My boss is pregnant.
Long time readers may remember some of my previous work related posts, this one gives most of the background.
When I joined this team as a trainee there were three solicitors and me. I qualified and made that four solicitors. All nicely spaced, and all working very nicely together. The two most senior of them weren't even married at that stage (although they were most certainly together). Towards the end of my first year as a solicitor they married. Just over a year ago as I came up to two years PQE she had a baby and the other (not part of the couple) solicitor left. Which left the husband and me to hold the team together while my boss was off on maternity leave.
She came back, and all was OK again.
And then N left at the end of March. I became the second most senior person in the team. At the time I joked that I'd be OK "as long as Joanne doesn't get pregnant again".
Except Joanne got pregnant again. Ah.
From the conversation we had today it seems that her preference is still very much as it was when N left, to recruit below me. That was fine while I was envisaging sitting in the middle of a team of three. But if we go that way, I get six months at the top of a team of two. (Indeed, at the top of a team of one if the recruitment doesn't go to plan...).
That's responsibility. Scary levels of responsibility. I'd be 3 year PQE by the time she goes off on maternity so there's no problem from a "regulatory" point of view. At 3PQE you can run a branch office, so I'm fairly sure you can also be in charge of a team without incurring the wrath of the Law Society. But from a negligence point of view it clearly opens up whole new areas of risk if there's no-one there to supervise me on the nitty gritty from day to day. There are a couple of people who I could call on for help if something big came up, but basically, the buck would stop with me.
Obviously, if I do it, and I do well, it would be fantastic experience. It certainly wouldn't harm my reputation or my chances of promotion. But it's still quite daunting. I suspect that I don't have a great deal of other choice, unless the perfect more experienced candidate happens to come up between now and October and we do recruit above me rather than below me.
Still, one thing that it can't harm is that Joanne was meant to be making her recommendation for my pay review this afternoon. I suspect that my bargaining position is just a bit better than it was this time yesterday!
(And the inner bitch is secretly smirking about the fact that she won't be getting her title of "most impressive weight loss in the firm" back off me for at least another year or so after I stole it from her last time she got pregnant...)