Clare had just returned from London when she decided to look for a new role. She had incredible experience behind her but needed to find her next opportunity. She had just found out she was pregnant but it didn’t stop her looking and successfully landing a new role.
“Why should it change things?” she says. “Having time off can happen to anyone and being pregnant doesn’t change my capability and output.”
So, what do you do if you are thinking about starting a family, but want to look for a new job? What if you are pregnant and hate your job?
These are two really big questions that are often faced by women at some stage through the journey. The reality is that looking for a new job whilst you are pregnant is not the ideal situation. But it can be done.
“We are certainly seeing a positive change in terms of pregnant women getting hired. Recently we heard from our endorsed employers for women, AustralianSuper and Cbus, both whom employed pregnant women to join their organisations, some as far as 8 months into their pregnancy,” said Valeria Ignatieva, Co-founder of DCC Jobs.
Michelle experienced this exact situation. “There is no good time to have a baby and your career should not suffer for what may happen. I decided not to go for a role because I was eight weeks pregnant,” she says. “I lost the baby at 11 weeks and have forever regretted it. It then took me a long time to fall pregnant again and my career felt like it was in this holding phase.”
If you are thinking of starting a family, then this decision should not stop you looking for a new role. Firstly, you don’t know how long it will take you to fall pregnant and secondly, a pregnancy lasts nine months, which is a long time in your career.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009, you cannot be discriminated against because you are pregnant. Essentially this means you cannot be fired, demoted or treated differently to other employees because you are pregnant. So, what do you do if you decide to start the search and are pregnant?
There are many questions we hear from women who are pregnant. When do you tell the interviewer? Do you tell them up-front? At the second interview? After you get an offer? After you have started? The truth is that each mama needs to work out what’s best for her. You know your personal situation but we feel that openness is the best policy.
Think about it. If you tell them you are pregnant and they welcome you with open arms, doesn’t that say a lot about the culture and workplace? Better to know now how family friendly the organisation is rather than later.
This really becomes an ethical question of how honest you want to be with your prospective employer. We recently read about a woman who was interviewed over Skype and did not disclose she was pregnant. She was successful in the job and on her first day, disclosed she was eight months pregnant. For many employers and other team members, this may not feel okay.
So our advice is that women should continue to move forward on all fronts. If you are thinking about starting a family then know that the timing is never right. Just go for it as you really don’t know what is going to happen or how long things will take you.
Women should back themselves and know that just because they are having a baby doesn’t meant they cannot continue to progress their career.
So next time you see a role you have dreamt of, then don’t ask yourself ‘What if?’, ask yourself ‘Why not?’
Written by the team at Circle In