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a little bit more about me

My name is Beth and I accidentally have found myself living in Arizona but I'm originally from Tennessee. My education is in history and anthropology, which means that I know a little about a lot of things and can hold my own at a cocktail party in mixed company. I work in museums, doing all sorts of things ranging from researching and writing exhibits to cataloguing absolute wickety wak. I love comedy, baking, photography, my daughter, dogs, and above all else, napping.*

* 2013 edit: Oh yeah, and my new son too.

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    Entries in pregnancy (5)


    Introducing Baby

    Interwebz, meet baby. Baby, meet interwebz


    Me and My Shadow


    Unfiltered Thoughts: Advice for Working With a Pregnant Lady

    I just started my new job a few days ago, and unlike at the interview, now I am obviously showing. I've made the switch to maternity clothes and I definitely look pregnant. My new coworkers seem to be really quiet and maybe even shy, so I've been keeping to myself, using my lunch hour for a walk since it seems like everyone here just kind of eats at their desks by themselves. Today, one of my coworkers approached me and said, "So....when are you....uh...." and then made a motion of 'pregnant' across her belly. And when I said "I'm due July 4" she said that she'd be winning the office pool, then. Because that doesn't make the I-just-started-a-new-job-six-months-pregnant-lady feel awkward. At all. 

    So a bit of advice to those of you working with a pregnant lady, whether she's a new coworker or not:

    1. Do not have a behind-her-back office pool about when she's due (or if she's even pregnant). 
    2. Do not eat fish at your desk. Or cheeseburgers. Or anything with onions. In fact, stick to foods that produce no odor, or EAT IN THE KITCHEN or GO OUT TO EAT. 
    3. Do not act jealous when your new coworker's upcoming maternity leave is announced. That six weeks that sounds like "vaca" to you, moron? That's for her to recover from squeezing a baby out her hoo-ha, and bonding with the little baby. And btw, she might feel bad that she's not getting the 12 weeks that other new moms get at 'real' jobs under FMLA.
    4. Under no circumstances should you ask "Are you sure you're not having twins hahaha?"

    I'll post more as they come up, but that's a good starting point.


    An Embarrassment of Riches

    Having just landed a new job, and having started it (and it's actually a half-decent job at that), I just got offered another job. I won't say that it's better, except that it is. It pays way better, it's closer to my house, it's less structured, and I really like the people I'd be working for. So when I told them, I'm, uh, 6 months pregnant and will need some time off this summer, they were all, "ok, no problem. How much time will you need?" 

    So I guess I start a *new* new job in a week! 


    How Should I Be Handling This?

    When I was laid off last fall, I was 3 months pregnant. I, of course, knew that, but my employer and coworkers didn't. So while I was ready to move on from museum work, I wasn't exactly looking forward to trying to find work as a pregnant lady. I have been fortunate enough to land a couple of interviews, and finally one of them has materialized into an offer. It's working for University of Phoenix, and at the interview for that job, I had to fill out paperwork that says, "The University takes pride in the quality of employees to whom we have extended employment opportunities. In an effort to ensure that you are taking every advantage of your new employee training period, we highly suggest that you maintain 100% attendance during the training phase. Tardiness and/or absenteeism may result in disciplinary action. To ensure your employment success, we ask employees to keep their schedules free of extended appointments and vacations during the first 6 months of employment. Please provide us with the information below if you are not able to currently modify any future appointments. Requests for time off are not guaranteed and may not be paid during your first 90 days of employment. Leaving this section blank indicates your schedule is free of appointments."

    Here's the thing: if I were obviously pregnant, I probably would have been honest on the form because my interviewers would just march back to HR and say, "Either she's pregnant or she swallowed a bowling ball." But I'm not obviously pregnant. Even though I'm due in 3 and a half months, I'm not showing. I was able to wear my regular non-maternity clothes to the interview, and by wearing busy prints on top, I can further distract from what's going on. More importantly, I'm not sure how I was supposed to handle this.

    After I'd been laid off, I got in touch with my HR person at my last job and told her I was pregnant and asked how to handle disclosure at job interviews and negotiations, and she said that in no uncertain terms that I should not say anything until I recieve an offer. (An aside: My friends have been incredibly naive about this, btw. They're all up on a soapbox screaming "You can't do that! Employers can't not hire you just because you're pregnant! That's discrimination!") News flash: Sure, employers can't discriminate against you because you're pregnant, but they can find *other* reasons not to hire you, including the all-purpose "It just isn't the right fit right now." 

    So by saying on the form, uh, I'm going to need time off during training to keep up with my bi-weekly, and soon to be weekly doctor's appointments, that could be a major red flag and they could just say, well, maybe the timing isn't right right now since you can't commit to our training attendance policy. And by saying, uh, I'm going to need at least 6 weeks off this summer, they could not hire me because I'm asking for extensive time off during my probationary phase. So I left it blank and signed it.

    Now that they have given me an offer,  I told them, and the hiring HR manager was literally speechless before asking if he could call me back. They told me that as far as being absent during training and needing leave "That's something you'll have to work out with your trainers and, after 6 weeks of training, your manager. It's up to your manager on how to handle any of that" since I don't qualify for FMLA leave. (Another aside: my friends are also aghast that I'm not guaranteed leave. FMLA isn't universal. It's not. You have to have worked for your employer for the 12 months prior to your need for time off, and have worked a minimum number of hours. And that's if you work for an employer that offers FMLA, because not everyone has to.) News flash: Employers can do whatever they want in terms of giving time off for a baby.

    The bottom line is that I won't know until 7 weeks from now if I can negotiate any time off for maternity leave. And no time off would obviously be a deal-breaker. I don't mean to be an A-hole and take a job only to ditch it in 3 months if that's the case, but the reality is, I need work, I want this job, and I need the paycheck until then, even if not beyond then. So I start my new job on Monday!