When Your Kid is Sick on Your Big Interview Day

So, I’m venturing back out there and have a big interview today for a job I’d love to land. Problem is, my 4-year-old started throwing up at 1 a.m. and hasn’t stopped! The interview is via skype, but even if I put on a movie, there’s a huge chance that my child will throw up again while I’m having the interview.

So, do I tell my potential boss, the CEO of a company that would be taking a big chance on hiring me, that I can’t have the interview: highlighting the fact that I’m a single mom and when my child becomes ill suddenly, I’m typically out of commission? Or, do I just wing it and hope that my mushy, sleep-deprived brain will kick in and I’ll actually be able to hold a compelling and intellectual conversation and that my child won’t puke in the background?

It’s a hard one. What we tell our boss or our future boss about our children is still a gray area. I recall a friend not telling her future employer that she was a few months pregnant during an interview, for fear that she wouldn’t get the job. This situation, however, shouldn’t be one that I could be penalized for—but you never know. I reached out to two women in my network who are moms and work-a-holics who deal with corporate CEOs quite a bit. They both said that I could not cancel the interview because my son is sick. I had to go through with it to not give a bad impression or the wrong message. I did a cursory search online for more advice and I ran across Lisa Belkin’s column: When Your Child Is Sick, What Do You Tell Your Boss?

In the column she points out comments from other female journalists who say that our workplace is changing and that we should be upfront about seeking balance. I think that’s true, but until you can navigate your workplace, and it’s culture, you have to get the job, right?

I’m going to opt to take the interview and also reveal that my son is sick and I may have to go should he start to vomit. That it’s a sudden illness that started in the night, but that I’m so excited about the interview, I didn’t want to cancel. My suggestion will be to have another but follow-up interview on Monday should we be interrupted.

And, just in case anyone is worried that I’m neglecting my little guy, I’ve already called the emergency 24 hour nurse, and made an appointment to take him the Dr. later today.

Somethings will always be more important to me. Hopefully, that will make me a better employee or manager—knowing when family comes first.

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2 responses to “When Your Kid is Sick on Your Big Interview Day

  1. Oh Laura, I’m sure I joined a chorus of moms who read this post and said “OF COURSE he started throwing up before your big interview!” Ugh, it really is such a difficult thing to navigate but I agree that it is best not to cancel and I think you have landed on the perfect solution. Hopefully the person interviewing you is human and understands that life can be a little unpredictable sometimes … and if not, then maybe it’s not the right fit for you anyway. Very best of luck with it and I hope your little man feels better very soon. xxj

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