Should I Stay or Should I Go?

by Evil HR Lady on September 1, 2008

I’m in HR and currently have a job where I was responsible for creating a training program. I was the first person to do this for the company and everyone thinks I’m doing a fantastic job. Actually, I’m in 2nd gear. I came from a completely different industry and was in a generalist/manager position. In this capacity I worked like a dog and was generally miserable. But I felt I was doing a good job – I implemented some clear improvements, and saw real change happen. Here, I feel like I’m not doing that great of a job, I have too much free time, very little oversight and the people who need to attend training are not coming anyway.

I have an opportunity to apply for a competing organization, where the director seems more involved. I feel very loyal to my current boss, but need more oversight, guidance and structure than I am getting. My current organization would probably not be able to find a replacement given the location. The wild card in this is that I am currently trying to conceive. At which point, I’m not sure if I would want to stay home for awhile (12-18 months), come back in a part-time situation or come back to FT after 3 months. Since I’ve become so spoiled and lazy, what if I can no longer perform to higher expectations? I have shared with the potential director that starting a family is on the horizon, and this seems to be understood. I don’t, however, think it’s ethical to hop jobs and then either a) leave them in a lurch or b) feel like I cannot stay home if I want to because I changed jobs so recently (which also brings up FMLA).

Okey-dokey, let’s slow down. First of all you have an “opportunity to apply” for a new job. No telling if you’ll get it. This worrying may all be moot anyway. Second, you are “trying to conceive.” Congratulations! May you be rapidly successful. But, you may not be. It make take a considerable amount of time to achieve pregnancy.

Now, from a practical advice standpoint, if you change jobs and get pregnant in less than 3 months you won’t be eligible for FMLA. (Not that FMLA is the be-all-end-all of maternity leave, but it is what it is.) You have to have worked for a place for a year, and they must have at least 50 employees in order to even be required to grant you the 12 weeks leave. They may have a different maternity policy altogether.

Another thing to think about is that if you do get pregnant, you may have one heck of a pregnancy. Sure, you may be lucky to simply have an expanding waistline and a few delicate little kicks starting up around 20 weeks, or you may get the morning/afternoon/evening sickness that will send you to the emergency room to be rehydrated. You just don’t know. So, would that be a good time to be in a brand new job? Hmmm, probably not.

If we pretend there was no TTC going on (and please, in casual conversation with co-workers, this is never something to bring up. It tells us way too much about what you are doing with your weekends.) what would I say? I’ll tell you. With bullet points because it seems like a bullet point kind of an answer.

  • Apply for the new job. No harm in interviewing and finding out about the company.
  • You say you are not challenged at your training job, yet people aren’t coming to their scheduled training classes. Well then, there’s a challenge for you to dig into. Figure out how to get people to want to come to training. It can be done!
  • Don’t worry that your current company won’t be able to replace you. I know, it’s flattering to think “the whole world will fall apart if I leave!” but reality is, you are expendable. Sorry, but you are. They will find someone new or they will realize the function isn’t needed.
  • If you think you might possibly, in some strange universe, want to stay home after giving birth (longer than maternity leave, that is), or want a flexible schedule (from home, part time, longer leave) and your current boss would be amenable to that, I wouldn’t leave. Finding that flexibility is hard and worth some cost. (For the record, I took a 16 week maternity leave–starting back on Thursday, sob!–and will be working from home now. Do I love my boss? Yes, she’s fabulous and flexible. Is my job itself ideal? No. I’d rather, actually, be doing training, but I’m not giving up the fabulous deal I have now.)
  • You can perform to a higher expectation. Just because your current job is easy, it doesn’t mean your brain cells have stopped functioning. Don’t worry about that.

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