Will parents ever get a lie-in?

Why waking up early is still a thing for parents of teenagers.

Tired woman pouring coffee


You’d think when your kids get older and leave school that your life might be a sea of tranquillity and weekend lie-ins. No more being woken up at 5am to begin the day before your body is in any way ready. Well, if you don’t live in an area that is well connected transport wise, you’d be wrong.

Over the years all three of our daughters have had jobs that involve very early starts on potentially every day of the week. And someone has to get them to those jobs. Daughter one worked at a cafe in East London. Early mornings were definitely not her strong point so she required quite a bit of rousing to get out the door by 6am. Daughter two worked nearer in a Costa, but there were a lot of early mornings to feed the commuter caffeine surge. On the  upside she got to bring home the out of date sandwiches and cake.

Daughter three worked in McDonald’s while she was at school. There were no early starts, but there were quite a few late finishes. The McDonald’s was in a pedestrian zone surrounded by dark alleyways. It was the only place open late at night and cleaning up could take anything from half an hour to over an hour. I spent quite a few winter nights waiting outside. Daughter two came once and was so enraged by how long it was taking to clean the McFlurry machine that she was ready to storm in. “They’ve mopped that part of the floor six times!” she declared, tapping her watch hand furiously at the manager. Fortunately, the manager wasn’t looking.

Now daughter three has got a new job. As a barista in central London. So we’re back to early morning starts. Which is great in a way because the alternative was a job in a restaurant which would have finished at 11 with at least an hour’s commute on top, meaning post-midnight pick-ups on a regular basis and worries about safety.

In fact we’re celebrating because daughter three was getting a bit down about the whole jobs thing. She has applied to many, many jobs through probably the best known jobs board in the country. None of the local ones she has applied to have responded at all and the same goes for her friends. She thinks they don’t even look at the jobs board cvs. She tried emailing some directly which is how she got an interview for a barista job at a cafe in the middle of the countryside which turned out to be 40% barista and 60% meat packing. The interview involved going into fridges full of pig’s heads and the like. Daughter three is a committed vegetarian.

Daughter three has a 100% success rate at interview, basically because she does her homework and is a truly lovely person. But you’d think in this day and age that employers could at the very least automate a reply, saying ‘sorry, there were lots of people applying for this job and you didn’t get it this time’ or some such. Just a response of some kind matters. Otherwise you begin to question whether you exist at all.

I’ve been doing a lot on applicant tracking systems of late, often in connection with older workers and the feeling is definitely that if you don’t use the right code [ie keyword], you could be doomed to never work again. It’s like some sort of horrible computer game where you never get to the next level because you can never decipher the code. But younger people don’t have it easy either, just to get a foot in the door. I suggested at one point that daughter three go back to the tried and tested route of printing out her cv and touring the local shops, cafes and restaurants. At least then she would speak to a human and know that someone had actually got their hands on her cv, even if they didn’t look at it, and that she did in fact exist.

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