religion and interviews

  1. Right now at my current job, I have worked the weekend schedule out by working every Sunday as opposed to alternate weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Today I had a interview at another hospital for a unit i really want to work at. I went in knowing that I would not bring up scheduling restrictions but if asked I obviously would not lie. Well the interview went well until the manager mentioned the weekend schedule at this hospital is Friday and Saturday and would this be an issue for me. Well obviously it is an issue.... I explained to her that I was religious and while I would be able to come in every Sunday and some Saturday nights, I really wouldn't be able to work a weekend night shift that's Friday and Saturday Night (Shift starts at 7:30 pm). There was a palpable feel of awkwardness but she went on and the rest of the interview continued. I know I won't get the job and it will be soley be based on the fact that I'm a religious Jew. This makes very upset. Did I do anything wrong? Could have I acted differently? Is there anything I can do now after the fact? I tried very much to convey to the manager that I am willing to be flexible and work with her. ...
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    Lots of 'religious' people work on their Sabbath as caring for the ill and injured. It is considered serving one's God. The Christian parable of the ox in the well comes to mind.
  4. by   chare
    Quote from NycRN92
    …I know I won't get the job and it will be soley be based on the fact that I'm a religious Jew. This makes very upset…
    If you aren’t offered a position, the fact that you are a “religious Jew” had nothing to do with it. The fact that you stated, in no uncertain terms during the interview that you couldn’t work weekends would be the fact that you weren’t offered a position.
    Quote from NycRN92
    …Did I do anything wrong? Could have I acted differently…
    Have you discussed this with your Rabbi? There have been several discussions here regarding this particular question. As memory serves me, in all of them a member of the religion being discussed called attention to the fact that there caring for the ill and injured was an acceptable reason for missing services.
    Quote from NycRN92
    …Is there anything I can do now after the fact? I tried very much to convey to the manager that I am willing to be flexible and work with her. ...
    If you discuss this with your Rabbi, and this is an acceptable reason for missing services, and you are willing to miss the service, you could reach out to the manager with whom you interviewed. Explain to her or him that you have discussed this with your Rabbi and would be able to work the weekends as required.

    Best wishes to you as you work through this.
  5. by   Seshat
    I believe the other two posters have offered great advice regarding the religious aspects of your situation, but I would also like to offer a different way to look at this. I do not believe you did anything "wrong," especially since you did your best to convey your flexibility! However, as they often say, job interviews are a means for both parties to determine if they are good fits for one another. If they are unable to accommodate your spiritual needs, you not getting the job is not because you did something wrong, but because the two of you are not a good fit.

    Best of luck!
  6. by   Ruby Vee
    I'm a Catholic; we're expected to be at Mass every Sunday. I worked every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) for years due to family obligations. Some weekends, I was able to make a Saturday evening service before my shift or an early Sunday morning service after my shift -- but not always. My priest explained to me that taking care of the sick was indeed an acceptable reason to miss Mass.

    We've had multiple discussions of the topic here on AN, and in every thread, someone insists that while it may be OK for OTHERS to not be strictly observant, it's not OK for THEM to work on the Sabbath, or whatever. That's a choice you have to make for yourself, in consultation with your spouse or your religious leader. If you really don't feel as though you have any wiggle room in your religious life for working on the Sabbath, then understand that this is a trade-off you make. You may not be able to work in a position that requires a weekend obligation.
  7. by   Irish_Mist
    Quote from NycRN92
    Right now at my current job, I have worked the weekend schedule out by working every Sunday as opposed to alternate weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Today I had a interview at another hospital for a unit i really want to work at. I went in knowing that I would not bring up scheduling restrictions but if asked I obviously would not lie. Well the interview went well until the manager mentioned the weekend schedule at this hospital is Friday and Saturday and would this be an issue for me. Well obviously it is an issue.... I explained to her that I was religious and while I would be able to come in every Sunday and some Saturday nights, I really wouldn't be able to work a weekend night shift that's Friday and Saturday Night (Shift starts at 7:30 pm). There was a palpable feel of awkwardness but she went on and the rest of the interview continued. I know I won't get the job and it will be soley be based on the fact that I'm a religious Jew. This makes very upset. Did I do anything wrong? Could have I acted differently? Is there anything I can do now after the fact? I tried very much to convey to the manager that I am willing to be flexible and work with her. ...
    Being a "Religious Jew" will have nothing to do with you not being offered a job. It'll be that you yourself told the interviewer you are essentially unavailable on weekends. Hospital nursing is a 24-7 weekends and holidays included job. You had to have known this going into nursing. It really isn't fair to expect managers to accommodate one person's religious beliefs. What about the rest of the unit? Accommodating one person means that every person must be accommodated.

    I strongly suggest discussing this with your Rabbi.
  8. by   katrin0322
    I work with religious and observant jews on the unit. Scheduling is always an issue, however, speaking to Rabbi is definitely an option but this is your personal choice which you may not want to pursue. You can easily work Saturday and Sunday nights (Saturday after sabbath). Overall; taking care of the sick is a commitment just as the religion. Maybe hospital is not an ideal environment for you and you may consider other areas of nursing where religious accommodations are easier to make.
  9. by   Szbeylik
    Perhaps you should seek a type of job that fits your schedule if this is so important to you. I had to accommodate to my kids and our custody schedule; I had to be off certain days to be with them. Wouldn't have missed that for anything. So I worked registry for years and got to pick my days. Just depends on how important it is for you....
  10. by   CiaMia
    Hi NYCRN92,

    Another from (religiously observant) RN here, haha. I hear you. There was a thread a while back where I gave a run-down of what being in the hospital on shabbat/chagim (holy days) looks like. It came up for me when I was precepting/orienting and had no control over my schedule.

    I had a LONG conversation with my Rav, who called HIS Rav for advice on how to pasken (make decisions about/within Jewish law) for me (his wife is a pediatrician so he gets it - his outlook has always been "you're doing a good thing and let's figure out ways to minimize the damage" haha. Yes, there are issues - logistical mostly as I had to get there and back well outside of walking distance - but I totally understand that it's hard to reconcile. It also made a difference that it wasn't long-term but was just while on orientation.

    What's hard to explain to people (both here and in person) with little to no experience or exposure (and trust me, I get that -- giyoret (convert) here who had no idea pre-20s what a Jew even was, let alone an observant one!) is how intricate it gets and the minute details to think about. For anyone interested in some of the minutiae, when I was at the hospital on shabbat, I couldn't badge into the break room (because it would be using electronics not directly related to patient care). I didn't write in pen (so that it wouldn't be permanent), and I would answer the phone or dial with some kind of alteration (wrong hand etc.). In an emergency, yes, all bets are off and ALL shabbat rules are suspended, but defining an emergency is tricky. To get into the med room, I wouldn't directly take my badge and badge in, but rather would lean against the wall and, oh look! the door opened as an indirect result of where I happened to be standing..! And that's the tip of the iceberg.

    For me, it worked out that there was another RN who did regular Saturdays, and if I took regular Sundays it would mean a full weekend covered between us, which was amazing and NOT something I took for granted. I personally think you did the right thing in being up-front about your availability - though if it hadn't specifically come up in the interview I don't know that you're required to volunteer it.

    I think, have a conversation with your Rav now before the next opportunity comes along, and see what advice they have. (Incidentally, I was once asked by the beit din (rabbinical court) I converted with whether it was okay for a nurse to work on shabbat and was told unequivocally that, overall yes, but there are many considerations!).

    Wishing you much hatzlacha (luck) in your next opportunity, it should be smooth and a great fit for both your schedule and your professional development.
    (Translations in parentheses for any curious readers!).
  11. by   BadAszFannyPak
    Taking care of the sick and yada, yada.
    It's a job and one that needs to flex just as much as you do. I pour myself into my career and expect my career to pour itself into me. If more of us demanded that we would see that our hospitals and healthcare center are capable of making our lives easier and more enjoyable. It has led to a few hardships here and there and requires you to be as reasonable as you possibly can be but you have to draw a line in the sand. It may cost you an opportunity but it was great that you were up front and honest. You will find opportunities elsewhere if this doesn't pan out. And that's coming from an atheist.
  12. by   Dchall89
    Quote from NycRN92
    I know I won't get the job and it will be soley be based on the fact that I'm a religious Jew. This makes very upset. . ...
    I don't mean any disrespect, but you didn't get or not get the job based on your religious preference, you will either get or not get the job based on your availability to work and the availability that the hospital needs. If she said "we don't hire Jew's" well, I could see an argument to be had.

    I do get the argument stated above that RN's pour their lives into their work, and the least a hospital could do is accommodate them. But I can see that becoming a slippery slide of favoritism and inside politics. If I never ask for a day off, always work the shifts I'm scheduled, and one Saturday I request off is denied because no one can cover, but someone is allowed to NEVER work a Saturday because of their religious preference? I'd call BS on that in a heartbeat.

    Perpetuating yourself as a victim doesn't help anyone.

    I wish you the best in your job search.
    Last edit by Dchall89 on Oct 11
  13. by   kenya1982
    I am Seventh-Day Adventist and we are Sabbath keepers as well. I understand what you're going through. I wouldn't take a job if it meant working every Sabbath. I have worked before where I had a weekend rotation and had to work every 3rd weekend. That was okay for me because as stated before the hospital has to run all the time. I was willing to work my turn, but absolutely I wouldn't do it every weekend. I would encourage you to pray about it. I can tell you after years and years of having this same issue, when I pray and trust God, he ALWAYS opens the door that is right for me. You just have to trust in Him.
  14. by   Szbeylik
    Seriously...? this is so ridiculous. What people will put up with in the name of religion... uh oh. Can of worms opened....

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