Should I ask to postpone this job interview?
April 27, 2016 7:43 AM   Subscribe

I've started applying to school jobs that start next fall because I am on maternity leave until then. Not knowing how long the interview processes would take, I got started before the baby arrived. Now that she's here I'm getting requests for interviews and I'm not sure if I'm ready to take them! Some slightly TMI details inside.

My perfectly healthy baby was born last Thursday. We're both doing well but I had tearing that required minor surgery and I'm having trouble walking at a normal pace and sitting down for more than a few minutes at a time. I'm breastfeeding and milk is leaking out of me in PRODIGIOUS amounts. She needs to feed every 2-3 hours.

A school I'm moderately interested in contacted me to set up an interview. The interview times they offered me are next Tuesday. I'm feeling dubious about my ability to interview well under the circumstances as well as the logistics in general. My husband is still off work so he could drive me to the interview and sit with the baby during.

Normally I would never think of asking to postpone an interview, but is this a situation where they might be understanding? I think even a week later might make a difference. Or if you think I shouldn't ask to postpone, what are some strategies for getting through it well?
posted by chaiminda to Work & Money (13 answers total)
I would white lie and ask for a week's postponement on account of being "out of town". But I'm paranoid.
posted by travertina at 7:52 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes. Postpone. Even a week will make a difference in how your body has recovered and adapted. I don't have an informed opinion on whether it's better HR speak to say you're recently out of a minor surgery or whether you should say you just had a baby, but either way you're asking for a short delay for health reasons, and that seems like a good request.
posted by aimedwander at 7:55 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

What level of school is this? Like, are we talking high school teaching position or tenure-track university?

Given that you are only moderately interested, write them back and either say "I have a 6-day-old, so is it possible to push this back a few weeks at least? I think even a Skype interview might be a little much for me this week" or "I've just had some minor surgery, could we postpone a couple of weeks?"

If they say no, then it wasn't meant to be.

My concern, if you go in there 10 days pp, they're going to be like "holy shit, we can walk all over this one, she's desperate" and you probably don't want the entire duration of your engagement there to be defined by that.

But if we're talking tenure-related academia, my understanding is that you should drag yourself in there even if you are actively on fire, because the market is so brutal right now.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:55 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Would it be possible for them to do a Skype interview with you? If they are truly interested, I think that saying "I have a newborn, but would still love to interview on your timeline, if you can accommodate me" would be great.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:00 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

From your last question, it looks like you're talking about a public school (probably high school) teaching job.

I would ask if there's flexibility for sure. I probably wouldn't give a reason other than "unfortunately, that day isn't possible". Unless there's a really strict interview schedule set by the district, they should be able to offer you flexibility. And if they can't, it's probably not a district you want to work for anyway.
posted by guster4lovers at 8:00 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think there is any reason to mention why you are rescheduling, but it seems completely acceptable to ask. "I'm not available on that date. Would it be possible to reschedule the week of ___?"
posted by beyond_pink at 8:02 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Will your husband still be off if the following week? If not, keep it. Walk in proudly with your leaky breasts and butt donut and show them that nothing stops you from your career.
posted by myselfasme at 8:24 AM on April 27, 2016

Yes, postpone, but not with a white lie as suggested above. Don't start any job interview process out with lies, as helpful or minimal as they may seem.

I'd say something like, "Thanks so much for reaching out to me. I am very interested in the job and looking forward to meeting with you. I actually just gave birth to my daughter a week ago and am hoping we can reschedule the interview for a week or so later. I'm available [insert some specific dates]."
posted by dayintoday at 8:32 AM on April 27, 2016 [10 favorites]

I'd be professional and honest, the script daintoday has is perfect.

I'm sure it won't be an issue!

Mazel-Tov on your daughter!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:56 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think on day 13 I was still pretty whacked out on new mama hormones - really emotionally fragile and hyper aware of baby's moods. I made the mistake of going on a couple hour road trip for a friend's bridal shower and didn't get myself enough baby wrangling support. I say this because I want to encourage you to have baby wrangling support as much as possible!

If I count correctly, your baby will be about 12 days, so about the same age/post-partum time. If your husband will be there to drive and hold baby while you are in the interview, that should help. If it is a long-ish drive, be sure to stop as often as needed. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get there and to get back.

(The drive there for us was fine, we nursed in the parking garage when we got there, he slept most of the bridal shower and we nursed before we left, but the drive home was a screaming, crying disaster for both me and the kiddo. I think if I had known beforehand that I should stop as often as needed to nurse and snuggle and just hang out, I wouldn't have been as scarred by the ordeal. But every baby is different, and mine has just always been an intense kiddo.)

Good luck and congratulations on the new baby!
posted by jillithd at 8:57 AM on April 27, 2016

You're overthinking!

"I am not available on Tuesday X. Is the following week available for you?"

If they push for a reason (they won't that would be weird)

"I am unavailable"
"I am out of town"
"I am out of town for a family commitment"
posted by jbenben at 9:03 AM on April 27, 2016

Whoops! YES add the language that you are very interested in the position! No, probably would not include info about having just had a baby.

I have had a baby, and ended up with complications because I pushed myself too hard in the first two weeks.

Frankly, I think you should suggest a date 3 weeks from now. It's none of their business if you are on safari or at home with a newborn or recovering from orthopedic surgery or caring for a terminally ill friend in hospice or on an around the world cruise or simply at work for another organization.

Suggest the date that works for you. Done. (And congratulations and good luck!!!)
posted by jbenben at 9:11 AM on April 27, 2016

They were fine with postponing! I agree with those who said I wouldn't want to work for a company that wouldn't be understanding about a new baby so I was honest about the reason. Thanks all!
posted by chaiminda at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2016

« Older Indie bands that bring the bass   |   London, UK filter: help me come up with a wedding... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.