Job hunting with a new baby is a stress that no woman should have to experience. But there I was, on the hunt for a new legal gig, in entertainment law no less.
I had networked and sent out hundreds of emails in a flurry of excitement, nausea, and hope that one of them would land me a new job, and if not, at least an informational interview. Being on maternity leave with my older child in day care and my husband working full-time, I didn’t have last minute babysitting arrangement to rely on if an interview should come up. But, when an email landed in my inbox with an offer to convene with someone about my job search, I jumped at the chance to schedule a time to meet. With two weeks notice, I had plenty of time to arrange for someone responsible to mind my child, lose another 10 pounds of unwanted baby weight, and find the perfect outfit without any spit up on it.
The night before the meeting, with my child sensing the impending separation, I got no sleep. Instead, my perfectly sleep trained baby decided to sing and cry all night long, ensuring that the only way to offset the dark blue bags under my eyes was if I wore blue eye shadow on my lids. Of course, my husband slept through this command performance.
In the morning, my perfectly rested husband went off to work, dropping off my toddler at day care. When my Satanic spawn (whom I love dearly with all of my heart and soul) finally went down for a mid-morning nap, I was too wired to catch up on some much needed rest. Instead, I cleaned around the house, prepared dinner, wrote, worked out, showered, and got dressed. Waking up refreshed and bubbly, with two hours before my interview, my baby had returned to his charming self, delighting me with smiles, cooing, and eating without a fuss.
Then, the dreaded text from the babysitter came. The one that, thanks to Murphy’s Law, I should have expected to come all along: Sorry to do this so last minute, but I can’t watch the baby today. Something came up.
“F*#$!” I shouted, knowing that I couldn’t reschedule my meeting as the person was heading out of town.
My husband was in a meeting and couldn’t watch our child, and the day care, which only looks after children over the age of 18 months, was not a viable option. With little choice, I steadied myself knowing that my only choice was to attend the meeting with the baby on my hip or not at all. Ever the consummate professional, I contacted the person with whom I would be meeting to let them know in advance about my situation, crossing every single one of my pliable body parts hoping they’d empathize with my plight. As luck would have it, I was told that the baby was more than welcome.
In the end, the meeting went really well. Ever the charmer, my baby may have actually been an asset rather than a liability. It also helped that I met with someone who understood the realities and demands of parenthood and did not see being a mother as a handicap.
However, this experience was the exception, not the rule. Had it been an actual job interview instead of an informational meet-and-greet, notwithstanding the other party’s compassion, I would’ve rescheduled because there’s no way I could bring myself to go to it bouncing a baby on my knee.
I definitely don’t advocate bringing your baby to every interview or professional meeting, or pulling out the mommy card to gain sympathy, but I was very grateful to know that such understanding people existed. Working mothers often need a helping hand to succeed in the working world and employers need to be more flexible to these realities.
P.S. I’m still looking for the right entertainment law job, so if you know anyone who’s hiring…