When to tell new job about baby coming?
September 2, 2017 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I had an initial interview for my dreamish job this week, and have another interview next week. I would love to take this job, but the timing is pretty crap, as my wife and I are going to be having a baby in about two months, and I'm wondering how to handle it.

Were I to be offered the job, they would probably want me to start around October 1st, which would mean sometime about a month in, I would need to miss a couple of days at the very least, and be stuck in a position where I would have accrued close to no sick leave or vacation days, meaning we wouldn't be able to take any time to help out with the new baby or travel home to see family for Christmas as previously planned. In a perfect world, they would offer me the job and I would stay on in my current job until January, which would allow me to stay home probably two weeks or so after the baby comes, plus work at home intermittently, and then take a week between Christmas and New Year's to travel. However, it's unlikely that new job would be interested in that.

The job itself is one that will open up again (they tend to turn up about 1-2x per year in my city, and about 5-10x a year in other cities where we'd be willing to move to; however, my chances of getting the job in my current city are probably markedly better). I'm about as well qualified for the position as I can get without going for another job first, which I'd really rather not do. Another year in my current job won't really make a difference. New job is something that could essentially be my last job, many people stay there for 10-20+ years. So professionally, this would be great. Personally though, I'm afraid it could be a disaster, my wife could go into labor early, or have complications, and even if everything went smoothly, adding the stress of a new baby to the stress of a new job could make us all miserable. It's ultimately a 9-5ish type of job, but my impression is that there's a steep learning curve.

Should I mention this in a second interview? New job is a very left-leaning part of the federal government (not directly accountable to the President, thankfully). Should I wait for an offer and see what flexibility they have? Should I just bite the bullet and spend some of our savings on taking some leave without pay and/or hiring someone to help out with household stuff? Should I just stay in my current job and wait for the next go round (I have a good situation, but it's kind of expected for me to move on after another year)?
posted by skewed to Work & Money (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
New job is a very left-leaning part of the federal government

Sure that's nice, but I bet they don't have an established official pto for paternity leave.

I vote tell them nothing; telling them anything about your parental status could in principle be an obstacle to hiring you.

If you want the job, wait to see if they offer, then take it, then see just how left and progressive they are on paternal leave. If they work with you, great. If not, then the worst case is you spend some unpaid leave and/or hire child care, as you are already considering.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:16 PM on September 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think you should discuss this with your wife, and also what kind of support system do you and she have in place? It really depends. It's not up to your future employer to decide your life decisions, it's up to you.

If you have the wherewithal, then sure, do it, as long as you have money for emergencies, etc.

If I were pregnant, and we had all the stuff planned that you mentioned, I'd feel very anxious about it -- but that's up to you and your wife.

Sure it's exciting, but giving birth to a child is really stressful on a person, and a couple, so opting for a career change at this time might be a bit more than you would anticipate (is this your first child?).

I guess I see your question as: I want a career advancement, but I am having a child with my wife, and I don't want that to interfere with that. Not: I am having a child with my wife, and I will do everything to take care of her and child and protect her.

So it's kind of iffy. As long as you and your wife are on the same page, do whatever you want. Just don't ditch them for your career, because it's not worth it (in which case, I would say be honest but be prepared for a negative response from said employer).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:26 PM on September 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: More info I should have included: my wife and I are discussing our options and will be making the decision together. My understanding is that there is no option at new job for paternity leave since I won't be there a year, but that I might be able to take leave without pay. I'm not certain about this, but I think that's how it works.
posted by skewed at 4:55 PM on September 2, 2017

Best answer: I just had a baby, my second. I would tell my husband to keep going in this interview and see what happens. I would absolutely not disclose to hiring team until there's an offer. The things you are worried about - the immediate weeks after baby is born - Christmas - are VERY short term and highly temporary things that unpaid leave and throwing some money at the problem in terms of childcare / doulas / night nurses can help solve if this position means long term better and more stable prospects for your family. Depends on how anxious your wife is obviously but I would (and have) encouraged my husband to keep gunning at strong prospects when I was pregnant and we agreed that we would deal with actual decisions that need to be made or help to be asked for / hired when we need to.
posted by sestaaak at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'd negotiate once you get an offer. I'd frame it as "i have already blocked out certain time to be at home and to vacation with family." Hopefully they'll be able to help you figure out how to make this work. Sure it's an inconvenience, but it's for a really great reason, so I think most managers would understand and try to find a way to be supportive.

The bigger question is whether you'll want to be on the learning curve while you're sleep-deprived and adjusting to parenthood rather than while in a comfortable place where you know which corners you can cut. I'm sure it's not insurmountable though.
posted by salvia at 6:14 PM on September 2, 2017

Two data points:

- I hired someone in a December to start in January who had a one month vacation to Europe already planned for March. He let me know when he accepted the offer and I approved it. It's doable.

- I also lost my job a little over a month ago and got hired for a new job, at seven months pregnant, with full paid maternity leave benefits. The tide is starting to turn where sure, legally, they don't have to do a damn thing for you, but many places will still let you have whatever their policy would entitle you to if you were there a year because they're in competition for good people and also it's just a good thing to do. If you get to the point of negotiating an offer, I'd bring it up then, and ask what possibilities there are about moving your start date or taking time off. You may be pleasantly surprised.
posted by olinerd at 6:21 PM on September 2, 2017

I believe Ask A Manager would tell you to wait until you have an offer.
posted by rhizome at 6:25 PM on September 2, 2017

Best answer: Agree that you should wait until you have an offer. I'd decide how much leave you HAVE to take to make yourself and your family happy and to be a good parent, and then how much you would LIKE to take on top. Once given an offer, disclose both, and see where you go - and if things don't work out, leave open the door of trying again next time.

If you're talking US federal government, in terms of your lack of accrued sick leave [which is the primary mechanism for taking parental leave - to take care of your wife as she recovers], thanks Obama. (Read more here under the Advance Sick Leave section.)
posted by rdn at 6:56 PM on September 2, 2017

As above, wait until you have an offer and then explain the additional leave as a condition of joining. It may be more complicated in a government office, but generally it is much much easier to get special consideration at the beginning of a job because it doesn't represent a structural benefit that others aren't getting. Instead, the job allows you to fulfil already made commitments. The trip home at Christmas should be doable at a minimum I would think. Working from home for two weeks may be more challenging but I would ask for it anyhow. See what happens.
posted by frumiousb at 10:36 PM on September 2, 2017

I did this. I accepted a job in the county government (dept of ed) about a month before my wife was due. I'm pretty sure I told them after the offer. It was totally cool. They worked it out so I could take 2 weeks on full pay after my wife delivered.
posted by sleeping bear at 10:45 PM on September 2, 2017

You tell them after they extended an offer and you are in the negotiation phase. Just like if you had a vacation planned. Treat it as any other part of the salary / pro / benefits negotiation.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 6:24 AM on September 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Agree with wait until you have an offer. The federal government has no paternity leave (or maternity leave, for that matter); new parents have to take vacation, sick leave, or FMLA which won't apply as you won't have been there a year. Your manager may be willing to advance you the time which you will then have to pay back, or you can beg your peers for donated leave -- my agency sends out emails like this on the regular. If you are going to be a contractor rather than an actual govt employee, the rules might be different, but still, why give them a reason not to hire you?
posted by basalganglia at 7:41 AM on September 3, 2017

« Older Will I like Claus Porto soaps? And if not, what...   |   B R I T I S H L O V E and jokes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.