Do These Five Things For Your Career Before Going On Mat Leave
These simple actions will impress your employer
Your maternity leave doesn’t have to hurt your career. In fact, in can be a great way to demonstrate to your employer how much you care about your job and progression within the company. It all comes down to setting expectations and planning for your leave. Do these five simple things before going on maternity leave to impress your boss, human resources and colleagues. You should also keep in mind that Employer Doesn’t Always Know Best and your career remains yours to manage, especially through the transitions of maternity leave.
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Before you go on maternity/parental leave, it’s really important that you take the time to plan for your career. There are so many resources out there to help you plan for gear, feeding and childbirth that it’s really easy to overlook the career side of this change. Plus, as moms we are pretty much the worst at focusing on ourselves. I barely brushed my hair while I was on maternity leave but I made time to take an excessive amount of photographs. For examples, see my posts on 52 Totally Practical Baby Age Milestone Photo Poses and Dress-up With My Dudes: Cute Outfits Aren’t Just For Girls.
If you’ve worked hard at building a career and plan to continue a focus on career growth during pregnancy and post-maternity leave, you need to intentionally manage your transitions to and from work. No one is going to look after your career for you. So if you’re going to be away from work for a long time, you need a plan for this. Read more about How My Maternity Leave Ended My Corporate Career.
1] Talk About The Transition From Work With Your Manager
If you’ve got regular check-ins scheduled with your manager, use this time to address any concerns you have about your upcoming transition. Your manager will likely want to hear about this sooner, rather than at the last minute. Be prepared to offer solutions to the challenges you’ve identified.
2] Write Down A Plan
On top of having an open conversation with your manager, create a document that details the projects you’re working on, the status of those projects, important contact information and other important details. If your boss and co-workers were leaving the office for a year, or more, what would you want to know? Include all those details in a nice document to impress your manager and co-workers. Create this plan early in your pregnancy and keep it updated as your belly grows. Hopefully all goes as planned with your pregnancy. But if it doesn’t at least you’ve got the status of your work projects captured to easily pass along.
3] Decide How You’ll Keep In Touch When On Leave
Through you’re not required to stay in touch with your employer while on leave, I recommend that you set up some sort of regular communication. You know that saying ‘out of sight, out of mind?’ Well, it’s true. By keeping in touch with your manager, a colleague or a mentor you’ll stay in the loop about big projects and significant organizational changes. Plus, you’ll stay top of mind (hopefully) when it comes opportunities for promotions.
4] Update Your Performance Management Document
Before going on leave make sure to closeout any outstanding performance discussions with your manager. This is a great time to discuss your future career goals and highlight your commitment to your career, even through the transition to motherhood.
5] Update Your Resume
Before going on maternity leave, update your resume and be sure to highlight your most recent accomplishments. Career transition is an ideal time to work on your professional brand. Use this opportunity to talk about who you are as a professional, rather than focusing on the details of baby. Your updated resume can be circulated to your manager, mentor or other senior leaders to remind them of your professional value. If things change at work while you’re on leave, or if you decide to pursue a different path, you’ve got the resume already done.
Going on maternity leave is a really big deal for you and your employer. The transitions to, and from, maternity leave deserve some time and attention. This is a great opportunity to showcase your organization and leadership skills by intentionally managing all the details with your employer.
If all this seems overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, grab my FREE Download ∨