updates: the short maternity leave, the needy replacement, and more
This post, updates: the short maternity leave, the needy replacement, and more , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
Here are three updates from letter-writers who had their questions answered here in the past.
1. My manager doesn’t believe I’ll be back two weeks off after having a baby (#2 at the link)
Well, I did end up having another conversation where I reiterated my two week plan and that the doctor agreed if there were no complications. I didn’t get sputtering the second time but I did get a gentle “pp is much harder then you understand” conversation. I ended up not bringing up my financial motivations because…I didn’t want to seem whiny? Bad with money? I’m not sure. I did bring up my concern about the temp and how if I come back too soon it’ll cut the contract. Turns out that was a non concern as they planned to use her in other areas whenever I came back, regardless if it was two weeks or six. In the end, however both HR, my manager, and your lovely comment section were all right one way or another. Pp is hard! And things did not go the way I expected! I went a week overdue, had a small scare, they induced me and my son ended up being 2.5 lbs bigger then they expected! But also that same day I received my stimulus check which really helped with my financials while on maternity leave! I actually ended up taking 10 weeks off before I had to go back. Those first few weeks were rough! I super underestimated how much work a newborn would be, as well as healing from the birth, and I’m glad I was able to stay with my baby for as long as I did.
Thank you again for your script and especially thank you to your comment section; They had a lot of thoughtful advice (and some reality checks) that really helped me with this!
2. My replacement doesn’t want me to stop helping him
The responses to my post on your site were something I really needed during a really vulnerable time in my life. I had just made a major life change, moving from Iowa back home to Ohio. The job I left in Iowa was huge in pressure and responsibility and I always struggled with feelings that I could never do enough. I ended up finishing my training with my replacement on October 31, this included a training session that went until 11:00 pm at night.
I did follow the advice in one of the responses to my post: once the training was completed I sent an email to my former boss and chair of the finance committee that listed all of the items I had trained my replacement on. I also listed outstanding items where more training was needed. I felt so much better after this! In addition, I found someone from another, local branch, who was willing to assist my replacement when needed. I still hear from my former boss via text. It is usually a quick question about budgets or vendors, questions that could be answered by my replacement. I don’t know if he doesn’t want to bother my replacement, it’s easier to quickly ask me, or if he offers to ask me to help my replacement. Either way, I still find it surprising. Life is good in Ohio. I still struggle with boundaries but am doing better every time.
The responses on your site were so encouraging. I think most of us question ourselves, our reactions and abilities. Work is a big part of our lives, it is where we spend most of our waking hours. Thank you for what you do, it really matters.
3. Will I ever find a job I like? (first question in the podcast; transcript here; first update here)
First, updates on that previous horrible workplace. They made some changes during the pandemic that are causing tons of people to leave including my two good friends that were still there when I left and my old horrible boss! I won’t list the changes made because they are somewhat identifying but it’s pretty bad. I’m only bummed I won’t get to hear all the gossip from there anymore LOL.
On to me… the place I ended up going to after that horrible job ended up being a dumpster fire as well! I was in a weird political situation with my role (basically I was borrowed to a different team and my director forced me to choose which team to work on, and I chose the team I was originally hired onto because he promised a lot and practically begged). Then the pandemic happened and he laid me off, without telling the team I was still borrowed to what happened! I ended up being “saved” for a bit and got my layoff extended through July 2020, and landed a new job right when my extended layoff period ended so I ended up not being unemployed at all AND still got my severance. It all worked out in the end but I would’ve appreciated less drama!
The layoff was a blessing in disguise… I thought I would enjoy the technical work of that job more but I truly didn’t. I decided to actually take your advice to heart and figure out what I actually want from work, what I can live with, what my dealbreakers are, and what I really want in my career. I started an MBA program in the Fall of 2019 and that has really turned me on to strategy/change management types of roles. I actually feel kinda excited about my career path again!
The job I am at now is for a junior PM role, and I just got a promotion to PM! This new job is NOT a dream job by any means; we’re a vendor for the federal government so I have zero autonomy, I work on software built in the 80s, and at 35 I’m the youngest person on the product! But it has the things I am currently looking for, including work/life balance so I can focus on school, tuition reimbursement ($10k/year for graduate level tuition!!!!!), supportive management, and tons of opportunities for growth within and outside the product (my parent company is a multi-national corporation). There are things here and there that bother me, but I’ve gotten better at letting them just roll off my shoulders and being more mindful and appreciative of what I do like about my job.
I think if I had this job a few years ago I’d be miserable, but the mindset shift that you suggested has really helped me see the forest through the trees and realize this job is JUST A JOB, and just a means to get a job more aligned with my career goals in the near future. Thank you again for your advice!
This content was originally published here.