The Young Mom Work Struggle

by - Friday, August 17, 2012

Now that we're settled into our new home in a new city and state, I've decided to get back out there and find a job in my desired field - law. Let me preface this by saying I have a bachelors degree in criminal justice but as it relates to law, you can have any undergraduate degree when entering law school. Mid-way through my undergrad I decided that law school is not an option, now or anytime in the foreseeable future. Not only is the cost way too much (I graduated with NO DEBT and not planning to have any in this lifetime) but the job market is not as good as it was when I began college. Most of the jobs are going to paralegals, whose training is much more realistic for me.

So it was decided that I would pursue a career as a paralegal. Not really what I'd imagined as a child, but neither was being a lawyer. I'd only come to that decision by being told that an artist is not an acceptable career - but that's neither here nor there. I love law.

I've been a stay at home parent for 3 years as of July. Wow. I thought that would be my biggest obstacle in trying to get back into a professional position. To my surprise, it hasn't. It was my age. I'm too young. Yep, I'm just as surprised as you.

Okay, I'm young but not immaturely so. I will celebrate my 25th birthday next week. I've been married and and mom for over 3 years. I've been on my own for 4 years and spent the majority of my undergrad working 2 jobs to help support my ill mom and younger brother. So, I've got a bit of life experience. Enough so to be secure in my choice to be a paralegal, knowing full well the limits it sets on my career.

This week I had an interview with a law firm. I was so excited because it was the second interview and I'd already beaten out the other 6 applicants that they interviewed the previous week plus all those who didn't get interviewed. Hubs had prepped me. We were both in high spirits about it. I was in the last two.

The interview went very well despite the fact that I need to brush up on my Microsoft. I'm not as skilled anymore as I used to be. A good night of working at it and I'll be up to speed. Then came the "concern." One of the attorneys expressed concern as to the "glass ceiling" of being a paralegal - meaning I'd only be able to advance so far in my career as a paralegal. In this case it would be about 3 years versus 10 which I assume is the average. Their concern was that I'd want to leave after that time since he's had 3 others leave because of it. I assured them that it would not be an issue as I knew full well when I'd chosen that career path. 

I wen't home so confused. Then it hit me. My age. In 3 years I won't even be 30. I'd realize that I want more than doing this same job the rest of my 25+ working years. That was his concern. Though somewhat valid, it was not theirs to decide for me. I can do the job. Period. A lesson learned and experience gained. Apparently young moms have more than one thing going against them trying to get back into the professional environment. 

I will work harder and the success will be even more sweeter!

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