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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since this group has so much wonderful insight to offer in so many other areas, I thought I would put this one out there since it is weighing heavily on my mind.
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I'm an attorney at a big law firm and am pretty miserable at my job right now. I've been contemplating leaving for a while and actively looking for a number of months. The positions I want most are public interest-type stuff and the interview processes can take a while. For all of those positions, I started to look before I knew I was pregnant, so I'm not terribly concerned about telling them now that I am pregnant.

I've also looked a bit at some other firms (chance for better work and better lifestyle). Now, I know I don't have to tell anyone that I'm pregnant, and not hiring me as a result would be discrimination (as a lawyer, at least I know my rights!), but I don't want to put one over on anyone. Just think, assuming I get an offer and take the position, I do have to work there and would want to be honest and forthcoming with an employer whom I want to have a future with.

So, I'm leaning towards telling employers before they can offer me a position, but after they know enough not to prejudge me. Also, I'm now 12 weeks, and soon enough being pregnant will be hard to hide.


These places are small and have limited resources. I'm sure none will be thrilled to hire someone who has to take a leave within 6 months. Should I stop actively looking now (that is, not contact any place I haven't already)? I'm willing to give up my great maternity leave at an impressive salary for unpaid leave and a sense of happiness!!

Sorry for the long post. Any advice or stories about getting jobs while pregnant would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I haven't done this but I just wanted to say that I would make the choice that could potentially have the least stress involved. It is already stressful being pg and especially if it is your first! I would say concentrate on that and make your decision based on what would make you happiest!
 

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That's a toughie.

On one hand, there's Joseph Campbell's great advice, "Follow your bliss"

On the other hand, if you stuck it out with the job you have right now, you could quit when the baby's born, get paid leave, and take a couple months off just to enjoy the babe before going back into the workforce. That sounds like a win/win for you and your new employer.

On the other hand, if the job you have right now is unbearable and crushes your soul, then that's not good for baby or you.

I don't know what's best for you, but I wish you much luck and clarity in choosing.
 

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I don't have much advice - haven't been through this personally, but this topic has been discussed on the Working Moms board (http://mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=159) - you might want to ask over there, too.

If you do end up job hunting now, I wouldn't tell them you were pregnant until after the job offer has been made, and you are negotiating. However, some people like to be more up front figuring that if they turn you down because you are pregnant (which is illegal, but done none-the-less), it probably isn't the family friendly place you want to work anyways.

I'm debating whether or not I should apply for academic jobs this year or not (I'll be either very pregnant or have a newborn during hiring season - not so good). I skipped last year because I was focusing on finishing my Ph.D. and finding a job locally where my dh just got a tenure-track job. It's just not easy any way you look at it.

Good luck with your decision!
 

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I havent been in this situation, but I do work in HR and I work a lot with corporate women executives - many who leave the workplace to have kids and then try to come back. My advice would be to not tell before you get an offer. If you tell before you get an offer, you will never know if they offered you the job out of fear of being sued, or if they didnt offer you the job and were discriminating. You want them to hire you for you -- and remember that getting an offer does not lock you in or mean you have to accept their terms, it is just the next phase of the hiring process.

So, interview your heart out. And when you get an offer, you should use that time (before you accept) as the beginning of negotiating and working out your "personal life details" with your future employer. Take some time before accepting to evaluate whether the place is a fit for you...And if they offer you high salary but you want a more flexible schedule, that's when you ask -- after they offered the job to you but before you accept. So for this situation, (after they offer but before you accept) I would start the conversation by saying, "okay I really want to accept this job, and I feel that I will be happy and fit in well here. But here is my current situation, which we need to figure out now -- before I accept this position. I am going to need to go on maternity leave in Feb/March/ April of next year -- I want to know how we can plan to use this next six months before I go out for leave, to get me up to speed in the firm/org/company so that when I come back from maternity leave I am ready to roll and can be immediately effective." (in this case you would need make it "when I come back" not "if I come back", and reiterate the fact that you would be coming back and want to work so they arent nervous about losing you). Put the ball in their court and ask them to help you figure it out...and make it clear that you will do what it takes and you arent looking to do nothing for the first six months. They'll be impressed with your candor. And dont apologize ever for being pregnant and wanting to find a new job...you can do it, and any smart organization will realize that if they handle women right before and after maternity leave, they will have more loyal and harder working female employees in the long run.

There is a terrific book called "women Dont Ask" by Linda Babcock. Its not about this situation, but it is about how women assume and dont ask for what they need when negotiating jobs, or how they reveal their deck of cards too early in the game out of fear or guilt (Men dont do it like women do) -- and it would probably be a great book for you to read right now before you go into any new job negotiations.

HTH!
 

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If you switch jobs now, you will have to pay TONS for Cobra insurance. And unless they have some kind of super rules at the job itself, you won't be entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act to have ANY time off after the birth of your baby. You have to be employed for longer than one year for FMLA. Most jobs also don't have any kind of package for employees employed less than one year. They can require you to come back the next day, or if they are annoyed, just fire you.
 

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FMLA may not apply until 12 mos of service, but it doesnt mean they won't be willing to grant leave, and it doesnt mean they arent going to be willing to negotiate that and other stuff. If there is one thing I have learned in working with working moms, and executive women, it is that you should not assume anything about what an employer will or won't do unless you specifically ask, because many times companies will surprise you with what they are wiling to do or how they will bend for the right candidate or employee. Including covering cobra and all that kind of stuff. Everything is a negotiation.

It may not be as easy to switch firms now, but you shouldn't let your pregnancy stand in the way if you need to make a change.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the caring and thoughtful (not to mention professional -- thanks, phillychiquita) advice. Aside from the fact that I am pretty miserable at my job and don't forsee me getting much happier in the next 6 months, I fear that in the legal world the longer I stay where I am, the less marketable I become. Part of me does say - -what the hell, stick it out, earn the big bucks and then decide what to do during maternity leave. But, the bottom line is that for me it is not about the $$.

I am going to check out that other board and, in the meantime, keep interviewing. I have a second round interview on Thursday and I'll see how it goes. I can also keep my fingers crossed that one of the public interest positions works out -- I have a sense that those work environments are not only more understanding and accomodating of things like pregnancy, but that they will be better places to work once I have a baby.

I'll keep you all posted. And, of course let me know if you think of anything else.
 

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Well, no matter what ends up happening, you sound like you are approaching it all with great care and consideration. Best of luck at the second interview on Thursday. I hope they exceed your expectations!
 
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