It’s 10am in the morning, freezing outside, and I’m sitting here, in my PJs, eating breakfast (don’t hate me) – fruit, yoghurt and homemade museli that consists of no sugar – I know. I’m very, very good at starting the day out well. It kind of goes downhill as the day progresses. Especially as I work on my laptop on the kitchen table. Right in the middle of temptation.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have tossed and turned about the possibility of doing some part-time or short term contract work in my field. I like the idea of still have the extra time during the week to work on my website and have time to relax during pregnancy. I also like the idea of spending more time out of the house and meeting new people. Talking over the water cooler and having a tonic water in the pub after work on Fridays…
I know that I can take on a permanent role, being pregnant, as the law states that pregnancy cannot hinder any job application or an employer’s decision. But as I mentioned in the introduction, I don’t really want to do this to a future employer.
One thing that is particularly interesting and perhaps also just a little annoying, is that when I returned to London, after my holiday, I had a couple of recruitment agents calling me at least weekly to find out my next move. I met these recruitment agents in a previous finance role I had last year and as far as they were concerned, I was quite employable. That was until I decided to be honest with them.
They both wondered why I wanted contracting roles and not permanent roles. I should have told them some other lie, rather than the truth. Or maybe I should have told them the truth about my pregnancy, as I did and it’s society that needs to change. Anyway, I haven’t heard from either of them since.
I can kind of understand it. They are essentially salesmen who need to put forward their best “product” in order to make the sale and get their commissions. And a pregnant lady, regardless how much experience and qualifications they have – in their eyes – isn’t their best product.
But it has raised some questions for me.
I haven’t spent much time looking for work, so I haven’t yet had much experience with this. However, when you’re pregnant, ignoring what the law says SHOULD be happening – do I tell the recruitment agents that I’m pregnant? Do I tell the interviewer that I’m pregnant in the first interview? Or do I wait until I have a job offer, that I actually let them know as I would be certain that their decision couldn’t be hindered by my situation. Even though I would only be applying for jobs that are short term and would end before my due date?
It’s a tough one. I suppose it very much depends on the individual that I’m working with – but how would you know their opinion on employees who are pregnant and their productivity? I would love to live in a world where these questions don’t need to be answered, but we don’t and this is reality.
My recommendation to others out there, is that if you want to work for an employer up until your maternity leave, make sure you have a job for at least a year before getting pregnant! Then these questions don’t need to be answered and it’s one less thing to worry about.
- UK News: Pregnant staff face discrimination (birminghampost.net)
- UK News: Pregnant staff face discrimination (walesonline.co.uk)
- Pregnant staff face discrimination (standard.co.uk)