When I got pregnant less than 10 months after starting this job, I wouldn’t exactly characterize my boss’s reaction as excited. In fact, despair might be a better word for it. I’ll cut to the chase: he threw his pen across his office and said, “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”
So I wasn’t exactly expecting career advancement to come out of my decision to have a family. And I was perfectly happy with that. I knew I was the youngest person in my unit, and I was content with the likelihood that I would no longer get great assignments. I planned on cutting back on my extensive travel (six trips from the time I told my boss I was pregnant in mid-June until I put my foot down about further travel in mid-October, two months before I gave birth). I assumed this would all mean I would not be nominated for employee of the year anytime soon.
Then something odd happened. On about the eighth week of my 12-week maternity leave (I took the full 12 weeks, another decision that I thought would be bad for my career), my boss’ boss called me into the office. Not only would I be taking on some of my boss’(!very important to the organization overall!) responsibilities to free him up for other projects, but I would also become a supervisor. I would supervise the new media position in our unit that would be filled within two to three weeks of my return from leave.
I sat there for a moment and said, okay, so long as I don’t have to travel as much as I did in 2005. I expected that to squelch a little of their pro-me enthusiasm. Not so. Apparently I am the awesomest and they worked out this deal where I only have to attend certain cross-country meetings IF I THINK IT’S NECESSARY (i.e. NEVER). So where’s the catch? I didn’t see it. My husband had to point it out to me. I know, stupid, stupid me. I took on all this extra responsibility, which has actually translated into more hours of work and more hours of worry when I’m not at my desk for NO EXTRA CASH and NO INCREASE IN TITLE. Granted, I’ve been given two nice raises at my annual evaluation time. I try to think about that at times like today when I am in big planning meetings and am very conscious of the fact that I am likely the lowest-paid and lowest-titled person in the room.
Besides, I don’t have to travel as much. That’s a perk, right? But lately I’ve been trying not to be upset when I see people come in hours after me and leave before me when I KNOW they get paid more than me and have higher titles. I’ve never really been caught up in all that crap before. I always believed that comparisons do nothing constructive, they just make you miserable. So I’m making myself miserable.
I just know that I am VALUED but am not COMPENSATED that way or VIEWED that way outside our unit/department.
I guess I get them back in my own way. For instance, I’m going to post this at work. So there.