FORBES – Youth in The Office: When Your Boss Takes Maternity Leave

Forbes series on “youth in the office” features Mom Corps CEO, Allison O’Kelly advising on the benefits to employees who go above and beyond when stepping in for superiors during leaves of absence.

In a period when young workers faced a grim 15.5% unemployment rate, one 26-year-old woman based in Washington, D.C. got—not one, not two, but—three promotions after stepping in for a boss on maternity leave.

At age 24, while working as administrative assistant at a nonprofit, she was excited to take over for her boss who’d be out on a four-month maternity leave. It provided a chance to show initiative, gain skills and get exposure by working directly with the vice president. When her boss returned, she got a title change to project coordinator. A year later, the same manager went on maternity leave again, leaving her to hold the reigns. This time, she fought for and got a significant title and salary increase to reflect her new responsibilities.

Some months later she found herself in the same situation at another nonprofit—temporarily stepping in for a supervisor on maternity leave. She took on all of the boss’s responsibilities in addition to her own, and by then needed little guidance from the VP. When the boss returned, she took her original job description, added in what she was actually doing and everything she’d accomplished, and asked for a promotion. “Too bold?” she asks. It worked.

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by Jenna Goudreau


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