A new ad campaign called “Hardest Job in the World” is a tribute to mothers, although it could easily apply to fathers too. Click the photo to calculate your own parent salary. (Photo by Interflora)
Being a parent is hard work and a new ad campaign is underscoring that message with a fake job description for the “Hardest Job in the World.” The compensation: 172 British pounds, or about $254,000 American dollars (provided workers are paid 40 hours a week plus 79 hours of overtime).
The British campaign is from the flower company Interflora in honor of Mother’s Day, which, in the U.K., is March 15. The description — which could easily describe that of a father — ran this week: “The hours are long, some days you won’t get time to eat, you’re unlikely to ever have a full night’s sleep and you won’t get to take any holidays. But as well as being the hardest job in the world, this role is one of the most rewarding too. The successful candidate will be responsible for dealing with unreasonable demands, managing a busy schedule and co-ordinating multiple projects. You must have excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours in a chaotic environment. Responsibilities also include chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning and counseling.
The ad also states, “To be considered for this role, you must: Be willing to learn on the job (no formal training is provided), be tenacious with impeccable time management skills, be willing to be on call 24/7, have unlimited patience and be calm under pressure.”
Parents can calculate compensation unique to their own families by filling out a questionnaire answering how much time they spend fulfilling their child’s needs when it comes to cooking, cleaning, playing, homework, and more. The site determines a parent’s salary by factoring in the average salary of a chauffeur, teacher, psychologist, housekeeper, head chef, and personal assistant.
Calculate your own parent salary using Interflora’s calculator.
As Adweek points out, the campaign is similar to a 2014 online campaign, from the card company American Greetings, called “World’s Toughest Job.” In that ad, unsuspecting candidates applied for a “director of operations” gig that required catering to an impossibly demanding “associate” and a work week of 135-plus hours, seven days a week, with no breaks or vacation — and no salary. The catch: The job was “Mom.” The campaign earned mixed reaction with people calling it moving and emotional but also manipulative, stereotypical, and unfair to fathers. In June, American Greetings followed up with an ad geared toward fathers that portrayed male actors auditioning for the role of “Dad.” The tagline: “In real life, there’s no script for being a dad.”
So far, social media reaction to the Interflora ad has been mostly positive with people deeming it “brilliant” and “terrific.” Given the United States is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity or paternity leave (only offering 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents), and the fact that studies show women work longer hours than men, both at jobs and at home (cleaning and providing childcare), ads like Interflora are a reminder that parenting is often a thankless job. But the ads can also be inflammatory — not every parent is 100 percent committed to his or her family, single parents often shoulder a unique burden, and such messages can even seem trite when conceived by flower companies right before Mother’s Day.
Either way, the message is solid. Moms and dads deserve praise for all their hard work.