Monday, December 13, 2010

Ultimate Pregnancy Tip

When you have a soul-destroying job at a BigLaw firm, it is reasonable and self-affirming to look for a new job that would give you soul a chance at thriving and soaring, instead of shriveling up each day you went to your office.

PLEASE NOTE: If you do find a job that gives your soul some room to (1) heal and (2) sing, you may want to take it on the theory that (1) you deserve a non-soul-destroying job, (2) it will lead to a better quality of life, (3) it will improve all of your relationships because you will no longer be exposed to a toxic work environment, and (4) you will be that much closer to your professional destiny.

HOWEVER, if you happen to be about 4 weeks and 2 days pregnant when you accept said new job, you should be aware that when it's time to take your maternity leave, you may have to accept that your maternity leave will be UNPAID. As in, during your leave, you will not receive any remuneration for your "services," and you will spend your entire maternity leave watching your bank account dwindle.

All this is the price for not eroding your soul day after day.

The advice? Maybe if you find yourself in this situation, you could negotiate before you take the job to have some sort of payment during maternity leave. That way you can avoid having a conversation at 32.5 weeks pregnant wherein the HR director of your office has to come in and tell you that during your maternity leave, you will receive exactly bubkus for being on "maternity leave."

It's funny, I remember going to pre-natal yoga before Sadie was born and meeting teachers who were telling me that their maternity leaves were unpaid. I thought that sounded so draconian and unjust. I also remember distinctly NOT taking a job at a federal agency because the maternity leave was unpaid. (Ok, there were like 7 other, more important reasons, but the non-paid maternity leave helped seal my rejection of that offer. We'll forget that I still sometimes pine for that job, until I think about what I would have to do as a federal regulator. Another story.)

Anyway, I think there's a good lesson here for myself and my kids and anyone else looking for a morality tale. I could have stayed at BigLaw job (presumably, though not a foregone conclusion) through this second pregnancy, but how small would my soul and my professional life be? Considering half of my former department has gone to greener pastures, I am not sure what it would even feel like to be there. Sure, I could have taken another maternity leave on their dime and gotten some pretty generous bi-weekly checks and probably a bonus. But would it be worth it? Maybe that's not even the right question, since I changed jobs and it's over and done with now.

It would be nice to continue to get paid during my maternity leave. It's not going to happen this time around. I am happier that my day-to-day life is less toxic and more fulfilling in every way. My vision is more about professional fulfillment than about those damn bi-weekly direct deposits.

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