Pregnant-then-screwed, career wise.
The number of women who share their awful pregnancy-announcement-at-work stories with me, would have you believe we still live in the 1950s. Even today, well into the 21st century, seemingly pretty forward-thinking men (and some women) suddenly respond to these notices from their pregnant employees, in less than empathetic ways.
I have been through the same. When I announced my first pregnancy at the law firm I then worked at, the partner I was working for immediately asked me if my pregnancy had been planned. When I told him “Congratulations!” was the appropriate response in such cases, he still didn’t get the hint and insisted “But was it planned??” Such was his surprise that someone my age (I was 27, goddammit) would choose to have a child at that point in my career.
And he wasn’t the only one at my firm. The majority of colleagues was luke-warm to downright hostile about my growing belly. I had been the first in the 150 year history of the firm to get pregnant during her legal traineeship – they still had some catching up to do in getting-with-the-times.
Suffice to say I didn’t last long once my daughter was born.
Our second child’s pregnancy was met with a lot more enthusiasm. My then boss (high five @sebastian dayteg!) at a veeeery different company, congratulated me with genuine joy, told me it was the best news he had heard all week and immediately went out to buy the baby a large teddy bear (we still have it, ha!).
That is all to say, my friends, that I have run the gamut when it comes to pregnancy announcement responses.
But back to the ladies sharing stories similar to – and worse than – my first pregnancy announcement. The impact of those negative responses reverberates far into the pregnancy, and beyond. It blows these women’s confidence, their trust in the future and as a result, their loyalty to the company / team, and motivation for the work they do.
A negative start preludes to a difficult return to the workforce once maternity leave is over, and as a result many women leave the workforce altogether. Or they may return, but never quite go back to the level they had when they got pregnant.
All because their %&**%$ boss doesn’t know how to deal with their pregnancy.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you didn’t have to worry about any of this? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t depend on the empathetic personality and communication skills of your boss?
So here’s the deal, lady. If you’ve been through a bad experience at work because of pregnancy or if you’re afraid you will, or if you’ve seen other women in your company bear the consequences of “having the audacity” to get pregnant, and you recognise the whole lack-of-communication-skills-in-your-manager-situation, then rest assured there’s ways to combat this response. In fact, it’s possible to turn the situation around completely.
Cue Jill entering the stage. She is one of my badass clients who works in a very male dominated industry – heavy machinery. As the only woman at her level, she feared her pregnancy wouldn’t be well-received. And she was right. She came to me to figure out how she could turn things around upon her return after her maternity leave.
And I am happy to announce that she did incredibly well, despite the HR guy who was in charge of these conversations being nicknamed “Scary HR Dude”. Due to HER navigation and negotiation skills, she managed to get a promotion and salary increase after her return to the office. And not very long after, she was tapped for yet another jump, by Scary HR dude himself, because – get this – he’d enjoyed their conversations so much and saw what she was capable of.
Listen, depending on other people for your career success has never been a good idea. If you want the career navigation and negotiation tools Jill and many others used to succeed regardless of who was sitting on the other side of the table from you, then sign up for a call with me or my team here: [link]. I specialise in giving you the tools and mindset necessary to rock whatever uncertain career waters you’re facing. Together, we will craft a plan to have you rock your career AND your home life!
Book a call with my team for a free coaching session and let’s see what we can do for you!