At last a TV show for working mothers and Mr. Moms. “Up All Night” on NBC is one of the hits of the new season. Christina Applegate and Will Arnett star as a formerly carefree couple who, after seven years, have a child. They opt for her to return to her job as a producer on an Oprah-type talk show, while he, a former lawyer, stays at home with the baby.
The show is reliably funny, but it’s a Hollywood gloss on a situation that for many households hit hard by the recession, is no laughing matter. Unlike the well-to-do sitcom couple, millions of parents who have lost their jobs do not have the choices of the well-to-do sitcom couple.
Government data finds that the amount of unemployed husbands and wives doubled in the depths of the recession. A Census Bureau study released last year (the most recent data available) found that of the nearly 26 million married couples with children under 18, about 6 percent of husbands were unemployed in 2009 compared with 3 percent in 2007. A Pew survey earlier this year found that men lost more than twice as many jobs as women from December 2007 through June 2009.
Add the recession, then, to death and divorce as among the factors forcing women back into the workplace. The U.S. had an estimated 5.3 million “stay-at-home” parents: 158,000 fathers (virtually unchanged over the previous year) and 5.1 million mothers, down from 5.3 million in 2008, suggesting they re-entered the job market.
Mothers struggling to achieve a work-life balance may be disheartened by this quote from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, which was cited by the judge in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against media and business titan Bloomberg LP: “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.”
This corporate mindset adds to the already formidable challenges facing women who are facing an inhospitable job market with rusty or outdated skills and perhaps feelings of resentment or unsteady confidence.
Here, via the blog Blooming Betty, are tips from Barbara Moses, creator of Career Advisor, for women who find themselves willing or not, re-entering the workforce:
∙Evaluate your readiness
∙Know your Value
∙Think Roles, Not Industries
∙Think Like a Recruiter
∙Set Realistic Career Goals
∙Mine Your Network
∙Get Ready for the Interview
∙Be Real in the Interview