Should you look for another job while you are pregnant? Or search for a different career during pregnancy?
Job searching and career changing is not for everyone during pregnancy. Being pregnant poses some obvious problems and pitfalls to job searches. Here are some factors to consider if you are contemplating a work change while you are pregnant.
1. Do you need to put plans on hold?
It is quite possible that the search started well before the discovery of the pregnancy. If you were already well-set on making a move or a career change before, you may not see the need to stop that search. If the time commitment to the search and self-imposed stress and pending deadline are too much, the plans may need to be put on hold.
2. How will you handle the interviews?Interviewing while you are pregnant poses some difficulties, for you and for the prospective employer.
If the interviews are scheduled before you are showing, your pregnancy state will not be obvious to the potential employer. You do not have to reveal the pregnancy either. Employers interview you to see if you will fit into their organization. It is difficult to sit and successfully interview with a potential employer and answer specific questions about your work ethics, and work habits, when you know that they will be changing every day through and after pregnancy.
Interviewing during the later stages of pregnancy will not be easier, either. Not many employers are going to jump at the chance to hire someone who will be asking for a maternity leave while they are filling out their first round of paperwork for the Human Resources or Personnel office.
3. Is it dishonest?
When you are not showing, and do not reveal your pregnancy state to the potential employer, is it dishonest? While you can rationalize that omission is not a lie, and that pregnancy is a health condition that does not legally need to be revealed, it still may feel wrong.
Interviewers like to ask questions about future career plans and goals. It is possible to answer these questions, but you do not know what the next nine months and beyond will hold.
4. Will you be losing health benefits?
If you have excellent coverage through your husband’s or domestic partner’s health insurance, benefits may not be an issue for the pregnant woman contemplating a change of workplace. Many people do find that with the labor and hospital costs, and future pediatric bills, having two insurances will help cover more health care costs. Some health insurances will pick up the remaining cost that the first health insurance did not cover.
When you are pregnant, you cannot go without adequate health insurance. After you have been with a company for a certain amount of time, you receive certain health benefits, including maternity leave. Quitting a position that has those benefits may not be the best move to make at this time.
You may not be eligible for any paid maternity leave in the new workplace. Unless you are at the second or third stage of the interview process, or know someone who works for the company, you may not be able to find that information out about the new employer.
5. Can you still take days or half days off from work?
Another factor to consider is that while you are pregnant, you may need to take a half day or a full day off for doctor’s appointments, or due to morning sickness, or other health-related situations.
In your current job you probably have some time saved up, or will be earning more. It is much more difficult to take time off from a new employer, unless they are incredibly understanding without being intrusive.
6. You don’t know if the new employer is family-friendly.
You probably have some idea of how “family-friendly” your current employer is. Employers who do not hassle people about family issues pertaining to the health of their kids, or elderly parents are family friends. Employers who do not expect every employee to work late and odd hours, take work home, and be on call 24-7 are family-friendly. Some of this has to do with the particular industry, some of it with the personalities of your employers.
There is no way to know how family-friendly the potential employer is, unless you have inside information from a current employee.
7. Waiting Until After the Maternity Leave
For some women it is better to wait until after the baby is born to pursue a career change. You may return to work or not. The time off will give you some time to think about whether your job suits your new lifestyle as a parent, if now is a good time to make a change.
Some women may find pregnancy to be am ideal or exhilarating time to look for a new employer. Personally, I found it exhausting, stressful, and dishonest. By waiting until after my baby was born to continue with pursuing a job search, I found the two best jobs of all for me: motherhood and freelance writing.