Job Doctor: Each Tuesday Darren Robinson answers questions about career development and finding a new position.
Dear Job Doctor,
I am ready to start a family, but since I work long, stressful hours I am not sure that I will be able to balance professional and family life. Should I look for a less demanding job, and if so, how do I go about it without looking like my career is not a priority?
If you have correctly identified that a better work-life balance is your prime motivation to change jobs, you will need to discover whether other organisations that have opportunities within your field of expertise have adopted more favourable working hours or flexibility.
Firstly, I would strongly recommend speaking to your current employer to see if there is any potential to accommodate your motivations.
Note: Unless you have 100% faith and trust in your current employer, then talk about the work-life balance being a motivation and do not discuss your ambitions of starting a family. For those employers that consider employees as only “human capital” they may consider you of less value and more cost by discussing your decision to start a family. More enlightened employers who have experienced the longer term benefit of accommodating employees who start families--such as loyalty and retention--will be more open.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your current employer’s suggestions for work-life balance, then looking externally to a new suitable employer is recommended.
Unfortunately, women who are at an age where motherhood is common have experienced discrimination in Luxembourg (and many other countries). Although there is legal protection for this form of discrimination at selection and interview stage, I have yet to see it enforced openly and publically.
In addition, it has been known for an unskilled, un-trained interviewer to ask about your plans for starting a family. Although this may be asked without any malicious intention, the information could be used to reject your application without you knowing.
You do not have a “legal” obligation to discuss your personal plans with a potential employer, although some may suggest you have an “ethical” obligation. This is a personal dilemma you alone will resolve.
Be assured through, the right employer will be the one who will accommodate your desire for a less demanding role without it compromising your career progression.
If you engage the services of a recruitment firm, I recommend you also focus on your work-life balance motivations--do not discuss your personal plans. A well-established local recruiter is likely to be able to identify the right company with cultural environment that will fit with your expectations. A good one will also provide you with specific interview guidance and preparation when you need it.
Darren Robinson is managing director of Badenoch & Clark Luxembourg, the largest staffing and recruitment firm in the Grand Duchy.
Have a question for the Job Doctor? Send an email to [email protected] with “Job Doctor” in the subject line. Your inquiry will be confidential: the Job Doctor will not be given your name, nor will it be published anywhere by Delano.