When there’s a job that becomes available at any workplace, management already has the ideal candidate for the position in mind. They know whether they want someone internally or externally the moment the job becomes available. If an internal person has been decided upon, of course they’ll advertise anyway for reasons of legality and equality – it’s all a facade. I know this as I was second-in-charge and routinely covered my boss’ role.
Today I found out something I probably shouldn’t have. I now know that no matter how hard I try for this interview, I am almost certain that I won’t get it. The timing has not worked out for me this time around. I lost the biggest opportunity of my career when I went on maternity leave. My leave overlapped my boss’ leave and therefore, I was not able to cover her and another colleague was given the opportunity. Now that my boss is leaving, he will get this position over me. I really do feel that having kids has halted a rise in my career. To be honest, I have been struggling with this a lot lately.
This is one of the reasons why I love applying for higher positions externally. I feel that I have a fresh clean slate. They don’t know who I am (not that I have anything to hide as I believe I am a great employee and a hard worker). The interview panel won’t necessarily know that I’m a new mum or that I’m ‘rusty’ from having a year off for maternity leave. I would be judged along with my fellow candidates on my merits and without prejudice. Or maybe it’s just all in my head.
In my previous post, I said I will apply anyway and nothing’s changed. I will still apply even if it’s just for the interview experience alone. I would hope that I have as equal a chance as my colleague but realistically I don’t. He’s already covered the role in question as well as my role as second-in-charge during my mat leave, he’s up-to-date with procedures and quite simply he’s been there for the last year. He is the ‘it’ person for the job now. I guess I’ll go for it anyway, and maybe in the near future, I can become this ‘it’ person again.
Today I informed my boss that we are thinking of trying for baby number two. She was shocked to hear this as my daughter just turned 1. This was puzzling to me. Is it OK that I don’t put my career first? I mean my career is still important, but why the weird look? Does that make me a lesser candidate? Does having another stint of maternity leave on the horizon hurt my chances? All these questions are clouding my mind. The only reason why I was forced to tell her was because I didn’t want to handle cytotoxics which are contraindicated in pregnant woman. Now I fear that this will hinder any chance of me getting the position.
I know it’s meant to be an easy choice between your career and your kids. You’re probably reading this and saying ‘Carol, get over it’. But I really am struggling with my career taking a hit. I have a beautiful daughter. I love her so much and when I look at her it makes everything else seem so irrelevant, a distant second. However, when I’m at work, seeing other women with young kids who are still able to ascend the corporate ladder, it leaves me thinking “Why can’t I have that too?” It’s been a bit soul-crushing.
Remember, Carol, there is more to life than work.