I’m fifty – back in the job-market, qualifications out-of-date and up against my sons.
Female? Yes. Fine? Perhaps.
In human terms I am a domestically-challenged mother, volunteer, part-time worker, job-juggler, and unreliable feminist … a ‘five-a-day’ woman, well-stretched and on the brink – a retro-model from the 1960s based on a face-to-face operating system. My memory needs upgrading and my download speeds need to be improved, but I am confident that I should increase in value with a little technical attention.
My employment prospects? Who knows. The problem is that a job market swirling with young flesh and old soldiers is not a comfortable place to be. Who’s going to put Eeyore in for the Grand National? But then again if Diana Nyad can swim through sharks and jelly-fish from Cuba to Florida in 53 hours the rest of us females over-50 can’t just Eeyore out of it.
That’s the problem with our role models – they’re made of bionic brilliance. They’re iron ladies, superlative ladies like: Florence Nightingale; Mother Teresa; Margaret Thatcher; Angela Merkel; Hillary Clinton; Serena Williams; J K Rowling … incredible women but how to get to there?
It’s disheartening to know that a few months before I was born Lieutenant Valentina Tereshkova, 26, had already orbited the Earth in a Russian spaceship. Half a century later I’ve done hundreds of thousands of miles in Japanese cars but even 60,000 circumnavigating the M25 in the capsule of a Toyota iQ is not quite the same.
The reality is that I fell off the learning curve at around the time my sons were born. Collapse of ego, sleep, and all ‘best-practice’ aspirations was a journey of extremes far beyond the formal workplace. Flexibility, low standards, imaginative time-keeping and a way with baked beans became second nature but none of these leads back into the well-organised, high-salaried environment I’m sure is out there somewhere.
So here I am attached to the lowest rungs of several part-time, work-from-home jobs … addicted to irrational hope.