As part of my narrative interview presentation, interviewing my mum gave me further insight into things I never knew about my mum’s career history. I had always known my mum as this strong, independent and In charge woman. In contrast, whilst interviewing, I discovered she preferred to refer to herself as personable, adaptable, open and flexible when it came to working and her career. These skills were not only what she felt she had, but skills I feel I have as well. As this was something I learnt from interviewing her, I thought it would be best to see what she felt she learnt about herself.
When asked, my mum simply said “I realised the importance the people I met during my career had on me. At the time, I didn’t realise they had left their print and impact on my career heading forward. The little things that they said didn’t seem like big deals but looking back at those moments, I see how important they were in shaping me and my values”.
This was really interesting to hear her response because it too highlighted for me my club of life and those who have left their mark on my working career including the skills and values I take to approach my work. Unless brought to our attention, or we are asked about the subject, it’s true how much we can miss from that moment until you take the time to reflect and tell your story again to someone new who was not present at the time of the story.
Whilst conducting the interview, my mum began to re-member a story about a time a boss of hers upset an employee from my mum’s store she was managing. Not only had she begun to tell this story without having been asked for a story example, but it also came about when I asked her to tell me who she felt left an impact on her career history. Quite clearly, this particular boss did. In telling the story, she was using the absent but implicit narrative theory. She didn’t realise it at the time but coming back years later and telling the story, it was evident the impact this person had on my mum’s career and the values she took forward with her as her career progressed further into the different manager roles.
I found it very interesting that when I asked my mum about her club of life, she wasn’t able to provide a family member. This didn’t make it into the video as it became a private moment, but it got me thinking why she may have felt that way, as I would have very confidently said my mum would be a huge part of my own club of life, both personal and as part of my career. She played a critical part that allowed me to get my first job. This got me thinking, maybe she didn’t mention a family member because no one else in her family understood her job as a manager at all the different levels she was in being that no one else in her family worked in this industry. This was something I wanted to touch on as I never expected the answer I received. She kept mentioning her same boss from the story prior as her biggest support but also all the co-workers and managers she worked alongside her that became crucial in her club of life throughout her career.
As the outsider witness listening to the stories my mum brought to the interview, I recognised my work style was similar to my mum’s. Having grown up and watched her be the boss lady that she is, that people either loved or hated as she was strict but in my opinion very fair, I recognise the skills and values my mum has that have influenced my working style. I too like my mum began working in retail at the young age of 15 and have worked my way up. I see myself as a strict but fair employee who takes pride in my work and strives for the best outcomes possible. These I easily recognised having come from my mum and having watched her in her earlier retail career.
This narrative interview was mind-opening. Having to create interview questions and delivering an interview with someone I know well, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh especially for the moments I recognised my mum and her working style. I’m quite close with my mum and reliving memories from her career made us both laugh, unfortunately, had to be removed from the interview, but overall, I felt I was able to show to my BCM313 peers who my mum was, what she valued in work and was able to learn so much from the experience.
Carey, M & Russell, S 2003, Outsider-witness practices: some answers to commonly asked questions compiled by, viewed 18 October 2022, <https://narrativepractices.com.au/attach/pdf/Outsider_Witness_Common_Questions.pdf>.
CAREY, M, WALTHER, S & RUSSELL, S 2009, ‘The Absent but Implicit: A Map to Support Therapeutic Enquiry’, Family Process, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 319–331.
Russell, S & Carey, M 2002, Remembering: responding to commonly asked questions co-ordinated by, viewed 18 October 2022, <http://narrativepractices.com.au/attach/pdf/Remembering_Common_Questions.pdf>.