In the recent past, I attended an interview for a job that would possibly pay me much better than my current job (as we all know, compensation is key when you think about how much monotony you can tolerate). I was asked four times, in certain as well as uncertain terms, about my marriage plans. Without exception, there would be some humming and hawing, some skirting around the actual question before the M word was uttered: So……what are your plans, what about the rest of your family, are you from here, how can we know you will not be leaving soon for ‘any other reason’. I realized I was being viewed as a flight risk, simply because I am 25 and not yet married. Interviewers therefore feel justified complaining to candidates like me: This is a big problem for us, we hire girls and we train them, and they hardly stick around.
To be completely honest though, I did not feel as angry as I expected to, that I was asked repeatedly about my ‘plans’. I remember the times I expressed opinions in unpleasant ways previously: How dare somebody ask you that? It should not be their concern! Is it even allowed? Yet, I almost felt sorry for employers made to have this conversation (only ‘almost’, as they did make me feel uncomfortable and awkward). I shall tell you a short story now. I know a 26 year old girl (woman?) who had no particular interest in working. But then one day, she attended an interview on a whim, and got herself a job. She was asked to complete a three week orientation program, following which she would start working in a different city. At the end of these three weeks, she quit her job. Her marriage had been brokered, and she would soon be leaving the country. I had one question for her: Why did you bother? I shall tell you another story. A 24 year old girl, working, also had her marriage negotiated successfully. She called up her office one morning and passed along the message that she wouldn’t be coming in to work anymore, reasoning that the task list for her impending wedding needed her to have her days free. She did add that she would like to come back to her old job in a few months’ time if she did not find one in her new location. You don’t need me to tell you that this conversation didn’t end well.
Why are so many women indifferent to the opportunities and privileges they have? Why are these women content with whether they have a ‘job’ or not, not caring to distinguish it from ‘career’? At times, I find myself thinking, if they do not want to take themselves seriously, how can they expect someone else to? They could have everything if they wanted to.
As for my interview, if I do not get that job, could being a woman have played any part (slight or significant)? I cannot help thinking that the manager would be much more relieved if a qualified male was found soon enough.