April 19, 2014 in Washington Voices

Front Porch: ‘World’s Hardest Job’ not as bad as ad describes

By The Spokesman-Review
 

If you’re on the Internet much you’ve probably seen the recent viral video featuring interview clips for “The World’s Hardest Job.”

Spoiler alert: It’s actually a 4 minute ad to get you to buy a greeting card for Mother’s Day. But it’s also selling an insidious myth that would be better suited for a birth control commercial.

My job as a mom certainly doesn’t match their description for “director of operations.”

“You must be able to work standing up most or really all of the time,” the interviewer states, elaborating that standing is a 24/7 requirement, with no breaks.

This must be a nod to walking the floors at night with a crying baby. At the time it feels like forever. But that times passes. Trust me. The baby eventually quiets and falls asleep leaving you spent but secure in the knowledge you would do anything for this small person.

Still, over an 18-year span of active child rearing, standing takes up a small percentage of time. You also get to sit for countless hours of enjoyment that could hardly be called work.

You sit while reading to them, roasting marshmallows with them, watching movies or just chatting about their day. You sit with pride while watching them play sports or perform at concerts, not to mention the countless hours of bonding conversation while sitting in the car, driving to and from their various activities.

You also sit for most of your meals, which brings us to the next job requirement listed in the ad.

“You can have lunch but only when the associate is done eating their lunch,” the interviewer asserts.

Since when? Eating isn’t like using the bathroom. It’s a group activity. It’s also the cornerstone of many family traditions, from summertime barbecues to Thanksgiving dinner.

On a day-to-day basis, it isn’t that hard to devour a ham and cheese sandwich while nursing a baby and it’s downright easy to consume dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets dipped in ranch sauce while sitting at the same table.

Even parents who eschew kid-targeted food can still sit and eat with their offspring without waiting in line.

That is, unless you believe the ad’s last requirement, that this position “requires excellent negotiation and interpersonal skills.”

Yes, good parents aim to build good relationships with their children, skills you develop on-the-job. But that shouldn’t be considered in the same vein as negotiating contract terms with a business partner, client or vendor.

While the kids get progressively more input over their lives as they grow, even my teens sometimes hear me say, “it’s not negotiable.” That’s the modern version of my mom’s “because I said so.”

Sometimes you have to do what’s best for your kids, like it or not.

At the end of the ad the interviewer tells the applicants that the position, filled by billions of people, pays nothing. Then he reveals, over a sappy music crescendo, that its true title is “mom.”

The applicants laugh. They cry. They thank their moms. It’s an emotional appeal to get you to spend money on a card for Mother’s Day.

While I won’t be buying a greeting card, I am thankful for my mom. I’m thankful for the times she stood and walked the floor with me and for the times she sat and read to me. I’m thankful for the meals we’ve shared together and for the times she didn’t negotiate because she wanted what was best for me.

I’m thankful for an endless list of things she did without complaint. Every day she showed me in countless ways that she loved being a mom. For that I’m most thankful, because I wanted to be one too.

That ad lied. Motherhood isn’t a thankless position with awful hours, inhumane conditions, unreasonable requirements and zero compensation.

It’s the most rewarding opportunity I’ve ever had.

Contact correspondent Jill Barville by email at jbarville@msn.com

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus