A Single Mom’s Struggle: Selling “The American Dream” While Stretching to Pay the Bills

by | May 4, 2017 | The Narrators

Meet the MY JOB Narrators: Hannah, Headhunter, Tampa, Florida

“Recruiting is a rollercoaster of ups and downs and things going on. I can sit down at 7:30 in the morning and have a hard time taking a pee break because there’s just one more thing to do, one more thing to do . . . I rarely take lunch, because lunchtime is the easiest time to get in touch with people. 


Bright spots are whenever anybody gets a job. It is so rewarding. I have so much fun finding the right people and jobs for each other. I can hire them, send them to a job in a place they didn’t know existed, where they may meet their soul-mate; I can stay in touch and help with future job-placements, see them marry, have kids, and post pictures of it all as their lives develop.”


–Hannah, recruiter-headhunter, Tampa, Florida


Sometimes, you just have to turn to your best friend for help. When drafting a long list of potential interviewees for MY JOB, I kept thinking about my wise friend with her huge heart, whose work as a headhunter in Tampa, Florida supported her through a wrenching divorce from a depressed and sometimes violent substance abuser, and the years that followed of supporting four traumatized children who ended up in the hospital and jail, and eventually in college and jobs.

As the bills piled up, personal struggles emerged and the Great Recession ravaged, Hannah held onto her job and stretched her paycheck, as many Americans do without question.  Her idealism in the face of the hard times she’s braved creates an ironic twist on “The American Dream” in Chapter 5.


Excerpt from Chapter 5, in Hannah’s Own Voice

I started a recruiting business as a stay-at-home mom.  When my daughter, Rachel, was four, she was diagnosed with leukemia. My coworkers brought meals to us. I got a laptop so I could work from the hospital and still take care of her . . . .

Despite everything, I would still say that I am an optimist. I found that every time things were really bad, it was just that I didn’t know that what was coming around the corner would be really good.

So when cancer came and that was really bad, it turned out to be a wonderful blessing. I met great people. Rachel’s alive. We’re all much better off for it. We had opportunities we would never have had. When [my ex-husband] was going through his meltdown and I was losing him, it was awful. But I’ve built a great life since then, and done such wonderful traveling and things I would never have done if I were still married to him. So I just don’t know what’s coming around the corner next. When life seems bad, I can’t get stuck in pessimism.

I’ve given my kids the stability that I’ve wanted to give them. They’ve had one home. All of them have been born since I’ve been in that home. They’ve had one mom who’s consistently been able to put food on the table. They’ve never known really any sort of financial deprivation. So I’m sure they’ll look back one day and realize that . . . .

The American dream? I don’t know. I mean, the American dream of escalating your career and having a house and a stable family? It hasn’t exactly come true for me.

Check out Hannah’s chapter in MY JOB: Real People at Work Around the World, either on Kindle or on paper. And, stay tuned to meet the next narrator, Muhammad the rickshaw puller, from Chapter 6 . . .

Photographs courtesy of Hannah Kalderon and Maxim Healthcare Services.

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Suzanne Skees, author of the three-volume MY JOB series on real people in remarkable jobs, believes in the power of our jobs over our identity and wellbeing and, conversely, our ability to change our world with the work of our minds and hands. She lives by the Pacific Ocean and spends as much time as possible listening to the surf, and to silence.



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