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Need help with awkward professional situation

candy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
71
Ack! Feeling stressed out and hope you smart folks can guide me. I work for a megacorp and need to announce my pregnancy/upcoming maternity leave to a new boss. The really awkward part is that I have never met this boss in person and have never spoken with him one-on-one. He is based out of a different country and became my boss via a recent reorg, so basically I have no choice but to approach him out of the blue via e-mail to discuss this.

Anyhow. I'm thinking the right thing to do is send him a meeting request, and in the meeting request let him know the agenda is to discuss my upcoming maternity leave and plans for transitioning work to others, etc. Does that sound like the right way to handle it? And pretty please could anyone help wordsmith exactly what I should say in this e-mail?

I'd love to wait a bit longer to get to know him under more professional circumstances, but time is ticking and I really think I need to initiate the conversation this week. Thanks a million... I've been losing sleep over this :sick:
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
candy|1442857331|3930223 said:
Ack! Feeling stressed out and hope you smart folks can guide me. I work for a megacorp and need to announce my pregnancy/upcoming maternity leave to a new boss. The really awkward part is that I have never met this boss in person and have never spoken with him one-on-one. He is based out of a different country and became my boss via a recent reorg, so basically I have no choice but to approach him out of the blue via e-mail to discuss this.

Anyhow. I'm thinking the right thing to do is send him a meeting request, and in the meeting request let him know the agenda is to discuss my upcoming maternity leave and plans for transitioning work to others, etc. Does that sound like the right way to handle it? And pretty please could anyone help wordsmith exactly what I should say in this e-mail?

I'd love to wait a bit longer to get to know him under more professional circumstances, but time is ticking and I really think I need to initiate the conversation this week. Thanks a million... I've been losing sleep over this :sick:

You said he is based out of a different country? Will your "meeting" be in person or via phone/skype?

I think what you said is perfect! Keep it short and sweet. I wouldn't worry about not knowing him better - he'll likely assume that your old boss knew about this and if you're lucky he'll just go along with whatever you say!
 

tuffyluvr

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
1,339
1. Congrats on your pregnancy! How very exciting for you!!!

2. I don't think you should be losing sleep over this. You have every right to your maternity leave and shouldn't feel awkward about asking for it!

3. Now the meat and potatoes--I like the idea of inviting him to a meeting/conference call/etc to discuss your upcoming maternity leave. I think that you should frame the body of your email something like, "I feel a bit awkward coming to you with this, as we haven't had much time to get to know each other one-on-one yet, but I feel that it's important to get things arranged as soon as possible to guarantee a smooth transition for all parties". And then hit a few bullet points of the projects/assignments and what the details are and who (or what department) they will be transitioned to.

If you are fretting over it, you should get it out of the way ASAP so you don't have to think about it anymore!
 

candy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
71
Wow, you ladies are so wonderful. Thanks for the reassurance!

To provide a bit more detail, in case it helps, I am in the U.S. and my boss is in a European country where direct, impersonal communication is (I think) the norm. And, er, I am a bit past 5 and a half months pregnant, thus the urgency. I would have spilled the beans sooner except it took 2 months from when the reorg was announced until it actually took effect. What timing!

So the sentence of the e-mail I'm having a hard time with is the overall topic. "I'd like to discuss my upcoming maternity leave" makes it sound like he should know already, doesn't it? I like the suggestion that he may think I told my previous boss, although I didn't so I'm not sure if that could backfire. "I want to let you know that I'll need to go on maternity leave next year and would like to discuss the details"... what a strange thing to say in an e-mail.

Sorry, totally overthinking this! I am no spring chicken and this is my second pregnancy, so I should be able to put on my big girl panties and deal. I just need to consider the fact that this person may be doing my annual reviews for many years to come, and this will pretty much be his first impression of me.
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
Ahhh. I had assumed that you were "out" as expecting when I typed my response.

I don't think that changes anything though. As tuffy said, you're entitled to the leave, so just go about as you're trying to make the transition as easy as possible.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Your maternity leave is a medical leave of absence so you can just title your email "Upcoming medical leave of absence"
 

Loves Vintage

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
4,568
Is it customary in your organization to send meeting invites (I assume you mean a calendar invite with a pre-selected time) to introduce a meeting topic? I assume yes, because that's what you propose. I only highlight this because at my company, we don't. We would send an email first, to introduce the topic, then agree on a time. And, then, either send a calendar invite or not. Given that we don't really send invites here, without an agreed meeting time first, I would find a calendar invite an odd way to introduce the topic.

I would likely send one of the following. And, please set aside any awkwardness you may be feeling. I doubt your boss will share your concerns!

Hello ,

I would like to schedule a meeting with you to discuss my upcoming maternity leave, which I anticipate will begin on or around ...., 2016. Please let me know if you are available on ______ at ___. If not, please suggest a day/time this week (excluding [your scheduled meetings.])

[OR if you don't really need to discuss this week, but simply want to inform him]

Hello ,

I would like to inform you that I am expecting and anticipate that my maternity leave with begin on or around ......., 2016. Please let me know when you would like to discuss transition issues. I will, of course, propose a transition plan for my current projects/cases/etc.


I would seriously not stress about this. I find that short, sweet and non-apologetic works best in these situations.

And, finally, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am just back from my maternity leave and have to say -- babies are so wonderful!! :love:
 

SMC

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
2,035
If your manager is in Europe, he will probably be impressed that you'll be able to return to work in a few months versus the year or so that is standard in many countries in Europe. I wouldn't stress about it too much, it's likely that he's had a direct report go on mat leave before. I'd probably send an email with my transition plan and then schedule a call to discuss the contents of the email.
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
9,226
I personally would not break the news via e-mail.

I would e-mail the boss and ask him/her to have a chat over the phone or Skype on a personal matter, and break the news that way.

I would mention the plan for maternity cover will be followed in an e-mail.

Good luck.

DK :))
 

tuffyluvr

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
1,339
I also agree with SMC, that your boss being European is an advantage to you. Being out for 3 months probably seems like nothing to him/her!

And if you don't want to sound presumptuous by stating matter-of-factly that you want to discuss your upcoming leave, you could phrase it something like, "I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned my pregnancy to you, but if they haven't, I wanted to make light of the fact that I'm 5 months pregnant, so I will be taking maternity leave in the coming months. I want to meet<Skype/whatever> to give you a timeline and discuss a plan for transitioning my work to colleagues so that everyone knows what to expect and the transition is seamless." Then when you meet, you can have an outline with bullet points, such as dates/timeline and which projects you're working on/what your colleagues will need to handle in your absence. I think that the key here is just not being emotional (feeling bad about taking the time), as you are entitled to it and making sure that you bullet point any important topics/concerns so that when the time comes to take your leave you can do it without anxiety.
 

candy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
71
Thanks again, everyone. Based on the great input above, I'm leaning towards sending an e-mail that mentions my upcoming medical leave and a general timeframe, and asking that he set up a meeting at his convenience to discuss details. That way he can look into U.S. policies in case he's not familiar, and we can take it from there.

The wise counsel of PS never lets me down. I appreciate the help!
 

ennui

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Messages
995
Be clear that you intend to return, and give him a timeframe. Look at it from his perspective, be professional, be company-oriented.
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
11,670
Just wanna say, don't feel apologetic, awkward or uncomfortable. Maternity leave is your right and it should not be a surprise that a woman would use it. You are NOT being presumptuous in ANY WAY. Informing him in case he doesn't already know in a polite and professional way is more than sufficient. Your plan to be short and sweet informing him is completely appropriate. Have a wonderful leave and enjoy your time with the baby.
 

Rockinruby

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Messages
2,740
Another vote for emailing to inform him and then scheduling a meeting to discuss the transition. I agree that you shouldn't be apologetic for the time you need to be off with your baby. Just be clear that you are coming back, etc.
Last but not least...Congratulations!!! :clap: :dance:
 
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