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Home | Got a Minute | Career advice | No. 77 – I’m pregnant and looking to change careers. Should I wait until I have the baby?

No. 77 – I’m pregnant and looking to change careers. Should I wait until I have the baby?

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21 September 2022

Thanks for being someone to whom we can express anything and get answers. I have recently found out that I am six weeks pregnant. I am really not happy with my current job (working as an engineer for eight years) and feel the need to quit and change careers. To do this, I am halfway into a course. I have told my boss I am quitting and will be looking for work later in the year. By then I would be four months pregnant. I am not regretting any decisions but am nervous about job hunting and when to let my future employer know I am pregnant. I am also worried about not being paid during the much-needed maternity period. What do you suggest?

It sounds like you are dealing with a lot right now. Being pregnant, quitting your long-term career, re-skilling into a new career and job-hunting. I am not surprised you are feeling nervous. But hang in there since while this is no doubt going to be a period of uncertainty, I am sure you will find your feet.

This may not be an option but could you possibly stay in your current role a little longer? Is it too late to change your mind? I know you don’t enjoy it and I know you have already told your boss you are quitting, however a steady job does provide you secure income through your pregnancy and maternity leave period. It also allows you more time to look for a new job and to complete your course. If you do search for a new role, tell them about your pregnancy when you are comfortable to do so. You might find this previous Got a Minute? column helpful for ideas. Good luck!

I am really struggling with how to support a co-worker who is having thoughts of suicide. He says he has dealt with depression most of his adult life and whenever he feels really low, it gets worse. He has mentioned taking his life a couple of times but each time, the next day he laughs it off and tells me not to worry, he was just having a bad day. We are not friends outside of work and I don’t know much about his personal life.What do I do?

This is a really serious issue you should not try and deal with on your own. Regardless of the motivation of your co-worker, comments like this need to be treated extremely seriously. If your colleague says something similar again (or any time you are concerned), let him know his safety is something you really care about. Encourage him to immediately contact a service like Lifeline, your workplace employee assistance program, his manager or someone he trusts at work, or his doctor. If you think his life is in imminent danger, call 000 immediately.

In the event this happens again, I recommend you speak about what is happening as soon as you can with your manager or a senior trusted leader at work so appropriate and immediate assistance can be provided. While I am sure maintaining your colleague’s confidentiality is important to you, when his personal safety is at risk, you do need to reach out for assistance and support.

I really can’t stand my co-workers. I dread going to work because they bitch and moan about everything. They hate our bosses, they hate the work we do, they hate our working conditions. It makes going to work so depressing and while I don’t feel the same way they do about a lot of things, I feel like I have to go along with them just to fit in. My supervisor is just as bad so I can’t talk to him about it either. Any ideas?

It sounds like you are working in a toxic workplace. The tough news is it is really, really hard to change a workplace culture without active help from your bosses or the company’s leadership. Of everything you have said, the fact your supervisor role models this kind of behaviour is a real worry. Changing workplace cultures needs leadership from the top. If there is someone you feel you trust and more senior in the organisation, try and talk to them for advice. Otherwise if you can ever apply for a promotion it sounds like you need to be the supervisor yourself to drive the change you want to see. And if nothing changes, I would apply for a new job. Life is too short.

Crisis support is available from Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

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