A couple of weeks ago, I went to a job interview for a freelance job teaching English at a nearby university. It was a job I was over-qualified for and an interview that I aced. The woman interviewing me, in fact, asked me if I would take the job even if she couldn’t send the contract until July. Yeah sure, I said, although I wasn’t actually sure I wanted the job. I don’t really know if I want to go back to teaching but people tell me I’m good at it and I enjoy doing it (for the most part) and this particular contract paid decently so why not, right?
Then the woman told me I’d be working with an old colleague from my last university stint and I politely declined the spot. What’s the matter? the interviewer asked me, and I told her. The sexist beast had cut my full-time lecturer’s contract to a part-time contract when I told him I was pregnant. And when the semester began and I hadn’t yet filled in my post-partum plans to let him know when I’d begin again, I had to get the professor on the anti-discrimination board to intervene so he would stop calling to harass me at home late at night. “You won’t be able to start back right away,” he kept telling me. “A baby is much more work than you can imagine and you won’t be able to fulfill your duties.”
Fulfilling my duties was a common theme this gentleman used whenever he wanted to talk about taking my job away due to my pregnancy. And though initially I had planned to return to teach part-time once my maternity leave was up (women in Germany are mandated to take 6 weeks prior, 8-12 weeks after birth off from work), I decided not to do it. I had been able to lecture despite horrendous morning sickness. I taught up until the very last day I could and corrected exams until the day before I gave birth but my duties also included sitting in meetings with this red-faced sexist pig and I knew I couldn’t fulfill them. Not after his way of congratulating me on my pregnancy was to bully me into not taking a full-time contract I had rightfully deserved. I signed on for a year of maternity leave and signed away my contract at the university.
A year later, an old colleague called and said the gent had been retired and asked if I’d like to reapply for the position. At the time, I couldn’t, so I didn’t, but it doesn’t surprise me that now, after I told just one sentence of this story to my most recent interviewer that my contract will not be showing up via post in July. Instead, a one-sentence e-mail “We have selected another candidate.” Of course you have. I don’t hold it against you.