Starting a job, family at same time could affect family leave time

Dear Joan:
I am currently in a position where I have worked for almost two years. I was recently approached regarding a new position with a new organization (I was not actively looking). The new position offers me an opportunity to learn and broaden my knowledge in my field, offers an opportunity for advancement and offers an opportunity to increase my compensation. However, my husband and I have recently begun trying to start a family. Is it inappropriate to pursue a new position when I may be pregnant or may want to become pregnant soon?

A family is very important to us and I do not want to put our family life on hold for my career. However, my career is also important and this new position offers a wonderful opportunity for me. One I may not easily get again.

My intentions are to continue to work after having a family. I have pondered being honest with the organization, but worry that doing so puts them in an awkward position. On the other hand, if I do not tell them I also worry that they will think I have misled them in some way. I would appreciate any insight you can offer on the situation.

You wouldn’t tell a potential employer that you think you might get a divorce next year, or that you might have a heart attack next year, or that you might break a leg next year on a ski trip. Although you are trying to get pregnant, there is no guarantee. If you do, you have not betrayed your new employer in any way. Pregnancies happen all the time, planned or not. The fact that you intend to return to work is the key point.

What you do need to be aware of is some of the other issues your pregnancy could cause. Barbara Moberg, Vice President of Human Resources Consulting, with Joan Lloyd and Associates, explains, "If she delivers the baby before the end of her first year at the new company, she would not be eligible for 12 weeks leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act covers all companies with 50 or more employees at one location, or within a 75 mile radius. Also, employees must have worked 12 months and 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the start of the leave. This is a federal law and state laws vary, so she should check the laws in her state."

Dear Joan:
Can you suggest a diplomatic way in which co-workers with annoying habits can be told to knock it off?

I am one of those co-workers! Actually I believe everyone is offensive to someone but I know I have a particular problem—body odor. I had a terrible time growing up, and yes, baths and deodorant were common solutions. In college, I finally latched onto vitamin E and after taking it daily for a month, the problem vanished. However, it occasionally reoccurs, and I have to get back on daily vitamin E. (I don’t take it continuously, every day, every year, since vitamin E is not water soluble, accumulates in the tissues, and can reach toxic levels. I do take a daily vitamin with some vitamin E, more than the "Recommended Daily Amount".) I also have a very poor sense of smell and I cannot smell myself.

In every job I’ve been in after I’ve made some initial friendships, I’ve told a few people and asked them to PLEASE tell me if they can detect any odor. This almost never works. What happens instead is that people complain to my supervisor who then awkwardly says something to me.

My appeal to you and your readers is, if a co-worker’s personal habits are so annoying, tell that person…not their supervisor. It may be hard to tell a co-worker and easier to complain to the boss, but for the boss and the co-worker the problem is now a lot worse. Co-workers may not know their habits are annoying, or, like myself, may have a continuing problem, which can be dealt with if they know the problem has reoccurred.

So, tell the co-worker, not the boss. Be an adult, not a tattletale!

Haven’t you appreciated it when someone clues you in to the fact that you have spinach in your teeth, crumbs in your mustache or toilet paper dragging from your shoe? We’d rather know about it.

Regarding your point, although it can be difficult to say something like this to someone, it is the kindest thing to do. I think asking co-workers to tell you is a good approach, since it gives them permission. Why not let your supervisor know in advance, as well? Incidentally, you would be wise to visit a dermatologist. Doctors I contacted advised me that although taking large amounts of vitamin E could become toxic, the level you need may be well within the safe range. So, the solution to the problem could be within your reach.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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