I was recently interviewing for a new job and prepping for possible interview questions when one, in particular, stood out. The question was, “What do you do for fun?” After a bit more research, it turns out that this is one of the most common interview questions and it gives employers an opportunity to see if you will fit in with the company culture. Obviously, it’s important to get this one right.
Well, this question stressed me out to no end.
I spent so much time preparing my answer, wondering to myself, “Do they really want to know if my idea of a good time is meal planning, refereeing sibling fights and cleaning up after potty accidents?”
I had been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and was finally getting back out there in the real world, excited to put my hard-earned education and professionalism on display. The last thing I wanted to talk about was the monotony of raising two boys day-in and day-out. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar as a worthy skill set, when asked about my strengths. After all, I was looking for a full-time job to get away from all of that. To be able to have time to develop professionally and have adult conversations again.
The idea of working toward a common goal excited me. So did the idea of being away from my kids, if I can be honest. Raising humans is a full-time, thankless job. Nobody pats you on the back and offers you a raise for a job well done. In fact, if someone pats you on the back as a mom, it is likely that you need to change your shirt because you will inevitably be left with a sticky handprint made up of PB&J and boogers.
So, what should I say to this question?
Should I talk about what I liked doing 10 years ago? Pre-kids? But those hobbies and interests are a distant memory and they aren’t who I am anymore. Who I am now is a mother. I’m so in the trenches that I don’t even know what normal people do for fun anymore. Fun now looks different than it ever did. Fun now is spending time as a family. Fun now is learning the names of the 18 different types of penguin species. Fun now is watching Disney movies and playing board games after dinner. Fun now is having dance parties in the living room at 4 p.m. on the weekend. Fun now is planning where our next adventure will take us – whether it be a playground, a metropark hike or the zoo.
While thinking about how I would answer this question was stressful, it really boiled down to the fact that spending time with my family is what I do for fun. And so, when faced with the question, “What do you do for fun?” I proudly answered, “I spend time with my family.” And the interviewer smiled. And I got the job.