“Good looking”

“Attractive appearance”

“Maximum 28 years old”

“Minimum height 160cm”

These are just some of the lines in job ads that always make me sick to my stomach in my journey to find a new job in this city.

To be brutally honest, I might be experiencing a tiny bit of regret for quitting my old job. Maybe I should’ve put up with being underpaid and overworked, with no chance to become a permanent employee, rather than plunging myself in to the job hunting pool again.

Now I understand why some of my old friends stick with their underpaid jobs, some even only make minimum wage, because it’s a highly competitive world out here.

The last job I received was as a Personal Assistant, which lasted for 3 days. The boss said some pretty hurtful things and didn’t show any tolerance for me missing a day of work because I had to care for my mother who was in ICU at the time. So what’s an emotional, Pisces single mom to do? I quit and told the guy that I could never work with someone who doesn’t have a heart! Maybe I should’ve just dealt with the curses, the yelling and kept my job.

But it’s too late now…

You see, in my field here, the age window is vastly closing down on me. Most companies would rather hire secretaries under the age of 28 while I’m 33.

Although my resume and references look great on paper, even the last interview I had with a prominent big company in town – the Managing Director said “Your English is better than all the employees I ever had!” – still they passed up on me. Maybe because they would rather save on wages, a 20 something secretary will definitely make less money than what I would’ve required.

Discourage is an understatement. I have a bad headache for every minute I spent online looking for a job. Nothing makes you feel so washed up, old and bitter as seeing the local job ads for my field. I wish I had some fancy, swanky degree to load up my resume. I’m just a single mom, who left her career after she got married, in far away land then, after divorce had no other choice but to find her way back to the corporate world.

Being a single mom also makes it more challenging, as most companies will actually ask your marital status and if you have kids or not. They worry that having kids will decrease your productivity. You know the “My kid is sick – I’m sorry I can’t come in to work.”  This practice is considered illegal and against the equal employment opportunity laws in some countries, but sadly, not here. On my last job interview, I was asked if I’m seeing anyone after I told them I am divorced. The questions asked were some of the most uncomfortable ones I have endured in my entire professional career as a secretary.

So, I keep marching on in my search. I have a boy who needs his Mama to make money. Will it be in the secretarial field? I’m not sure but I sure know that in my country, they don’t even want to hire me to wait tables if I’m over 25 years old! The searching continues…it ‘only’ took me 8 months to get my first job, after my separation from the ex husband, so I know this time around it will be hard too.

How are job interviews conducted in your country? Do they use these discriminating tactics or has your country fully adopted the equal opportunity law?

This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Tatter Scoops of Indonesia.

Photo credit to Victor1558 http://www.flickr.com/photos/76029035@N02/6829512393/. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.


Founder of Single Moms Indonesia, community leader and builder. Deeply passionate about women empowerment.

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