So I have this friend…
…and no, it’s not me. I know that most stories that begin that way tend to be nothing but a shallow cover by an uncreative person for his or her own doings. This is not a story about me, but I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to handle this situation.
If you’re looking for my Wordless Wednesday post, it is below this one.
I’ve mentioned this person before. In fact, she is the one for whom I was crocheting the baby blanket (not yet blocked, but will be ready by Saturday). Let me give you the story. I will call her Chloe (since I’m still on a ‘C’ kick) instead of her real name.
About 4 months ago Chloe was let go from her previous job, a job at which she had worked for nearly two years with very positive progress reports. She was about 3 months pregnant at the time. She was told the day she was fired that the reason for this seemingly incongruous decision on the part of management was that she was not performing up to par, unexpected, to be sure, since she had just received a 5 star review a few short days before. Naturally, she thought it was no coincidence that her boss had just found out that she was pregnant. Needless to say, when she left the job in search of another one Chloe also contemplated opening a law suit for wrongful termination. However, since Chloe is a very driven woman she wasted no time in finding other employment. Within less than a week she found her current situation.
Last night I received a phone call from a very stressed out pregnant woman. She had been informed at work that since she has not been with the company all that long she is not guaranteed any paid vacation time, holiday time, or sick leave. He employer then denied the fact that she knew Chloe was pregnant when she hired her and explained that since Chloe is going to need sick time after the baby is born and she has no allotted time she will have to take any time as unpaid. When Chloe explained that she would do everything she could to return to work a day or two after the birth, “as soon as the doctors say I can leave the hospital”, her boss said that wouldn’t work and that they would require her at be absent for at least a week and not return without a written report from her doctor that she could safely work. The company sees Chloe as a “temporary hire”, although that is not the condition under which Chloe thought she was being hired, and therefore will need to find another “temp” when she is gone. When Chloe then inquired whether she would have a job after taking time off after the birth of her baby she was told that the company has no immediate plans to hire another employee but that the future is uncertain.
The situation sucks. There are no two ways around it. She is not in a position in which she can take unpaid time off, or worse yet, lose her job. Her household is a two person income household. It needs to be that way. Chloe is the significant bread winner and by no means can her new family survive on her husband’s pay, not to mention the difficulties she will have with insurance covering her hospital stay during the birth.
We chatted last night for awhile and Chloe informed me that if she is going to get laid off because she has to take sick days which she has not yet accumulated she wants to be proactive and find another job. Of course, job hunting when one is 7 1/2 months pregnant is tricky to say the least. Although technically someone can not refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant, you can guarantee that any potential employer will come up with any number of other excuses.
So, last night I spent an hour or so searching Craigslist for possible telecommuting opportunities for her. I also plan to distribute her resume to people I know in the area. Obviously, this is not the ideal situation, but Chloe admitted to me that when she took her current job she did so only out of necessity since the pay they offered was far below what she had been receiving. At this point she is merely looking for a way to continue to pay the bills while she waits for her baby to be born and then takes a week or so to recover from the birth. After her baby is born she plans to go back out and look for a position more suited to and appreciative of her experience.
I wish I could help her more, but I’m not really sure what I can do. I would love suggestions/advice from anyone who has experience or even thoughts on this topic.