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So apparently I'm unemployable - what do I do about it?(28 Posts)
Would really like a new job after a long time in my current one, and an increasingly toxic environment. I've had a lot of progression in current role, know I'm good at what I do and am pretty confident my CV is decent. However, was told by a recruiter today that I'm basically unemployable. Reasons being- I need to stay within 30 mins commute of my home location to do school runs for the kids OR need a home based role; I currently work part time and would ideally like to remain so, although I do work 35 hrs which is not exactly insubstantial; I can't be travelling frequently, again because of the kids and schoolruns; I'm currently paid very highly for my role and our mortgage depends on this salary level. I don't know what to do...is it really the case that this combination of factors makes me unemployable? And, if so, do I have to accept staying in my company forever regardless how bad it gets - or where do I make compromises, which wont negatively impact my family?
Speak to another recruitment consultant. One who knows your field and the locality well. You might need to hold tight for the RIGHT role.
WFH and flexible working is becoming more and more possible. But sometimes location can be limiting.
It's impossible to say how unreasonable you are being without knowing what your role and location are and what the job market for your kind of role is like in your particular area but bear in mind that part time roles in many professional jobs aren't that common. Also, a huge proportion of the workforce has children and they manage to work around it by organising wrap around care etc to make sure they are flexible and more employable.
I am an internal recruiter and often have the work with externals. Haven’t met a decent one really in 7 years!!!!!
Apply yourself for roles and you can make you situation clear at interview. You will find a family friendly place that will accommodate (not all )
I can’t comment on your salary , if your being overpaid market rate now, you may have to consider a work round for a drop.
Can I ask how you're working 35 hours a week but are still around for school runs? Not sure how you're managing it but I think it would take quite a flexible work place to accommodate that
How much is 'paid highly', what is the approx population within 10 miles of where you live? Can you give more details what kind of work you do?
Could you remortgage?
I live in an area with lots of jobs, but similarly hundreds of applicants per job. My children already go to before school club at 7.30am and we don't pick them up until 6pm - if they were in any more wrap around care I would literally not see them and that just feels very wrong. As long as I live within 30 mins or so of a job, that shouldn't be an issue for doing standard office hours, but any further means even finishing at 5 / 5.30 I'm unlikely to make it to school by 6.
@chuck7 8-4.45 4 x days per week (with no breaks)
I think you saying you do school runs is a little misleading. I would take school run to mean dropping and picking up at school start and finish times - 9am and 3:30pm. Otherwise it is childcare run not school even if that childcare is at school.
What kind of work do you do?
I have a very flexible professional job (although do travel abroad frequently too), but was able to negotiate that after having been there a few years. I have looked, and even been head hunted for other roles, but unfortunately they don't want to know once they realise my restrictions.
35 hours a week isn’t exactly part-time even if you are working that over 4 days and not doing a standard 9-5.
In your shoes I would avoid the recruitment agencies and apply positions directly within the company and have a conversation at interview about the working pattern.
Whilst there are still companies out there who are focused on bums on seats, there are many that are taking up the benefits of agile working, so you just need to go out and find them.
Is the dad on the scene? Could one of you do drop offs and the other pick ups?
35 hours is full time, you're just doing compressed hours. If you apply to a place that wants more than that, they might agree to you doing the extra from home.
What you’re doing at the moment would be classed as condensed hours rather than part time but i would imagine it’s the combination of factors which would work against you. Getting condensed hours in a new workplace at the salary you want in the location you want can be tricky. What would you compromise on if required?
I actually think the bigger issue is you say you're paid highly for the role - and can't take a cut. Often happens when someone has been with a company a long time and then look out into the market but not necessarily for promotion (and the wage increase that would bring - but also plus the extra hours/responsibilities)
How far above average for your role are you? And what skills/values can you bring to 'make up' that difference?
Are you on your own? Is there anyway someone else can help with school runs or finances?
You’re not “unemployable” but you are choosing to restrict your options. Honestly many recruiters just want to take the quickest and easiest route to getting candidates into roles with the minimum of fuss. You don’t come like that. I would suggest working your contact base hard and looking jobs to apply to directly. You may also have to consider what you really won’t move on and what you could compromise on.
Recruitment Consultants get paid by employers so our value to them is a 'placement' fee. It's not the end of the world if one agency doesn't think their clients (either the ones they have or ones they want to have) aren't suitable. There are others.
For what it's worth, I think you didn't do yourself justice when you met with them (well, that's the way it comes across in your post).
Firstly, you said you needed to do the school run, which implies part time working 9:30-3pm, rather than a standard 9-5pm, but picking up your children either side.
Secondly, if you work 35 hours, that is full time in lots of organisations.
Thirdly, you said you need needed to be with 1/2 hour of home. All you had to do was just say that you were looking for roles in xxx area or that you were only willing to commute for 1/2 hour.
I've been placed in a couple of roles through agency's and my circumstances are similar to yours. When working with agency's, ive just said 'I'm looking for xxx work, in xxx location and xxx salary. If something comes up, let me know'. I am open about my family life, but I certainly haven't apologised for it.
The employers I have worked for have all understood that people have lives outside of work and it hadn't been an issue.
Whilst agencies can find you work, you really should apply your net wider - apply directly to company's, use your networks, get in LinkedIn.
I think you're selling yourself short - you're pretty much working full time. You're not doing school runs, you're managing childcare, which happens to be at school, but again, full time.
The only real restriction is the 30 mins from home but if you're in a buoyant area for jobs, then that itself won't be an issue.
Agree with the others - apply for jobs directly yourself and discuss you're personal circumstances when you've been offered the role.
What kind of salary are you looking for?
There are lots more working from home jobs now. I just saw one that's advertised as £65k for 4 days a week WFH, for example.
@EmpressJewel is correct. You’re not using the correct terminology - school runs mean you can only work 9:30-2:30 and you’re not working part time, you’re working compressed hours.
Yep, you're expressing yourself in an unhelpful way. I assumed you meant school runs at 9 and 3 so my immediate response was that you need to sort your childcare. Dropping off at 7.30 and collecting at 6 is perfectly normal for working parents. I would change the terminology, don't mention school runs, just give a radius of how far you can travel without going into why.
Thank you all that's actually really helpful about the terminology and I think you may be very right. Perhaps I'm talking myself out of things I actually could do by the way I'm phrasing it and by bringing it up too soon. I'm paid probably 10k above the going rate for my role at my level, but still under 100k so not silly money. I'm based in the South East and in the tech industry. @Pollaidh yes, very similar situation to you....I have been headhunted multiple times but as soon as they find out my level of flexibility, all interest disappears but yes, possibly I am making myself sound less flexible than I actually am. That said - it would be pretty daft to take a job which meant a much lower salary, or less time with the kids...when my current job is fine: I just don't want to stagnate in one place forever and the current culture is making me sad vs how it used to be there.
DH travels a lot with his work and we earn the same, so he does drop offs when he can but is not in any way a reliable source of childcare and definitely can't do the evening pick ups. I find the majority of roles in our area expect you to be in the office until 5.30 which would not allow me to get to them on time.
I agree that the recruiter probably misunderstood and thinks you need a school hours only job. Next time leave all those details aside and just tell the employer, once you have gotten to the last interview round, that you need to leave by X every day.
How old are the kids?
There's an equation between how crappy a job is and how long it takes for your kids to become more independent/go to bed later
Mine are teens now, but I found lower to middle primary the worst. Rushed childcare, early bedtimes, and mum guilt vs job guilt - overall it's a nightmare.
Being pragmatic any way you can hang on for a bit until they are older, and that gives you more flexibility? Trust me there's a tipping point where they go to bed later and the evenings become less manic, the childcare guilt becomes less intense
Probably doesn't help but I do emphasise with where you are