Guest Contributor

When to Discuss Big Life Events with Your Employer

By | Charlie Fletcher

There is a saying that goes, “never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life,” and there is a lot of truth to that. Life isn’t all about work. That is until your life affects your work.

Certain events, such as the birth of a child, a move to another state, and deciding to go back to school to pursue your passions will inevitably affect your job, so it is important that you are proactive and properly communicate these scenarios to your employer so you can get a better understanding of what comes next. Let’s talk about how to broach certain subjects and why doing so is a must.

When You’re Going Back to School

It is only natural to want to see what else is out there, and if you are looking to break into a different industry or you just want to learn the skills you need to grow as a person, then going back to school is a smart option. Returning to school for a degree is a win-win situation. In addition to learning essential skills, you will also get real-life experiences, expand your professional network, and you may even learn about a new job field that you ever considered in the past.

The good news is that these days you can take many of the classes you need by attending school online, so you may not have to quit your job entirely. When you approach your workplace about returning to school, ask if you can have a modified schedule and if they offer tuition reimbursement.

In some cases, letting your company know that your plan to return to school could be the perfect scenario, especially if you are pursuing a degree that could ultimately help the organization. If you are interested in accounting, marketing, or another in-demand field, bring it up and let them know that you would be willing to stay with the company in a new position once you complete your education.

This is a great move because you aren’t just going into the office and asking for a promotion. Instead, you are offering something invaluable in return.

When You Plan to Move

If you need to move to a new city or state far away from your office, either by choice or otherwise, it is a good idea to talk with your employer, especially if the commute is too far and you think that you would need to quit your job. If you still wish to remain at this current employer, then mention your desire to stay with them and ask if they have any suggestions of how to make that a reality. If you are a good employee, they will likely bend over backward to keep you.

It would be helpful if you also had some suggestions for how to relocate and continue your work, so if your company doesn’t need you there in person, suggest that you work remotely from your new home. Let your employer know that with the proper computer and equipment, you would be just as efficient and productive as you are in the office. If you currently work remotely, then you will still need to inform your job of your move, especially if you will need time off to pack. A cross-country move involves many considerations, such as route, budget, and transportation.

If you are driving cross-country, be sure you know how to be prepared for a breakdown, even if one never happens. Build yourself a safety and first kit with blankets, extra water, and food in case you get stuck. If you do experience a breakdown, not only do you have to keep yourself safe, you must call the office and advise management that you will be late or absent. It is the responsible thing to do. If it is obvious that you will lack adequate transportation for the foreseeable future, then this may be another reason to ask for a remote work arrangement so you can still complete your work until your vehicle predicament improves.

When You’re Having a Baby

Having a new child is a glorious event in the life of every working family, and the new birth will certainly need to be discussed with your employer. Once a mother knows for sure that she is pregnant and is comfortable disclosing the fact, she should inform her employer as soon as possible and apprise them of the potential due date.

Making this announcement is important because management will need to know when you plan to be out of the office on maternity leave so they can make the proper adjustments to the schedule, appoint a coworker to oversee your responsibilities while you are gone, and ensure that any other tasks that require your involvement are completed before you leave. On the other side of the equation, fathers should also inform their jobs when the family is expecting a child. This is a smart idea in the case that you are taking paternity leave and also so they are aware if you will need a modified schedule as you get closer to the due date.

Even after the maternity leave has concluded, it can be difficult for some mothers to maintain the work-life balance that is required while trying to fulfill job responsibilities while also raising a family. If you are struggling in this regard and it is affecting your mental health, then you need to speak with your employer about either taking more time off or working a revised schedule until you have a better handle on things.

The life events discussed here are far too important and impactful to be put on the sideline, so make an appointment with your manager and iron out the details today. By having a plan of action, you can move forward with confidence, and your company will be glad that you did.

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