March 8, 2005
Excerpts: Naked Truth #64
Most pregnant women can share stories about odd behaviorthe stranger on a bus rubbing your belly, unsolicited advice on your meal. Its as if your changing profile throws off others sense of boundaries, and this can be especially off-putting in the office. While men have mainly learned how to work with us breast-featuring creatures, our pregnant bellies can throw them for a loop. Its an opportunity for breaking down boundaries, for better or worse, as your female status becomes impossible for them to ignore. Female bosses are trickier: The childless ones are usually very self-conscious and hide any negative reactions; the mothers expect your pregnancy to be just like theirs but are generally sympathetic.
I was Time Warners first pregnant divisional CEO, and no one quite knew how to react.
Jerry Levins reaction discomfited other people, but I loved it. I happened to be in New York for our mutual birthday, and dropped off an armful of flowers at his newish Rockefeller Center digs. He was out that dayat a Mets game with his sonbut the next day his assistant tracked me down and asked me to drop by whenever I had a chance. Even though it was interrupting a closed-door meeting with several people I didnt know, she ushered me in. Jerry said I just wanted to rub your belly, which he proceeded to do before showering me with Bugs Bunnies and other Time Warner tchotzkes for the baby and me. I was giddy with the feeling that I really could be a pregnant CEO. No problem.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.