Unemployed pregnant lady wants to work.
December 17, 2009 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I've been unemployed for a year and have had an unsuccessful job hunt. I've recently discovered (happily) that I'm pregnant. This changes everything.

I have been looking for primarily full time opportunities in creative services project planning. That is the path I have unwittingly found myself on, although in the back of my head I've been thinking of going back to school for my masters and changing paths. I couldn't get into a Masters program until at least the fall of '11

Discovering I'm pregnant (6 weeks along, 1st and probably only baby) changes all of this. If I interview for FT jobs NOW, I would feel extremely guilty not disclosing my pregnancy, knowing I'd only be there until August. (I think I would really like to take a year to be with the baby, and not just two to three months maternity leave, but I'm pretty sure I'd want to get on with a career after that.) But no one is going to hire a pregnant lady. This is going to be a LONG 8 months if I don't find work. My husband and I are being conservative with spending and thus ok financially on just one income. But I'm insane, and I'd really like to work while I'm pregnant. I'm also freaking out about this big gap on my resume and there's about to be another big gap. One other problem is my last two jobs were short, less than a year (Even though I was at my first job for 8 years). If I take another job for less than a year again, this looks bad. I'm in my mid thirties, if this matters.

So, my question is: Do I continue to seek out FT employment and wait to disclose the pregnancy (assuming I even get an interview while I still have a flat belly), knowing I'd probably only be there until August? I've tried looking for contract/short term jobs to no avail. Other ideas for a pregnant lady that wants to work for a while? I won't to administrative temp stuff.

Throw away email preggerstowork@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do I continue to seek out FT employment and wait to disclose the pregnancy... knowing I'd probably only be there until August?

Yes, if you want full-time employment in the short or long term. It's not your responsibility to proactively discriminate against yourself on your potential employer's behalf. This is not something for you to feel guilty about. Even if an employer hires someone who is not pregnant, there's no guarantee that that person won't have a different reason for quitting or taking leave in August. You have every right to be in the candidate pool if you're qualified for the job.
posted by Meg_Murry at 5:27 PM on December 17, 2009 [7 favorites]

Find a volunteer position that will pad out your resume well.

Not going insane + advancing the career = profit!
posted by intermod at 5:29 PM on December 17, 2009

The thing about questions of this nature (the "Should I take a job even if I don't think I'll be there forever" nature) is that you never hear it from the company's point of view. I can't imagine a company saying, "Gee, there's work to do right now, is it wrong of us to hire someone if- we're going to run out of money at some point/we don't think the position will last/we know the whole thing is a shitfest and it's cruel to inflict it on someone?" NEVER HAPPENS. Companies look out for companies, you look out for you. You find a job you want to do, you take it, you do it well, you leave when you're ready. The law is on your side.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:30 PM on December 17, 2009 [34 favorites]

in the US it is illegal to discriminate based on pregnancy. when i use to do hiring/managing at a portrait studio, we were instructed to not mention a pregnancy no matter how pregnant a woman was. she could have walked in 7 1/2 months along and i wasn't allowed to ask about leave or availability or how able they were to perform some of the physical demands of the job. now, i won't lie - when you're in hiring, you can find all sorts of legitimate reasons to not hire someone, even if your main concern is their pregnancy. you just can't state those as the reasons. it's shitty, but true.

i wouldn't mention it. i would try to find something that's temporary. you might try working in fields that have kids - day care, portrait, retail worker at babys r us. they're use to part time pregnant ladies and often seek them out. i know this isn't your chosen profession, but with such a short stint you're not building your resume with it and there could be some perks you could use later (like discounts and such). it's also an easier type of job to walk away from.
posted by nadawi at 5:33 PM on December 17, 2009

Also if you feel bad, there's plenty of temping/six month contracts out there. Esp in govt.
posted by smoke at 5:36 PM on December 17, 2009

Large universities often hire people on 6 month contracts to help in large projects.
posted by WeekendJen at 5:58 PM on December 17, 2009

To build on smoke's idea, there is a big project for temporary government workers coming up: the 2010 Census. I worked the Census back in 2000, and they were doing the last of the enumerating in early July, so the timing would probably work out well.
posted by weathergal at 7:00 PM on December 17, 2009

Under no circumstances should you feel guilty about not disclosing your pregnancy to prospective employers. It is illegal for them to ask you about it for a reason--our society has decided that it's none of their fucking business.

If you don't want to start a new job while you're pregnant, then definitely look for temporary work. But don't do yourself out of an opportunity because you feel "guilty" about exercising your legal rights.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2009

I know that people are well-meaning in their advice to take temporary work or a crap job somewhere that you don't mind quitting. And, by all means, do that if it keeps you sane and keeps the bills paid. However, you just never know in life what's going to happen. So keep going for what you want. What if you find that great company with full-time work who is also awesome about working moms? What if your husband loses his job and you need your income to be a good income? You owe it to yourself and your family to keep going for the best of the best. You just never know what will happen. Do not limit yourself.
posted by amanda at 9:20 PM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Go for it! Remember, it's not just the employer doing you a favour by hiring you that you should be eternally grateful for - you will be offering them something too, a service that they need, want, and are willing to pay for. It's a two way street.

People leave their jobs for a myriad of reasons, and you leaving in August to have a baby will be no different from the dude who leaves to go back to college or the chick who leaves for a job overseas. They may well have known 9 months in advance, but you would never expect them to say anything in the interview.

(I took it a step further than you, and connivingly planned to give birth on my 12 month anniversary with my employer. This way I will now be getting full paid maternity leave. What I've done is pretty obvious, and I was a bit nervous when announcing my pregnancy, yet nobody batted an eyelid and my manager was genuinely happy for me.)

Oh and, congratulations! Babies are awesome.
posted by heytch at 11:55 PM on December 17, 2009

First, congratulations.

Second, as a hiring manager I do not want you to disclose your pregnancy during the interview. I'm not allowed to consider that in my hiring decision and I'd rather not be put in that position. Keep it to yourself.

Third, it's hard to know what you'll do after the baby is born. My mom went back to work in two weeks. She loved us and loved being a mom, but she'd have gone batty being a stay-at-home mom. You may take a year off...or not. No need to make that decision right this second.
posted by 26.2 at 12:13 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

I worked with someone who was hired and then poof she as pregnant with twins after lots of infertility issues. It became apparant that she was pregnant when she was hired. I couldn't say if she took advantage of any of the benefits (or was allowed to) but she worked until it was medically allowed, had her baby, and never came back. In short, she made a decent 8 month salary. It does happen. Companies, especially larger ones, don't want to mess with discrimination issues.

Also my boss came in her pregnant, she came back after maternity leave (which she wasn't eligible for). She was honest from day one. However, she had an easy in since the high superior was the one who hired her and worked with her at previous companies.

Good luck and congrats on the pregnancy!
posted by stormpooper at 6:37 AM on December 18, 2009

Oh as an aside, I went on an interview not pregnant nor had children but the asshole dared asked me in his 'getting to know you' part of the interview if I had children or planned on having children. Obviously to him an early 30s woman was a 'risk' when makin a hiring decision. I was doomed either way--no kids means I would get pregnant then that whole messy maternity thing. With kids meant that I would be asking to get off early, take time off, etc. for my kids. Oh the humanity. I didn't get hired but I should have filed an EEOC complaint.

So in short, I wouldn't mention it. Tough shit on the company.
posted by stormpooper at 6:39 AM on December 18, 2009

Career advice blogger Penelope Trunk has written a few interesting posts on this issue, with many interesting reader comments as well:
posted by Jacqueline at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2009

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