New Baby, New Job
When I was preparing for the arrival of my second child, I was also preparing for a career shift. Some people may recommend against making large life decisions while also navigating the raging unpredictability of pregnancy, but… clearly, as a pregnant lady, I wasn’t listening to those people.
So, nine years into a job that I loved, I applied for a new one. On paper, the new job was my dream job. I imagined growing old and gray in this new role while loving every minute of it. I updated my resume and started writing a cover letter. In my cover letter, I laid it all out there: my prior work experience, my excellent fit for the role, and before signing off, my pending due date.
What Was I Thinking?
Pregnancy is protected from discrimination under several laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Related to hiring, this means that an employer cannot (legally, in most circumstances) consider a person’s pregnancy status as a criterion for determining their fit for a role, and ultimately whether they are the best candidate. As for my personal situation, as a pregnant woman applying for a job, this also meant that my pregnancy needn’t be anyone else’s business. (For an interesting history of pregnancy in the workplace, consider reading this article.)
However, when I considered my options, I knew I wanted to disclose my pregnancy early in the hiring process. In my personal opinion, if my future manager wasn’t going to be ok with me being pregnant in a job interview, I surely didn’t want to be working for them with a new baby at home. Additionally, I had quite a few logistics to work out. I needed to make sure my start date, maternity leave, health insurance, and all those fun things were going to work for me and for my family. I also wanted to be able to effectively weigh my decision of leaving my current job or staying there, and I knew I would need some extra information at my disposal in order to do so effectively.
After several rounds of interviews, all while still somewhat unnoticeably pregnant, I was offered the job! During the interview process, the hiring team knew they shouldn’t ask for details about my pending little bundle, so we didn’t discuss the matter further at that time. However, once I had the offer in hand, I was relieved that I had already shared my big news, and at that point, we were able to quickly discuss details around timing and what would become my eventual transition into the new role.
Would I Make the Same Decision?
In this case, yes, I would make the same decision again to disclose my pregnancy during the hiring process. However, I can’t say that I would recommend this option in all instances. In the past four years, I realize I’ve developed a more self-centered approach to my career, and I mean this in the best way possible. Maybe it’s a result of the pandemic, maybe it’s a result of nearing 40 and caring less about things that require less care. Whatever the reasons, at this point I think I would be less concerned about what my new employer may think. So, I don’t know if I’d make the same decision in the future, but for this situation, it worked well for me.
In case you’re wondering how my dream job is going, I ended up resigning after less than a year! It was actually a terrible fit for me. However, I don’t regret taking the job for one minute, as I met some truly incredible humans, and certainly learned a lot along the way. Now I have a job that’s fulfilling another dream, and this time I’m truly loving (almost) every minute of it.