Pregnancy is often considered a significant career interruption or a complete career diversion for many women. And yes, it’s easy to mentally clock off from work when you’ve got a bun in the oven and you know you’ll be taking leave in a few months time. But pregnancy doesn’t need to signal the start of a career break. In fact pregnancy is a crucial time to consider your values and your worth and stay engaged with your career.
We see it all the time. Women that are pregnant or trying to become pregnant clock off from their career before they’ve even told their manager the news. They’ll take an inferior package if they are negotiating salary or fail to grab career opportunities that come their way. The anxiety and excitement of starting or building on their family disrupts career momentum and impacts on reward and recognition expectations. But it shouldn’t. Pregnancy and motherhood does not make you any less value to your employer. In fact the growth and skills you develop during parental leave are a great addition to your CV.
One woman who sacrificed career goals due to pregnancy is Lauren Jauncey, Head of Diversity at Australia Post. She was 4 months pregnant with her second child when she turned down a career changing promotion. Her boss was heading off on maternity leave and wanted her to step into her role as Head of Leadership Development at Australia Post; a dream role for Lauren. But she decided not to put her hand up for that role because she was going on maternity leave in a few months time. In hindsight she realised this was a mistake.
Why didn’t she put her hand up, step forward and grab the opportunity and take on a leadership role albeit for six months. There is so much she could have learnt in that time and so much she could have and offered the team.
Lauren learnt a lot from this missed opportunity, as can all women.
Pregnancy doesn’t have to stop you from striving for your goals and continuing on your career trajectory. Rather, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your values and vision, and prepare yourself, your family and your workplace for a new addition. Grace Papers programs can guide you through this time of change and ensure that your value and your worth is not diminished by you or your employer.
Mother of 3 and Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Australia Post, author of the Gender Action Plan, 200m State Title Winner and advocate of flexibility, shares her story here….
Grace Papers can help you prepare, help you strive and help you ensure your career stays successful and vibrant through pregnancy and beyond.