3 Questions Every Mom Needs to Ask Before Changing Jobs
As working moms, we want to make sure that our work is worth the time away from our children. When you start to feel under-valued, unhappy and stressed beyond your limits and you lose your commitment to your current job and can lead to a serious job search. As you start going on job interviews and start landing some job offers you should consider these three crucial questions before jumping ship from your current job to a new one.
#1 Are you planning to have more kids in the near future?
The focus of this question is the “near future” part as it could mean that you are newly pregnant or looking to get pregnant soon. If you are currently pregnant (congrats!) the perceptions and stress of being pregnant while job searching can be a lot for a mom to be. Now it is illegal to be passed up for a job merely because you are pregnant, but occasionally this can occur in the workforce. Even if a company does the legal and right thing and hire the best person for the job it can lead to stresses for the mom to be in how to negotiate maternity leave and telling the new job they are pregnant if they aren’t showing yet. Also, if you are caring the health insurance it can hard to manage switching of insurances and something you will make to research extensively prior to taking a job offer. Some jobs have an employee trial period before you are able to get health insurance benefits (at times 30 – 90 days working at the company) so check this out as you don’t want to pay out of pocket for pregnancy and/or delivery expenses.
The second part of this question is if you are looking to get pregnant in the next year what that means for being able to take time off from your new job. It isn’t a deal breaker of job searching, but it is something you should be aware of and look into their maternity leave policy before accepting a position (typically you have to be at a company for over a year to utilize policy). Also, since the U.S. has zero paid maternity leave, many moms use their time that they have accrued at the company (sick and vacation time) to extend their maternity leave in order to have those precious moments with their newborn. If you have newly started a job you might be starting off with few days to use to extend maternity leave.
#2 Will this make a longer commute for me?
It could be the dreamiest of jobs that you are applying for, but if you are going to be stuck in traffic for hours it can really burst that dream bubble really quick. The commute starts to become a factor when thinking about morning and evening routines, being able to get to your kids quickly if they are sick, and less time being able to spend with your family. You also want to go beyond doing an online search of the distance as it may not factor in the daily traffic you will get for work. It is important to do a test run of the morning and/or evening commute to see if it is out of the range you are willing to commute. Now sometimes a commute is just unavoidable to pay the bills (my husband had a 2+ hour commute each way for many years), but if you are openly choosing a commute to move to a new job you want to weigh all the pros and cons before taking the job.
#2 Is the atmosphere family friendly?
This one can be a little tricky to figure out and many times you have to go on an interview to find out these answers. It is also tricky because family friendly means so many different things to so many different people. At the very minimum, a family friendly job should be flexible (where it can be), willing to accommodate family sickness and emergencies, and have a focus on increasing positive work morale
Now we can’t all work for rockstar family friendly companies like Google and Facebook, but here are a few ways to seek out if your potential company is family friendly:
- Excellent maternity and/or paternity leave
- Supervisor and co-workers in company have children
- Pumping stations on site
- Onsite child care
- Events where employees are able to bring their children to work events (when appropriate)
- Allows time off for doctor visits, sick children, and other family emergencies
- Supports staff to take vacation time off
- Incentives to increase work morale such as compensation days, wellness or fitness groups during lunch breaks, pay to take classes, financial bonuses, etc
- Other moms enjoy working for the company
It can be difficult to know what the right answer is when deciding to take a new job, especially when your family is involved. Talk to your spouse, your confidants, and your mentor as they know you best and can guide you to making a decision. Changing jobs can be exciting, stressful, and yet full of so much hope for the future. There are always risks involved when it comes to change, but if you think about your options from all angles and trust your gut the rewards and benefits could be immeasurable for future endeavors.