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Maternity Leave: When The Office Intrudes

You're supposed to be on maternity leave, but you keep getting calls, faxes, and express packages from work. What can you do? We asked readers for their advice.

DON'T LET 'EM GET TO YOU
Just before my maternity leave, I got a Caller ID box hooked up to my home phone. Whenever the office called, I didn't pick up, and I turned off the answering machine so no one could leave a message. (When asked about it later, I said that I had turned the ringer off so as not to disturb the baby, and that I might have mistakenly switched off the answering machine, too.) After three or four situations were resolved without my input, my manager realized the team I left in place could handle things without bothering me.

Jamie Burnett
Keller, TX

INVOKE A HIGHER POWER
When coworkers persistently called me while I was on bed rest, I reminded them that I was home due to complications resulting from job stress. When that didn't work, every time I had a question on my answering machine from a colleague, I called my boss back with the answer. By the time the baby was born, the interruptions were few and far between; my coworkers got the message.

Laurie Neal
Manchester, CT

GIVE THEM GUIDANCE
I gave my colleagues a notebook filled with answers to the everyday questions that would come up in my absence. I got only one phone call during my entire six-week leave!

Sherre Woodward
Kennett Square, PA

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