Yesterday, I got laid off.
Which means it’s time to update the resume and start making the phone calls.
I’ve been in this position before. I was laid off almost 10 years ago during the recession, so I know the drill, and I remember what to do. But this time is a little bit different. This time, I have a 2-year-old son and I’m six months pregnant.
My first thought was, “What the eff am I supposed to do now?” I mean, who wants to hire a pregnant mom who’s about to disappear into the abyss of diaper changes and midnight spit-up parties? Who wants a new employee who’s physically there, but inside is a mental pinball machine of task lists, organizing and major body changes? Someone who is so distracted by one of life’s biggest milestones, she can’t put herself completely into the job?
I have to be brutally honest: For a hiring manager, I completely understand why I’m not the ideal job candidate.
I know the laws. They’re not supposed to ask, and I am under no obligation to tell them. But one look at me indicates I’m either a kleptomaniac who just stole a ball from the local bowling alley, or very pregnant.
Besides, it feels dishonest to not bring up my pregnancy during the job search. Not because I feel obligated, but because it is such a significant part of who I am and who I’m about to be. If a hiring manager asked me about my skill set and passions, I would rattle off my career accomplishments, but I would also want to mention my incredible talent for planning prenatal appointments, lab tests and exercise around my toddler’s schedule, or my passion for being a mom and my excitement about having a newborn in my life again.
Despite all these distractions, the anxiety, and the major life changes, I would still be an excellent employee. I’m good at what I do, and I take great pride in my work. But let’s face it—right now, my body is carrying two hearts, with two sets of beats, neither of which are geared toward finding a new company to serve, catering to a new boss, and meeting new stresses and demands for which I frankly don’t have the energy.
So perhaps it’s not fair to go job hunting right now, not fair to the company who may eventually hire me or my future boss, not fair to myself or my family. But you know what? Life’s not fair. And my husband and I have bills to pay. And whether or not my finding a job while pregnant is in the best interest of a potential employer or my state of mind doesn’t matter when the energy company says we have 30 days to pay or they’ll shut down our power.
And besides, I’m a working mom. I knew going into this baby-making thing I would always be a working mom, and I love being a working mom. While I adore playing with my son, building block towers, and drawing scribbles on coloring books, I also enjoy putting on my professional hat, analyzing marketing campaigns, and brainstorming new ways to engage customers. For me, it’s the best of both worlds.
So while I weighed the idea of staying home for the next few months, birthing my next child, and jumping into the job hunt when the timing was better, the working mom in me has other plans. And that damn energy company keeps sending me letters where the font color keeps getting redder.
So what is a tired, stressed pregnant mom to do? Well, right now I’m going to fix myself a cup of decaf and dust off a resume I haven’t looked at in years. And since I haven’t updated my resume since becoming a mother, I will be sure to add “excellent multitasker,” “keeps cool under extreme pressure,” and “works well with unruly temperaments” to my list of qualifications.