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Author Topic: parenting = gap in work experience  (Read 1939 times)

NowBadger

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parenting = gap in work experience
« on: July 09, 2005, 12:22:40 AM »
I visited a law school a while back (because I happened to be in the area), and talked with the dean of admissions at that school.   

After a few questions about my background, the Dean asked if I have been volunteering since leaving the workforce.  I have young children and have been home with them for a few years (prior to that I worked in Marketing).  I said I have been, and she advised that I need to emphasize the volunteer work on my application because the admission committee does not like to see gaps in work experience.

I guess I'm a little disappointed my decision to raise kids has such little value that I need to account for what I've "really" been doing. Perhaps I just need to get used to it entering this profession.

Thoughts?

elemnopee

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2005, 12:54:23 AM »
Honestly,

Put down the parenting as work experience, I'm not joking.  First, it might make an adcomm laugh, or your application stand out.  Second, parenting is the most important job, and I can not believe anyone would consider that a "gap."

I think you are right about this profession as a whole though.

Mrs Malaprop

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2005, 08:37:24 AM »
It's not just the legal profession - it's the working world in general that seems to have an issue with "gaps" in full-time employment - even those taken for very good reasons. Which is too bad, really - I think it's a very limiting and narrow path to always have to have a full-time office job. Shouldn't we all be able to take a sabbatical from that way of life every now and then, without anyone giving us grief for making that choice? Why can't we take some time away to do something that's not directly career-related but still worthy and fulfilling? (Whether that's raising kids, writing a novel, sailing around the world, or just meditating and catching up on one's reading.) I think we'd all be happier, better-adjusted people if there were more to our lives than the rat race. (I think we'd be better employees, too.)

You'd think that being a stay-at-home parent would be common enough that it wouldn't raise any eyebrows. Sure, cover your volunteer work in your resume - all your experience should be covered there - but that wasn't really what you were focused on during that time period.  Talk to your law school's career services about it, but I see nothing wrong with putting "Stay at Home Parent (Dates)" on your resume. That should take care of the "gap" in your employment history. Honestly - I think it's less an issue of your being at home, and more that recruiters like to see a full accounting of your time. So account for it, and hopefully that will be enough for most employers.

Heck, we've even had a US Supreme Court justice (SDO'C) who took a few years off from her career to be a stay-at-home mom, so don't ever let anyone tell you you can't achieve YOUR goals, just because you took time off from your career to raise your kids.

Nemesis

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2005, 05:27:41 PM »
Honestly,

Put down the parenting as work experience, I'm not joking.  First, it might make an adcomm laugh, or your application stand out.  Second, parenting is the most important job, and I can not believe anyone would consider that a "gap."

I think you are right about this profession as a whole though.

I have to agree. It's a shame that people "frown upon" gaps in work experience, but the fact is you did t for the best reason I can think of and, at the end of the day, it's another stereotype that needs to be done away with. And a witty PS from you can be just the needed to change people's perspective. Never apologize for the decisions you've made, that's what I say.
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charseven

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2005, 07:32:48 PM »
i dont think that your taking off conventional work to take on motherhood will pose a problem unless the adcoms are stupid. generally if someone sees that a woman who had a successful career chose to give that up in order to be a successful mother its understood that she isnt just bumming around and being unproductive. thats not to say that some people wont think that. however its important for your future that you not downplay your full time motherhood on resumes and the such, if you were a nanny instead of a mother people would assume you were an able professional and you should push people to think youre an able professional in raising your own children, it would show that you have a clear set of priorities and virtues and that appeals to people.

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2005, 07:55:27 AM »
Have you thought more carefully about when you're applying for jobs after law school?  That's your real concern.  Law firms don't like those gaps.  (If you went straight from college to law school, and never had a job in your life, that's cool with them.)

You need to have some serious discussion with lawyers that you trust about how to account for the gaps in your resume.  Don't rely exclusively on your law school's careers services department.

geni

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2005, 04:30:15 PM »
On my resume, I include "Stay at home mom" with the dates, as though it was any other period of employment.  If schools or employers can't understand that parenting is an important part of life, I wouldn't want to be associated with that school or employer anyway. 

I have been a stay at home mom for 8 years and I don't think it was detrimental to my law school applications.  I still managed to be accepted to 4 of the 7 schools I applied to, including my top two choices.  I even wrote my PS about being a stay at home parent - because it is a big part of who I am at this point in my life and I am proud of it.

twarga

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2005, 05:27:16 PM »
I stayed at home at least part-time (I needed 10-15 hours of sanity employment per week) for five years after kid #2 was born.  I'm so proud of that time, and so glad I was able to devote so much time to my family.  I didn't explain the gaps, but I didn't try to gloss over them, either. 

If a school or an employer can't understand that, then they really aren't the right fit for you, because they don't share your values.
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lincolnsgrandson

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2005, 09:20:24 AM »
at a job interview, they may very well understand the importance of your staying home with your children.  At the very least, you will have the opportunity to discuss it.

The more immediate concern is how you address it on your resume.

twarga

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Re: parenting = gap in work experience
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2005, 09:23:34 AM »
at a job interview, they may very well understand the importance of your staying home with your children.  At the very least, you will have the opportunity to discuss it.

The more immediate concern is how you address it on your resume.

Maybe you can let them know you have all the 'babies' out of your system and won't be jumping off the partner track in 5 years to have one.   ;)
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