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Career and Pregnancy

Here is some advice about leadership. I recently spoke to a female client in a coaching program who is pregnant. So, obviously, I told her congratulations, but her reaction was unusual because she was sad about it. She wondered whether her pregnancy would affect her career—she manages a division of 300 people. My advice to her was that the company is not worried about your pregnancy — they’re worried about her ability to manage it. And if she manages it, everything’s going to be fine.

Your manager wants you to manage your pregnancy so that it’s no disruption to the business. No disruption doesn’t mean that you need to come into the office every day. No disruption to the business means that the outcomes you would have achieved by doing 10 tasks don’t change. But the way you do those 10 tasks can change. Now, she took that advice, and she stayed at home two days out of the week, and of course COVID came along, which made it much easier for her to do that.

When you go through anything in your life, always remember that nobody wants to talk about your problem, in this case her pregnancy, because they don’t have time. What they want for you is to manage it. If you are facing a change in your life that forces you to stop operating in a traditional way, that’s okay, provided you can get the job done. No disruption to the business does not mean things don’t have to change. You can work from home if it suits you, you can work part time if it suits you—provided the company is still getting the value they expect from you as contractually agreed by all parties. Remember that you can do whatever is best for you. You don’t have to look at what other people are doing. It’s your career, it’s your life. You need to manage it. You can be a leader, but you don’t have to fit the stereotype of what a typical leader is.

This is an excerpt from Monday Morning 8 a.m. newsletter, issue #4.

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