Telling your friends you’re pregnant is definitely something to look forward to. But telling your boss is typically a bit more anxiety inducing.
Allyson Downey, author of “Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood” (out today) was working on Wall Street when she found out she was pregnant. Her desire to have a family didn’t detour her career success — even in a predominately male industry.
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She shares what she learned through her own experience and also through interviews with other successful working parents in her new book. While the book covers tips on advancing your career well into being a parent, here we highlight a few tips from the book specifically about getting ahead while pregnant.
Get your exemplary performance written down
In her book, Downey advises creating a paper trail that highlights all the good work you’ve done and continue to do. If you don’t have a copy of your most recent performance review, request one from human resources. Before you tell your boss you’re pregnant, ask for another performance review, saying you are someone who likes a lot of feedback and you want to make sure you are on track to accomplishing the goals you and the company have. Also, collect any analytical data that reflects what you have done for your company. All of these documents are good to keep in case you ever feel your job is in jeopardy.
Build a network before you go on maternity leave
Downey points out that once you have a baby, you will have zero time for networking events, so spend your pregnancy connecting yourself to people within your field at other workplaces. Then, you’ll be able to keep in touch with them digitally later. Plus, it will help you build a good list of backup employers.
Present a plan to your boss covering all your bases
You may think it will make your colleagues appreciate you more to struggle in your absence and have dozens of questions they wish they could ask you, but Downey says that showing your boss how everything you do will continue to get done in your absence shows a commitment to your workplace. Present a plan to your boss, including what you’ll pick up with when you get back to the office. Everyone in the office will thank you.
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Interviewing while pregnant
“Here’s the Plan” also addresses the complicated situation of applying for jobs while pregnant. When it comes to when to tell your potential employer, Downey generally advises not mentioning it during an interview. While they are exceptions, like if the team is very small, she advises keeping the interview about why you are perfect for your job, not your personal life, and that includes pregnancy.
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