WTF Wednesday: “I need a new job, but I don’t know where to start.”

single mom advice


Dear Emma,

I'm really proud that I have been able to support my daughter for all five years of her life without relying on anyone else. However, I am broke and sick of it!

business for three years where I have not received a raise the entire time, though my responsibilities there continue to grow. I have been applying for jobs left and right, and over the past year have had dozens of interviews, but everything hits a dead-end. I've taken on two part-time night jobs I work while my mom watches my daughter. I am run down, miserable, and frustrated with the world. I don't blame anyone else. I just wish life were easier in every aspect.

You asked me what I really want to do professionally, and while fitness and personal training has been my passion (I am certified in the latter), I really don't care. I don't want work to be my life. I want work to be something I go into everyday, do my job and leave before 6 p.m. and receive a paycheck that is substantial enough to raise my daughter and support us. I worked at a gym as a general manager for five years before having my daughter. But the hours required of that career are not an option any more.

What should I do?


Dear Cassidy,
Take these steps:
1. Write out what you want. This is not a job description, but rather the qualities of the job: Minimum salary, schedule, that you are passionate about it, work with wonderful people, have a flexible schedule, don't bring work home, can work from home…. whatever it is you want.

2. Write down all your qualifications. Yes, certifications, hard skills, work experience. But also less tangible things: Great listener, empathetic, funny, high-energy. All the great things about you as a person and WOMAN that you will bring to any situation, including a job.

3. Start talking to people. People are your network. This is how you get jobs — not by applying to gigs online (some stats show that only 2% of positions are filled that way. The rest are through networking). Don't just talk to people in your industry. Start yapping to your social circle, acquaintances through your kid's school, neighborhood, alumni association, church, people waiting in the dentist's office. People you don't even know. People you do know but assume can't help you in your job search. Everyone knows someone who knows someone else. Be vulenerable. Be honest. Just say: “I'm looking for my next job. This is who I am and what I can do. This is what want. Do you know of anyone looking to hire?”

Listen to my Like a Mother episode on this topic:

4. Keep an open mind. The job market is a hot, wild mess of positions and skills sets that didn't exist even a few years ago. You have no idea what will fullfill your goals. When someone makes an introduction, follow through. Always. By ignoring or poo-pooing it you are telling the universe to fuck off. If you get a job interview you assume is not a fit, go anyway. Ask what other positions they are filling. Ask what the organization's goals are. What are their challenges. Tell them how you can help them. Solve the company's problems — problems they might not have known they had.

5. Get out of your comfort zone. Go to a networking event for an industry you know nothing about. sign up for a class at your community center or local college that is outside your comfort zone — or even interests. You will learn things you didn't know could be learned. You will meet people you didn't know existed. You will change.

6. Care. No one wants to hire someone just because the job's hours are convenient. And no one wants to work at a boring job. You are an intelligent, creative person who has passions and interests. You just haven't exercised those in a long time. Believe that you deserve to have a good income, great schedule AND spend your days on work that you care about, work that helps people and excites you.
After all, that is what you are looking for: Change.
You can do this!


Are you part of the new Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms? No income requirement, though BIG GOALS and a POSITIVE MINDSET required! Join now! 



About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

Leave a Comment