The “Baby Effect”
OMG. This small child relies on me.
This small child is now dependent on me. I have dependents!
I’ve grown up. I’m mature. I’m a parent. No pressure. Calm down.
After loading my newborn son in to the car, we set off. I drove slowly. Very slowly. Likely no more than 5 miles per hour. My precious cargo in his seat. My dependent relying on me.
The nappy changing, bathing, winding, soothing, entertaining – all first-time challenges fraught with the realisation this child depended on me. Fun no doubt, but not without an element of wonder, fear and mild panic.
- Was I mature enough?
- Could I do this?
- Could I provide for our small family?
- How will we afford this?
- What happens if I lose my job?
My son needed a strong role model too. He needed someone who was both present with him but providing safety, warmth and protection and a roof over his head.
This feeling of uncertainty and mild panic is commonly referred to as the Baby Effect. And I had it by the bucket loads. It’s the pressure to protect your kids. It drives change. It matures people quickly. It sometimes pushes people out of their comfort zone. It makes you re-assess what’s important in life.
The Baby Effect made me realise something – I had to step up my career.
I had to make sure I could provide for my family. I had to be more sensible with money. I had to make sure I was employable. I had to remain relevant to the job market.
It was after my first son’s birth that I took my career seriously. I started saving. I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I took calculated risks. I started learning and teaching myself new tricks. As a result, I started to become more confident in my abilities. I started to take myself a little more seriously (which frankly, was needed). I took it upon my shoulders to be a role model to my son, to be present with him but to be highly employable at the same time. This would require balance.
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone has this reaction to their child being born. The Baby Effect is strong in some but not in others. For some, the Baby Effect may never kick in. For others, it’s when child number 2 or 3 or 10 arrives. There is no right or wrong reaction to children being born. Don’t panic if you weren’t spurred on to remain relevant and employable. We are all (thankfully) different.
But I know I’m not alone. I was browsing a popular parenting forum and stumbled across the career advice section where I was shocked at what I saw. Post after post of parents explaining how they couldn’t get jobs, or couldn’t get pay rises, or couldn’t find better jobs with more potential. Parents who were frustrated and deeply saddened by their current situation.
Some of these parents had good qualifications, some had none, but all were having challenges with various aspects of their careers from finding jobs to getting through the interview.
I read further and further, and deeper and deeper, and a few things became evident.
Firstly, many people had a lot of relevant and marketable skills but they couldn’t land any jobs, even though jobs were available.
Secondly, some people had no idea how to find jobs and were at the mercy of recruiters and unscrupulous hiring managers.
Thirdly, many people didn’t believe they had any hope of becoming more employable, earning more or achieving a career move of their dreams. They were stuck, or at least they thought they were.
Fourthly, many people simply weren’t putting in the required effort, or focus, to find a new job.
I knew I could help a great many of these people.
For the last 10 years, I’ve been working on myself and my skills and my career. I’ve written books, delivered Keynote talks, travelled the world, interviewed 400+ people for jobs, helped hundreds of people with their careers, edited newspapers, run communities, climbed the corporate ladder and made myself relevant. And all whilst still being home almost every evening to put my kids to bed.
I say this not to brag at all. We all have different circumstances, motivations, luck and opportunities. But I too was stuck in a dead-end job not too long ago. I was disengaged at work, I was fundamentally lazy, I was massively overweight, I drank too much and I would have panic attacks if I was asked to speak to more than one person at a time.
Then we had a child and it all changed.
My goal is to share with you some of the ideas and strategies I used, and now coach to others, about how to remain relevant and employable. I know for sure that almost everything about remaining relevant and employable can be taught. It’s not always easy and it requires a boat load of work on your part – but it can be taught. It can be learned. You are not stuck.
- I wrote this book for every parent out there who wants a better job.
- I wrote this book for every parent who doesn’t get past the interview stage.
- I wrote this book for every parent who wishes they could carve out more time to learn.
- I wrote this book for every parent who is now filled with a desire to become very hirable.
- I wrote this book for every parent who is fearing job loss, financial insecurity or a dramatically changing industry of work.
But most of all I wrote this book for every sick covered, emotionally battered, overly tired parent that is feeling the baby effect.
Grab a copy of the book here.
The joy of the interview
I love job interviews. No seriously, I really do. It’s weird right?
But I didn’t always enjoy them. At one time, I would dissolve in to a hot mess of sweat, twitching and spluttering. I would fidget. I would spill my water. I would say the wrong things. I would go bright red. I would hate myself.
And then I would still get the job.
Eh? That doesn’t make sense.
If I was that bad in the interview why would I get offered the job?
And at what point did it all change and I began to enjoy interviews?
The reason I got the job wasn’t because I was awesome. Far from it sometimes. It was because I showed up. Most other candidates didn’t.
It was also because I was slightly more suitable than the other candidates that did turn up or apply – at least per the criteria of the hiring manager. That was luck. I wasn’t awesome, I was just better than the others who turned up.
There are always better candidates out there, but they don’t always show up for the interview or apply for the same job as you.
The combination of turning up and being lucky that someone better doesn’t turn up sounds depressing, but it’s the reality. No matter what level in your career you are there will always be someone better suited than you. Always.
You may reach the perfect stage where you’re actively head-hunted because your reputation is so good, but few of us have that kind of profile. Until then it’s simply a case of turning up and hoping that a better candidate doesn’t.
As someone better may turn up to the interview, you’ll need to make sure you’re as good as you can be. You need to be the best that you can be. And this is empowering. If you’re the best you can be at interview time, then you’ve done your best. You’ve put on your best show. You’ve tried your hardest. You’re as good as you can be. You can do no more.
It’s also empowering because if you flip this around then something interesting happens. What if there were multiple jobs out there? What if some jobs were better than others? What if I liked some hiring managers more than others?
By looking at it this way I realised that job hunting is a two-way process. I get to choose also, at least some of the time, which jobs I want. Of course, there were times when I just needed a job.
This was the turning point for me. I started to enjoy job interviews because I’d put in the effort and now I was able to decide which jobs I wanted.
The whole job hunting process is a two-way thing. You have more control and power than you may realise, no matter what job you’re going for. Sure, some jobs can be filled by anyone but you still get to decide if that is a job that you will fill. You may not have that luxury and you may just need any job you can find, but over time, if you follow the advice in this book, you’ll soon start to become more employable for a wider range of jobs, or progress in the business you are in.
You’ll soon start to be more cautious about where you spend your time and who you work for.
The goal of this book is to help as many parents as possible find jobs, get jobs, excel in jobs and push their career further.
You will need to change though.
You’ll have to work hard, become disciplined and carve out some space for yourself. But life is like that – something always must give.
I’ll help you – so dive in.
Grab a copy of the book here.
The book is packed with advice and information about how to communicate your skills, find good jobs, network like a pro, create compelling CVs, perform well in an interview and gracefully accept the job offers coming your way.
My name is Rob Lambert and I’ve spent a decade building my own career and coaching many others with theirs. I’ve helped people build great CVs, get clarity on their career options and armed them with tools for performing well in an interview. It’s now all in this book – The Employable Parent Brain.
You can buy the book on Amazon here.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle, you can read Amazon eBooks on almost any device using the Kindle Reader.
Parent Brain Foundation
10% of all proceeds from the book go to Charity.
5% of profits will always go to Naomi House. A charity for life limited children and their families. It’s a charity close to my heart. The other 5% goes to a different charity each year as below.
(completed) 2015 – Naomi House and Unicef
(completed) 2016 – Naomi House and Pencils of Promise
2017 – Naomi House and WWF