Bear with me for one more post, ye who could care less about pregnancy-related matters. One more post for now.
This one is about how to tell people at work. I should start by saying I am rather famously transparent at work. With everyone. Because I am inherently a confrontational chicken, I keep myself from sniveling out of uncomfortable things by basically saying what comes to mind – with some tact, of course, but I don’t let things simmer, and I don’t leave them unsaid.
You should have heard my stream-of-consciousness spiel on the awesomeness of having 27 online training classes (the kind where they read the stupid text out loud to you because someone made the (obviously not well understood) point that some people are visual learners while others are auditory*. Shoot me.
Surprisingly, I remain quite profitably employed. I share this because in my perfect world, right about, oh, now, I’d take each of my employees aside (all women, as luck would have it) and tell them one by one. And they would be happy for me and excuse my periodic running out of the office and sudden failure to get a danged thing accomplished from the end of one day to the beginning of the next. (Yea, I know this means at night. I used to do *some* work then.)
And I’d never tell my (very nice, very devoted family-oriented, but very male) boss. It’s just awkward. And I work with all men — at my level in this organization (hi, I work in software engineering**) — so while they’re all good dads, they’re still… men. Techie men. Well-meaning men many of whom are just a few years from their first crack at parenthood, but men nonetheless.
To complicate matters, we are going through our annual review cycle now. Like: NOW. January for our staff, then February for ourselves. This means the good advice not to give your company a chance to discriminate accidentally because you’re pregnant is, well, awkward.
I don’t doubt any sort of anything would be based in good intentions, not for one minute. But, “Well, she’ll be really busy with, you know, the new baby and all next year, so let’s not make things harder on her by expanding her team/ giving her a bigger role/ keeping her gainfully employed” is still a bad thing for me. Plus we just went through layoff’s and everyone’s feeling a little unstable, including me.
Definitely a post forthcoming on reconciling my Work Me with Pregnant Me… but not now.
So, let’s role play. You’re my (very nice, very techie, very male) boss and I’m me. Pregnant and no one the wiser because I work from home. Probably wearing yoga pants and eating crackers while counting the ounces of water left in her rations.
Side note: boss made a joke the other day about how I needed to plan a trip there so people wouldn’t forget what I looked like. I said, “I could be blonde and you wouldn’t know it!” while thinking, “I am totally gaining weight in strange places and muting my phone to run to pee/ puke/ eat crackers and you don’t know it!”
Back to role-playing: do I wait for one of our super-speed one-on-one’s? (Is this corporate-speak? We have weekly one-on-one meetings with our employees at my company. We even have shorthand for them. It looks like this:
1:1, Marisa & Person
Do normal people do this/ say this?)
How do I bring it up? “So, uh, <awkward pause> I’M PREGNANT DUE IN AUGUST TAKING THE MINIMUM TIME OFF BACK IN NOVEMBER NOT THAT LONG I SWEAR HAVE A COVERAGE PLAN ANY QUESTIONS?”
Because that blurting is totally me. However, since I will soon have a child looking to me for guidance and (dare I say it) grace, perhaps I should start now?
And yes, I’m well aware this discomfort is totally rooted in my concerns about reconciling Work Me with Pregnant Me, and not wanting to be Pregnant Manager at work. I’m “one of these things is not like the other” enough already, given I work from home, am not an engineer, and like words and people. Somehow I am convinced my (very male) coworkers will somehow be (even more) uncomfortable around me when they find out.
Or maybe I’ll be more uncomfortable.
Seriously, you’d think by now I’d stop equating baby with S#X, but I totally do, like telling my coworkers I’m “with child” (gawd, I hate that phrase – “With child doing what? Where?”) is like declaring that I have s#x. And then I jump to considering that they have s#x and nothing good comes of that.
*Nodakademic, that one’s for you, just because I know you’ll love it/ bang your head against your desk.
**I can never recall whether “Engineering” should be capitalized or not, sorry. At least here I can say “because I’m pregnant!” At work, I’m stuck with “still fighting the flu” and “<silence>” when words elude me.