I work with kids. It’s what I do. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid myself, lending my mom a helpful hand at her understaffed daycare. All through college I worked at a top-of-the-food chain summer camp and, if I do say so myself, I was pretty awesome at it. For whatever reason, early childhood development or some variation wasn’t what I wanted to get my degree in, so my education doesn’t quite line up with my work experience. I never really thought this would be a problem. To be honest, I still don’t think it is. The problem is, people are just as quick to pass judgement based on appearance as they ever were and ever will be.
For the better part of two and a half years, I’ve been trying to get a job doing what I enjoy the most: working with kids again. In a real world setting, that means daycares instead of summer camps. But because I am, in fact, a guy, nothing ever seems to pan out. Out of over two dozen places I’ve called, e-mailed, and walked in to apply for a job, I’ve received absolutely ZERO response. No calls, no e-mails, nothing. I try to be understanding. Of course they should be cautious. These are kids we’re talking about and there are some unsavory people out there today. But I’m not one of them.
This past week is when the rejection went from justifiable to downright insulting. I walked into a daycare that was looking to hire four different positions “immediately”. I was greeted by a jolly-looking black woman who was mid-conversation with an older white lady. I was dressed in my Sunday best, trying to give the right first impression. They seemed friendly enough…. then I asked for a job application. My request was followed by an awkward silence in which a more forthcoming person probably would’ve replied, “Really?” But she didn’t. Instead she verrry slooowly turned around and found an application while the older lady fiddled with nothing and avoided eye contact. I was escorted to the break room where I took all of 5 minutes to fill it out. When I returned, the jolly black woman informed me their hiring manager had just left for the day but she’d give me a call later that week. I took note that the older white woman was gone and a car was missing from the parking lot. And it was 1 in the afternoon. I’m the kind of person who believes even little things mean something, and this was no little thing. This is a place I was obviously not wanted at all. So I told her I’d send her an e-mail with my resume attached as well. I did. Like I mentioned before, still no response.
The complete brush-off didn’t get insulting until today. The same ad was reposted looking to fill the same four jobs. “Immediately”. The saying beggars can’t be choosers might apply in this situation…. if I weren’t really good at what I do. If these people would bother taking two minutes to call any of my references, they’d know that. It’s sad to me they’d prefer to give the job to some college party girl outright based on nothing before they give me a second look. As far as I’m aware, a vagina doesn’t come prepackaged with a kid-friendly personality, nor is it a prerequisite.
Honestly, I could care less if you just don’t want to hire a guy. But at least have the stones to tell me that.