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Some advice? Job offers and looming maternity

(14 Posts)
rachelandmonty Mon 06-Mar-17 15:51:05

I have been considering leaving my really quite enjoyable job in consulting for some time. The hours are very long, the workload often considerable (and the stress that goes with it) and the locations are sometimes unpredictable. My 7yo pays the price. So, I began thinking about a move to (poacher-turned-game keeper) recruitment. I began to look around more locally (i.e. to consider NOT commuting into London every day! Shock horror!) at starting a new career but closer to home with more of a work life balance. A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and resigned, without having something yet on the table to move into.
I started to apply for roles and was called to a few interviews. Today, one such interview paid off and a role has been offered. It's a permanent role with a starting salary about 50% of what I've left in my last role, but that is not unexpected. The issue is this: my situation has changed since I first applied for the role. Last week, i discovered that I am pregnant. My husband is delighted - we thought given my age (no spring chicken) that it might take months, but it hasn't at all! I'm delighted too, but I'm now in a quandary. Can I morally begin a new job with a new employer (in a relatively small company) knowing that I might only just about make it past any probationary period before needing to go on leave? It's recruitment so I'm actually not sure if that's better or worse- will I just about start making some headway in understanding the market and then go on leave and have to start all over? What do I do? I asked a friend and my sister who both agree that I am under no obligation to tell the company I'm pregnant, but that feel disingenuous. I'm genuinely in a quandary. Grateful for any thoughts- moral, legal or otherwise!

daisychain01 Mon 06-Mar-17 17:34:30

The key thing is have you formally accepted the role and have they confirmed all references etc satisfactory and given you your start date?

If all formalities are in place, join the company and get your feet under the table. Enjoy being in the new role

Guidance on the NCT website is that you will need to formally advise them by the 15th week before your due date. You can do it sooner, but it would be best to say nothing just yet, while your new job and your pregnancy are so recent.

Personally I don't think it's a moral issue, do what is right for you, your career and your family.

Hoppinggreen Mon 06-Mar-17 17:48:26

Recruitment is very very hardcore sales
I've been in Sales and sales training for over 20 years and I would not touch it. It's high pressure and the hours can be long
Sorry but it's the last job I would be doing to get work/life balance.
I have friends who do it and friends who run recruitment companies and it's tough

rachelandmonty Mon 06-Mar-17 17:56:56

Thanks both. I agree with the comment about it being a tough role; I guess it depends on what one is looking for in work/life balance. For me, it's about having more flexible working patterns and not having to work the hours of a consulting role. Those I know in recruitment (and this company seems to work in a similar way) are able to combine office hours with flexible home-working and because it's sales/task-driven, this seems to work with family life.

I haven't formally (or even informally) accepted the role yet because I am facing this dilemma over whether or not it's right to accept a position knowing that I am pregnant and knowing that the offer was made without that knowledge. If it were a large company, I would have fewer reservations, but I am cognisant of the cost to small businesses of funding maternity leave and I am concerned about my cost/benefit ratio - I do not want to be loathed by my boss!!

daisychain01 Mon 06-Mar-17 17:57:21

my DSis runs her own recruitment business, I agree it is tough but she has brought up 2 kids and still has her sanity (just about). If the hours are contractually less and no long commute into London, that's a lot better I'd have thought.

Quite honestly, work nowadays is just.hard.slog. It's horrendous in most sectors, nothing is a doddle any more!

flossietoot Mon 06-Mar-17 18:04:01

I think you are mad- I was a manager for one of the big specialist high end recruitment firms in my 20's for six years. It is a horrible, monotonous job once the 'glamour' of client lunches has worn off. It is not remotely family friendly and it is mind numbingly boring. The reason people stay in it is because of the high salaries, but the morale in offices are generally awful and most recruiters (the good ones) are actually vile and hugely competitive. You have a good, professional job, recruitment is only marginally higher than call centre sales work. Honestly, don't do it.

daisychain01 Mon 06-Mar-17 18:21:17

The fact is you shouldn't have to face this dilemma - men don't ! And let's face it, you could have joined and then found out. It's not great timing, but you weren't to know.

Also, supposing you decline this role. Does that mean you are stepping away from the workplace and having a career gap until after having your baby? Not saying it's right or wrong, but that's the choice you have to make, rather than whether to risk your boss getting the 'ump smile

The reason I asked if you are 'all set to go' is that Pregnancy is a protected characteristic from Day 1 so if you are keen on the job and what it has to offer, go for it. If they know their employment law, they will support you when you eventually decide the time is right to tell them in due course, they shouldn't give you a hard time.

You are not obliged to say when you first found out.

If however, you really don't feel comfortable about the whole situation, best to decline the offer now.

CartwheelGirl Mon 06-Mar-17 22:04:17

Difficult one. In this position I would look for a job that you know 200% you can do well, even when tired, hormonal etc, so that you can devote most of your energy to the pregnancy/baby. Stress is the last thing you need in the coming months.

daisychain01 Tue 07-Mar-17 08:31:21

Cartwheel I think you're right. I was taking it that the OP had already thought through the decision-points, which job to choose next and which sector would be an improvement on consulting, to reduce stress and regain W/L balance but the more I read, the more I'm thinking "out of the frying pan into the fire".

Hoppinggreen Tue 07-Mar-17 10:32:34

I know a few recruiters and they are either male or childless.
I'm sure there are women with young children doing it too but I know around 10 people who work in Recruitment and NONE of them fit that category.
Also, you may find that it's easier to find a job in Recruitment than other sales- this is because it's a " perform quickly or leave" culture with high turnover.
Consultancy may be even worse but that doesn't make Recruitment an easy option for Work/life balance and certainly not if yiu are pg or with a young baby. If a client needs you then you ARE available

flowery Tue 07-Mar-17 12:06:18

I have nothing to add about the suitability or otherwise of recruitment as a career, however I would say this.

Don't, whatever you do, tell the company you are pregnant and leave the decision up to them. They cannot take it into account anyway so there is nothing they can do with that information.

If there is a moral dilemma for you, (and I can understand that there might be even though my advice would be to proceed as if you were not pregnant) it should be only either to take the job or not. It should not be about whether to tell them first or not.

If you tell a new employer they are pregnant, you are basically saying you think it's fine for them to do something with that information, to take it into account in some way. In fact there is nothing they can do with that information. It doesn't benefit them at all to know right now. They can't withdraw the offer.

I know it doesn't apply in your situation OP, but it's even worse when people come on here saying they have an interview but have just found out they are pregnant, should they tell the interviewer.

Well, if that's the case, one of 4 things will happen.

1. They will offer you the job because you are the best candidate and will not take the information into account at all. In which case nothing was gained by telling them.
2. They will offer the job because they are frightened not to after you've told them you are pregnant, so feel they have to do so even if otherwise someone else might have pipped you at the post. You have put them in a difficult position.
3. They will not offer you the job because you are not the best candidate. You won't know whether that was the reason.
4. They will not offer you the job because (or partly because) you are pregnant. You have been discriminated against.

Whether you get offered the job or not, you will not know whether it was for the right reasons. Surely it's better for any candidate for a job to know for sure that any decision made about them was made only on actual relevant information, and surely it's better for any recruiting manager not to be landed with a giant piece of information like that and then be expected to disregard it completely?

Both the employer and the potential employee deserve for decisions to be made without clouds over them and based on the right things.

Sorry OP, I know that isn't your situation, but it's a bit of a high horse of mine!

Tobuyornot99 Tue 07-Mar-17 12:42:50

OP don't go into recruitment! You'll work your ass off to build a client base, it'll get redistributed whilst you're off, and you'll be back to square one. The only women I know who do well with kids had worked for years, got to Director level, then had kids. I speak form many years of recruitment in my early 20s.

rachelandmonty Tue 07-Mar-17 13:49:42

Thank you all for taking the time to respond to this! I very much appreciate all of the input. I'm listening carefully to the words of warning about recruitment. I already have a son, and the employer is aware of that, and we did discuss work like balance in the interview...but I do accept the points made from those of you with personal experience.

I have a number of other interviews this week and will give it a few days before I formally respond although I have sent an acknowledgement of their offer and thanked them.

I think the overarching gist of the feedback has been (other than 'don't touch recruitment with a ten foot barge pole!') that whilst I'm under no obligation to declare the pregnancy now, that I might want to consider doing it before too long if I do accept the offer. I have no intention of declining an offer just because of the pregnancy, but I just feel that the employer (in whatever role I eventually take) should know before 25 weeks. Whilst legal, that to me doesn't seem overly fair or honest with them and wouldn't give them a great deal of time to consider cover. I will press on with interviews and see how I feel by the end of this week. Thanks again!

witsender Tue 07-Mar-17 19:37:14

I'm in a similar dilemma... Unexpectedly pregnant (V early days) and been offered an interview for a great job next week. It feels very wrong to go for it and potentially get it and then need to go off, but I would hopefully only be taking a V short leave anyway...Such a dilemma! Am waiting for the kids to go to bed so we can talk it through.

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