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Pregnancy & The Job Interview

Pregnancy & The Job Interview

I have been getting this question, even though it is illegal to ask my entire career. “Are you planning on getting pregnant? And if so, are you going to return to work after?  This is a question most if not all interviewers are asking someone they are planning to hire.  Most recently, this question came up jokingly in a conversation I was having with someone I have known for years, who was talking to me about possibly becoming the CEO of his company.

Here’s the thing I didn’t get mad or angry at the question – because I know that anyone on a Board of Directors, is going to have the same question – If They Are A Man. (And most of the members of most Boards are.) So I’d rather I have a chance to off-the-record – answer that question, then have a bunch of men, who don’t know me “assume” they know my answer. Because believe me, the question will come up in the board’s discussions. My resume along with a man’s resume might be the same. But if they think that man has a higher likelihood of staying in the company longer, they will go with him. Which isnt’ fair, but is reality. So I’d rather the question was at least answered.

Now, as a woman, and I’m guessing as most women would tell you – when I have interviewed people for various positions, it has never entered my head.  We don’t think about the question, are you or are you not going to get pregnant – and here’s why.  I have watched my friends – both men and women go through the stage of childbearing/ rearing. And most – both men and women – have made changes to their career based on this change in family status. Most of which was not and could not have been predicted prior to actually holding the baby in their hands.

The women all have some idea of how it will be for them -some that they will stay at home. Some that they will quickly return to the workforce, some that they will stay at home full time for a year, then return.  And 80% of the time, their “plan” whatever that was, isn’t what actually happened.  Why?

Because having a baby can change things. Yes, some women I know had a baby and returned to work. But most found a job or were already in a job that enable them to continue their career progression while giving them flexibility to work from home some part of the week.  Others who swore they would be working Moms ended up loving being a stay at home Mom.  Others who thought they’d love the Stay At Home Mom thing – were itching to go back to work.  And All of them – regardless of what choice they made – all felt guilty for not making some other choice.

Here’s the other thing that I have found, and that studies have also backed up.  Men when they get married and have kids – they change their job as well!  Many of the men I know from when I use to work for a big 4 firm quit their jobs.  A lot of them went into an industry job that enabled them career growth, but still some flexibility to spend time with their kids.  And a surprising number have actually done something completely different, which they didn’t decide to do until they had children. I realize that my consulting experience my skew this slightly, but studies have also shown that when men have kids they change jobs to make more money. Which is kind of a “duh” moment. But there you have it.

In my opinion, the reality is both men and women will likely change a job or job requirements once they have a family.  Women possibly for a different reason then men. (Men moving on to make more money is just seen as a career move, and is therefore not talked about in relation to having a baby.)

Which is why I never thought about or asked the question circuitously when doing interviews.  And why the question should be removed from men’s mind as much as it is most women’s. But as long as men are thinking it – I for one would love the ability to answer.  Even if I know, answering a question about what I will be doing a few years down the line is a little ridiculous.  As I haven’t read my future and I can’t really tell you what my actual decision will be once I hold that tiny life in my hands. But I can answer to the same degree of certainty as any man will do who has yet to take into account, how holding that tiny life, now dependent upon him, will do to his thinking.

What do you think?  Men, Women? Do you agree or disagree?

For another blog about work and family see Can We Women Have It All?

My Devina

My Devina is a site for women. Someone once described our site as being about "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Orgasm." And we would agree. Our goal is to provide a site of of flirty, sometimes controversial, mostly humorous and informative posts written for everyone to enjoy. So regardless if your relationship status is single, divorced, in a relationship, or It's Complicated, has uplifting and fun content for you.

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