I’m Not Moving to Australia

I’m looking for a job. I’m a technical writer. I found the best job posting for a technical writer ever. So, I replied to it. I said, “I don’t know if you know this, but when that job description was written, it was written for me.” Yet, somehow, they still emailed me back. The recruiter’s first question was, “You do realize this job requires relocation to Sydney, Australia, right?”

I answered truthfully: I have always been fascinated with Australia. Well, at least since The Facts of Life girls went there. (I didn’t tell them that part.) 

The recruiter asked three other questions. I answered them. 

I got an interview with the hiring manager. I accidentally hung up on him with my chin. 

But I still got to the next level – a writing test. 

I’m pretty good at tests, so I was fairly certain I’d pass that round, and I did. 

I got an interview with the hiring manager’s manager. I really couldn’t tell how it went. But, the practicalities of moving to Australia aside, I was hopeful. 

Then, I got an email message:

Manager found you very passionate, motivated and enthusiastic. And although you had some relevant experience much of what we are looking for you had done in you Oracle and Netscape days. Manager felt that we are looking for someone with more experience whilst collaborating with Ux/Design in an agile environment.

So basically, I’m not getting the job (or at least, not advancing in the hiring process) because my relevant experience is from 2005 – before I became a mother.

I left Oracle to focus on adopting the child who would be Jackson. I also left because I was in the middle of the medication merry-go-round and disabled by CRPS. (Remember, it wasn’t until September 2005 that I found the miracle that is Xyrem, and my symptoms became manageable.) 

I became a stay at home mom (SAHM) because I believed it was best for Jackson. I still believe that being a mom is the most important job I’ll ever have. Doesn’t mean it’s the best, or the most intellectually stimulating, but it’s important. 

When Jackson was just about 18-months old, I decided to try to start a business creating adoption profiles and story books. But, there was no way that I was ever go to make as much money creating profiles as I could technical writing. I started looking for a technical writing job. 

Every single recruiter asked me about my 2-year absence from the work force. I told them I left Oracle to start a family. One recruiter literally hung up on me. Several just stopped the conversation more politely. 

I found a job that sounded decent with a company that wasn’t too far away. When they asked how much I wanted to make, I lowballed myself. I was convinced that no one would ever hire me because I was a mom. When they offered me the job, I said yes. I ended up making almost $20,000 less per year than I made at Oracle. I hated the job. I hated the company. It was not a good experience, and there wasn’t one heck of a lot that I did that was good for my career. 

I don’t regret being a SAHM. I just would love hiring managers to look past that and see that I am a great writer. I know my shit. I get my work done on time. Even if I am a mom. 

12 thoughts on “I’m Not Moving to Australia

  1. 😦 I hope you find a job that stimulates that incredibly active brain of yours. I worry about this for myself, too. I had physical jobs while I went to college and when I finished, I started having babies. My last “real” job was in 2006!

    • Don’t you have a background in childhood education? Being a mom has direct 1:1 experience with that. Plus, you have a booming store. I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Well, I might worry if I were you, just because it would be really weird if I were in VA with Anthony and 5 kids, and you were here in CA with Max and my 2. 😉

  2. What you said. I was just telling my husband last night that despite how far we’ve come we are still living in a world where it is almost impossible for women to raise children and not be dependent on a man. We get paid less for the same positions, and when we take time off for our babies we find it nearly impossible to climb back up the career ladder. As much as I want to believe that I am a self-sufficient woman who can make it on her own, I am dependent on my husband to provide most of the income.

    • Exactly! Although, for almost a year, Max was unemployed and I was employed, making him a full time dad and me a more than full time employee. We were both miserable. So, last year, when he was unemployed and people asked me why I didn’t just find a full time job and let him “deal with” the kids, I regaled them with stories of the summer of 2009.

    • Yep. He called out of the blue, and I don’t think he ever told me where he was even from. He asked me about my Oracle experience, then asked where I had been for the last two years. I said that I left Oracle to start a family. He said something like, “Excuse me?” And I said that I had a 2-year old son. He said something like, “Oh. I see.” Then, he hung up.

  3. I was thinking you weren’t moving to Australia with Alexander (who had the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day), so I was very surprised to think you would consider it for a “mere job.” Gee, somebody here needs to hire you. Maybe advertise yourself on the blog 🙂

  4. I read your post and ended up thinking about how incredibly different technical writing is from creative writing. I went back to work six months after Aris was born and it was awful – because I had no more time to write as a full-time employee (we had to have health insurance) than I did as a SAHM of an infant. It wasn’t until Aris became school-age that I’ve been able to really stretch out as far as my writing career is concerned, and I still feel like I’m behind, career-wise. I joke with my editor all the time that all I need is four more hours in every day…

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