flaky interviewer is causing child care problems

A reader writes:

My husband is a stay-at-home dad for our 6-month-old daughter (amazing!) with events experience in a notoriously flaky creative industry. When he’s worked with other companies in the industry (some small and independently run, others pretty big and established, but trying to maintain a scrappy vibe) he’s had lots of rescheduled meetings, last minute changes or cancellations, etc. It’s been frustrating, but manageable before he was full-time dadding.

He recently was introduced to an owner of an up and coming teapot design company and they have scheduled a sit-down with the owner and the head teapot-maker to see how my husband may be able to help them, with events or even potentially a full-time job. Events work would be primarily evenings and weekends, so wouldn’t interfere with childcare. A full-time job would mean we would put our daughter in daycare, so wouldn’t cause childcare problems. However, the interview/conversation, which is inherently informal but an important first step, is causing problems.

The first time it was scheduled, I took a vacation day so that he could go meet with the company. They cancelled at 10pm the night before. Then we did the math and realized that financially, my vacation time is actually more expensive than hiring a babysitter (it pays out when I leave my job and/or allows a future maternity leave to be covered at 100% salary rather than 60%). So for the rescheduled conversation which was supposed to be today, we hired a babysitter. We don’t have family in town, all our friends work, and local teenagers are in school during the day, so we use a service to hire a babysitter. The service requires a booking fee, a 3-hour minimum for the sitter, and charges a cancellation fee for cancellations within 48 hours to make up for the sitter’s time – so cancelling the sitter ends up running about the same cost as having the sitter come stay with our daughter. Booking a sitter within 24 hours costs an additional fee. Last night around 8pm, the owner emailed to cancel again, so we’re paying for an unnecessary sitter today.

With one income, continuing this cycle ends up becoming a financial burden, but this opportunity could be really valuable and lead to more income for my husband or at least future networking when he returns to work.

The owner has offered to reschedule again for next week, but I’m not optimistic that won’t get cancelled as well, and it does not seem like the right call to bring a baby along to at least an initial professional conversation (although in this relaxed industry, future meetings might be different, he appropriately doesn’t want to set that tone for the first meeting). We can reasonably afford to hire a babysitter again if we know the meeting will happen, but can’t really afford to keep doing it in perpetuity.

Is there any way to communicate to the owner at this stage in the relationship that my husband needs at least more notice for a cancellation, if not reasonable assurance that scheduled meetings will occur as scheduled (even same day, we could move the babysitters hours…)?

Oooh, that would annoy the crap out of me. But if this is par for the course in this industry and your husband can deal with it, more power to him.

If this kind of canceling is normal for them, I’d bet that the interviewer doesn’t realize that it’s causing problems on your husband’s side. Hopefully if your husband diplomatically explains that it is, it might change the interviewer’s behavior.

I tend to think it’s better not to mention child care in interview situations, even though it’s a perfectly legitimate reason for wanting less flaky scheduling, but he could say something like, “My schedule is pretty tight this month and I’m shuffling things around to make that time work, so could you shoot me an email no later than Tuesday if it starts looking like it might not work out?” Or he could even say, “Because of my commitments right now, I’ve got to do some juggling to carve out time for a meeting. Does (date/time the interviewer suggested) seem pretty safe to you?”

Still, though, if this interview gets postponed a third time, I’d argue that for the price of a babysitter you’ll have just learned that the level of flakiness here is extreme, and that’s good info to have when evaluating a potential job.

{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. disconnect

    Why is your husband not able/willing to relay this information to the owner? And why is it your problem? I get that it’s causing stress to the family unit, but he’s the primary contact for this potential job, he’s currently the default parent, and it’s absolutely his right and responsibility to talk to Company Owner and say, “My schedule is very tight right now, rescheduling is presenting a hardship, let’s work this through”.

    Reply
    1. OP

      He is totally willing to communicate with the right language (I like Alison’s language a lot). I’m not communicating with the employer at all, I just happen to be the AAM reader so I wrote in

      Reply
      1. Jessesgirl72

        Lots of AAM OPs are writing on behalf of a spouse.

        And naturally the money spent from your joint pot and the care of your baby are important to you, regardless of whose interview it is.

        Reply
      1. Dubious

        Yes, of course you’re right.

        But this parenthetical got my hackles up: “My husband is a stay-at-home dad for our 6-month-old daughter (amazing!) with events experience in a notoriously flaky creative industry.”

        Why so “amazing!” in a normal, egalitarian relationship? Think I’m overreacting? Just imagine the dad who writes in to Esquire (Maxim, Newsweek, Dear Abby) as says he has a stay at home wife–AMAZING!– and we don’t read it as sarcasm.

        Reply
        1. OP

          Fair point, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

          Mostly, I just feel really lucky to have my partner staying home with our daughter. It makes financial sense for us I have no anxiety about how she’s doing during the day at work. It truly is an amazing setup for us that I’m really grateful for on a pretty regular basis.

          I’m also grateful that this setup will help us raise feminist children. I have no idea of an article I could link to as this was something I studied in college, but the premise is that when children see men as primary caregivers, they don’t immediately associate care work as female and won’t see men doing care/domestic work as “amazing” in the future.

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        2. Rusty Shackelford

          Aw. I just read it as he was an amazing dad (not for staying at home, but just because he was good at it), and thought it was sweet.

          Reply
    2. Ted Mosby

      There’s no such thing as a default parent. They’re both equally parents. They both want to work. Why is childcare only his job?

      Reply
      1. ZVA

        I’m sure that’s something the LW and her husband have worked out between themselves; it sounds like they’re both happy with the arrangement…..

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        1. Ted Mosby

          I’m not questioning OP or her arrangement at all. I’m saying i think it’s really silly to ask why it’s her problem; it’s her child and they’re working together to find childcare.

          Reply
          1. sstabeler

            I think what the commenter is questioning is why- if childcare responsibilities primarily fall on the husband- it was assumed that the OP has to either take the day off or find a babysitter, rather than the husband saying “I’m sorry, but I can’t do the interview then”- which would usually be obnoxious on the Op’s part if it really was juts one day, but this is causing an unpredictable situation which may well damage OP and her husband’s reputation (cancelling babysitters at short notice is fine occasionally- things do come up- but would eventually get them an undeserved reputation as a flake themselves. (if it wasn’t for the fact that OP has to work, I’d suggest that if it happened again, using the fact the babysitter’s already booked to go out and enjoy themselves as a couple- I know my parents have had difficulty finding time to just be a couple, and since the kid would be looked after…)

            Reply
            1. OP

              He did actually use the babysitting time to get some stuff done that’s hard to do with our daughter in tow – get a haircut, run some additional errands, etc. so it wasn’t a total waste :)

              also to everyone questioning our arrangement re: childcare, “default parent,” etc –
              1. not the point
              2. my salary supports our family to live comfortably without much wiggle room. after saving what we can and servicing student loan debt, there isn’t much left over. With his freelance work and with us living in a major city, we determined we would be losing money on daycare if he didn’t stay home with her. This is the arrangement that works for our family and it means that, for now, for us, my job is more important than paying opportunities for him that wouldn’t at least break even on daycare. It would be great to see that change, but this is what we’ve worked out for our family. On the weekends I’m the “default parent” while he does event work or whatever else.

              To commenters: it does not feel great to write in about a professional problem and have my parenting choices questioned. I know there are often unhealthy relationship dynamics on this blog that bleed into work but having one parent stay home to provide child care is very very normal.

              Thanks to all who have given suggestions about finding alternate care, wording to use with the owner of the company, and the warnings about questioning if this flakiness will bleed over into the actual work environment – he’s been burned by another company in the industry that wasn’t that flaky in the interview process but repeatedly “showed him who they were” over the course of the contract and then didn’t follow through on a promised full-time job. we probably could have seen that coming!

              Reply
              1. Clinical Social Worker

                I’m sorry about the criticism thrown your way. It’s not easy to put yourself out there for a bunch of randos on the internet to be jerks. I hope Alison’s advice helps!

                Reply
      2. NewCommenterfromDaBronx

        “Default parent” is used on parenting blogs to mean the one on which most of the childcare responsibilities fall, even when both parents are employed.

        Reply
  2. BadPlanning

    I feel like it would be justified to say, “I can’t accommodate another daytime interview slot. I am available on several evenings and weekends. Can we meet then?” Or is it likely in this industry that every evening and weekend is booked with an event?

    Reply
    1. Willis

      Was coming to make that comment as well – could he suggest an evening or weekend time? If these folks are booked throughout the day and typically work into the evenings, they may be fine with an after 5 meeting time. Obviously, your husband would know better than me if that makes sense, but it seems reasonable to suggest.

      Reply
    2. Rusty Shackelford

      Considering what time it is when they’re contacting him to cancel, they seem to be in “work mode” pretty late, so an evening slot sounds possible.

      Reply
  3. Loopy

    I’m forgiving the first time someone needs to reschedule but with each time, my patience goes down. I think that for a third time it’s plenty reasonable to say somethingwithout coming across as rude. Peoples time is valuable in general. I think anyone would be feeling at least a little irate by now.

    I think the verbiage provided is perfectly polite and reasonable.

    Reply
    1. Antilles

      This.
      Once, I can totally understand. I wouldn’t love it, but I can understand. But after the first time, then you absolutely have earned the right to politely say something. Especially when they’re canceling via email at 8 pm or 10 pm (!) the night before. That’s way outside of the norm, even in fields which are looser on schedules.

      Reply
    2. Chickaletta

      Yep, this. It doesn’t matter if the OP’s husband had daycare issues or not, it’s inconsiderate of the interviewer to keep canceling and rescheduling all the time.

      I’m curious what field he’s in. I’m in a creative field and I’ve not had this problem before, if anything, being in a creative field where there’s clients to please and last minute work always being done, they’re usually highly organized and able to keep a planned meeting – otherwise they’d never get around to it.

      Reply
      1. Engineer Woman

        Yes, this! Even if not for childcare, people have rearranged schedules – be it doctors appointments or other work meetings, really anything – for the interview and cancelling twice on such short notice is really crappy.
        Alison’s workings are great. I’d be attempted to sneak in some sort of “since 2 interview attempts have already arranged were cancelled on short notice, my schedule for the rest of this month is really tight…”. Then go into what Alison suggests.
        But then I’d probably remind myself to take the higher road…sigh

        Reply
  4. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

    This is why it drives me up the wall when “creatives” give themselves permission to be flaky. Because who has the energy to do boring things like stick to a schedule and do what you say you’re going to when oooooh we’re all so flippin’ creative! Who has time for basic courtesy when your head is full of creative stuff!!!

    Why not say, “I’ve booked a fairly expensive babysitter to cover childcare during that interview window, so does that window seem pretty safe to you? We’ll be out for three hours of daycare plus fees if we need to reschedule.”

    Reply
    1. NonProfit Nancy

      It’s hard though, because I also believe that a company is showing you who they are in an interview. So if OP’s husband can’t get them to commit to an interview time and stick with it, is it a safe assumption that this frustration would carry over to the job. The events may be nights and weekends but it seems like this company doesn’t understand strict scheduling needs or value people’s time very well. Red flag.

      Reply
    2. One of the Sarahs

      Yeah, it was a huge eye-opener to me when I went back to uni to do a degree in a creative field – most of my tutors were people who were creative and talented AND organised. Before that, the artists I’d come across had almost been proud of being flakey… but in retrospect, that’s why they weren’t successful artists!

      I think some people feel that if they’re organised etc, they won’t be taken seriously as creative, so they’ve almost deliberately not learned working norms (it goes along with the tortured artist starving in an attic trope)

      OP, I do have a question for your husband, and that’s this: is this a red flag for how it might work out if he did end up working for them? Is it a symptom of, eg, not being bothered to pay on time, or being frustrating re deadlines and dealing with customers? If I were him, I’d be doing some research about them, because while the company could be awesome at the rest of it, and this just being one of those things, it’s worth checking it out, just in case.

      Reply
      1. Antilles

        I think some people feel that if they’re organised etc, they won’t be taken seriously as creative, so they’ve almost deliberately not learned working norms (it goes along with the tortured artist starving in an attic trope)
        It might also be a bit of the “you can’t schedule creativity” mindset.

        Reply
        1. One of the Sarahs

          I don’t really buy “you can’t schedule creativity” – I write freelance at the moment, and I am a terrible one for “I only feel creative near the deadline” – BUT I hit my deadlines, and am organised. And anyone who’s gone to college/uni to study arts/creative industries/media knows that you absolutely have to be able to work to order.

          If someone truly is a “you can’t schedule creativity” type, they shouldn’t be trying to work with clients for a living (so, eg, they can create a stack of drawings/photos etc and try to sell them, when they’re done/put them in for prizes and such, but they couldn’t try to get work as an illustrator/photographer for clients etc etc, because deadlines can’t wait for that creative moment to hit.)

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          1. Marisol

            “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

            -W. Somerset Maugham

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          2. Carpe Librarium

            One of my favourite authors wrote his first 8 or 9 books during his lunch hours at a govt job.
            He needed to work full time because as an establishing author he didn’t have a sufficient revenue stream from writing and he needed the health insurance for his family.
            He literally *had* to schedule his creativity.

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            1. Koko

              Yep, creativity can absolutely be approached with discipline. It’s true that I have bursts of creative inspiration that I can’t control or schedule, and I just hope I can get to a computer or pad of paper when they do. But I can’t rely on those random events to get me through the regular writing tasks that make up most of my job. I have to be able to write well enough even when I’m not having a Moment of Divine Inspiration ™. You aren’t going to have enough of those moments to sustain a professional career.

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        2. Mookie

          Eh, as One of the Sarahs says, successful creative and imaginative people tend to be wedded stubbornly to a strict, if not idiosyncratically expressed, work ethic, likely because not every moment spent toiling is going to produce unfettered genius with no need for editing or refining. Flightiness (as distinct from structured bouts of inattention punctuated by lashings of hard work in between) is not synonymous with deep or creative-thinking; often the opposite, in fact.

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    3. MissDisplaced

      I’m a creative type and I make a very strong point in my professional life to keep meetings and be punctual unless there is a VERY compelling reason. Actually, I’ve found the opposite to be true, with the executive-types and owners being the flakes. Why? Because they tend to think the world revolves around them, and everyone else is just kind of there to do their bidding. Very inconsiderate of other’s time.

      But yes, a the others said, often the way a company treats a potential consultant or employee during this phase is how they ARE and how they treat people in general. For an event planner, I would expect this company to be a nightmare, with lots of last minute changes, indecision, cancellations and no general direction.

      Reply
      1. EddieSherbert

        +1

        I don’t think it’s fair to stereotype any groups (creatives or execs or whatever), but in my personal experience, my “technical type” jobs had more of this rescheduling nonsense than my “creative type” jobs. It just depends on the company.

        But I do agree – this would be a big flag to me as an event planner that this company will likely be very difficult to work with.

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        1. sstabeler

          I don’t think they ARE stereotyping creative types. It’s more that the flakes amongst creative types tend to use their creativity as an excuse- even if, as has been said, it really isn’t. (or at least, if you ARE one of those people whose creativity is unpredictable, you should get a job that doesn’t require your creativity and produce your creative stuff independently (I’m thinking like how many authors (or singers, for that matter) have a day job to pay the bills since thye can’t like off their writing/singing income.)

          Oh, and for that matter, quite a lot of the actual creative fields are closed to a true flake. most artists get their creative income from commissions ( yes, even the greats. If it’s a portrait of an actual person, someone paid the artist to paint it) and the comissioner would get understandably cross if they didn’t receive the art they paid for.

          Reply
          1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

            “I don’t think they ARE stereotyping creative types. It’s more that the flakes amongst creative types tend to use their creativity as an excuse- even if, as has been said, it really isn’t”

            Correctamundo.

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    4. Mookie

      If only flakes and manic pixie dreamchildren could confine themselves to a single industry, but, alas, even unimaginative normcores for whom hipster-y scrappiness butters no bread are prone to this, I find. Not everyone does, but as an otherwise patient and tolerant person I find it singularly exhausting and almost immediately check out on someone (whether they’re in the running for friend, colleague, boss, or client) who does it more than once without a good explanation delivered in politely apologetic tones. Time is very precious stock: don’t make me waste my dwindling supply twiddling my proverbials, for feck’s fecking sake.

      Reply
    5. MommyMD

      You can totally schedule creativity. This I am an artist so I’ll be unreliable and flakey does not work in the real world.

      Reply
  5. Lovemyjob...truly!!!

    LW, you have my sympathy! I remember well the frustration of sitters and last minute rescheduling while doing my job hunt. Does your daughter do any parent and me type classes where you or your spouse have become friendly with other parents? They might be willing to fill in as a last minute babysitter for pay.

    Reply
    1. Buzz

      Really trying to network with any parents could work – anyone who is ‘stay at home’ may be able to let him drop off their child.

      I’m thinking that even LW might have parent contacts at work who have a counterpart at home with the kids, or even a sitter that is willing to take an extra temporarily, or even a parent with some spare time… the list goes on.

      Reply
    2. Amy Farrah Fowler

      Or even just a friendly neighbor. I’ve watched my neighbor’s kids when she needed to go to a job interview and her child care fell through. Do you have any one you could call on like that? I was happy to help and didn’t even ask for payment (though she did bring me a gift card a few days later).

      Reply
  6. Emi.

    I really don’t want to spread the myth that homeschoolers are infinitely flexible, because we’re not … but as a general rule, we do have more flexibility than “regular” schoolers. Is there a local homeschooling group you could contact and see if they’d put out a call for a sitter who could come over during the day, being upfront about how your needs are changing? I definitely would’ve been willing to do something like that, and a lot of my friends would’ve too.

    Reply
    1. FN2187

      I was homeschooled, too! I nannied for a bit on days when I didn’t have class at our local co-op. It eventually became way too overwhelming with class and homework, but it was definitely a thing that I did.

      Reply
  7. Lily in NYC

    My former boss had a terrible habit of canceling meetings twice and then finally attending the third one. He had major social anxiety and hated meeting new people and canceled as often as possible. I was his scheduler so it was a nightmare and I always felt so bad calling someone yet again to reschedule.

    Reply
    1. Poster Child

      This is such an interesting reason for people cancelling I hadn’t thought of. I’m introverted enough to understand not wanting to meet with people but my conscientiousness overrides that (I don’t have social anxiety which is a level beyond dislike). So I usually assume people who do this are less conscientious than I am rather than more socially awkward.

      Reply
      1. Mookie

        (I am highly socially anxious and when when I was a younger’un would habitually swear off or delay engagements to avoid the rituals necessary for achieving well-lubricated social intercourse, but I’m also surprised by that. It makes sense, though. My commiserations to Lily in NYC, because that can’t be a pleasant task to do for someone else. Just reading about it makes me feel guilty on behalf of her former boss.)

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    2. Willis

      I would be tempted to put a couple fake meetings in the schedule ahead of the real one. Of course that would be the time the boss didn’t cancel!

      Reply
  8. Emi.

    I’m totally not. As a homeschooled teen, I babysat earlier in the afternoon than my non-homeschooled friends were available; I was able to pick up kids early when public schools closed for snow; I occasionally babysat mornings for people whose regular childcare fell through or who had appointments they couldn’t take all their kids too. It was super normal.

    Reply
  9. Parenthetically

    My first thought babysitter-wise was a local university or college. You can pretty easily run a background check on, say, a handful of Early Childhood Education majors from State U and put them in a rotation to call as-needed. I rarely had classes M-F, 8-3 throughout college and grad school — lots of free mornings and afternoons scattered here and there.

    But yeah, Nthing the idea of just saying something to the interviewer about the childcare situation.

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    1. Hermione

      Yes, this was my thought too. My uni had a job board that included one-off’s/odd jobs that I found several regular babysitting positions through way back when.

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    2. One Foot Out the Door

      I’m an occasional babysitter and I’ve booked most of my recent gigs through NextDoor.com. I provide my background check (via Care.com) and references to any potential clients. Worth a look, as I certainly don’t have as many strings attached as the babysitting service!

      Reply
    3. UX Designer

      Totally second this! I would have been happy to have had the extra cash in undergrad. My parents tap local university kids all the time to dog and house sit now that they’re empty nesters.

      Reply
    4. Honeybee

      One of my best friends did this in graduate school. She was in a graduate program for speech-language pathology (now she is a SL pathologist at an elementary school) and she’s also bilingual, so she often got hired by families who wanted their kids to learn or strengthen Spanish skills.

      Reply
  10. AndersonDarling

    Are you sure the company really cares enough to hire someone? They could be canceling because they aren’t invested in moving forward with a contractor/new hire. Some folks get an idea, take the first step, then flake out because the excitement wares off.
    I’d be a little firmer when calling back to schedule another appointment. I’d open by asking if they were still interested in pursuing the partnership.

    Reply
    1. ZenJen

      I’d give them 1 more chance to schedule the appt……after that, I’d pass on the chance to work with them. TOO flaky and unreliable–the company is showing the LW’s spouse what they are like and they haven’t even had the meeting yet!

      Reply
  11. Meredith

    Not sure if this will help you out at all, but there are message boards and such that my neighbors and community use a lot to find local babysitting options. The most popular one at the moment in my neighborhood is NextDoor, and it seems like there are constantly people looking for childcare/offering childcare/setting up childcare co-ops and exchanges. There’s also local college and university job boards where people post looking for babysitting help a lot – college students can sometimes have more daytime availability. It’s awesome that your husband is able to be a FT caregiver to your kiddo. It might be a good time to consider researching options for finding daytime childcare on an as-needed basis, so he can arrange to be able to step away from child-care duties if he needs to do that for whatever reason during the day.

    Reply
  12. paul

    I mean, you’re saying this is normal but holy crow, this is like…bright neon red warning flag to me about this company. At what point is it appropriate to say you’re withdrawing your candidacy?

    Reply
    1. OP

      It’s not really a formal candidacy, more of a networking conversation. I’m also not 100% sure if this is the owner or the head teapot designer who is driving the rescheduling.

      but yeah, at some point enough is definitely enough!

      Reply
  13. Recruit-o-Rama

    Hate this. When a hiring manager asks me reschedule (especially last minute) I call them up and not gently prod to see if it is absolutely necessary. Onboarding and retention starts at application. Jeez.

    I would give them one more chance and then take it as a sign.

    Reply
  14. LizM

    Not a ton of advice on the job interview front, but my town has a babysitting/nanny board on facebook, and there are a number of stay at home moms there who will babysit for extra cash, either at their house or at yours, if they can bring their kids. Maybe check there and interview some of them if you don’t want to continue using the babysitting service.

    Reply
  15. Midge

    Maybe another potential workaround would be for you to work from home the day your husband has his interview. You could work until it’s time for him to leave, and then take an extended lunch/break to take care of your daughter while he’s gone.

    Reply
  16. Libragrian

    I really wish childcare as an issue wasn’t something that needed to be considered sensitive or potentially problematic to mention directly. I know that’s not the world we live in, but the idea that a doctor’s appointment is more “understandable” or “professional” than a caregiving commitment always rubs me the wrong way. Le sigh.

    Reply
    1. sstabeler

      I think part of it is that when you say babysitter, most people think of the stereotypical teenager watching a kid for a few bucks- which, while it does occur, is normally for kids that are old enough to go to school, so the babysitter doesn’t actually need to do much (put a movie on for the kid to watch and keep an eye on the kid to make sure they don’t do anything stupid.) while for a preschool kid, the babysitter would need to actively entertain the kid- so, because it’s both a more skilled job and more actual effort, it costs more.

      Anyway, the point is that it’s seen as unprofessional to refuse to hire a babysitter or for your partner to refuse to take the day off rather than expect your future employer to accommodate your childcare commitments. A doctor’s appointment is something you have far less control over when it is, so it’s seen as more acceptable a reason to reschedule.

      Also, note that the actual issue is they keeping on jerking the LW around- not that thye need a babysitter.

      Reply
  17. Matt

    Another point to consider regarding the job itself, not the interview:

    “Events work would be primarily evenings and weekends, so wouldn’t interfere with childcare. A full-time job would mean we would put our daughter in daycare, so wouldn’t cause childcare problems. ”

    with all the flakiness of this company regarding interviews, what makes one so sure that they aren’t just as flaky when it comes to work schedules? Full time doesn’t mean plannable hours, especially the so-called “creative” industries are notorious for insane hours and spontaneous overtime. Important customer calls 5 minutes before husband has to leave for daycare, spontaneous meeting now, we need the presentation for tomorrow. I can’t help but picturing Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs. Kramer” getting scolded by his boss for having to leave on time to pick up his boy …

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    1. MommyMD

      I was thinking this too. They are going to cancel and move events and meetings at the last minutes. I vote no on this opportunity.

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    2. OP

      Events in this industry are more like festivals where my husband would be promoting products on behalf of the company and the company’s participation would be locked down months in advance, so less like “we’re throwing a party and eh, I don’t want to anymore.” There’s also a distributor in the mix, so lots of times once the company has agreed to do it and contracted my husband they literally never have to think about it again (until they have to pay him, and everyone has made great points about that probably being part of the flakiness too – but with another similar company my husband and daughter recently had to stop by to get the check directly after it wasn’t coming through… this doesn’t seem to bother him a ton though when he can bring our daughter along on errands like this though it would drive me to blinding rage)

      Reply
  18. Still learning how to adult...

    Perhaps a thought experiment for LW & her husband: Say he becomes a full-time employee with this company and five years down the line with them. That’s five years of ‘notoriously flakey’ scheduling behavior, meetings cancelled at 10pm the night before, etc. Would you find this style still as acceptable? Or would it be grating on you, always having to juggle things around and rearrange your schedules & sitter schedules? Such common rescheduling has a ripple effect, sometimes 3 or 4 people deep. I can confess I’ve been the flakey scheduler before, but I’ve realized how wearing it is on me, my contacts, and my relationships. I’ve had to work hard to be more rigorous about honoring my time commitments.

    This really hit me at a previous employer when I had scheduled a reconstructive orthopedic surgery on my major hand. Less than a week before the surgery, boss asked I could reschedule, for his sake for a ‘big project.’ I was able to move it out a few weeks. Then about a week before the new date, boss asked me to reschedule, AGAIN. I realized all the rescheduling was only for his benefit, not mine. Even tho the surgery would restore my hand to 100% from about 85% – boss would see a more productive and effective employee. In the end, it was one in a long string of small abuses on his part to (in my humble lay psychologist mind) to continually reinforce that he was the one in control, and his employees didn’t really matter except as someone he could throw around at his will.

    Back to the question: Will husband and you be better off with this potential employer, or without, given that you can see the kind of scheduling habits they have?

    BTW, to all posters on this question, and others: There is some real poetry in the writing here! :-) “flakes and manic pixie dreamchildren” and “Time is very precious stock: don’t make me waste my dwindling supply twiddling my proverbials, for feck’s fecking sake”

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  19. CM

    I think this is a great time to be very open and straightforward about your child care commitments. Either the employer is on board and is willing to work around your scheduling concerns, or not — in which case the job wouldn’t work out.

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  20. cncx

    i get some of the comments where it was said that the husband should have been more upfront about his scheduling imperatives- but this level of flakiness is a red flag for the culture of at least the person interviewing.

    i had an interviewer not respect my time and pull something similar- reschedule two interviews last minute when she knew it was a six hour round trip for me, and also make me attend more interviews than really necessary (i went up there three or four times). It turned out to be the worst job and worst boss of my life. i would maybe give these people one more chance but proceed with extreme caution.

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  21. MamaSarah

    Late to meet a friend, my daughter’s Godmother once explained to the irritated party that we were “on baby time”. Now that my kids are older, I relish being able to keep my appointments and arive on time – even getting to my zumba class on time is *very* important to me. It’s also important to me to have an employer/work environment that shares some of my core values, so I’d be wary of an employer rescheduling at the last minute.
    That said, I do think it’s okay to say something like “Let’s meet on the half hour, I need a few minutes to bring my daughter to the sitter”.
    All the best – this is a short, sweet time to be enjoyed as my much as possible. Cheers to you for finding a happy work-life balance.

    Reply

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