I’m on paternity leave. I wonder if this also means a job promotion is around the corner. Two mini-trends I think I’ve spotted here in Sweden for people on parental leave: finding a new job at a different company, or moving up the organizational ladder. One maybe makes more sense than the other.
I can speak from experience on the switching-companies-while-on-leave trend. The two previous times I took parental leave I changed jobs. I’ve heard from others who did the same. When walking a sleeping baby around town in a stroller, you find yourself with time to think about greener career pastures.
You can scroll through job ads on your phone as your child plays in the sandbox. By going on leave, you’ve also made a clean break from work. Resigning doesn’t force your company to change horses mid-stream. You already ditched them.
This third time around on parental leave, I have no intention to switch employers. I really like my job and company. This leads me to the next mini-trend: getting promoted when you’re not even at the office. I’ve heard about this happening more than I’d have guessed. A few theories why.
One theory is that the company doesn’t know what to do with you when you get back. They’ve replaced you and moved on, but they still need to find a spot for you when you return. So they offer you a more senior role even though you’ve spent the past half-year at the playground.
Another possibility: when you’re away, the company only remembers the good things you did for it and forgets the things you should have done but didn’t. Absence makes them fonder.
Yet another reason for the second trend may be the first trend. Companies know you have time to let your eye wander so they counter with an offer you can’t refuse.
In any case, I’m pumped. I’m not switching companies this time. So hello playground, and hello promotion?
by Joel Sherwood