BE BOLDfrom Gail’s upcoming E-book Gail Cawley Showalter
We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. . .
we must do that which we think we cannot. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Landing a job requires a level of confidence that may have been damaged by divorce or even an abusive marriage. I recall an early job search of my own. My dad always said when it comes to getting hired, “You have to let them know if they don’t hire you they’ve made a mistake.”
I never had that much nerve until I was in real need of a job. There were three ads in the Houston Post that described jobs I thought I could handle. I had never had a ‘real job’ before, one that meant forty hours a week and a boss that meant business. This would be the first.
I started with an interview for the manager of several mall kiosks that sold common greenhouse plants in cute containers. I arrived a little early to be interviewed by a young man who wasn’t too much older than I was. He asked that I take a walk through the greenhouse while he finished some business. As I strolled the aisles I recalled gardening with Mom. I’d dearly adored flowers of every kind since childhood.
The interview began with the usual questions-background, education, job history, something I had precious little of. He began to withdraw saying, “I have two others to interview. I’ll let you know.” I thought, I can handle this job and he isn’t going to hire me. Daddy’s words came back to me and out of my mouth I heard myself say, “If you don’t hire me you’re making a mistake.”
He was stunned. So was I. He grinned, “What makes you think so?”
With confidence I replied, “Because I know the name of every plant in your greenhouse.”
He nodded. His expression more serious now, “You may be right but I’m obligated to interview the other two applicants.”
At the next interview the same day I was about to be hired as a graphic layout artist when I said to the man in charge, “I need at least $25 more a month (than they were offering).”
He left the room for a few minutes and returned with a smile. “You’ve got the job.”
My first real job and I’d have my own work area. What a thrill! I would make $400 a month.
The real kick came at 7:30 AM the next morning when the plant kiosk owner called to offer me the job.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’ve already taken a job.”
“I knew it,” he said, “I knew you would be hired by now.”
~ ~ ~
I had to force the confidence that I really didn’t feel. I stuck my neck out and
learned a huge lesson:
Daddy was right.
~ ~ ~
GROW YOUR CONFIDENCE
Facing the job market for the first time or after being out for a while requires more than a bit of courage. Most mothers do not give themselves credit for the managerial skills and knowledge they have acquired and exercise daily—twenty-four seven. To start shifting your thinking, answer the questions below.
- Do you plan meals?
- Do you shop for bargains?
- Do you run your household on a routine?
- Do you have a budget?
- Do you pay your bills?
- Do you plan for birthdays?
- Do you plan for Christmas and other holidays?
- Do you decorate for Christmas?
- Do you mail Christmas cards?
- Do you have a car?
- Do you maintain your car?
- Do you read the newspaper?
- Do you read non-fiction books?
- Can you type?
- Do you communicate with your children’s teachers?
- Do you keep your house clean?
- Do you take care of your lawn and/or garden?
- Do you care for your children when they are ill?
- Are you able to use the Internet?
All of your “yes’s” represent skills needed in some way in the work force. Many also prepare you for job hunting. You have more going for you than you might think. Concentrate on growing your strengths. Your strengths will direct you as you decide on jobs or education. Set short term goals like:
“I will get my GED in the next year.”
“I will learn to type/keyboard this summer.”
“I will write, have a friend review, and print resumes.”
“I will speak with the temporary employment agency next week.”
“I will look online for job postings in the local school system this weekend.”
“I will register for a night/online/weekend class next semester.”
“I will accept short-term job that will provide income to meet future goals.”
“I will write one-year and five-year goals for employment.”
“I will check out library books on re-entering the work force or changing jobs.”
“I will call area childcare centers for pricing information and ask for discounts for single mothers.”
“I will visit childcare centers and get applications for employment.”
“I will complete five applications for employment next week.”
“I will study classified ads for job openings and call five of them this week.”
These are examples only. You know what your goals ought to be. Writing them gives them more power and potential. You are more likely to achieve goals that you put on paper. You are a capable woman. Know that. Let it sink in before you start thinking of a job.