My last employer changed my role when I went back after having DC1 and royally screwed me over, so I sued him. Which is all well and good but - obviously that leaves me in a situation when it comes to a ref from my last employer!
I haven't worked since either and so there is a gap in my CV whilst I've been a SAHM. In theory I have been freelance which addresses the gap on my CV (and am really keen not to let it slip that I have children until I actually am offered a job) but it doesn't bear up to much scrutiny as I have had.....0 clients in the last few years.
I've just applied for a few jobs as DS1 is startign school soon and am desperate to get back to work. But I'm not sure how to handle the obviously awkward questions that may arise! ANy advice or tips please?
I don't know what field you work in, but I would be quite happy to be told you had a career break to have your children. It might lead me to assume that you are not planning any more children, as you are coming back to work now. Which might be a positive thing...........................
No experience of this but on gut feeling think you should tell it as it was. If I was employing someone who had sued their last employer I would feel concerned but, after looking at the issues, would think it good you had the courage to stand up for yourself & hopefully change things for others where you worked.
Thanks for the quick responses! Poledra - clearly you are a good employer. But I now have a huge mistrust and assume (maybe wrongly) that many employers would prefer not to employ a woman who has children and avoid the possible aggro wrt school holidays, illnesses etc. Although maybe like you say I have the edge on a woman in her late 20's without children?
bluecardi - this would certainly make life easier as am fairly straightforward and not too good at lyingstretching the truth. My last employer was a hugely bigoted sexist and racist nightmare but am aware that it doesn't reflect well on me.
Hard to guage what to do without knowing the individual who would be my boss I suppose.
I woudl much rather be upfront about the whole thing and hope for the best. I think I will have to - it will be too difficult trying to get around not using last job as a reference etc.
I suppose I just have to put my faith into people and hope they do the right thing!
(When raising the discrimination thing - how best to approach it? Obviously don't want to sound like am bitching them off but also need to make it perfectly clear that it was in no way my fault and that ex-boss's behaviour was utterly appalling!)
Beta - am sure he'd give me a reference but I worry about the slant he'd put on it. I had 2 days off off when I was pregnant due to illness and had to leave work early one day to go and have an emergency appt at the end of my pregnancy and both times he was immensely shitty with me and talking about warnings. I think there is some law about not being able to penalise a woman for time off taken when pregnant (not that he cared) but that's the kind of man he was and he woudl take great delight in scuppering me if he could because he's horrendous.
So am wondering if better to sidestep him completely and use someone else - last employer but one, perhaps?
first of all, the fact you are going to lie about your gap is more of an issue. If my company hired someone who'd freelanced for 4 years, they'd expect to take a reference from a client, and would ask for details at interview. At this point you'd have to admit you didn't have any clients, so it would look like either you tried and was unable to get any work for 4 years, (worrying, looks like you're a bit rubbish at the job) or that you were lying and just had a child related career break.
At this point, everything else on your CV is viewed as possibly false, and needs to be checked, so that's contacting your school, uni, all previous employers etc - or a bit easier, just hire someone else who tells the truth.
As for the being a SAHM being a bad thing, you spin that as that phase of your life being over, you've done the career break, and are now ready to refocus with no more reasons for a gap. (let's face it, a mother of a school aged DS isn't going to go off to find herself on a round the world trip all of a sudden)
Re your old job, just be honest, simply state the facts and a decent employer won't be worried. And your old place have to at least give you a bare minimum reference which is to confirm your job title, the dates you were employed by them and your wage a time of leaving.
TBH, BoB, I'd sidestep him for a reference. I'm assuming that referees' names are not given until after the interviews, so you will have been through the Why My Last Employer Was a Misogynistic Shithead. A reference from him would not be worth the paper it was written on.
And yes, the fact he settled 10 minutes into the hearing suggests he decided (or his lawyers finally convinced him) the case was unwinnable. I know some cases are settled out of court just to prevent the need for court costs, but that it usually done fairly quickly, not as the hearing is beginning. Significant costs have already been incurred by that point.
Fake - yup, you are totally right and I don't want to discredit myself.
You have reminded me that I am also in a tricky situation with regard to my portfolio in that I signed a contract with my clients in which I agree not to discuss them or their identities with amyone. So whislt I do have a portfolio am on a tricky one with that, as if ex-boss found out I've divulged any info he can sue me again. (And I'm sure he'd love that too!)
Bloody hell, it's all so complicated. I just need to get back on the job ladder and keep life simple from there on in!
I agree with FridaysChild and Fake - DH recruits a lot of people, and, all else being equal, he would rather recruit a mum with school-age kids than a bright young thing who will either go round the world or go on maternity leave.