New job - giving notice and baby timing. Advice?
May 9, 2014 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Very suddenly, I got an offer for a new job. I want to take it. My current company is extremely busy and I don't think two weeks notice is enough, but the new company wants me to start right away. Also, I was planning on getting pregnant soon, but didn't know I would be taking on a new job. Help?

So I wasn't even job hunting, but a friend told me about an opportunity at this company I really respect. One thing lead to another, and now I've received a job offer from the company. Yay! They want me to start right away. The thing is, I already have a job, and it's the busiest time of year for my current company. I don't love my current job, but I don't hate it, and I'd like the transition to go smoothly. I work at a small company where I am the only person who does my job, so they'd have to find to someone to replace me quickly or they would be in a tough spot. Historically, they do NOT hire quickly so that worries me.

Ideally and realistically, to get all loose ends tied up and to give my current company time to find a replacement, I would give them a month's notice. However, new company would rather I start in two weeks as they really need someone to start soon. If I give two weeks at my current job, they will be understandably pissed off. So what should I do? Work my butt off through lunches and late nights for two weeks at my current job, then start the new job? Or try to negotiate a longer notice?

Also, on top of all this, my husband and are planning to start trying for a baby. I'm in my 30s so I don't want to keep waiting. The new company is small, so I wouldn't be covered by FMLA or anything like that for maternity leave anyway, so waiting "the year" would be sort of moot. If I'm going to a new job, should I just pull the goalie and see what happens? Or should I hold out for a few months and not risk getting pregnant?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure what to say about the 2 week notice, but: does your current company offer maternity leave? If so, you might be able to negotiate some at the new company. Might.
posted by kestrel251 at 7:01 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would not want to be pregnant right away at a new job, because I felt pretty sick for weeks on end at the beginning and that would be a tough time to settle into a new job. YMMV.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:17 PM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Let them be pissed off. If two weeks is what your contract calls for, or your contract calls for nothing, two weeks is what they get. You need to do what's best for you and what will look best for you in your new job.

But honestly, if money is at all an issue for your household, I would weigh the pros and cons for maternity if having a baby is hot on your radar. Maternity pay is pay, and FMLA is wonderful to have if any of the things people never plan on happening happens: baby in the NICU, child with special needs, incapacitating PPD, etc.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:23 PM on May 9, 2014 [10 favorites]

If I give two weeks at my current job, they will be understandably pissed off.


No, seriously -- ask yourself, "If they get pissed off, what then?" Would they normally have provided you with a reference, and now they won't? Is that really that big a deal? Will they spread bad rumors about you in your professional community? The answer to "And?" is probably "...and nothing." So... oh well. They're dysfunctional and can't hire people quickly and have stacked way too much on one person (you) to be able to recover if you abruptly leave? Then that is a bad company -- not morally bad, just badly run. It sounds like a cliche, but you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. What would they do then? If you give them two weeks notice and then work hard for two weeks on the transition, you are teaching them a relatively cheap lesson.

And on Day One of the new job, start working on your transition plan, so you can walk right out the door as soon as you have the kid and you won't be worried that the new place will fall apart without you.
posted by Etrigan at 7:31 PM on May 9, 2014 [11 favorites]

Don't feel bad about giving two weeks' notice if that's what's in your contract and/or is customary in your industry and location. They certainly wouldn't hesitate to give you less than two weeks' notice of a layoff!
posted by Jacqueline at 7:39 PM on May 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

Take the job, with the standard two weeks notice. It's their responsibility to have a contingency plan for any employee who decides to leave. People jump ship for better gigs all the time. That's the way the world works, and it's nothing to feel guilty over.

Give yourself six weeks to three months to get acclimated to the new job, and then start TTC. It might take a few months, or it might happen on the first try. You never know. Don't put the rest of your life on hold for something that hasn't happened yet.

Best of luck!
posted by vignettist at 8:02 PM on May 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

To echo if they have trouble hiring in 2 weeks time, you're literally the only.person that does said thing with no redundancies AND you're not at a senior be level than that's on them. At a Certain point they're a company and need to deal with the realities and customs of life. 2 weeks is custom. Don't sweat it (or if you do know that it's totally on them to get they're act together.)
posted by Carillon at 8:08 PM on May 9, 2014

Historically, they do NOT hire quickly so that worries me.

That should worry them. Two weeks' notice when leaving a job is nearly universal (in the U.S. at least). So long as you spend those two weeks doing a good job and making sure your manager/co-workers know where all your work/projects/clients stand, you can leave in good conscience.

I'd say it's more important to start off on a good foot with the new company than worry overmuch about the way the old company (mis)manages their workforce.

Congratulations and good luck!
posted by Beti at 8:09 PM on May 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

If you're determined to take this job, I think it's gonna be kind of burning bridges with them whether it's two weeks or a month, because they end up mad at you and screwed either way. Though really, you shouldn't have only one person who knows how to do any one thing, so that's gonna be on them. But...if new job is insistent that you give two weeks and that's it, you might as well go with it because the old company is in trouble when you leave regardless.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:20 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Put in the two weeks and leave as good a guide as you can for the person coming in to replace you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:26 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

In the situation you described, any sacrifice you make for your current employer is at the expense of your future employer. Give your two weeks, and do your best to support the transition.
posted by grudgebgon at 8:30 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

do the two weeks. as has been said so many times here before - if they had to let you go for some reason, they would do so, and without hesitation. you are being professional - two weeks is standard pretty much everywhere. if they drag their feet on hiring, this is a problem the company has, not a problem that you have. support them as well as you can, DOCUMENT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, and leave knowing that you did what you could.
posted by koroshiya at 8:32 PM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Who's going to be worse off, your old employer with you leaving in two weeks or your new employer with you not starting for a month? If your current employer always treated you kindly, then it's not inappropriate for you to consider this question instead of doing the not giving a s**t that everyone else is suggesting so far. There's something to say for not being just an economic animal only.
posted by Dansaman at 8:50 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Of course give the two weeks!

I just want to add that your family plans are NOT your employers business - only yours and your husband's. Keep this private.

Financially, I think you have to weigh your options and guarantees for employment. The fly in the ointment, truly, is that once you start trying, you don't know when you will conceive.

What are your goals post-pregnancy? To go back to work immediately? To take a few years and then return to your career? Financially what is feasible? How many children are you hoping for? What kind of childcare can you afford?


I planned on having one child (or adopting just one) so I did not start trying until I was happily married to my husband, at the age of 38. No special intervention, I got pregnant at 40 and gave birth just before I turned 41. I'm kinda glad 3 years later we did not give into the unbelievably STRONG urge to get pregnant again and have a second child. If I was still in my 30's, I definitely would have done it! I still plan to adopt soon-ish, but I can not tell you how much I value the space to get careers (mine & husband's) plus emotional stability plus finances under control between now and becoming a parent for the second time.

I have a friend who did IVF, and like you, was starting a new job she was not sure she would return to. She had twin girls. I don't know if she went back to work. I know I envied her at first, but now that my child is 3 years old - I can't imagine how she copes except I know she has a fulltime nanny. Actually, as of last year, I know she did not go back to her career!!

If you have supportive family and grandparents around, this child care concern might be a moot point for you. We don't, so leaving our child with strangers for the first 2+ years was anathema, under any circumstance. Your choice might be different.

I worked part time because we can afford that. And my career accommodated such. Yours might not. That said, your brain might turn to mush hanging out with an infant or toddler all day.....


This is a very long way of telling you that if you enjoy your new role, consider trying to get pregnant during the window that makes you eligible for FMLA.

You don't yet know how you will feel once you become a Mom. You will know how much you do or do not enjoy your new company and job. Start their, after you have successfully startē your new gig.

Good luck to you!
posted by jbenben at 11:59 PM on May 9, 2014

effing spell correct - "Start THERE, after you have successfully started your new gig."

I would hate for you to discount my comment based on a spelling error I did not make!

Just go with your gut. Be aware your feelings are fluid, your resources and goals will be in flux during this same time. Plan for the unforeseeable.

Good Luck!
posted by jbenben at 12:12 AM on May 10, 2014

Two weeks is fine. I've had key staff leave and while it sucks to lose talented people succession planning part of managing staff. If your company doesn't have a succession plan or way to reallocate the work, that's their bad management.

Regarding getting pregnant, I'm betting there will never be a super convenient time to have that amount of personal/professional upheaval. But that's what you need to do to have a baby. If you and your husband are ready to be parents then go for it.

If neither company offers maternity leave benefits, I'd take the new job and start the baby making. If your current company does offer leave, then I'd be really, really hesitant to leave it for a company that could not provide that benefit.
posted by 26.2 at 12:27 AM on May 10, 2014

Offer Old Company no more than the standard two weeks; if they want more, too bad --- after all, if they were firing you and gave YOU two weeks, do you think they'd give you more time if you said that wasn't enough? Nope, didn't think so!

As for pregnancy: you are not now pregnant, so that's really a non-question.
posted by easily confused at 2:36 AM on May 10, 2014

You could get pregnant tomorrow or it could take you months of trying.

Do your due diligence by checking into the care offered by New Job (time off, FMLA, etc).

If it took you a entire year to get pregnant, would you look back a year from now and be happy you took New Job?
posted by kellygrape at 5:33 AM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

As a manager I say give the notice agreed to in the contract. A manager who makes you feel bad for accessing the terms of your contract is unfair to do so. Just like paying you less than agreed would be wrong.
posted by chapps at 10:28 AM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

As far as timing the pregnancy, you would only be in a bad situation if you get to New Job, realize you hate it or realize you were misled to believe they were more family friendly climate than they actually are (lots of overtime, no pumping room/private office, impossible to take sick leave, etc).

If you got pregnant before you realized it was a terrible job you could be job hunting while visibly pregnant or have to tough it out and have a job you will not want to return to post maternity leave. There's probably not one thing that will make you instantly hate a job, and it's hard to say if you would form that opinion at week 3 or month 3. But give yourself a few weeks to acclimate and test the waters before "pulling the goalie" (lol)
posted by fontophilic at 1:36 PM on May 10, 2014

anon, speaking as someone who tried to adjust my career plans in order to make it easier to have a baby... and then learned I was subfertile, and am still trying years later to have a baby... Focus on what is real, not what could be. The only guarantee life gives you is that you can't control every aspect of it. Your desire to have a baby is real and so is your desire to change jobs. Change jobs, and educate yourself and prepare yourselves what you need to know about taking the next step. you might want to start right away; you might want to wait 6 months. You can educate yourself but don't let it stop you from making other choices in your life.

(Anecdotal data has nothing to do with how quickly or how long it will take you to have a baby. My oldest sister had her first baby right around 35 and got pregnant immediately. I started trying quite a bit younger than that and am still trying. A coworker of mine who was 25 tried for well over a year to have her first child.)

You could try to control for FMLA and then get laid off before you can use it. My close friend just got laid off from her job at a medical clinic days before she had her baby, and never got to use FMLA. You could wait until the time is perfect careerwise and then discover that you need to do quite a bit to get pregnant. Question is can you support a child right now, no matter what?

Far as your career is concerned, 2 weeks and don't sweat bullets; as far as your desire to have a child, just figure out what your risk threshold is. The rule of thumb is if you're in your 30's and you try for 6 months and don't get pregnant, get checked out by a specialist. But there's a world of difference between somebody who in that 6 months is obsessively checking cervical mucus and a couple that is going about it far more casually.

whenever one of my friends in their thirties told me that they were afraid they are running out of time, I told them to get a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, chart for six months, and then, preemptively have an reproductive endocrinologist check stats. If you don't want to waste time, are in your mid thirties or younger, then play it by ear. If you, like me, have a suspicion or reason to worry, and want permission or support to go full speed ahead Scotty, even if the "logical" thing to do is to wait 6 months for FMLA, I'm happy to say, Aye, go for it!
posted by mitschlag at 3:50 PM on May 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

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