It’s been quite a few years – over four, in fact – since I had a proper job. I’m self-employed now which obviously is a job, but I mean one where I had to get up early, make myself presentable and head into an office. That’s quite different to the present day where I can sit on the sofa in my boxers with a laptop whilst eating biscuits – doing that might be the reason why I’m no longer with my last company…
As I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for the last three and a bit years with no plans of changing that role since the arrival of ‘Beetle’, thinking about future employment and what I can bring to the workplace hasn’t really been on the agenda. However, unless we have more kids (which isn’t happening!), there will likely be a time when I have to go back to full-time employment.
With that in mind, I thought it’d be a useful exercise to think about my CV and what skills I have developed through dad life. Examples of skills or achievements through previous jobs will always remain, but it kind of feels like I’m living on past glories if I tell an interviewer that my most recent example of presentation skills or project management was 10 years ago.
So, the only thing I can do is view my stay-at-home dad role as an actual job and promote myself as such. In fact, I’m no longer calling myself a stay-at-home dad – I’m actually the manager of three subordinates (two human, one canine). See how I’ve instantly given myself loads more business credibility with a little naming change?!
It’s not just my new and improved job title though. The thing about parenting is that you are constantly learning new things, developing different skills and honing existing competencies. Does doing this in a non-corporate environment mean that the skills are any less valid? In truth, yes it probably does, but that doesn’t mean that it has to. A skill should be a skill regardless of setting.
I therefore thought I’d share seven skills which I’ve honed through parenting that I think would transfer well to the corporate world. I’ve even thrown in a few examples of the types of situations that aptly demonstrate my competency in these areas. I’m expecting recruiters to bombard me with job offers as soon as this post goes live. Here we go:
- Communication – I’ve learnt to effectively communicate with with a diverse range of people. Be it the mum at the baby swimming class, the grandparent at nursery or that 3-year old kid – who wasn’t mine – who constantly followed me at soft play. This has involved learning different languages unique to babies and toddlers (plus dogs), as well as adapting my language to say the same thing in five different ways until kids eventually understood what I’m was saying.
- Problem Solving – Every day, the world of parenting throws up issue after issue. Learning to deal with these problems – often by coming up with creative solutions – is the only way to ensure that the four walls of your house do not implode. A few real-life examples include persuading your child to sit on the potty with the promise of chocolate, using toilet paper to create a makeshift nappy when you forgot a spare and using super glue to fix a broken toy to put an end to incessant crying.
- Leadership – Along with my business partner (AKA the missus), I am jointly responsible for the direction that our organisation (AKA the family) takes. Key leadership qualities include setting the vision, communicating clearly and succinctly, staying positive, motivating the younger subordinates and ensuring that they have the right kind of environment to flourish and grow personally and professionally.
- Multitasking – I’m now adept at doing many different things at the same time. Playing games with my daughter as I rock my son to sleep whilst cooking tea. Or how about driving, whilst singing the Trolls soundtrack and answering random questions from the preschooler about death. Let’s not forget pushing a pram, walking the dog whilst pretending to walk like a dinosaur and telling a made up story about a banana who wanted to grow up and become a lorry driver.
- Decision Making – Just like in business, parenting is full of unknowns and uncertainty with very little indication of which decision is the correct one. So, it’s all about looking at different options, gathering all of the facts, assessing the risk, identifying the benefits and making what you believe to be the right, evidence-based decision. Whether it’s deciding on whether to send your child to nursery or what socks they should wear that day, choosing the wrong option is likely to negatively impact the lives around you.
- Time Management – Getting somewhere for a particular time isn’t something I used to boast about as a skill – that is, until I became a dad. Leaving the house now is complicated tenfold and I’m still (generally) on time. With little people in your life, everything takes longer – be it five minutes to put on a coat, the fact that they need a crap even though they didn’t seconds ago and the requirement to check that you’ve packed half of your life to cover all eventualities.
- Patience – Despite living in a society which increasingly demands that everything happens instantly, having kids has taught me the true meaning of patience. If it had not, then I would have gone crazy waiting over an hour every meal time for my daughter to finish her food or asking her to put on her shoes twenty times before the request is finally carried out. Or how about the fact that a ten minute walk with a toddler takes 50 minutes as every stone, blade of grass and drain needs to be investigated?
So those are seven skills I’ve honed in the parenting world that I think would transfer well to the employment world. What do you reckon? Fancy snapping me up on a six figure salary? Let me know below!