Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Three Mothers Talk About Balancing Job Search and Child Care Amid Pandemic

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The last year and a half has been a whirlwind for many working parents, with the Covid-19 crisis forcing remote work and remote school to take place in the same place. For many working mothers, who bear the brunt of the care and housework, balancing the demands of work life, home life and the ongoing responsibilities of caring for children has seemed an almost impossible task.

In September 2020, one in four working women and one in three working mothers said they were considering changing their careers or leaving the workforce entirely due to the additional demands of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report. Lean In and McKinsey & Company Report. In addition to mothers feeling the need to cut their careers because of the pandemic, many women were forced to leave the workforce due to their overrepresentation in the hardest hit industries such as the service sector and child care, where jobs were cut or left employed due to lack of paid time off and flexibility.

“I’m a single mother of a 3-year-old,” Denver’s Lauren Fine tells CNBC Make It. “So losing my job at the height of the pandemic when I have an autoimmune disease is very scary, [and] the idea of ​​going back somewhere to work in person is not really an option. ”Fine, 38, explains that since losing her job at a local nonprofit in June 2020, she has been working various jobs. part-time remotes for Fortunately, she says, “I didn’t feel like I was going to lose my home or that I couldn’t feed my son.”

Lauren Fine and her son.

Photo courtesy of the subject.

Looking for a job

After losing her job, Fine says her initial plan was to immediately start looking for another position that would allow her to work remotely. But, she says, “being home with my son full-time without babysitting and trying to look for work felt almost comical, honestly.”

“I remember having an interview in my parents’ basement, trying to close the door and my son yelling to get in,” he says. “At the time, I thought ‘I have no choice at this time. This is all’. The reality was that the other components of my life were surpassed [a full-time job]. “

In addition to being overwhelmed by the demands of child care and job hunting, Fine, who also cares for her elderly parents, says she found the interview process for many companies extremely stressful.

“There was a job where I got to the fifth round interview and didn’t get the job,” he says. And I thought, do you even know how much time, energy and effort you have to put into this? For example, doing a work sample and then being on several different interview calls to meet with your team, that was really difficult as a single parent in the height of the pandemic “.

Eraina Ferguson and family.

Photo courtesy of the subject.

Returning to the workforce after a hiatus

Before the pandemic, Eraina Ferguson was a homemaker for 10 years and regularly worked as a freelance writer and writer. Unlike many moms who felt the need to cut their careers during the pandemic, Ferguson says she felt the need to return to work full time after being at home with three school-age children who were doing virtual learning and a student. 21 years old. elderly man with special needs.

“In September [2020] I found myself angry, “says Ferguson, 42, who felt drained and weary from the demands of home life.” I called my husband one night when he was working late and said, ‘I want to go back to work. I need to get back to work. ‘”

At a time when millions of women were leaving the workplace, Ferguson, who has two master’s degrees, began his job search to re-enter the workforce in hopes of finding a remote full-time position. In October 2020, she landed a copywriting position at a digital marketing company. But, after about three months on the job, Ferguson says he had to resign due to scheduling conflicts.

“The schedules went crazy,” he says. “I hired a babysitter, but I still got up at 5 in the morning and worked until 1 in the afternoon because I was working for a company on the East Coast.” At the beginning of the pandemic, she and her family were based in Los Angeles, but have since moved to North Carolina.

Ferguson is currently enrolled in a UX Design program with the education company Udacity, where she worked as a recruiting marketing intern for the summer. Recently, he was offered a full-time marketing manager position at the company and plans to one day land a full-time position working in technology.

Looking back on her job search journey, she says that she is grateful for where she is today because there were times when she feared that her break from the workforce would affect her job search.

“That’s the hard part because you get penalized in some way because some companies don’t even look at your resume,” he says of his hiatus from the workforce. “But thank goodness for my network. They have been amazing going through my resume and giving me feedback to make sure I tell my narrative in a certain way.”

Lauren Bates | fake images

Changing jobs during pregnancy

In April 2020, Alexis Taylor became a full-time permanent employee after being a contractor at her company for nearly two and a half years. Her company had just started working remotely in March, which helped her hide the news that she was pregnant for a few months.

“This is going to sound terrible, but I thought this is so inconvenient,” says Taylor, 35. “I was like, ‘I’m trying to find a new job, I’m pregnant and I heard about it. maternity penalty “.

Taylor, who was looking for opportunities both externally and internally at her company, says she is grateful that most of her interviews were conducted virtually because it was easier for her to hide her pregnancy. But, she says she still felt a certain level of guilt for accepting her current job knowing that she would have to take maternity leave soon after.

“When I told my team, everyone was excited and they organized a virtual baby shower for me,” he says. “But it was very stressful, especially being new to the job.”

Although Taylor served as a contractor for the company for more than two years, she says the fact that she was not a permanent full-time employee for at least a year prevented her from taking advantage of the company’s full maternity leave policy.

“So the way my company does it is weird,” says Taylor, who ended up taking three months off. “First you have to take a short-term disability and then go on maternity leave. And you can’t leave the company until about a year later or you will have to pay back the maternity leave.”

As a new mother who returned to work in February, Taylor says she is grateful to have a supportive spouse who has helped her balance the demands of work life and motherhood. But like many working moms, I wish more companies had policies that made it easier for moms to take time off when they need it, work flexible hours when needed, and continue to advance their careers as they see fit.

“A friend of mine, who was recently promoted to vice president of her company, is the mother of two children,” she says. “And I was like, ‘Do you think being a mother affected your rate of advancement?’ She was like, ‘It sucks to say it, but yeah.’ And she gave me some tips on how to really record all the accomplishments I’m making and publicize it because even though I’m a mom and my son is rowing behind me, I’m still doing it. “

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