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While it’s usually a good idea to keep your personal life at a respectable distance from your professional persona, the two will ultimately collide when you become pregnant. After the excitement of the first few weeks, be sure to take the following into consideration when deciding when to clue in your colleagues:
• Verify the results. It can be tempting to swoop in and share the news after the first home pregnancy test, but it’s an unfortunate fact that many premature positives turn out to be false. Before you make your announcement, get a blood test to confirm the results. Many women opt to hold off until the end of the first trimester, reducing the chances that they may need to share bad news if the pregnancy doesn’t endure. On the other hand…
• Don’t wait too long. Out of courtesy to your boss, you should give him or her enough time to plan for your absence, which may necessitate hiring a temporary replacement or cross-training other employees.
• Read the handbook. Before making your status known, it’s a good idea to review your company’s policy on pregnant employees and maternity leave. Your Human Resources department should have information on what you can expect regarding the duration of your leave, the amount of compensation, and what paperwork is required. If you work with someone who has already been through the process, ask them to share their experiences.
• Resist a theatrical announcement. Instead of breaking the news to the entire department during lunch, request a private meeting with your boss and tell him or her individually. Be sure to come armed with as much information as possible, including your due date, expected length of your leave, and any ideas for transitioning projects during your absence.
However and whenever you choose to make it known that you’re expecting, the announcement should set the tone for the rest of your pregnancy. By conveying the news in a professional, confident manner, and by letting your boss know that you’ll continue to contribute to the best of your abilities, you can help ensure that you’ll be treated with respect in the coming months.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|