So dear readers I began my job search in October of 2015 and as of August 2016 I have only been offers two – yes TWO job offers… in ten months of job search.
My mother told me that for every $10,000 I should estimate it will take me one month to find a job. So for my target goal of a full time job with benefits and a salary of $55,000 it should have taken me five and a half months to find employment.
Why did I turn the two job offers down?
One job was with a fab government agency but the commute would mean I would need to wake up at 5am every morning and spend more than 2 hours there and back in traffic or make the choice to move my family all the way to Sacramento. The kicker was being told that after a year I would have to reapply for the job I had already been doing and compete for it again – which was NOT what was in the job description for this job when I applied for it. I hate people who pull a bait and switch. That equals lying in my book.
The second job I applied for as a VISTA position but then I found out that there was an identical position that was getting paid between $30-40K instead of $16K a year and I asked to be considered for that position instead which was ignored and I was offered the VISTA position instead.
Although hiring managers will never willingly admit it that being a mom especially one who has been a stay at home mom transitioning back into the work forces is a strike against you. It is also a strike against you if you are a woman (in general), a person of color, fat and wear a hijab like I do.
I find it so disheartening and sad that companies, non profits and government organizations make it so difficult for women who have kids or decide to have kids to stay in the work force through not paying women equal to men, not having family friendly work policies and/or schedules and outright discrimination.
Some of my friends and family have urged me to remove my headscarf to get employed others have told me to change how I wear it to look like a turban.
I have considered both options especially after encountering in an interview for the position of a dental receptionist – “Do you know how to raise the American flag?”
Mind you this was early in my job hunt but I was side swiped by this question considering it has nothing to do with position. However it was obvious that the man in question had a specific demographic in mind when it came to his dental office – young women in their 20’s who were thin and Asian in origin even though he himself was old and white.
So I know now going into interviews that by looking at the demographics already represented in an office – its a telling sign – of just how much bias and discrimination I will most likely encounter.
Thank you Donald Trump for making more individuals scared of the American Muslim community and making it that more difficult to get a job for every hijab wearing woman!
I have also interviewed for jobs with the county – even a local jail and dealt with one aggressive interviewer who could not for the life of him believe that I could deal with the inmate population because I am a woman. This was the last time I interviewed wearing a long skirt as many interviewers take it as “less professional,” or “soft looking.”
So I have as of July 2016, I have officially given up the job search by no longer submitting any applications for new openings. I have re-enrolled at Diablo Valley Community College where I completed all of my units for transfer for my bachelor’s degree looking to complete the classes needed to meeting the requirements to sit for the Lactation Consultant Certification exam.
I find there is a shortage of Lactation Consultants for women of color and specifically in the local Muslim community. I would have a flexible schedule allowing me to care for my daughter and earn an income. So this is my current back up plan and I am enrolled and currently taking 12 units – 2 Criminal Law Classes, 1 Psychology, and 1 Library Science class.
I am still following up with interviews that have resulted from the final round of applications I put in in June/July but I honestly don’t hold out any hope for a position to result from any of them as ten months of job search has indeed made me a cynic when it comes to this topic.
I feel so much happier focused on taking classes than worrying about finding child care for interviews and checking out day cares for my daughter. If I do get offered a job that meets my family’s needs then I won’t hesitate to take the job offer. All that said its a tough times for hijabi women in the workforce and those seeking entry into the workforce if they don’t have skills highly in demand.
May Allah help us all. Ameen.