My all-time favorite job interview story goes like this: A young lawyer is interviewed by a senior partner at a major law firm. The partner speaks illustriously about the importance of the rule of law and how the U.S. has been shaped by its justice system. Then he asks the would-be new associate, “What United State Supreme Court decision do you feel should have been decided differently, and why?”
The young lawyer pauses for a moment, looks the partner in the eye and says:
“I got nothing. Sorry.”
True story, with some embellishments. Makes me crack up every time.
They say parenting is like a job. And I say, if parenting is a job, then what about the job interview? With perhaps the exception of the adoption process, most of us don’t need to undergo any kind of screening to determine whether we’re the best mom for the job.
But what if we had to meet our children ahead of time (like the hiring manager on a job interview), wear our best suit (jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, food stains make a nice touch), and make our pitch for the job (“My experience includes keeping a cat alive for over a decade now.”)? Here’s how I see it going for a mom-to-be sitting for an interview by her unborn child:
C: How do you feel your education and training have prepared you for this position?
M: Well, I have worked very hard to get through school and start a career and be responsible, generally. I feel up to the challenge of parenting and the time is now right for me to start a family.
C: I see. What would you say are your core competencies?
M: I’m a multi-tasker, and I have in-depth experience with packing lunches and organizing weekend outings.
C: Please provide an example of how you would leverage your core competencies in a situation involving a delicious bar of chocolate.
M: I would provide the chocolate bar as a special treat after a healthy dinner of chicken and steamed broccoli.
C: Hmm. Try to think outside the box. How would you feel about chocolate … before dinner?
M: (Pauses.) Chocolate before dinner is possible as a special treat following lunchtime. The time immediately preceding dinner is best utilized for other endeavors that are key to maintaining the strength of the organization. For example, you may find it necessary to play with your toys just before dinner, because after dinner it will be bathtime and then bed.
C: (Scribbles notes. Looks up.) What is your feeling about … Elmo?
M: (Giant laugh.) Oh, I LOVE Elmo!! He’s so cute and funny! It doesn’t annoy me at all when I’m trying to have a conversation with my mommy friend, and it’s drowned out by her two-year-old watching Elmo in the background …
C: That’s great. I will expect that you make available multiple Elmo videos upon demand. Oh, I hope you’re ok with LOTS of overtime. Evenings and weekends. Very late nights, in fact.
M: Um, no problem. But are there any vacation days? Sick time?
C: Are you kidding? You don’t even get a lunch break, let alone a day off. But on that note, let’s discuss salary. We expect to pay the prevailing candidate with lots of hugs, kisses, and general affection.
M: How about getting paid with … money? Like a tax credit or wage replacement of some kind, for staying home with a child?
C: AAAHH, HAHAHAHAHA!
U.S. Business Community & Politicians: AAAHH, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
C: (Smiling, wipes tear from eye.) Sense of humor, I really like that! Now where were we?
We do provide a generous insurance package. I will insure that you are sick, constantly.
M: I was serio–
C: I like you. Can you start right now?
M: But I’m not even pregnant yet.
C: Of course, but look at the time–that clock is always ticking–you’re not getting any younger, and time is wasting. There are so many things you need to worry about before I’m born, you know.
M: Worry? I’m a C.P.A. at a huge accounting firm. I can handle anything you throw at me.
C: I’ll remember that . . . [Extends arm for a handshake.]
The interview is typically a key component of the hiring process, being the culmination of the employer’s efforts to scrutinize your resume and select you as worthy of just meeting in person, let alone filling the position. It’s the endgame in the sizing up that comes with the territory, when a manager attempts to ascertain that you are in fact the candidate who will become his MVP on the job.
But when it comes to your child, have no doubt in your mind that YOU are indeed the most qualified candidate for the position. Because every day on the job is a test of those aforementioned core competencies . . . and there is no doubt that when your child looks at you, he sees none other than his Most Valuable Mom.