Having to leave my job because of the people :,((71 Posts)
I recently landed my dream job but am now feel so low I'm thinking of handing in my notice (which will also spell the end of my ten year teaching career from which I have love every second).
The person who I have replaced is making my life hell. She has left but is in constant contact with my boss and the team of four people who I now manage (who love her). In the four months I've been there she has reported me to my boss on numerous occasions (based on hearsay from the people I manage who ring her everyday i.e. I'm not helping them with their workload), she has also stalked my twitter and told my boss I posted an 'inappropriate' photo of students on a geography field trip (just digging in a field) I tweeted saying how much I was loved my new job. She also contacted the administrator of the department (by phone) who I really get on with to tell them i'm not up to the job and I wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for her (she was on the panel).
I spoke to my boss and she said to have a meeting with the people I manage and tell them to stop contacting her, that it was unprofessional behaviour and that I was their manager now and we have to move forward as a team. i did this but then got an email only the next day (Friday) from the person I replaced saying they had rang her and told her and who did I think I was to bring this up in a meeting and again, do I realise I wouldn't be there if it wasn't for her.
I am usually such a strong person but feel so beaten down and exhausted by this I just want to leave. I can't see it getting any better as I cannot stop the people in my team from contacting her constantly. I've spoke to my boss, spoke to them, nothing has worked and I can't see a way out. I gained a lot of praise for my teaching in my last job and I love it so much but since starting this job my confidence has literally ebbed away.
Me too - very good luck OP.
You don't have to tolerate this vile behaviour.
I've lurked through this one, but want to jump in and say, please don't resign. Some really good advice upthread, and wishing you all the best.
I mean, arrange it with your boss before speaking to them yourself.
You can print out her emails & keep them as evidence of harassment, or at least of inappropriate behaviour.
Could you & your boss speak to the team together?
Essentially I agree with cargo
I think the school data protection policy surely prohibits discussing any matters pertaining to current students with people who are not members of staff, governors or parents. So your staff are on dodgy ground if they discuss school matters with an ex-employee, especially if she was involved in disciplinary action. Stay off social media yourself (as least anything to do with school), be thoroughly professional and hopefully this will die down. It is not your problem that you have replaced someone who wants her old job back and none of it is personal -- she'd surely be trying this on with whoever had replaced her.
I think id go down the line of drawing a line in the sand. Show them you have balls of steep as some people will not respect someone until they stand up to them. Say something like "I know you are close to X, but she's not here now. I am, and I have no intention of going anywhere. We have to work together as a team, so if anyone is not on board, please book an appointment to see me with the bosses and we will discuss this professionally and through the proper channels. I am not going to tell you how to spend your free time, but while you are I the office, I expect you to behave with courtesy and professionalism. If that will be a problem for any of you, pleases let me know, again through the appropriate official channels. Anything to do with the office should not be discussed with persons no longer employed here, and they should certainly not be raising these issues with management. If I do find out things have been shared outwith the staff it will be dealt with through official channels and may result in a formal warning." Won't win you any popularity contests but it will leave them under no doubt that you will not be pissed about! If you are lucky the ones causing thetourble might fuck off!
Lots of good advice here. I just wanted to say good luck.
If it's any consolation, they're doing a fine job of sabotaging their own careers.
Your management ought to be talking to hers, imo.
Just wishing you strength to deal with it all. Even though in your head you know you are good at your job and they are in the wrong it's so hard to cope with emotionally.
Insubordination, and the fact that they know all of them is doing it is very like conspiring to bring down a manager. No school should tolerate this sort of thing. I'd consider it a serious matter of discipline.
OP, a difficult situation which understandably has knocked your confidence. Please don't let this continue. Gain strength by formulating a plan, deciding on barriers for the appropriate behaviour of your team, and repeating phrases to your team members to remind them to keep work/personal life separate, contact between them and your predecessor now falling into the latter category. As suggested by others, any contact made by your predecessor directly to you should be raised (separately) to your manager/other appropriate people at work, because it does sound like harassment. If you can stick to a plan of action, eventually your team will get the message. If they continue to let their friend influence their work, that is inappropriate behaviour that needs to be dealt with more formally. Good luck and please don't give up just yet. Things should look very different in a few months time.
Lots of good advice, and I know you are going to get the thread pulled, but just a quick post before you do.
It's hard to feel strong all of the time, in a difficult situation. It does wear you down. Please keep reminding yourself of your successful career to date, the past 10 years, all of the big things and little things that kept you focused.
This is really her problem, sounds like she can't let go, and is not happy with her move. Her problem. There may well be a tendency by the team to big her up, yes, it sounds childish, but unfortunately adults can be very childish in the workplace.
Maybe she was wonder woman, maybe she wasn't. You have support from your own boss, you have an email trail, should you ever need it.
Switch off from everything today, do something nice. Go in tomorrow with steel in your heart. Take the suggestions here re performance reviews etc. Cultivate a slightly blank, quizzical look when her name is mentioned. Don't even go there. Just continue with whatever the discussion is, in hand. The penny will drop. Best of luck, and do NOT give up your dream job. You earned it, it will be tough, but stay professional and calm, and things will improve,I promise.
sounds like a horrible position to be in, they are acting like they are in the playground still.
They are bullies and you need to find the strength to stand up to them, hopefully your boss, your union and ACAS will be able to help and support you.
Seek advice from ACAS and your union. Is this woman still a teacher, if she is then is it possible to report her to her professional body for misconduct.
Agree that you should get this thread deleted.
Lots of v good advice. I will just add one thing. Are you teaching in England? If so, go back to the Teacher Standards. This will give you the ammo you need to address the problem with those in your team. I would meet with each one individually for a mid point review of current performance management targets. End by providing them with a copy of the Teacher Standards and tell each one that you are more than happy to arrange a mutually convenient time to discuss any issues or concerns. Log everything in writing. And do the old trick of after each meeting, write to each staff member stating "following on from our meeting on ??? in (insert location) I can confirm that the following were discussed and agreed etc etc ".
Don't let them push you out. But cover your own back.
I would be inclined to start your next meeting with 'Hi, I'm Horriblebosses. I am your manager. I am not sure if you realise this but a line is being drawn today.
And then go in with the gross misconduct line.
And then do the targets and performance plan thing.
It's the only way. Been there, done that.
I had something similar although I was on the executive looking in rather than on the inside experiencing,
It was hard for the person who took over the role but they were supported by management and eventually the people who disliked her all moved on -(before being disciplined for being unprofessional)
Go to your union, this person is bullying and undermining you. You are their manager now. Close down your Facebook and Twitter completely so nobody can feed info back to her,
Make it clear to your staff that you are in charge, your are accountable you and the rest of the smt expect them to behave professionally. Don't mention her - what they do in their spare time is not your business.
But if you have got evidence she is harassing you with emails phone calls etc and your smt will support you then consider going to the police.
I suspect she is feeling remorse over leaving - maybe it isn't working out she's not such a queen bee, they don't worship the ground she walks on etc - well that's tough she made the choice to leave. And anyway what's to say she would get the job back if you left - you and current management would be on the interview panel not her and she's hardly doing herself any favours, less so the more formal you make the issue.
Thanks for all this great advice. I'm really trying and sorry to sound like a wet blanket but I just feel like i've lost my 'fight' and am finding it difficult to think positively. The easiest option seems to be to get the hell out of there and leave them to it.
Before you do, once you have set them performance plans; if they bring anything up about her, look at them and say 'is this part of your performance plan, if not then it needs to be dropped'.
The only way you can sort this is to face it.
Any management job you get, you can be faced with this sort of behaviour; either from ex employees, colleagues or staff. It's the best way of learning on the job. You need to put your foot down, get your staff facing in the right direction and that direction is not backwards. She is history and only you can stomp on this. Believe me, it's part of management.
Have you got a mentor in the management team who can help you/support you in this? If not, you need to ask your boss to appoint one.
Don't leave your job op. You've had some great advice. You can see this through.
Stay strong. Yes get thread deleted though. Don't let them win. You've had great advice here.
Brilliant advice above. Only additional thing I'd do is acknowledge to your reports that they are friends with Nightmare Predecessor and that's absolutely their prerogative, but that it's not OK to discuss work with her any more. You can't control who they see in their spare time and if they decide that's what you're saying they'll just have something more to talk about. So 'I know you are good friends with Old Cow but I am sure you will understand that it is no longer appropriate to discuss school business with her' (or a much stronger version of that).
Hang in there. It's your dream job. A few months of crap will be well worth it for years and years of dreamy happiness in the future.
Urgh, you have my sympathies - it sounds awful.
I agree you can't pick their friends and say who they can and cannot contact, but it's very disappointing a group of professional educated people can't seperate work and personal life when they need to adjust to new circumstances.
Your boss sounds at the very least approachable and I think I would sit down with them and go through the schools own line manager procedures. I would refuse to recognise professional complaints that weren't raised correctly. So if one of your team has an issue with support they need to approach you in the first instance. Anything raised by informal means needs to be directed to the proper management procedures, otherwise it's nothing more than a conversation between friends which has no business being bought into work. Stalky woman also needs to be told this by your manager when she contacts him with matters that don't concern her beyond listening to a friend off load about work.
That woman did you no 'favours' btw. You were the best candidate, she wasn't benevolently letting you have a job ffs - cheeky delusional bitch.
I don't think you should throw in the towel just yet, but I do think you need to enforce a professional environment and there will be a shed load of policies and procedures that will back you up. The only things you need to use your thick skin for is to not be swayed into deviating from acting professionally and to accept that when they're in that particular friendship group they aren't going to be singing your praises.
It won't be any worse than now with the difference that your energy won't be going on trying to battle outside relationships in a professional context. Your focus should be on dragging the situation back into the workplace procedures.
Do contact your union for support as well.
Re Twitter: would it be wise not to have a twitter account at the moment?
The same with FB?
Best wishes to you.
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