You've seen it happen, or you've been through it yourself. You announce you're pregnant and everyone is SO happy for you. Then suddenly you're not invited to the senior meetings anymore, your high profile client is being 'handed over' and you've become the pitch-bitch or, god forbid, put in charge of implementing the new finance program and 'getting everyone up to speed before you go'...
When it comes to maternity leave…
...if everyone switches off before you leave, no-one talks while you’re away from the office, and you eventually come back to 'see how it goes' in a slightly different role with a slightly different team in a slightly different way without a slightly different JD or KPI’s…
...how does anyone (including you) think that’s going to work for you, for the business or for your team?!?
If you want to have maternity leave and everything has been leading up to becoming a mum, totally fine. If your career is not a priority for you, that’s fine, there’s no judgement here.
BUT, if it is, don’t let yourself fall into this trap!
Before you announce you’re pregnant, plan how you’ll announce it to your boss.
Have a 5 year plan, which includes the period you'll be 'out of the office'.
It’s not an 18 – 24 month period where you’re unable to work, lead, pitch, progress – it can often be less time off than standard long service leave agreements!
Whether you’re planning 3 months, 12 months or you don’t know yet – don’t coast, don’t switch off, if you’re serious about your career, make it part of your plan.
* What do you want to do until your leave date?
* What (if anything) do you want to do while away?
* When would you like to be contacted (eg big pitch)?
* When will you be back? (This can change later)
* How will you use your ‘keeping in touch’ days?
* Have a review before you go if you’re going to miss a cycle – so you all know where you stand and you can pick up there on return.
You need to take control.
It’s your career.
And if your leaders can picture you in 5 years time, suddenly those 12 months don't feel like such a long time...