So the cat's out of the bag at work, the bombshell officially dropped. Pick your cliche. It happened somewhat sooner than I was expecting, too. I happened to go for an impromptu lunch with one of my bosses, to a sushi place, when I quickly realised (and had to explain) why I couldn't eat three-quarters of the raw, slimy things on the menu. He was thrilled since he will be retiring at the end of next month anyway and won't miss my services when I go off on mat leave in the fall. Unfortunately he is also the worst kind of office gossip, and I knew it was only a matter of hours - if not minutes - before word spread around the floodlit cubicles. In a way this made the telling easier - namely because I wouldn't have to do much of the telling myself.
I did, however, make a point of informing a few crucial people: my direct bosses and my job share. Then nothing. Stone cold silence ensued. I'm not sure what reaction I was expecting but it certainly wasn't that. Okay, so perhaps email wasn't the best format, I'll concede that much. But it seemed the most non-intrusive means at the time and preferable to banging on closed doors. The first reply came over an hour later, even though I knew they had all read the email immediately. Funnily enough, it came from my only female boss, who has only recently returned to work from her own mat leave. I can understand and to some extent, sympathise, with the plight of employers these days. Hiring a twenty- or thirty-something woman is a gamble that can potentially cause expense and inconvenience if and when she decides to procreate. But I have to say the overall reaction (or lack thereof) in my department shocked me. After all, I have been with this firm for over three and a half years, not three and a half months. And yet women are still made to feel, at whatever stage in their career, they are deliberately duping their employer by undertaking what is the most natural and wonderful decision a woman of that age can make.
First and foremost congratulations, how ever grudging or insincere they may be, are in order. That is the bottom line.