I left work nineteen years ago. I had a career in management in the clothing industry, first in production and later in sales. To get there I went to college and studied Clothing Management, a four year Diploma recognized by the industry and becoming degree equivalent after a further two years in a ‘responsible management position’. I was a career girl for eleven years and didn’t consider other possibilities before I met Husband. Having spent our first two years of marriage living in different counties we decided not to live in two different countries. We took the view together that we would want to bring up our hoped for children ourselves and we wanted to share a home. I gave up work as the one of us who would have said children and followed HM Forces directions to Germany.
While I have occasionally set out to explain just how much parity I had with Husband at the time I chose to stop paid work, mostly I haven’t regretted my decision: I am lucky to have a busy and happy life and a family of whom I am proud. Despite gentle teasing from Husband and Mefromafar I have found no motivation to return to paid work.
I remind you of this because I recently applied for a job! A Textile Technician at the local comprehensive: no pupil contact, just supporting the Textile Teacher by tidying and advising on ordering her fabric and commodities, threading machines and filling bobbins, setting out the classroom , cutting out fabric as required and being very flexible for a whole five hours of employment on two days. It sounded like something right up my street that I could do standing on my head and that would fit in with all the other things I do, so I applied.
I was invited to an ‘informal interview’. Unsure what such a term meant I concluded that either I was the only applicant, or there would be some sort of practical test of my sewing machine and fabric knowledge. I was wrong. Five ladies turned up at the same time with the same invitation. We were divided into two groups taking it in turns to be told about the job by the Head of Department and given a tour by the Textiles Teacher. There was no test and no individual interview. The other woman in my group had also been in the industry, as a Fabric Buyer. Younger than me I think, and less managery, so, if I’d been the teacher choosing between us, I’d have picked her as qualified but less of a threat (cynic!). I didn’t get a real impression of the other three though the teacher implied they weren’t from the industry, but capable crafters.
Apparently school had been surprised to receive ten applications and called in five of them. They remarked that they didn’t know how they were to decide and we should all be proud to have got this far… I don’t know how they were going to decide either, but I haven’t heard anything more and must presume they selected one of the others.
My armour is undented: flexible hours may have been me being flexible, i.e. required on Mondays and Wednesdays when I currently volunteer in the primary school; a behind the scenes job that would still need me to change out of my jeans for a couple of hours but into something I could climb in (lots of high shelves to sort) and not worry about fabric dust; little contact with the rest of the DT staff because of working when the students aren’t there; debatable whether there would be opportunity to expand the role… I sound relieved don’t I? I am!