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To think digital marketing / IT strategy is not the career for having children?

(31 Posts)
BoyMeetsWorld Sun 03-Feb-13 10:13:44

Calling all digital-types/IT strategy/Digital marketing...how the heck do you have a family within this sector?

I love my job. I'm very key to the digital strategy & complete set up from scratch for a company. It's always been the plan to have a child now (decided before I got current job. Lots of reasons for 'now' being right time)

But now it's crunch time I just can't imagine how it could possibly work. The moment I announce im pregnant, how can they view me as part of the long term strategy? I've been put forward for lots of promotion, heralded as 'heart' of company digital, I think they'd be embarrassed and annoyed. And when I went off on maternity, how could I possibly come back into the same job? Someone else would have to advance web changes, keep up with all the fast-paced digital advancements, present to the board....I can't just come back in and turf them out, there's not really room for two
In exactly the same role and even if they did go, I'd have to take forward someone else's vision and strategies.

Only 10 measly days' work allowed once on maternity confused

Does anyone else have any experience of this? Feeling very disheartened but AIBU and making a mountain out of a molehill?

wanderingalbatross Sun 03-Feb-13 10:24:08

I think the worries you have are common to many jobs, not just your field. In the grand scheme of things, even a year off isn't that long - many of the mums I know were surprised at just how easily they slotted back into work and how little had changed. A few months on, most of our colleagues have forgotten we were ever away! And I work in a fast paced technical field too. I have had to spend some time catching up with developments, but if you are as crucial to your company as you say then they will support you in this as they won't want to lose you.

Saski Sun 03-Feb-13 10:24:26

Be bold and confident about your future at the company. You're just making it easy for them to push you out!
Your attitude is going to determine how they view you.
Make sure you look the part while pregnant (being that you're a part of the digital crowd, I'm sure you will).

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 10:25:29

In haste - yanbu, although this applies to SO many industries and professions. Most careers and employers are not family friendly (do not support or allow for much time away from a career, flexible or part time working etc). Most part time workers are female, and most part time work is lower status and less well paid than full time work. It is very common for mothers to be 'demoted' workwise after having babies because they cannot and do not return to the jobs and careers they had before but take a 'reduced' form of work. This does not happen nearly as much to men.

People find individual solutions to this - for example, role reversal (dad takes on the majority of childcare from a very early age so that the mother can return to full time work as soon as possible - baby is put into full time childcare as soon as possible so mother can return to work). Some of us face an exhausting time with small children and babies desperately trying to work and keep as much of a finger in the work pie as we can so as not to be at a disadvantage later.

I would recommend a book called 'Shattered - Modern Motherhoof and the Illusiom of Equality' by Rebecca Asher. Depressing title! BUT actually there are a lot of practical points in there that might help you if you are planning a family and wondering how the hell you do that and have a career.

They will cope. There are lots of ways of covering - get someone in as a contractor, or use it as a career step for someone internally. Once you are pregnant, then you can drive the decision on how to cover. In the process, I suspect (no offence intended, I am the same) that you may have to learn to be less of a control freak delegate more, which will come in very useful when you come back.

If you wait for the ideal time, you will never do it.

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 03-Feb-13 10:35:56

Thanks everyone - rain, I will look up that book.

Sadly it's not an option for DH to stay home instead of me - we earn the same & it's always been upfront that his career comes first As its more secure in the long run. But I love mine, have worked hard & don't want to lose it.

I know the situation is hard in many industries & both letting someone else take over / stepping back into their shoes is always hard. Just knowing mine, Im finding it hard to imagine it being possible at all sigh

V interesting comment about how I present myself and not making it easy for them to get rid of me, will take that on board...

JenaiMorris Sun 03-Feb-13 10:40:29

An organisation with a half decent IT strategy really ought to be able to cope with one person being out on mat leave; if they can't they need to be revisiting the design stage PDQ.

They will cope. There are lots of ways of covering - get someone in as a contractor, or use it as a career step for someone internally. Once you are pregnant, then you can drive the decision on how to cover. In the process, I suspect (no offence intended, I am the same) that you may have to learn to be less of a control freak delegate more, which will come in very useful when you come back.

If you wait for the ideal time, you will never do it.

Oops. Sorry about double post stupid app

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 11:29:23

Do read Shattered if you can.

Just be wary about assumptions re your career/job versus your DH's. What you have basically said is that his career is more valuable than yours, even though you earn the same. So many women do this. I would be even more wary in this day and age about saying that someone's job is very secure! If he DOES have a very secure job (i.e long term security), does this make it more likely that his employers would listen to any requests he made for part time/flexible working? These tend to be more available in secure jobs (as opposed to short term contract/project based jobs).

JenaiMorris Sun 03-Feb-13 11:46:54

Cripes my last post sounds quite catty - I didn't mean it to be.

I'm right though - an organisation with a decent IT strategy can cope with one person being out on mat leave. If it can't cope there's an opportunity there for you change things so that it can. It will look very good on your CV to have identified that risk and remedied it.

Imagine if you won the lottery tomorrow (which is a nicer scenario to use than being run over by a bus!). Would this firm fold because you weren't there? It would? Then their risk management is crap. Get it sorted.

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 03-Feb-13 12:05:28

Haha it's ok Jenai - I didn't take it as catty. You're absolutely right, but my role actually IS setting up and implementing the strategy / policies - previously they had nothing despite being a large company. So they actually can't really manage without me. Obviously, once I've got it all set up & running nicely someone will be able to come in & keep it ticking over but we're not at that stage yet & can't see us being by the time I'd be on maternity. Which leaves me feeling I should really postpone for a year or so, but that doesn't really work for us...

ivanapoo Sun 03-Feb-13 12:16:21

I work in this industry and am currently on mat leave.

You can only do your best to put measures in place to ensure someone can keep things ticking over in your absence, and spend at least one or two KIT days getting up to speed with industry developments before you return.

Writing lots of structured documents and detailing your strategic approach, tools you use, place you find valuable industry info etc might help.

Ultimately it's their problem not yours and by the time your baby arrives you'll probably realise that while your job is important, it's just a job.

Andcake Sun 03-Feb-13 12:17:27

Well I hope it is going to be fine as I am in a similar role and currently half way through maternity leave. But I think it's a worry of many women in every sector. I found finding a good person to cover who I trusted helped. Keeping in touch via work email just once a week glancing at things. But also their seems to be a lot of sitting around with a sleeping baby on ones lap or feeding so having an iPad to keep up with industry forums/news etc has been invaluable. It would be more difficult to do these things with a laptop. No one is irreplaceable we just like to think we are. I also think that being a mum will add to my professional skills as will the amount of 'undercover boss' that I seem to have watched and my mumsnetting :-) I recently helped work out on a project and they seemed happy even though I was worried. I genuinely love my job and this has been a bit like an extended reading week with cuddles and play.

buttonspoon Sun 03-Feb-13 13:04:54

I'm in a similar role and am now more senior after having a child. Sounds good but have to say it wasn't as simple as it sounds. I went back after maternity leave and waa royal screwed over by my (charity) employer who kept on my maternity cover (childless, single and ruthlessly ambitious) and made her my boss. Fairly sure this was illegal but hadn't the strength nor money to fight.

But went off and got a much better job in the same area and now work for a large organisation where most of the senior digital people are women with children so it can be done!

Keeping on too the latest trends is hard but you get back into it pretty quickly and it's your core management and strategy skills that are important and you don't lose these having a baby. Also yea you can turf someone covering your job out! That is what is supposed to happen - don't feel bad about it.

Good luck!

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 03-Feb-13 13:23:43

Wow button - glad it worked out for you. I'm 80% certain that's exactly what my company will do too - they certainly won't only take someone for maternity, as we're looking to expand the digital section anyway and they'll feel (I sort of agree) that the person will have invested too much of themselves into the company after 9 months to just hand over and leave. Whether I went back in above them, same level or below would largely depend on how well they did...& S I've done all the initial slog setting up suppliers, strategies, landscape research etc it will be them who get to 'run with it' & get the glory for the results, so I know which way it's likely to go confused

I have already had 2 job offers from digital agencies so I know I could do as you did, leave & move to a higher position. But still...I kinda like where I am.

Just told DH I think maybe we should wait 6 months. He's devastated. Gah...

HoleyGhost Sun 03-Feb-13 13:24:54

You could consider what you are willing to delegate and what you will keep doing "while formally on maternity leave"

If you have good support, you could do some work flexible once the first couple of weeks are done

FreelanceMama Sun 03-Feb-13 13:35:37

Just a thought....it might take you one month, or two years or anywhere in between to get pregnant, so even if you put it off for six months, you might find your maternity leave starts in 2.5 years time (when things might be difficult again).

I'm self-employed and teach/advise on digital marketing; I actually found keeping up to date with development easy (thank you smartphone while breastfeeding in the wee hours). And I didn't disappear for a year courtesy of strategic use of 10 keeping in touch days, getting another freelancer to help with some of the upcoming campaigns/activities, and my partner taking additional paternity leave for a bit so I could go back to work sooner.

ivanapoo Sun 03-Feb-13 19:46:25

YY to the fact it could take you ages to conceive. Also don't forget you'll work through pregnancy = the best part of a year (and frankly if you can't get a decent digital strategy off the ground in that time it'll probably never happen!).

I got pregnant at what I thought was the worst time - I'd just taken on a new role and wasn't really "trying" - so I do feel your pain. Actually I now think it was good timing as I'm looking forward to getting stuck back in on my return and it focused me to get certain elements sorted before I went off.

ivanapoo Sun 03-Feb-13 19:49:59

Oh but I wouldn't recommend smart phoning work stuff during middle of the night feeds. Looking at screens disrupts your sleep hormones (and so does thinking about work in my case), and those feeds give you prime sleepy baby bonding time you won't get again.

FreelanceMama Mon 04-Feb-13 07:01:10

That's true - but sometimes we'd be there for a looong time!

Dozer Mon 04-Feb-13 07:39:03

How old are you and your partner OP?

I don't work in your sector but recognise the issues, is sadly part of the deal. Agreewith others that is not a good plan to service your H's "more important"job, if he works flexibly and makes some of the same compromises you will have a betterchance of it working out. I say this as someone with the "less important" job!

Dozer Mon 04-Feb-13 07:42:51

Also, a tactic some organisations have is to refuse any pt/flexible work requests from maternity returners. May be sensible to plan for returning FT, even if just til youcan look for something else, and get best poss childcare.

ll31 Mon 04-Feb-13 07:58:59

first you may not get pregnant first month you start trying, second-relax-many women r in your or similar situation, you're not unique, really. you'll find a way-maybe as poster said chging jobs.but if you're as good as you say you'll succeed. thirdly as poster said consider how you'll present the, hopefully, news you're pregnant-have plan for how they'll cope ready-that way also its your plan..

KeatsiePie Algeria Mon 04-Feb-13 09:11:36

I'd wait a year, myself, if that's what you're thinking it will take to get the company structure set up such that maternity leave will be easier for you to take and your role will be easier for you to step back into. Children and careers are long-term concerns, a year is not a big deal (unless there are specific factors that put pressure on you to get on with it).

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