How to plan a career to accomodate having a child?
February 23, 2011 5:14 AM Subscribe
I know that life is what happens when you're busy making plans, but how do you (as a woman) build a career that can survive having a child?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (30 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
When I hit 27 my hormones went batshit crazy, and a formerly abstract idea (kids would be nice) turned into a full-on immediate priority (BABY. NOW.) The catch is not only is it impossible for my partner and I to live on one salary (is it really an option for anyone?), it's very much important to me to have a working life. So kids are part of my hazy five year plan. That said, I saw my sister in common-law lose her lucrative and senior marketing position when she became pregnant. It was eye-opening to see a talented, driven and focused woman forced out of her chosen profession because she decided to have a child. She's suing for wrongful termination now, but it still spooked me a little.
I've come across the odd magazine article and blog post on timing a family, but found their responses (any time is a good time; babies don't cost that much etc) glib and unsatisfying. I know that, at some point, you can't overthink it, but I also know that having kids has a big impact on a woman's professional development in a way it (often) doesn't for a man. My question is: how do you plan your career to accommodate having a child? Should you mention it to an employer? If so, when? How did you recover professional momentum after having a kid? I want to hear your advice/experiences.
Here are my snowflake details: I'm currently trying to break into a new industry (advertising) after finishing a doctorate in the humanities. How I go about doing that is a totally different question, but I'll operate under the optimistic assumption that I'll make it in. My partner is an academic, employed and doing well. We have a good relationship, and we talk often about having kids and, importantly, when we want to have kids. We will either be in the Netherlands, England or Australia in the next five years, so there are different maternity leave laws to consider.