Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another.
Mary Catherine Bateson
Twenty-five years ago I lived in Salt Lake City and worked as an Office Manager/Accountant for an independent oil company. In need of an Executive Secretary, I advertised the position and received many resumes via the mail.
One resume I immediately discarded. In fact, the two-page document ended up in the trashcan within moments after opening. I’ve never forgotten that moment, and now it comes back to haunt me. Faced with that same situation today, I'd hire that applicant in a heartbeat.
The resume I tossed arrived from a woman in her mid-50’s. (We had to list our age back then.) Somewhere back in ancient times she had graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree, then married, and raised five children. Her resume listed each child by name as though an individual place of employment. She accounted for their educations, their achievements in academics and extra curricula, awards received, degrees earned.
Down the list it went from daughter the teacher to son the dentist. At the end of that muddle, she inventoried where she had volunteered over the past 35 years – PTA, church, boy scouts, girl scouts, and on and on.
I recall laughing, thinking how ridiculous this was. That this resume told me nothing about her qualifications. What she could manage. How could she think she was capable of running an office when all she’d done is stay home and raise five kids? The PTA? Come now.
I was 28 at the time. Married for six years, but had no children. I didn’t have a flipping clue. Three children and 25 years later, I most certainly do now.
Today, this Midlife Jobhunter is most regretful for the disregard shown that mother of five returning to the workforce for whatever reason I never bothered to consider or understand.
As many of you have mentioned in your comments or emails to me, midlife jobhunters are now a vast group (stay-at-home mothers only a portion) competing against the young or those with more complete resumes and education, or skills.
A diversified bunch, we are people in search of a place – taking in stride current situations to adjust to changing times. We are searchers finding our way as empty nesters, or newly divorced, or widowed with a dwindling income. Or one suddenly without an income for any number of reasons. We are searchers who can no longer continue with a current position's physical demands. We are searchers for satisfaction to not necessarily bring in a grand or needed income, but to unearth a creative spirit buried long ago.We are searchers who struggle with labeling talents and contributions, cornering a market on years of gathered work ethic and collected knowledge.
Midlife Jobhunters – a most interesting cluster of seekers. I can only hope that 25 years ago in Salt Lake City, someone smarter than me hired that incredibly overqualified jobhunter .