Lately I’ve been thinking about quitting my job.
I took a straw poll around the office the other day.
‘What are the main reasons people leave their jobs?’ I asked.
According to general consensus the main ones are – unhappiness in the position, the money’s average, difficult relationship with the boss, poor working conditions and lack of career development.
Well, my current job qualifies on all those fronts. In fact, sometimes I wonder why I ever thought taking a job as a Mum was a good idea.
For a start, I never even saw a job description, and I assumed from the TV adverts that it’d be a doddle. The babies always seemed to be either asleep or doing really cute things whilst Mum, Dad and the family Labrador looked on adoringly. How hard could it be?
There was no training to speak of, although I was told there were several helpful books I could read during my downtime, not during company hours. Turns out company hours were 5AM-11.35PM Monday to Sunday, lunchbreaks were to be taken at my workstation and I got 4 minutes of (supervised) toilet breaks a day. I asked about annual leave but this was apparently not offered in the first 5 years. There was no sick leave either and even when I injured my leg recently, I was told light duties were ‘unavailable.’
It’s fair to say I didn’t take the job on for the money. At around 5 cents an hour, wages were well below Fair Work standards. Occasionally I could supplement my income by turning out the husband’s pockets before doing the laundry, but this cash would inevitably be reallocated to lunch orders. The annual tax refund was usually spent at the Uniform Shop.
And the workload! It was bad enough when I just reported to the Senior Partner. Honestly, he couldn’t do a thing for himself – couldn’t even wipe his own bum! When the Junior Partner came on board, he proved to be quite personable and not as demanding as the Senior Partner, but I still had to do all of my original work plus the new duties as well. Eventually there were 3 partners, and they still didn’t put anyone extra on to help me! Talk about unfair working conditions!
I’ve gotten used to being expected to perform tasks that are outside my skill set. If I’d known this role would require it, I could have undertaken prior training as a doctor, nurse, medical administrator, laundress, careers counsellor, seamstress, caterer, driver, UN negotiator, personal assistant, artist, milliner, driving instructor and physiotherapist. It’d look good on my CV.
Similarly, although I am happy to be a teacher, I am not A Teacher. I can’t do maths beyond grade 6, so forgot about this helping with homework business. I’m probably qualified to help with English homework, but my assistance with Maths or Science guarantees a one way ticket to the big F.
Working conditions in this role do leave a lot to be desired. A safe working environment really doesn’t seem to be a priority in this organisation. I’ve often find myself juggling hot pans and sharp knives with my employers unhelpfully crawling about underfoot, emptying the Tupperware cupboard directly in my path. And many’s the time I’ve suffered a Lego-related injury when walking barefoot through a bedroom at 3AM. Company birthday parties have frequently gone ahead despite obviously unsafe carer to child ratios. The Senior Partner’s 5th birthday, when the PR department thought it was a good idea to invite his entire class, springs to mind. I seem to recall having to take the afternoon off on stress leave after that function.
Career development opportunities seem non-existent. I’ll probably just have to quietly serve out my contract until the 3 partners have left, when I’ll be quietly demoted to a part time role doing the occasional load of laundry and rediscovering old hobbies like reading a book uninterrupted and spending my disposable income on cosmetics. I only hope that skill set hasn’t deserted me, it’s been a while.
On the whole, I have a fairly good relationship with my employers. Provided I keep the food coming, dispense cash on a regular basis and resign myself to the (sometimes daily) performance reviews, we get on all right. And I do appreciate the annual Mother’s Day ‘Year in Review’ card, complete with handmade gifts, cold tea and burnt toast. There’s no doubt they mean well. I just wish my KPIs weren’t quite so unrealistic – my boys really know how to set stretch targets. Apparently I have to cook a meal they like every single night, let them play as many video games as they want AND not get upset at the state of their rooms. I must also ensure the Wi-Fi is never down, the Netflix subscription is up to date and the pantry has food in it they want to eat. If I fail at this last duty, I am treated to heavy sighs from P1, 2 and 3 while they stand in front of the open pantry looking glumly at the contents, a performance that’s often followed by heavy sighs (mine) while standing in front of the fridge looking glumly at the lack of wine in there.
For the most part, I am philosophical. After all, I took the job on. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it’s fair to say that the opportunities for personal growth have been, well, continuous. In fact, I’m not sure I can grow anymore – is there a peak for character development, and once that peak is reached your body just excretes the unnecessary character, like too much Vitamin C? I’ve also acquired almost superhuman frustration tolerance levels, but I’d be quite happy to drop down a notch or two and just be able to have a massive temper tantrum when things don’t go right, just like my employers. And then storm off to my room, slam the door and refuse to come out for dinner.
I wonder how that would go? Maybe I’ll get the sack. Think I’ll try it out tonight!