Author Topic: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job  (Read 5978 times)

jeromedawg

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Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« on: July 07, 2015, 02:13:20 PM »
Hey all,

Was seeking some advice on behalf of my wife as our plans are to have her transition to SAHM come Jan 2016 (we have a baby due soon - sometime in August). Anyway, my wife is currently working in a division of her company where the morale is really low and several people have quit or left for other jobs in the span of a few weeks. Her workload and stress-levels have been relatively higher and she's been doing quite a bit of overtime. She does get paid for it but it's peanuts in relation to the amount of work she actually does, and just doesn't feel worth it. There is constant pressure from upper-management to fulfill deadlines, and she usually finds out about the deadline the day OF the deadline :T Furthermore, her immediate manager sucks and is a really horrible manager (often blame-shifts and avoids answering questions or helping) - is more interested in showing up and getting paid than he is actually doing any real work or growing his team based on what she tells me. Upper-management has mentioned or implied several times that employees should reconsider whether or not they really want to be working there if they can't handle all the changes, deadlines, pressure, etc...

Anyway, our transition plan was to have her take her LOA around the time the baby is due and for the next few months through November. Then I'd take my LOA to watch the baby while she goes back to work through Nov and December... of course, she'd get the Thanksgiving wknd and a week or maybe two for Christmas. Then she would give notice in January. We just want to maximize the benefit (PTO, etc) and salary to finish out the year at least before she goes SAHM mode.

It turns out that her old manager from another division in the same company contacted her recently asking if she'd be interested in transferring over and joining his group. She first worked under this manager when joining the company and I met him - super cool guy, seems to know what he's doing and how to run his team, helpful, and my wife was fine working for him back then (she's gotten shifted around quite a bit in the past several years at this place). From the sound of it, she thinks it's something she'd much rather be doing in terms of work and where the stress and pressure would be less.
I think she's just worried about burning any bridges if she does interview and get the position, and then ends up carrying out our 'transition' plan to quit in January. The reality is, she really won't be working with this group for that long if she takes this route, and she doesn't want to leave them hanging I think (but if you want to frame it that way - the company isn't going to care for her more than she cares for the company). The way I see it: A) less stress and better working environment and B) they are going to have to hire someone *anyway* to cover for her during the LOA so just do it. Then again, they could decide not to take her on at all given the fact that she will be taking a LOA... that could arguably be discrimination though.

Otherwise, she'll end up stuck in the current position probably just as stressed especially after the baby arrives.

Any thoughts or advice on what route she should take?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 05:31:21 PM by jplee3 »

bogart

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 02:20:34 PM »
Congratulations on your impending arrival. 

I assume given your wife's due date that this prospective hiring manager knows she is expecting. 

Honestly, I say she should go for it, if she wants to.  Your wife may be firmly committed to being SAH; personally (although this was not a surprise to me) I was very, very happy to resume working after our LO was born.  Lots of parents expect to feel one way and find they feel another (both WRT planning to SAH and planning not to).  So if that's a firm commitment, great, but you/she may also find how you feel about available options changes over time.

And even if she does opt to SAH perhaps by consulting or other ways she could continue to help the (new) work team, if she finds she wants to.

Obviously she shouldn't lie about her plans, but beyond that I'd say she should actively pursue whatever's the best fit for her interests.

MDM

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 02:29:37 PM »
Any thoughts or advice on what route she should take?

First, congratulations on the upcoming baby - get your sleep now. :)

A vote here for "do the interview and decide on the transfer (if offered) without considering any plans to quit."

The company could fire her at any time, and would do so without concern for how that might affect her.  She should give the company the same (lack of) consideration in making her own plans.  And who knows - she might decide the new role is good enough not to leave, or to go less than full time, or...?

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 02:32:37 PM »
Congratulations on your impending arrival. 

I assume given your wife's due date that this prospective hiring manager knows she is expecting. 

Honestly, I say she should go for it, if she wants to.  Your wife may be firmly committed to being SAH; personally (although this was not a surprise to me) I was very, very happy to resume working after our LO was born.  Lots of parents expect to feel one way and find they feel another (both WRT planning to SAH and planning not to).  So if that's a firm commitment, great, but you/she may also find how you feel about available options changes over time.

And even if she does opt to SAH perhaps by consulting or other ways she could continue to help the (new) work team, if she finds she wants to.

Obviously she shouldn't lie about her plans, but beyond that I'd say she should actively pursue whatever's the best fit for her interests.

Thanks! Yes, she told him about the baby and how she plans to take a LOA. He told her that shouldn't be a concern and that it would be wrong not to hire someone pregnant (of course, I'm sure companies can come up with other excuses).

She has lamented multiple times to me how much she dislikes and is dissatisfied in her position... I think a big factor is the stress, pressure, and long-hours - of course that will make work the least enjoyable. She has also said that she likes doing "lower-level" or "brainless" work and that she was happy doing Accounts Payable before where it was pretty low stress (hope this doesn't offend anyone out there who's working in AP!). But as of now, she dislikes her job so much that she has resorted to saying things like "I just don't think I was meant to be at work... I really think I want to stay at home and care for kids. Maybe we open up a daycare later." hahahaha.

Thanks for your perspective though - assuming she actually gets the position and likes it, I guess we should wait and see how she feels about it after the baby comes. Currently though, she would be more than happy to just quit (again, I think this is due to bad management of the group she's in). She has asked about working part-time or remotely with the current group and they are adamantly against it - it's more than likely going to be the same way with the other group too but I can have her ask.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 02:32:51 PM »
Go with the cool manager's transfer offer. And she might even enjoy it to the point where she could maybe think about working an adjusted schedule so she can spend most of her time with the child, but still be available part time or work from home -having a caregiver for one or two days a week so she can go in and work might be the best of both worlds - she gets to still have adult conversations and keep her professional life but spend the majority of her days at home with the baby.

If she's working for a manager that likes her and knows she's a valued employee, then she stands a much better chance of negotiating a part time work schedule or even a leave (for a year or two) and still be on good terms with the manager if she wants to come back and much less chance of burning bridges than the current jerk manager. And at least she won't have had to work for jerk manager during the last part of the year.

In the end, as long as she gives adequate notice, there would be no burning bridges.


jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 04:14:11 PM »
Go with the cool manager's transfer offer. And she might even enjoy it to the point where she could maybe think about working an adjusted schedule so she can spend most of her time with the child, but still be available part time or work from home -having a caregiver for one or two days a week so she can go in and work might be the best of both worlds - she gets to still have adult conversations and keep her professional life but spend the majority of her days at home with the baby.

If she's working for a manager that likes her and knows she's a valued employee, then she stands a much better chance of negotiating a part time work schedule or even a leave (for a year or two) and still be on good terms with the manager if she wants to come back and much less chance of burning bridges than the current jerk manager. And at least she won't have had to work for jerk manager during the last part of the year.

In the end, as long as she gives adequate notice, there would be no burning bridges.

Thanks, I'll encourage her to pursue interviewing with the other group and see what comes of it. You never know. Although, from what she tells me about the company, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone there, that isn't a relative or brown-noser, who could realistically get on a part-time flex work schedule or even sabbatical. The only people who get special treatment there it seems are those whom the C-Level loves or any relative of an upper-mgmt exec.

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 05:17:20 PM »
Okay, I guess I'm the grumpy, old retired HR manager.  This is exactly why supervisors don't want to hire pregnant women.  It doesn't seem fair to the manager she likes and respects to take the job knowing that she plans to only work ~3 months months out of the next 6 and then quit.   She will definitely burn a bridge with that manager and also make it harder for the next pregnant woman to get any consideration  beyond what's legally required.

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 07:27:15 PM »
Okay, I guess I'm the grumpy, old retired HR manager.  This is exactly why supervisors don't want to hire pregnant women.  It doesn't seem fair to the manager she likes and respects to take the job knowing that she plans to only work ~3 months months out of the next 6 and then quit.   She will definitely burn a bridge with that manager and also make it harder for the next pregnant woman to get any consideration  beyond what's legally required.

So are you suggesting that she either quit now or endure through the current situation and quit as planned in January?

Jacana

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 08:24:00 PM »
Does the new position require training or a ramp-up period where she will be less productive? If she takes it, will she feel more obligated to return after her LOA?

3 or so years ago I was in a similar position. Only I couldn't actually do my very physical job anymore and my company policy offered either disability or quit. No transfers or light duty for expecting moms, period. However I interviewed for a great position in a different group (same company, same manager) that I could have done through the whole pregnancy and returned to after my LOA. But that position required at least 6 months of intense training before being fully up and running, and my husband and I already knew we wanted me to be home for at least a year or two.

I decided to be honest and declined the position with a full explanation to the manager. And I gave my two weeks shortly after. She really appreciated it, and did say that if I ever changed my mind and wanted to return in the future they would be happy to consider me for any positions available. I guess I could have gone for the short term raise, reduced stress, and higher title and still have quit a few months later, but it didn't seem right and it definitely would have burned bridges had I changed my mind post baby. My last few weeks were great, everyone was really nice to me, and I had no guilt or feeling of obligation making me doubt my decision to stay home.





Catbert

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 10:40:44 AM »
Okay, I guess I'm the grumpy, old retired HR manager.  This is exactly why supervisors don't want to hire pregnant women.  It doesn't seem fair to the manager she likes and respects to take the job knowing that she plans to only work ~3 months months out of the next 6 and then quit.   She will definitely burn a bridge with that manager and also make it harder for the next pregnant woman to get any consideration  beyond what's legally required.

So are you suggesting that she either quit now or endure through the current situation and quit as planned in January?

I'm suggesting that she work in her current job ~1 month until until she goes on maternity leave.  Once her paid time off (sick/vacation/disability) is complete then quit or come back and work the crappy job if that's what she wants. 

I think Jacana handled her similar situation with a lot of class - and kept a door open to come back if she wants/needs to in the future. 

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 10:42:25 AM »
I am also going to echo others here and say absolutely take the better position, because even though it is "decided" now that she's going to be a SAHM, that might not be how she feels about it later.  I planned on staying home and I did.  My sister planned on staying home but thought "geez, twin babies are boring, I have to get back to work!"  You can try to guess how you will feel about being a SAHP, but you truly cannot pass an effective judgement until you do it.

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 11:13:50 AM »
I'll go with taking the better position too. While the 'cool manager' is probably as you said a very nice person and worthy of respect, 'At Will' employment is just that. The company wouldn't feel guilty laying her off with no notice or regard for her circumstances as long as it wasn't painting itself into an illegal corner.

Burning bridges isn't a good thing but when you consider the possibility that she takes her LOA and realizes that after the babies come and she WANTS to go back to work, have some time away from babies, etc, you'd rather her have the better position to return to. If she finds out SAHM isn't for her and the better position was already filled she's forced to weigh two  immediately unsatisfactory options (return to bad job or stay stuck at home), or search for a new opportunity.

Alternatively if she ends up disappointing the 'cool manager', a professionally worded and detailed explanation should be more than sufficient.

You've already thought about this a lot, but my recommendation is stop viewing this as a (potentially bridge-burning) "plan" for now. When the babies actually come, in the weeks of the LOA ask your wife to do some deep soul-searching. If at that point she still wants to be a SAHM, burned bridge or not, your conscience should be clear. If she decides to go back to work, great, she has a better position and hopefully a more understanding manager and lower-stress job.

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 11:26:58 AM »
Wow, quite watershed with the opinions here. Thanks all for the insight though! I think my wife is going to ask the potential new manager about part-time, contracting/consulting, or work-from-home options. And even the flexibility of taking unpaid 'sabbatical.' Based on what she's told me, all of those options are highly unlikely as the company is pretty traditionally run. She is definitely concerned about burning bridges and leaving a bad taste in the manager's mouth. At the same time, it is true that [most] companies won't give a second thought about laying someone off without feeling 'guilty' about it. So I can see both sides of the story...

Her potential new manager has 3 kids himself and has been in similar circumstances from what I hear. His wife is now SAHM after the third kid came but before that was working but only because her parents were able to help with the first and second. Now that they've moved out/on, she's found that she needs to just SAH for things to work.

So we'll see what comes of it. Best case scenario is that he understands and is OK with it if my wife decides to leave, and still wants her to join his team. He seems to be pretty understanding so I don't think any bridges would be burnt if she is up-front with him about her thoughts (e.g. I'm thinking about going to SAHM but I'm really not sure how things will look in the near future and depending on our family needs, I may need to quit and stay at home full-time).
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 11:29:16 AM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2015, 05:15:39 PM »
I'll go with taking the better position too. While the 'cool manager' is probably as you said a very nice person and worthy of respect, 'At Will' employment is just that. The company wouldn't feel guilty laying her off with no notice or regard for her circumstances as long as it wasn't painting itself into an illegal corner.

Burning bridges isn't a good thing but when you consider the possibility that she takes her LOA and realizes that after the babies come and she WANTS to go back to work, have some time away from babies, etc, you'd rather her have the better position to return to. If she finds out SAHM isn't for her and the better position was already filled she's forced to weigh two  immediately unsatisfactory options (return to bad job or stay stuck at home), or search for a new opportunity.

Alternatively if she ends up disappointing the 'cool manager', a professionally worded and detailed explanation should be more than sufficient.

You've already thought about this a lot, but my recommendation is stop viewing this as a (potentially bridge-burning) "plan" for now. When the babies actually come, in the weeks of the LOA ask your wife to do some deep soul-searching. If at that point she still wants to be a SAHM, burned bridge or not, your conscience should be clear. If she decides to go back to work, great, she has a better position and hopefully a more understanding manager and lower-stress job.

BTW: one other question regarding this. Is it a good idea for my wife to tell her current mgr her intentions of applying for the position with the other group?

MDM

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2015, 06:03:19 PM »
BTW: one other question regarding this. Is it a good idea for my wife to tell her current mgr her intentions of applying for the position with the other group?
When interviewing within the same company, the interviewing manager is likely to call the current manager, so yes she should tell the current manager so there is no surprise.

partgypsy

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2015, 11:07:34 PM »
I agree with grumpy HR manager. If I was friendly nice manager, interviewed and hired a person who knew they were leaving in 6 months, I would feel burned. And it gives other pregnant potential employees a bad name.
Even if you say you have no obligation or loyalty to say anything to this person, think about if your wife does this, and a couple years down the road for whatever reason, wants to get back into working? Do you think that same friendly manager would consider her? I don't know.

alexgodden

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2015, 11:53:28 AM »
Deciding to be a SAHM is a major decision, and shouldn't be made just to escape an awful job situation. Your wife should give herself the opportunity to consider whether she's be happier working (even PT) in a job she likes. She may regret it down the road otherwise. Then if she still decides she wants to quit in January, she knows for sure it is the right decision.

She should apply to the job, but before getting an offer, if she feels they are seriously considering her (maybe just before final round) she should talk to the new cool manager and explain that she hasn't made up her mind for sure, but she wants to know what would happen if after the baby is born she decides she needs to be at home with him/her.

If he says no, he will only consider her for the job if she can 100% guarantee she comes back FT after the baby no matter what, then she can decline the final interview with minimal burn to her reputation. If he's as cool as she says, I think he'd like to take the chance on convincing her and looking for compromises. Good employees are hard to come by

My example - I had a guy on my team who was fantastic at his job, great with people, really got stuff done etc. He was getting a bit bored and stuck in a rut and decided that he wanted to move into a more technical, individual role and dig into the product more. but that really wasn't an option on our team. I told him I'd support him if he wanted to do that, but I thought that he'd make a great manager and there was more opportunity along the project/team management path. This is a common problem for technical guys when they get to a certain level.
I found a few job opportunities that he could fit on other teams and suggested he talk to those guys, but I also arranged for him to run some technical training courses and manage two junior developers on our team. Turned out he loved the training and people management roles, was a total natural at that (as I expected) and realized the individual roles on product teams would be really limiting. He's now got great prospects on our team, is influencing the products and technical decisions far more from his senior role, and I got to keep a great and motivated employee.

People often want a change and jump at the most obvious solution without trying to find other options. Managers who understand the value of good, loyal people will do their best to find compromises.

Apples

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2015, 03:22:20 PM »
So this other team currently has an opening that OP's wife could fill well, right?  And her current position and manager suck, and the company has no regard for her, but this manager is a good person.  It seems like there's two levels to this decision-personally burning a bridge with the great manager friend, and getting out of a bad current position at this company that obviously doesn't value most of it's people.

I think if I were her, I would interview for the other position, and once in the final stages, inform the manager that I only intend to stay for a limited time, but am really interested in the position.  Would your wife be able to offer to come in 2x/week beginning in January to train a new hire for this position when she quits?  Even at reduced pay, just to keep good ties?  If she doesn't get/take the position, do minimal work for the next few months.  She's very pregnant, needs plenty of rest and not a whole lot of stress, and it doesn't seem like the company cares about her.  I would do whatever work it takes to pass by, but reallllly limit the overtime, stress, and guilt about the whole thing.  They're going to have to function without her for 3 months anyway, she might as well down shift now.  The few weeks left at the end of the year might suck, but sing some carols or something, what's the worst they'll do-fire her? :p

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2015, 12:12:46 PM »
So there's been some word-of-mouth (from her co-workers who have talked to her current mgr) that they're looking/wanting to promote her to a higher-level position within the same group. Problem still exists of low-morale and high stress though... in fact, another co-worker just gave her notice and they laid off a temp. The group seems to be downsizing, and whether this is intentional or not, it's naturally opening up some opportunities it seems for my wife to get into a bigger role (but with even more work and added stress from the sounds of it). Either way, the morale is probably at an all-time low, and it doesn't seem to be getting better... in fact, one of her other managers requested that everyone stay and work overtime (probably most of the accountants there are salaried so they're really milking them - not a good way to treat [or retain] salaried employees amidst half of them quitting!)

It sounds like moving to the other group with likely be more of a downgrade for her, so that's the trade-off. But if she's thinking about quitting anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter much.

She was working on her resume last night and I think is going to send it over to the hiring mgr in the other group. She said he's been interviewing others already, and in fact another co-worker in her current group also applied and is probably going to interview for the same position (and probably for the same/similar reasons - lower stress and better work/life balance). I think because she's waited, chances are getting less that she'd actually get in. I did tell her to let her current manager know if she does apply. All that said, she may decide it's not worth the trouble to her and may just endure through everything. She's pretty even-keeled about stuff and has been maintaining good and calm composure with everything going, but I think it still takes a toll on her psychologically and emotionally - she tends to suppress things quite a bit.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 12:14:35 PM by jplee3 »

charis

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2015, 12:38:38 PM »
I agree with grumpy HR manager. If I was friendly nice manager, interviewed and hired a person who knew they were leaving in 6 months, I would feel burned. And it gives other pregnant potential employees a bad name.
Even if you say you have no obligation or loyalty to say anything to this person, think about if your wife does this, and a couple years down the road for whatever reason, wants to get back into working? Do you think that same friendly manager would consider her? I don't know.

Unless you could guarantee that person job security on behalf of the company itself, you'd have no reason to complain if they left the position after a certain period, pregnant or not.  First, it sounds like the OP's wife is leaving the company mainly due to her poor working conditions.  It is absolutely reasonable for her to suspend her "plan" to be a SAHM to see if the new position is a better fit for her.  And if it doesn't work out, that's how things go.  There is no reason that she can't leave on good terms with the new manager if she is honest (example, "I was hoping this position would be a good fit for me, but unfortunately I need to pursue a more flexible work life balance, for my family."

Because it really isn't about being pregnant, it's because the company offers high stress, low flexibility, and no employee loyalty.  That's not enough to keep talented people.

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2015, 01:49:50 PM »
I agree with grumpy HR manager. If I was friendly nice manager, interviewed and hired a person who knew they were leaving in 6 months, I would feel burned. And it gives other pregnant potential employees a bad name.
Even if you say you have no obligation or loyalty to say anything to this person, think about if your wife does this, and a couple years down the road for whatever reason, wants to get back into working? Do you think that same friendly manager would consider her? I don't know.

Unless you could guarantee that person job security on behalf of the company itself, you'd have no reason to complain if they left the position after a certain period, pregnant or not.  First, it sounds like the OP's wife is leaving the company mainly due to her poor working conditions.  It is absolutely reasonable for her to suspend her "plan" to be a SAHM to see if the new position is a better fit for her.  And if it doesn't work out, that's how things go.  There is no reason that she can't leave on good terms with the new manager if she is honest (example, "I was hoping this position would be a good fit for me, but unfortunately I need to pursue a more flexible work life balance, for my family."

Because it really isn't about being pregnant, it's because the company offers high stress, low flexibility, and no employee loyalty.  That's not enough to keep talented people.

This makes sense.

And I think even if my wife were to end up going back to work, she more than likely would not return to this company either. What if this same manager ends up at another company she's applying to and happens to be the hiring manager for that same position? I don't know... but chances seem pretty unlikely of that happening. And the more I think about it, she's in a position where it would be hard to burn bridges (and if a manager thinks that's the case, they're being pretty unreasonable about it)

jeromedawg

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Re: Wife transitioning to SAHM and logistics with current job
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2015, 03:14:49 PM »
I think the most pressing question I have is: given the current situation where morale is low and everyone is ditching (and her manager is aware), what reason should she give to the current manager in terms of why she's planning to leave for this other position (which is a horizontal or potentially lower-level position)? Should she be upfront with her and say "I'm leaving because it's too stressful and the work environment is high-pressure and uncomfortable..." or should she give some BS reason like "I'd like to gain experience in this other department" (even though the duties are less and lower-level for the most part). I mean, either way you put it, it'll seem like she's trying to jump ship because of low morale and high stress/pressure. Almost seems like a lose-lose situation because the manager will know she's trying to get out, and I wouldn't be surprised if the manager ends up blocking and preventing her from taking the other position. I guess the best-case scenario is that perhaps she'll try to entice her with a promotion in the current group, but I don't even think that would be worth while.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 03:16:31 PM by jplee3 »