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  • Writer's pictureGrace Simpson


Updated: Jun 6, 2019


In May 2017, Lindsay was at home enjoying maternity leave with her new son after taking a break from her role as a Senior Recruitment and Liaison Officer at the University of Toronto. While she was looking forward to re-joining the team in December, she knew that eventually finding a role closer to home to cut down the commute was inevitable. Lindsay just did not expect everything to happen so quickly!

When a manager position was posted in her field at the local college, it took a bit of encouragement from a friend to even apply. After all, Lindsay still had six months left in her maternity leave and she was not sure that now was the best time to make a change. "I never thought I would be successful in obtaining the role as I felt the competition level would be high and that there may be more experienced individuals applying for the position. My goal was to hopefully get an interview to meet individuals within the college community so that in the future I could be considered for other positions." But, two intense interviews later, and an offer was made!

"I never thought I would be successful in obtaining the role..."

Still, even with the job offer in hand, the decision to make the switch did not come easy. On one hand, the new opportunity checked off a few items on Lindsay's career bucket list; moving into a management position and reducing her commute. On the other hand, she not only thoroughly enjoyed her current role, but after almost a decade of progressive roles at the university, she knew her role inside and out. It was intimidating to even think about making the move and adjusting to learning a whole new role, organization and team, all while sending her son off to daycare for the first time.

But, after five full days of weighing the decision, she made the leap and accepted the new opportunity. "At the end of the day, I chose my family. I knew that the change was going to be very hard on me personally and that it was going to be an extremely difficult year ahead learning and developing in this new role. However, I also knew that in accepting the role I would be 20 minutes away from my son and it would allow me to be home at a reasonable time to do more with my family and friends."

"At the end of the day, I chose my family"

The change definitely had its trade-offs. Her new role came with cutting her maternity leave short and heading back to work two months early (and the challenges of finding daycare for a 10-month old!). There was also the pay difference between a Hamilton and Toronto salary. But, with the ability to work occasionally from home and the elimination of the daily QEW/407 commute, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Lindsay's story does not quite end there! Within a few weeks of starting her new position in October 2018, she found out she was expecting. While she always wanted to have children close in age, it was definitely a big surprise. "When I became pregnant, on a personal level, I was terrified. I also didn't know how I would share the news at work. I was nervous to have two children so close in age and nervous to be on leave so quickly after starting at the college. It took me a while to accept that I was in fact pregnant and that ready or not, Baby #2 was coming!"

It took me a while to accept that I was in fact pregnant and that ready or not, Baby #2 was coming!"

The stress of being in the first trimester (with the lovely morning sickness that traditionally accompanies this time) and learning a new position while the college underwent a lengthy faculty strike, was a lot to handle all at once. At nine weeks pregnant, Lindsay broke the news to her manager and to her utter joy, could not have felt more supported. "Having a family is part of life and although I would be away for a period of time, it would give the opportunity to another leader to gain experience and then I would return to my role in the future to continue my learning."

In July 2018, Lindsay welcomed her second son to the family. This time she decided to take a 15-month maternity leave and return to her role at the college after the Fall semester begins so she can focus on the 2020 admissions cycle.

Maternity leave is a time of change, whether you are becoming a first time mama, or welcoming a sibling into the mix, your life makes a big adjustment as your family grows. Adding career changes on top of it all, can really increase the stress level (just what you need when there is also a lack of sleep!). For Lindsay, the unexpected change was the reminder she needed, that sometimes in life we become too comfortable in our environment, and do not take risks because of the fear of the unknown. But, Lindsay shared that while there were definitely some ups and downs through the transition, she met wonderful new people, developed new skills and exposed herself to new challenges. In the end, she is grateful for the experience and how it prepared her for not only her current role, but future roles as well.

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