Wednesday, September 19, 2012

office politics

Interesting what prompts one to share the news at work. While I had considered the timing carefully, and meant to start telling people somewhere between weeks 20 and 24,  it seems like life had other plans.

Some of you who have been reading this blog for a while now (bless you for wading through my excessive verbiage) will know that I am the queen of maternity leave contracts. It's an ironic position to be in as an infertile, but I'm not proud. Work is work, and I'll take it where I can get it. Of course I lust after my colleagues' permanent full time positions with cushy benefits and pensions, but when I go down that road, I steer myself back with the reminder that getting a job in this economy is rather fortunate. And I've been lucky to have good jobs, for the most part.

The job I'm in now has offered a number of benefits. Like it's nice to sleep at home during weeknights. I enjoy the people I work with, and I get to do some interesting work. My contract was set to end in October (next month) but sometime last spring, my boss told me they had found a pocket of money to keep me until the end of March 2013. She said they had all been very pleased with my work. Nice to hear.

In August, the two psychologists who had been off on mat leave returned to work. It made me a little nervous at first - I could see that it would be nonstop baby talk, and that I would have the priviledge of feeling like shit all the time because of it. Of course, I was pregnant myself at the time, but I wasn't ready to believe I would stay pregnant. So, APPREHENSION grew.

Turns out the two women are entirely lovely. Yes, they talk babies a lot, but they also talk psychology, and tv series, and frustrations with husbands, and lots of other topics to which I can relate. Like tofu. And shoes. While I had been friendly with lots of people at work, all of a sudden, I had FRIENDS at work. Sweet!

Then one day in early September, the colleague with whom I share an office closed the door and said she had to talk to me about something. Turns out she is returning from mat leave pregnant. Unexpected, she said, but feeling very pleased. When she got to saying the due date (one day after mine), I couldn't not tell her about my little gummy. Her reaction was a surprise. She jumped up and squealed, stating that we would be on mat leave together and that this was awesome. Her reaction moved me a great deal.

Our boss was as supportive of her as expected. Which means very. We have a stellar boss. But I quickly learned that she was looking for me to talk about my contract. When I finally met with her, she was so pleased to offer me a one-year extension, which I genuinely wished I could have accepted. I must say her expression was priceless when I turned it down and said why.

So while she didn't broadcast it throughout the agency, my boss did have to share it with some key people. I decided to share with all my psychology colleagues who were all wondering if I would be taking over for the upcoming mat leave. It's been really fun to watch people's reactions when I say that I had to turn down the offer, and then say why. So far, I think the best one was from one of the senior psychologists who said that my timing was off. I responded that after 3-4 years of efforts, I felt that now was as good as ever. She looked at me and just offered me her condolences for having gone through infertility. Bless her heart.

And this is how the word is getting out. I've started telling other people at the office, although I'm not in a hurry to do it. At the same time, it's been nicer than expected. I do fear having to untell, but at the same time, I'm holding on to the fact that this seems to be a reality right now.


  1. Yeah! Enjoy the bragging and giddiness that comes with it. I hope the worries will subside and have no merit in the end although who can blame you :) Just enjoy all of it though I say.

  2. What a funny turn of events. And nice that everyone around you is so excited about your news cause I have to imagine that this would make the telling so much easier. So proud of you for putting the person who said your timing was off in their place.... ignorance is everywhere I guess.

  3. there's never a perfect time for anything and it's great that everyone is so positive and of course nice to know that they would have extended you. Hopefully when you're back on the look out for jobs they will be able to snatch you up (unless of course you decide to venture my way and move)

  4. I have these tears of joy. I am excited that there are fellow coworkers to share your excitement. And I can't help but think that this mat leave networking won't pay off in full time after your own leave.

  5. Irony at its best. But that is how IF goes, I suppose. And how nice it must be to share the news (a little at a time) and get such great reactions. I'm so happy for you. I think it's great that your boss was so understanding of your coworker returning from maternity leave pregnant. We had that happen here and things didn't go so well. I wish there were more people that acted like your boss instead of some of the bosses we have here.

  6. Jumping up and squealing is just right. I squeal, usually inwardly, thinking of you. And I'm grateful to your senior colleague for following her weird comment with compassion. I am hopeful that there is a perfect job waiting for you on the other side of a magical period of cocooning with your little one. Clearly you are a valued member of any establishment you grace, and once you kick another round of licensing ass, I imagine you'll be even more overqualified! Hurrah! Anyway, I'm kinda glad you were pressured into sharing a little--it seems to make it more real.

  7. I'm sorry, I've been so bad at commenting (no excuses, really), but I've been here silently rooting for you and gummy bear through the SCH scare. I'm so very glad things are looking good and continuing to go fine, there is just this feeling of surrealness, isn't there?

    The joy and fun in imparting this news is something we should all get to experience, in a perfect world, and I'm glad you got to do it, and that it was a positive experience!!

  8. Awww. Just live it. It is such a delight to share everyone's reaction to the pregnancy. Terrifying and fun. I am so happy for you.