Starting a new job always comes with its challenges. But imagine doing it when you’re growing a tiny human inside you.
It isn’t exactly an ideal situation. Besides the fact that you’re nauseous and tired all the time, you’re also facing some tough decisions like revealing your pregnancy to potential employers and proving your worth in a limited time before you go on parental leave.
This is why it is uniquely difficult for pregnant people to change jobs. But it can be done, and successfully! Here I’m sharing my personal experience of how I did it in the hope that it can help you on your own journey.
Building up the confidence to apply
I’d been in my previous leadership role for about three years and I was curious if I could apply those learnings in a different setup and take on more challenges. This is when I came across a job opening at Twitter. At the time, I was already 20 weeks pregnant.
As much as I was excited about the opportunity, my very first thought was whether it made sense to change jobs at that stage of the pregnancy. I was aware that the interview process and other legal formalities were going to take at least a month before I could join. It wasn’t just a matter of cracking the interviews but also the time off I was going to need right after joining, to recover from delivery and bond with my baby.
I was overwhelmed with unanswered questions and concerns about how the process would work. But fortunately, I had the opportunity to talk to one of my colleagues who had been through the same experience and it was so reassuring to hear it could go well. That conversation, along with the continual support from my husband, gave me the confidence to apply for the role.
Being transparent with hiring managers
When the recruiting team reached out to proceed with my application, I decided to be completely transparent about my pregnancy before starting the interview rounds. Although I wasn’t legally bound to do this, I felt it was the right thing to do to establish trust and also to allow me to learn quickly just how progressive the company was and whether I would fit in.
So, I emailed the recruiter to share my news. To my delight – and relief – he responded with, ‘Congratulations! We love growing our family and nothing changes on our side’. I’d heard Twitter was a great company that cares for its employees but the response I received from the recruiter reassured me that if things were to move forward, I’d receive the support that I needed.
Throughout the interview, I met an amazing panel of people including my hiring manager. I was able to clear all the interview rounds and, finally, I received a job offer. Before I accepted, I confirmed with HR and my hiring manager that I’d get the required time off even if I hadn’t completed my probation. They assured me this would happen, which gave me the confidence to accept the offer. At 24 weeks pregnant, I took the leap of faith, resigned from my old company, and joined Twitter.
Setting clear expectations with my new manager and team
By nature, I’ve always taken work very seriously and given 100% to it. Initially, walking into this job, I constantly felt the need to prove my worth and show I could bring value to the table. Saying that, right from day one, my team and manager were very welcoming. I was able to meet them and get to know them better through one-on-one meetings. From the start, I set clear expectations with everyone about my role and responsibilities and documented them clearly. This is a good idea for anyone joining a new team and company, but it also helped me prepare my transition plan before I went on maternity leave.
A month or so into the role, I had completed all the mandatory onboarding tasks and created a robust transition plan. I wanted to make sure I was accountable for my work, and I ensured the rest was delegated to either my manager or team for when I’d be out on leave. As I was nearing my due date and the doctor appointments became more frequent, I blocked my calendar and shared it with the team to drive transparency, and covered the lost time later in the day.
Overcoming the challenges
It wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows, especially as I got closer to my due date. I had an ever-growing task list that I was constantly reprioritizing every day to make sure I was focusing on the right things before I went on maternity leave. I shared this tracker with my team and manager to make sure they were aware of what was happening and knew what to expect if I had to go on leave earlier than planned.
Fast forward to one week before my due date. During my regular checkup, my doctor advised me to go straight to the hospital as I was about to deliver the baby! I simply texted my manager to share that I’d have to start my maternity leave right away and submitted the required hospital documents to HR. Thanks to all the transition planning and preparation, I was able to start my leave peacefully.
Now I’m nearing the end of my maternity leave and I have used every bit of the time to take care of myself and bond with my baby. I feel so fortunate that things fell into place as I’d imagined and planned for. It certainly takes a bit of extra effort to change jobs during pregnancy but it's not impossible if you’re really passionate about the new opportunity and have the right mindset. If you or someone close to you is considering a similar move, I hope you feel reassured to hear my positive experience and know that it is possible.