Ask Belle: Mommy-Related Career Advice
Jan 23, 2013
I have a question for you. I am in the process of looking for a new job, in a new town, now that my life has finally calmed down after a campaign. On top of that, my husband and I are a little anxious to start a family. So, unlike previous years when I would look for jobs, I actually care now about the work-life balance and would love a “mommy-friendly” environment. Are there any good ways to find out during an interview how “mommy-friendly” an office is?
While I am single and childless, I appreciate how important it must be to know that your future employer will be supportive of your plans if you’re looking to start a family. But broaching the subject is something that needs to be handled with care, we’ve all heard the horror stories about women not being offered jobs because they were pregnant or newly married.
If it were me, I wouldn’t bring it up in the initial interview. Instead, I’d ask if the employer would allow you to talk to some current employees about the work that they do and whether they like working for the company. Usually, employers will give you the names of one or two people who you can talk to about the business.
I would ask these people a few questions about the environment, the nature of the work, the clients/employer and then ask about your other co-workers. What is the average age? Do they have families or are they single? Is the employer accommodating to people who have families (picking up from daycare, working late, etc.)? The answers to these questions should give you most of the information you need.
If you are called back in for a second interview, I would consider asking for more information about salary and benefits. This will give you the opportunity to ask about healthcare, time off and maternity leave policies. That shouldn’t raise too many red flags, and if it does, you probably wouldn’t want to work there anyway.
That’s my two cents, but I know that there are a lot of women out there who are mothers who might have some better/more specific advice for how to discern whether the business is “mommy-friendly.”