Monday, August 28, 2006

Time Travel

From a CHEN account manager...

I took a spin back in time, though I didn’t see what I expected.

Dinner with Shakespeare was not on the menu; dinner with Virginia Woolf wasn't happening either (though it would have been more appropriate). Instead I met sexism head on.

I’m 32. Battles surrounding women’s rights issues in the workplace were for previous generations, or so I thought.

I have 10 years marketing and public relations experience under my belt. During this time I’ve launched countless high-tech upstarts and supported many a public darling.

I’m also nearly seven months pregnant (here’s where you’ll want to get packed for travel). We recently won and then soon lost a new piece of business after we told them I’d be their account manager and about my pregnancy… something about me being too fatigued and worn out. My stellar references and applicable market sector experience didn’t matter. My belly did.

They asked that I be replaced as account manager and, to the agency’s credit, we declined.

So I’ll continue to give my clients 120% just as I’ve always done. And in November I’ll celebrate the birth of my daughter, confident the workplace will be through with all this nonsense by the time she’s 32.


At 7:59 PM, Blogger drdave said...

Political Correctness Run Amok

What the heck was CHEN PR thinking?

There is a very big difference between an employer discriminating against a pregnant employee - and a PR Company assigning a soon-to-be-on-3-month-medical-leave staffer as an account manager.

The account manager role is crucial - they are the glue that holds projects together across time. Assigning one who cannot participate for 3 months - the most crucial first 3 months - to a NEW CLIENT is crazy. If you play by the rules - employee's out on FMLA cannot participate in work activities - else they are collecting benefits fraudulently. So, in essence, CHEN decided to assign a no-show employee to a brand new client.

As a manager who has had a number of employee's go out on FMLA - for pregnancy and other reasons - the right thing to do is to make appropriate arrangements and ensure the employee is able to depart, take their leave, and return to an appropriate work environment - while at the same time, making sure the work of the company continues to get done.

CHEN might mistakenly think they took the higher moral ground - but what they really did was show their contempt for a new client.

What CHEN should have done is been open and honest about their account managers upcoming leave. They should have assigned an appropriate manager to the new account - and discussed the potential for bringing the pregnant employee - and all her relevent skills - onto the account when she returns from leave.

We do our own PR in house - but I would be really concerned about choosing a company that would sacrifice my company on the PC altar....


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