I am job hunting at the moment. After three years here, having completed my degree, I’m attempting to make use of that hard earned piece of paper (which if Curtin would hurry up and process already I could physically hold the thing) by gaining entry into that realm of employment. One question they always seem to ask at an interview is along the lines of “what are your long term goals?”
Well that’s easy;
- Refinance the house under a bank instead of Keystart,
- Pay off that debt,
- Finish the house,
- Rise in the ranks of whatever employment I gain,
- Earn enough dough that I’m effectively earning two incomes (we’ve planned this one out on the basis of continuing to budget on our current incomes, which in the workplaces I am looking for and my work ethic is actually doable), allowing us to have a baby and Mark to take a year or two away from work in which time to be a stay-at-home-dad.
But I can’t say most of that. There’s the goal. The big goal! Earn enough that we can comfortably have a baby, that I can return to work and Mark stay home. Now that may be five years and that may be ten…but I am twenty-six this year.
I feel that sword hanging over my head in interviews, and I sense the wariness of hiring a young woman in a long term relationship, in a permanent home arrangement at my age; a prime time to be getting married and having kidlets. Perhaps I’m placing too much emphasis on it, but I have heard discussions from previous employers and even from my current who is a little disgruntled that our female biomedical engineer stayed here long enough to gain her rights to benefits and then announced pregnancy, and a year away from work.
Yes, my plan is to return to work soon after and I understand that some may tell me my mind will change, but I somehow doubt that. As my sister, a new mother herself will tell you, she was very keen to return, and we share that ethic; that need to reach goals and objectives, to feel that sense of accomplishment. I also have the eagerness of my partner who wishes to stay home and, as my earning potential is much higher than his, it’s a pretty perfect arrangement. But I can’t say any of this in an interview. Whilst they cannot say that I was not chosen for the position on offer because of this reasoning, truthfully, they can simply state that they simply felt I was not the most suitable candidate and nothing can be done. They cannot outright ask either, but so often their general questions and polite conversation hint to. “How long have you and your partner been together?” “Are you married?” “Any leave planned?” “What is your five year plan?” When they say, “do you have any questions for us?” I want to ask about the maternity policy. I want to know the likelihood of being able to work from home a day or two, if I will need to apply for government support when the time comes. But I can’t.
This is a disservice that I am finding in the interview process and I wish to speak of it, but I cannot for fear of being rejected. Or perhaps it is just fear, but somehow, by the resumes of young female workers I see being passed over and the grumbling of old men, I doubt it is just my imagination.