I primarily worked in childcare centers before I quit and decided I wanted to focus on something different (right now, I’m trying to figure out how to work from home while also taking care of two small children, but I blog in my “spare” time).
On the topic of “cultural fit,” I really think that both the workplace and the candidate should be focused on finding a fit that’s mutually satisfying. I based most of my acceptance of work decisions on a very practical, but admittedly, not very internally satisfying in the long term bullet point: I needed to eat, I could get paid to do this job and buy food with the money I made.
That really backfired at my last job, which I accepted because I was a struggling single mom and needed to get back to work to provide for my baby. I wasn’t sure it was a fit for me — frankly, I wasn’t sure childcare was something I was truly passionate about doing — but I accepted the job because I thought, “Everyone seems okay.”
My daughter’s “teacher” seemed great, when I met her for the first few times I entrusted my daughter to her. When I began working there, I was excited because I thought that I was going to get to spend time with my baby, and my baby was going to get quality care from her teacher.
After about four months, I was switched to a different classroom, and I happened to be able to see and hear everything that my daughter’s teacher said and did in her classroom, while I was also caring for the kids in my care across the hall. Imagine my sheer anger, frustration, and utter disappointment to hear my daughter’s “great” teacher yelling at my 6-month-old, letting her cry when she was hungry and not giving her a bottle for 20–30 minutes, holding her down at naptime because she claimed my daughter “refused” a pacifier (I’d been able to give my daughter a pacifier to get her to sleep at home on more than one occasion). This teacher also called my daughter and all the other babies in the room “sissies” when they cried. Little babies aren’t sissies, they are vulnerable people who need attention and care. Long story short, that teacher was one of two employees the boss/owner trusted to give the boss the scoop on what was happening in the workplace, and I felt like I had no voice to say anything.
Of course, I also stopped trusting that teacher, which made her complain to the boss about me, making it seem as if I was being rude or mean or whatnot. That teacher was sweet and great in front of parents and bosses, and did a complete 180 once they’d turned their backs. Those kids did not deserve that treatment.
If I had known that this would be the outcome, that my child would be yelled at while I would be accused of being a terrible teacher by someone whose game I refused to play, I would never have accepted that job. I agree with someone else’s statement that it takes more than just a couple of meetings to know whether or not you’ll be a fit, because sometimes, it takes people’s facades longer than that to fade away to reveal the truth beneath the surface.