20 years at the top of the industry gone when I had a child

I worked as a hydrographic surveyor for 20 years and the last 4 years I worked for a company.

After being told that I couldn’t get pregnant after an earlier operation, I was delighted to find myself pregnant. The company was very supportive initially and very accommodating. However, I found it impossible to get off maternity leave – something aggravated by Covid – as they wanted me to rejoin the field staff to do this. I wasn’t prepared to work abroad for 6 months a year and although they did offer a lower day contract they still wanted me to work away for at least a month say a time. Unfortunately with Covid, jobs were getting longer to minimise crew changes and also I would be running the risk of being stuck abroad for a considerable length of time if there was another spike. There are options to work from home and move into reports but none of this was made available to me like it has been made available to several male colleagues when they’ve had family issues.

I don’t dare to kick up a fuss as it’s very unusual to be female in my job and I don’t want it to jeopardize other females in the industry. Maternity/paternity leave isn’t even mentioned in the contract as it’s not something that’s been thought about.

So I’ve quit in the hope I’ll find some part-time project management work which will at least bring some money in and maybe lead to some other career…. 20 years of being at the top of the industry and doing very well all gone in a flash because I had a child. Seems a little extreme.


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