Punk Rock HR Question: Career Transitions


From a regular reader who is awesome. I’m not sure she knows this about herself, which makes her like most women around here. WTF, ladies?

About 3 1/2 years ago, I quit one job, which I had spent 3 years at, and took another opportunity. After about a year and a half, I quit that job as well, because I was still really unhappy even though the job was better and didn’t have the same obvious pressures of the first one.

I was always overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden by the belief that I was terrible at my job — despite the fact that I have always gotten along well with coworkers and superiors, gotten very good reviews, etc. so it would at least superficially seem that I am OK — so I thought I would try and get into an arena where I have more natural talent, such as graphic design or computer/database-related work, in the hope that I could get past this self-doubt.

After one graphic design class, it became clear that I did not really have the fortitude to face another 4-year degree at 32, and my husband understandably did not relish the idea of paying for it when the career path promised less pay and no guarantee that I would actually enjoy the work.

After over 2 years of unemployment/basically being a housewife, which have passed frighteningly quickly and during which I have done a lot of “work on myself” (i.e. therapy), much of it specifically directed at my work-related issues, I have decided that it matters less what I do and more what my attitude is toward it. I also think that I would actually be much more effective in my field now than I was 2 years ago due to the aforementioned therapy.

My question is, is there any reasonable way to explain that 2-year gap and convince an employer that I am a good stable choice at this point in time? I’m thinking probably no, and am concerned that I will never get an interview again, but I wanted to see if any of your readers could help.

Yes, I know I am incredibly lucky that my husband is willing to support me, and I hate myself for that every day, so it would be great if people could refrain from pointing that out. 🙂

Wow, lady, what a story. You’ve got the makings of a good book. Drama. Suspense. Anxiety. Self-loathing. There’s an epiphany in there, too. Are you working on a manuscript? Is there anything you learned during the past two years that you can teach us? Because I’ve been out of work for over two years and I haven’t learned a darn thing.

I know you want to get back to work, but you won’t get hired if you walk into a recruiter’s office and feel the need to apologize or explain anything. This applies to life, too. If you’re explaining your actions or intentions, you’re done. Go home.

I know you are worried about the gaps in your resume. You were out of work for two years. Guess what? Join the club. The recession is the best thing to happen to job-hoppers in years. If you are asked to explain your time off, keep it brief. You took time off for your family. That’s it. They benefited from your therapy and self-introspection, right?

There is no reason to talk about your career ennui, hating yourself for having a husband who supports you (& what the hell is up with that?), or being focused on improving your mental health.

Stick to the facts, talk about your skills and accomplishments, and leave the narrative at home. You’ll know the interview is going well if the recruiter is doing most of the talking.

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