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March 8, 2005

Excerpts: Naked Truth #64

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:27 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Naked Truth #64 Get ready for people to act weirdly, it comes with the pregnancy territory.
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.