Maybe we should all change our screen names"

or maybe we should let the passive-aggressive threatening sorts desparate for attention go on about their self-destructive ways and not worry our pretty little heads. These sorts bring misery on their own heads in the real world.

If responding to a blog threat with realism is perceived by the threatener as a "challenge", imagine what she would do if someone knocked that speck of dust off her shoulder.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 19, 2007 4:15 PM

"His middle initial also leads the third word of his workplace."

What do dat mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:15 PM

It means someone is purporting to have identified Father of 4. Evidence once again that too much time in the hands of the insecure is either a dangerous thing, or results in a mentally unstable blog-mate.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:19 PM

Don't forget Danny Moder. It goes both ways now.

I forgot his name, but I didn't forget him. Just didn't want to call him Mr. Julia Roberts.

Posted by: to Arlington Dad | June 19, 2007 4:23 PM

"Evidence once again that too much time in the hands of the insecure is either a dangerous thing, or results in a mentally unstable blog-mate."

How so? Father of 4 blabbed a LOT of details on this blog and elsewhere on the net.

Posted by: June | June 19, 2007 4:23 PM

experience vs degree

"I'd give it a shot. If you've been in the field for that long, it's worth a try"

Thanks, but I'm looking for more practical advice along the lines of "how do I get someone to talk to me or read my resume." I'm sure I could sell myself if I had the opportunity. My experience is with the feds and not something published that could be easily seen by others.

Posted by: help | June 19, 2007 4:33 PM

June so has everyone else. That doesn't mean that it isn't freaky when someone acts like they know you.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:35 PM

"How so? Father of 4 blabbed a LOT of details on this blog and elsewhere on the net."

Maybe, but who's got the time, energy, and inclination to keep track of them all and attempt to put them all together?

I've been reading this blog almost since the start and I'm hard pressed to remember more than the most basic bits of info about a handful of long-time posters.


Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 4:35 PM


Duh! What's today's topic?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:35 PM

"We don't scare that easy.

You should. He's very easy to find, and you're not doing him any favors by issuing challenges. Proof? His middle initial also leads the third word of his workplace."

Posted by: Maybe we should all change our screen names. | June 19, 2007 04:09 PM"

Was something removed from the blog comments? This and the few comments following it make no sense.

Posted by: huh? | June 19, 2007 4:38 PM

it was copied over from late last night on yesterday's blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:39 PM

"Maybe, but who's got the time, energy, and inclination to keep track of them all and attempt to put them all together?"

The people who don't like him. From this blog and elsewhere on the Net. He was a guest blogger; Leslie knows his identity. He passed on an e-mail address to hi-jack some cyber friends from this blog. There is a LOT out there.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:40 PM

The people who don't like him. From this blog and elsewhere on the Net. He was a guest blogger; Leslie knows his identity. He passed on an e-mail address to hi-jack some cyber friends from this blog. There is a LOT out there.

If you don't like someone from a blog and you try to find them in real life, I think the term for that is stalker.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:42 PM

If you don't like someone from a blog and you try to find them in real life, I think the term for that is stalker.

Posted by: | June 19, 2007 04:42 PM

Exactly. To which my reaction is the same as MN's.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 4:46 PM

"If you don't like someone from a blog and you try to find them in real life, I think the term for that is stalker. "

What if the guy is a perv?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:46 PM

That was me Megan. I am busy and forgot to sign my post. I think that is a very scary thing (no pun intended) that was posted about father of 4. Then again, I know how it feels.

Posted by: scarry | June 19, 2007 4:47 PM

If you google someone, does that make you a stalker?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:55 PM

I think the best thing to do is ignore our cyber stalker. Such people thrive from attention, even negative attention. Best to simply stop responding.

Posted by: Emily | June 19, 2007 4:55 PM

If you google someone, does that make you a stalker?

Posted by: | June 19, 2007 04:55 PM

Depends on what you do with the info you find.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:58 PM

If you google someone, does that make you a stalker?

If you google father of 4 does something come up?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:59 PM

I found this:

LC Court Whips Father Of 4
By Joel Ogwang

A 30-year-old man in Mukono was on Tuesday caned 20 strokes after he allegedly buttered [sic] his mother over interference with his marital life.

Charles Mukiibi, 30, a resident of Luwuvu village in Nakisunga sub-county, allegedly buttered Christine Namuddu, 57, for intervening while he was beating his wife, Dorcus Nakandi, 26, for starving his four children when she did not cook lunch.

"My mother should have boundaries. If I'm disciplining my wife, let her fight my dad," an infuriated Mukiibi said, sparking off the villagers' wrath.

He said he sweats a lot to ensure that his three daughters and son eat, but the wife did not recognise it when she failed to cook.

Mukiibi accused his wife of rumour mongering with women from the neighbourhood. However, Nakandi said Mukiibi did not leave behind any money.

On his arrest, Fred Kasibante, the village chief, ordered that Mukiibi be caned 20 strokes in front of his mother and residents to serve as an example to other man.

He was also fined a jerry can of waragi, a goat and a gomesi for his mother to resolve the wrangle.

Posted by: I googled "father of 4" | June 19, 2007 5:07 PM


Posted by: I googled "father of 4" | June 19, 2007 05:07 PM

Eureka YOU found him!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 5:11 PM

What a waste of good butter.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 5:12 PM

Snort.

Posted by: Emily | June 19, 2007 5:13 PM

Awesome.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 5:17 PM

If you google someone, does that make you a stalker?

Posted by: | June 19, 2007 04:55 PM

No, but if you continually threaten someone online with outing them in the real world, that makes you a cyber-stalker.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 5:38 PM

No, but if you continually threaten someone online with outing them in the real world, that makes you a cyber-stalker.

And you can be sure that the Post has your email address in its system, which it can easily turn over to the authorities.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 5:46 PM

And you can be sure that the Post has your email address in its system, which it can easily turn over to the authorities.

Posted by: | June 19, 2007 05:46 PM

*snort*

1. Do you know how explicit a threat has to be in order to qualify as cyber-stalking? I didn't think so.

2. WaPO isn't turning anything over without a subpoena and in order to obtain one from a judge, you'd have to answer question 1 above.

Posted by: MN | June 19, 2007 6:03 PM

Boy, the cyber-stalker conversation sure kills the evening discussion, eh?

Anybody see the Explainer bit on Slate.com about infants appearing in movies? Who are those parents who put their tiny babies in movies? I cannot imagine considering that right after having a child.

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 6:24 PM

wow, Megan, I'd have thought they'd make a little more than $126 per day. If you are local and don't have paid maternity leave, this probably seems like a pretty good deal with little risk, but . . .

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 19, 2007 6:29 PM

I agree with Megan about who thinks about having their child in a movie right after birth. I do wonder most of these babies are actually friends of the cast or crew. Seems like that would be an easy or low key way to have a child in scene. But I guess stage moms could be born when the child is born...

Posted by: Curious | June 19, 2007 6:34 PM

Megan --

My cousins, who are twins, were born in Hollywood (the town, not the industry). My aunt was actually contacted by a studio looking for twins (since they always need more than one infant due to laws on how long they can be used on the set) for a character on a TV show that was supposed to have a baby.

They were actually chosen for the part. The money went into a trust that paid for a good chunk of college education. After that, their "acting" career ended.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | June 19, 2007 6:45 PM

according to the article, the babies have to be at least 15 days old, can't have been preemies, and have to have a note from a licensed physician. There are tons of other rules limiting number of hours on the set, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 6:47 PM

I know, I thought the same thing about the money - it seems really low, but I'm sure it could be a lot in some circumstances. I was thinking that I can't imagine getting an agent and all that at that point in time, but maybe some mothers do that while they're still pregnant?

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 6:50 PM

Vegas Mom, that's interesting! I hadn't thought about the studios seeking the parents out... the things I learn on this blog!

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 6:54 PM

tickles

Posted by: test | June 19, 2007 7:00 PM

I imagine HIPAA makes that practice tougher these days. I think the studios had contacts on the maternity wards of many of the local hospitals who they'd connect with when they were looking for twins.

I'm pretty sure there wasn't an agent involved, but I was about 12 at the time and not privvy to the details. I just thought it was cool that I could watch my new baby cousins on TV.

Back then, I think there were fewer twins being born, so finding them for an ongoing tv role could be a challenge. I know there's more these days, I believe due to fertility drugs and older moms. For some reason, I also suspect there are more stage moms hiring agents directly after the positive pregnancy test as well, LOL.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | June 19, 2007 7:00 PM

"For some reason, I also suspect there are more stage moms hiring agents directly after the positive pregnancy test as well, LOL."

It's a scary world we live in, Vegas Mom! I think you're probably right about all your points. It must have seemed really cool to see your cousins on TV like that - how long were they on? Can you divulge the show?

Posted by: Megan | June 19, 2007 7:09 PM

tickles

Posted by: test | June 19, 2007 07:00 PM

who is this numbnutz?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 8:53 PM

Why do parents believe the world owes them something for raising a child? Because you became a sole breadwinner, do you deserve higher pay? Your old job back? Raises as if you never left?

You made a choice to leave the workforce, and you have to live with the consequences of that choice. You should have thought of this before having 4 children.

Leslie, where do you find these people???

Posted by: more of the same | June 19, 2007 9:20 PM

Leslie, where do you find these people???

Posted by: more of the same | June 19, 2007 09:20 PM

I have a similar question: what rock did you crawl out from under?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:49 PM

I don't believe the issue is that the author had 4 kids or feels entitled. I believe the authors issue is the continued struggles parents face to be good parents in a material world. I too made sacrifices to be home more with my daughter when I was married. When I divorced, I lost that support system (financially and mentally). Questioning the authors decision to have 4 children and leaving the workforce is childish, petty, and only creates side issues to the larger, more serious problems of the world we have to raise our children in.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 8:24 AM

Don't fault yourself for the choice you made years ago. We never know the future. If we live all the time like our lives might fall apart at any second, we'd be like wild animals, always checking around every corner, suspicious and wild-eyed and not much fun to be around. Divorce is very, very difficult, and there's no way to prepare for it. You're doing the best you can for your kids today and that's what matters. They know that, and after reading your essay, so do I. So, CHIN UP and be proud. You're doing something your ex couldn't ever do.

Posted by: Robyn in Indiana | June 20, 2007 9:21 AM

I absolutely agree with the guest blogger, and her experience has been borne out my many economic studies, particularly when the time-out from the paid work-force has exceeded 5 years. I am relieved I did not see the originally piece in Time (Newsweek??). It appears to dismiss a serious problem those who choose to stay home (more at playgrounds, farms, zoos, libraries, running errands, etc. as stay-at-home mom is an oxymoron) with kids for period(s) of time absolutely face. There is something called opportunity cost by economists, and it definitely exists for all but these very high level people with connections (portrayed in article) whose careers appear to be unaffected by time away from the workforce, and possibly for blue-collar workers as well, where the factory job wouldn't have advanced the person much anyway (but these articles don't tend to talk much about the lower class, who are simply struggling a lot of the time to pay the rent).

I have worked part-time as a teacher or an economist, and, at times, have not worked at all outside the home over the past 20 years as my children are widely-spaced (ages 20,18,13 and 5). But I feel I faced age discrimination back in the 1990s when applying for entry-level jobs where a recent college grad is deemed a better bet as s/he grew up with the internet whereas I am probably an internet neophyte in all likelihood (interviewer's assessment), never having used Facebook except to look at my sons' entries.

I don't regret my choices in life, but I don't appreciate articles which pretend that there isn't a high career cost associated with dropping out of the workforce to raise children. Now that I am working again as an economist, I hope to get a contract which would allow me to study this issue.

Posted by: suzanne goode | June 25, 2007 9:34 AM

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