I have only been to five actual job interviews in my 54 years. When running my home day care, I had to interviews parents, but that’s not the same. During those interviews I have a sense of control. I’m checking them out as much as they are checking me out. A lot of people don’t realize that care providers do that. As much as I wanted the business, I wasn’t going to do business with parents who take advantage of daycare providers. Believe me, they are out there. You hear stories about bad day cares, but you rarely hear about the other side of things. If I could collect everything that was owed to me over the years by people who decided not to pay me after weeks, and on a couple of occasions, months of child care, I would be rich. I’ve even had a parent not pick up a child at all. They called me the next day asking if I could care for the boy for a couple of months while they took a trip overseas. Yes, there are some real winners out there. Luckily, for the most part, I’ve had decent luck. I learned how to “pick” parents.
At one point, I decided to give up the business. I was working from 5:30am to 6:00pm and was burning out. Do that for a decade or two, six days a week, and you do start to burn out. I thought maybe a “regular” job would be better. The only problem was I had very little job experience besides my day care. So, I started applying at day care centers.
I was excited and scared when I called to set up an interview for a brand new center. I explained my situation, and that I would be an older care giver, but I knew I could handle the job eight hours a day. After all, I was doing it for twelve hours a day now! I also explained that I had little interviews experience, and asked that we don’t play games. If she wanted to know something, or ask specific questions to see if I had the qualifications, just ask me outright. She agreed that game playing during an interviews was not necessary. So, I went to my interview with high hopes.
It started out just fine. She asked questions, and I was able to answer them with confidence. The center was new and beautiful and I could feel the energy of the children there. I felt good! Then, it happened.
Out of the blue, the interviewer decided to go THERE.
“You understand you will be handling ten children. Do you think you have the energy to keep up with them at your age?”
Okay, I admit, I can understand that when you are twenty-something it might be difficult to realize that at fifty, you are not yet dead. I mean, fifty is ancient, after all. It’s a half century! I think furniture is considered antique at fifty, isn’t it?
I very calmly responded that I didn’t think it was appropriate to ask something like that during an interview, but since she went there, yes I had the energy. I then listed my current responsibilities.
*greet each child individually
*prepare and clean up breakfast for six children ages newborn to six
*prepare and implement a preschool program
*prepare and clean up lunch for six children
*supervise playtime, both inside and outside
*help children learn how to function in a group setting
*help teach such things as manners
When working with children the list goes on and on. I felt I made my point and was proud of myself.
She got a smug look on her face, and did the unthinkable.
“So I’m working with a group of two-year-olds.” She said, while grinning like the Cheshire Cat. “They just don’t seem to be able to handle scissors.”
Then, she sat there grinning stupidly at me. I knew it was a test. It was the dreaded “game” that she promised she wouldn’t play! I have taken care of many two-year-old children and was able to give what I thought was a fantastic answer, but I guess it wasn’t what she was looking for. She only repeated the above statement. Again, I tried to explain about appropriate activities for that age group, and things about small motor control, and blah blah blah. I won’t bore you with my entire speech. I did have a lot to say. Maybe too much. At that point, she ended the interview, and I never heard from her again.
I’m much better off working for myself. As hard as it can be, I’m not sure I can go through that again!