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“Why do you want to work? You have children….” Has anyone ever asked you that question at a job interview? Me, yes. Twice…..

“But why do you work? With three children…”

I have been asked that question twice in my career. Both times were during job interviews at multinational companies, straight in the eye… A career and children? Now I’m asking you the big question!

It’s true. At the end of the day, why do I work while my rugrats spend 10 hours a day with somebody other than me?


For most of us who don’t have the financial capacity to ask that question, the insinuation that one must choose between a career and children is simply unacceptable! …. And it is just as inacceptable for those who do have the choice!


When I was first asked the question, I naively answered truthfully: I had no choice, which led to me explaining the haphazard career choices of my partner… and having to justify our lifestyle in front of a snarky recruiter.


A few years later, when I was asked the question again, this time I had the financial capacity to not work, and above all I was more mature.

I answered the question not as a means of justifying myself, but as a what for?


Sure, I don’t work so that your multinational can sell even more overpriced yoghurts, or because your brand is the first name that comes to mind when you think of fermented dairy products… but I do work for the intellectual stimulation, in order to find creative solutions to interesting problems and to work on achieving projects with people of quality.


And while selling your yoghurts is not a goal in itself, creating employment in a dairy is certainly a valid reason for me to go to work!

I also definitely work in order to be happy with my children: I know it seems crazy when you see me arrive in the morning at the office with a haggard face after three school runs and two washing loads, and when I spend my lunch break on the phone organising the lives of my loved ones. So, are they happy? Time will tell, but if I am unhappy staying at home, then one thing is sure – they will be too.


I also definitely work to earn my own cash. That’s important for me! The balance in my couple depends on it: I feel vulnerable if I am not independent. My husband is not a macho when it comes to division of property, but I can’t help it!

Finally, and this is the answer I gave: “I work to earn a living and because I am interested in what I do”… the rest is my own business (and yours now because I have shared it with you!)


A career and children. Why? None of us would give the same answer: we work for good reasons that are all different, because they are our own! You will note that we could say the exact same thing about people who have chosen to look after their children full time!

Despite all the policies in favour of equal employment, the question about choosing between a career and children is unfortunately one that is still asked at interviews.


“Why do you work? You have children?” Indeed I do. I had three beautiful reasons to stay at home today, but I chose to come to this job interview, so  this position in your multinational had better be darned interesting, Mr Recruiter. Why don’t we talk about that instead of discussing my private life?



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