I have been absent from the blog for the last few months because of the gorgeous baby pictured below. March 12th marks the official end of my maternity leave and my return to the library world. It comes with the obvious mixed emotions. I am excited to return to the world of grown ups. Babies are sweet and cute but they are not lively conversationalists. I am also nervous and sad to be away from the baby forty plus hours a week.
1. Try to leave as much detail about your job assignments as you can and meet with coworkers taking over your duties. Provide contact information if a question comes up, but set boundaries and give your coworkers reasonable expectations for how long it may take you to respond. If you are not going to be available make that clear as well. For my maternity leave I actually started a list before my third trimester and sent out basic instructions early on just in case I unexpectedly had the baby early. I also tried to keep coworkers up to speed on current projects I was working on even if I intended for them to be completed before my leave expired. This way the project could be picked up easily by someone else.
2. Clean out your email inbox before your leave begins. This will help you insure everything is taken care of and make sorting through your email easier when you return.
3. Take your leave. Accept that other people will have to cover your responsibilities and that this is a good thing. It means your job security. It is hard letting go of pet projects and tasks for several months. I struggled with the fear that my coworkers would out perform me in my absence and that I would be easily replaced. That may have happened, I won’t know until the 12th, but what I have realized is that it doesn’t really matter. I will come back to a job with plenty to do and if my pet projects have been passed on to someone else, new pet projects will come along. And they aren’t really my projects, they are the library’s projects and they need to be carried out. This extended leave probably won’t happen again until I retire (unless we brave a 3rd child) and she will never be a newborn again.
4. Make sure your coworkers know that you appreciate their help. This can come in many forms, baked goods, coffee, lunch, a card, and/or a blog post stating how wonderful they all are and that you appreciate their help. (Thank you OCU Law Librarians!)
If you have other tips please share them in the comments.