It’s Raining Gifts: Wedding and Baby Showers at the Office

Baby shower balloon, originally uploaded to Flickr by Maddy's MusingsReader H wrote in with this question…

I have a question about celebrating life events in the office – specifically throwing coworkers wedding showers and baby showers during work time. Should these events be limited to eating cake, or is it appropriate to play games? What kind of gift should you get your coworker? Should you throw baby showers for men whose wives are pregnant? Is being involved with the planning and decorating for these things a major NGDGTCO no-no? I don’t know if you’ve ever addressed this on your blog – I couldn’t find a post that dealt with it – and I would love to get your $.02.

I have to say, my knee jerked as a reaction to this question far more than it normally does. Decorations? Games?  Are you kidding me?  Maybe I’m overreacting, but the more I’ve thought about it the more it just seems wildly inappropriate on every possible level. (Update: And numerous commenters disagree with me, with lots having celebrated baby showers with coworkers, at least during lunchtime or at the end of the day. Which I guess just goes to show you — know your office!) As I begin this post, let’s remember that the purpose of a wedding shower or baby shower is to “shower” the recipient with gifts. For a wedding shower, only those invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower; as far as I know anyone can be invited to the baby shower.  So right off the bat, let’s knock wedding showers off the list unless literally everyone in the entire office is invited to the wedding.  (And in case you are having a wedding shower in the office:  please, no games — leave the toilet paper dresses for family and friends only, not coworkers!) (Pictured: Baby shower balloon, originally uploaded to Flickr by Maddy’s Musings.) [Read more...]

Open Thread: When is the Best Time to Get Pregnant?

Pregnant, originally uploaded to Flickr by Phil Of Photos.One of the interesting topics that readers wondered about when I announced my pregnancy was WHEN to get pregnant. So let’s talk about it today.  This is kind of a long post, so I’ll start with the questions:  When is the best time to get pregnant?  What considerations should you factor into the mix?

(Pictured: Pregnant, originally uploaded to Flickr by Phil Of Photos.)

Job Considerations:

  • You need to build a bank of credibility before you get pregnant. I recently attended a panel discussion at the New York City Bar on when women should get pregnant, and I loved one of the phrases I heard:  “the bank of credibility.”  Realistically, when you start a new job, you need to build up a bank of credibility so that people know who you are and what you’re capable of.  I think this is key — as I mentioned earlier, the first trimester can be very trying (particularly on your energy) and you may not want to tell your superiors or coworkers that you’re pregnant until you’re into the second trimester.  Furthermore, your bosses will want to know what they can expect both when they send you into a maternity leave (will you get all of your projects off your desk that you need to?  will you be responsive to occasional emails or questions during your maternity leave, or will you completely disappear for 12+ weeks?), as well as how responsive you’ll be when you come back from maternity leave.  The nightmare (if you haven’t built up enough credibility) is that your job will basically be gone entirely by the time you come back because your bosses didn’t think they could rely on you to juggle your job and your new role as a parent.  On the flip side, the dream would be for your boss to say “Oh, I had this great project and I knew you were coming back to work so I held it for you.”  Personally, I think you need at least 2 years on a job to build up a bank of credibility. [Read more...]

Taking a New Job While Pregnant

pregnant new jobShould you look for a new job while trying to get pregnant?  If you’re already pregnant, should you take a new job without telling your new employer what’s what? Reader S has a great question about this very subject.

I have a dilemma. A while ago I applied for a great government job that is only 2 years with the possibility of extension. I was prepared to take that risk. Had the interview and didn’t hear anything and assumed that I did not get the job. However, I got a call yesterday and surprise! I got the job. Here is the problem, I am now 12 weeks pregnant. The job starts in August 2011 and ends August 2013. If I take this position, I will be gone from December 2011 to December 2012 (here in Canada we get 1 year mat leave). Do I take it? It is exactly where I want to be in my career.

For my $.02, I really, really think that you must talk to the prospective employer about this development — taking an entire year for a maternity leave during a two-year job seems like a decision made in bad faith. Two other thoughts: If the government always offers this job for two years, perhaps they already have a maternity policy in place for it — that might be the way to start the discussion and test the waters without disclosing your situation. The second thought: I’m not familiar with Canadian law, but are you sure that a mandated law like that would apply to a worker who is less than a full employee? There are a lot of exceptions to US laws (for example if your office is smaller than 15 people) and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find that temporary/contract workers are outside the scope of the law.  (Pictured above: Button Front Bi-stretch Suiting Maternity Jacket, available at a pea in the pod for $59.99 (was $119).) [Read more...]

Working Through Your First Trimester of Pregnancy

first trimester exhaustedThis is a post about dealing with the first trimester of pregnancy, which can be particularly trying — extreme fatigue, nausea, and all while trying to keep your “situation” on the QT in case of miscarriage. (Pictured: mama·licious Sarah Work Blazer, available at Asos for $75.71)

But I suppose I should make a mini-announcement regarding some personal news in Katland. First, some hints: I’m on my third bra size since December. I haven’t enjoyed a martini, or deli meats, or zippers, in a long, long time. Lately, I’m having trouble falling asleep because someone keeps kicking me. The news, if you’re not with me yet: My husband and I are expecting our first child later this summer. Why yes, we are terrified; thanks for asking.

One of the things I’ve been dying to talk about since becoming pregnant is the first trimester,* and the complete, mind-blowing fatigue that most women suffer. I would have considered myself a trooper when it comes to energy and the job — I’ve worked through mono and two bouts of strep throat without missing more than a day of work. But apparently mono and strep can’t shake a stick at the whole “growing another human” thing. It became incredibly difficult to get up and out the door in the morning — and by 3 PM every day I needed a nap. And not a 20-minute power nap, oh no: we’re talking at least a full 90-minute sleep cycle. I kept thinking about that Sheryl Sandberg talk for TED about how women, upon getting pregnant, should ramp up their career and go 120 miles per hour. NOW??? I kept thinking. Is she CRAZY? [Read more...]

Emergency Reader Email: Maternity Leave Email (and other messages)

maternity leave voicemailMy friend F emailed today, noting that this is her last day in the office before maternity leave, and she is wondering what to put in her “out of office” message. Should she say “leave of absence” or “maternity leave”? Furthermore, she’s taking a six-month maternity leave — should she put that in her email, or will the clients (she has too many occasional ones to give each an individual head’s up) freak out if they hear “November”?(Pictured: Baby Bump Love, originally uploaded to Flickr by teefaye.)

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Staying in the Game: Tips for Stay at Home Moms

career tips for SAHMsReader R writes with a question about how women who choose to stay home with their kids for a while can keep career paths open to them…

I’m hoping you and the lovely Corporette commenters will be able to offer some guidance. (as surely I’m not the only one who has faced or will face this dilemma).

I’m an ’08 law grad and spent two years in biglaw before accepting a government position last fall. Now I am pregnant and due this fall. I’d originally moved to government thinking it would be more amenable to family life, but have since decided I’d like to stay home full time, at least for a little while. If we end up having more than one child, I suppose it could end up being as long as 3 – 4 years.

So, my question is, knowing I’d like to return to the legal field one day, what can I do during my career hiatus to ensure that I am still marketable/relevant when I return to work and to help make that transition back easier? I’ve already made up my mind to stay home, so I am not really interested in a suggestion that I continue working. However, advice on how long is “too long” to be out of work would also be appreciated.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think you’re really smart to be thinking about this now — and not, say, in four years when you’re looking to get back in the workforce. I have no experience with this personally, so I’m really curious to hear what the readers say.  (Pictured: Open Doors, originally uploaded to Flickr by *Fede*.)

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