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.
I would log all this with your union and see what they say.
I would also contact SMT within the school/college and ask for their advice. It does sound dreadful and quite unworkable.
Also, log every single incident with a date and time plus who was involved and what was said and happened.
it sounds like senior management are supportive - you need to keep talking to them and reporting her actions.
Block her e-mail, block her on Twitter
Also please talk to your Union and get support
This is ridiculous, unprofessional and bullying behaviour.
I second the advice about contacting SMT and your Union.
Give it time - sounds like she still needs to be in the loop but this will fade. Just carry on doing the job you are doing - I have no doubt your boss is getting annoyed with the extra hassle she's creating too!
So how are people responding to her input?
Are they ignoring it and telling you or are they allowing her to undermine you?
Why did she leave the job in the first place?
Copy emails from her etc to your boss.
This needs dealing with and so do the people you manage.
She needs to get a life and stop harassing you!
Nerf, they are is constant contact, they are good friends. I have seen emails where they talk about me but as it's my first management role I just thought 'you can't be liked by everyone' and tried to develop a thick skin but i'm finding it difficult.
Kein - she got another job where she lives but is not enjoying it at all
Definitely do not leave a job you love because of this.
Talk to your head, block her on Twitter and ignore the comments you hear elsewhere.
I think it was duff advice to be told to tell your team not to contact her because it's up to them if they speak to her or not.
Just be friendly, professional and keep being good at your job and they will have to start accepting that you are their manager now.
Out of interest, why did she leave?
The people you manage are being unprofessional too and your boss should help stamp on them.
She sounds unhinged to be honest. Can you email her back and threaten to report here for harassment? Wtf does it matter that she helped to recruit you, she has left and it's no longer her problem or responsibility! Toughen up and take a firm, hard line with her and with the members of your team. Sounds like they might be a bit scared of her too?
In that case what sapphire moon said. Log it and start thinking about what support you need to stay.
If she has left the company then get IT to block her emails etc from getting to you.
Block her from any personal non work social media.
Sit down properly with your boss and as if he has any issues with your performance.
If he does what help and support do you need to perform to expectations.
If not then an official meeting with your team where you explain officially that if the have problems they bring them to you', HR or your manager not an ex employee who cannot do anything about it.
Tell your boss and HR that you are being harassed and bullied by this person. If they allowed this to continue via the work place you will be taking it further with an official complaint. Reply to her email stating none of her business and if she doesn't stop you will make a report to the police as personal harrassement.
I would start a mantra, she had her way of working, I have mine. If you don't like it tough.
I'd take this higher, the SMT need to know what's going on, if they don't already,
If she's not liking her new role she may well be hoping you leave and she can come back.
Oh so she doesn't like her new job and wants yours? Tough. You've got yours.
Be strong and keep doing what you're doing and you'll be okay.
As she doesn't enjoy her new job maybe she is trying to push you out so that she can then ride to the rescue.
Agree with the other suggestions, your manager needs to do more to support you on this.
they are being very unprofessional and in my place of work they would be disciplined for discussing work matters and involving an ex employee.
Coconutty they have every right to contact her as a friend but not to discuss/involve her in work matters.
Contact HR and your union and file a formal grievamce.
Why is this person so invested in her old job - something strange going on here.
Katz I think your last sentence could be spot on.
Please don't throw this opportunity away and leave. I'm sure things will settle down given time. Give yourself a timeframe (at least 6 months) and then review your options.I find it very strange that someone who left the role still has any involvement and is actually bothered/interested in what you are doing. The only situation I can think of where an ex employee would have some clout is if they left reluctantly due to health reasons, even then, this involvement would be limited. I'd also avoid any social media for the time being (simply because this is her vehicle to observe). I would request another meeting with your manager and be very clear that you need to establish some boundaries with this person and being very blunt and harsh seems to be your only option and see what they advise. Even though this situation is awkward and difficult, you will handle this, it will not damage your confidence, it will enhance it (it will also make a great example for a job interview when asked about conflict management !!!). Good luck
If she does want to come back, the way i'm feeling at the moment she is welcome to it.
Not sure how to go about disciplining the staff when, like you say, I can hardly say "Stop talking to such and such" - it just sounds so playgroundy which is one of the reasons i'm struggling/they're getting away with it.
Do ALL 4 ring her daily? Why has she left?
Some great, practical advice for you from other posters. I too am wondering why she thinks harassment of new postholder is a good idea.
Don't carry on alone with this, it is a very unusual situation, so your line manager and union reps etc should help support you through this time. Your line manager doesn't appear (from your post) to have got a handle on how bad this is. Good luck.
The people I am managing ring her everyday - sometimes about work related issues - though I have asked them in this meeting to direct these at me in future - and other times friendly - they are all very close friends. They meet for drinks etc. at least once/twice a week.
I get the impression she thought she was irreplaceable as she did very well in post in terms of data (though I have learnt was in disciplinary from the way she spoke to students - not with my current boss though who has a lot of respect for her and is in email with her contact too).
You have already had a meeting and asked them to stop their unprofessional behaviour - log this in writing in a letter to them ie meeting held on x day ,outcome of meeting and future expectations, *what will happen if this behaviour continues*( this bit is vital) copy to their files and HR .
They are are now breaching these expectations and so it becomes a formal process .
I wouldn't say "Stop talking to X", I'd say things like "I'm afraid you now report to me and I will not tolerate your unprofessional behaviour" and "I am your manager now" and "This isn't the playground, so how about you start behaving appropriately?" <headtilt> and "X no longer works here, here is what's going to happen ..." <smile>
Lots of smiling, totally blank any mention of X, and don't be scared to lay down the law. You're in charge here and it's actually the staff who are the problem. X is behaving dreadfully but she is outwith your control. Start taking charge and treating her with contempt and disinterest. She should be embarrassed by her inappropriate and childish behaviour, keep that in mind always.
Op, print all the evidence you have of the campaign of harrassment and note any incidents you know of where she has contacted staff to undermine and criticise you. Including emails you have where your staff are involved. Take it to the Head. It is up to the management team to deal with this. If they don't go to the union.
How is she on the panel for her own job?
How are you seeing emails from your staff to their old manager?
As someone who has experienced similar bullying in the workplace my advice is to stay strong: don't leave. It is so difficult to rise above this sort of childish, cruel behaviour from grown women but you must. I have found little in the way of support from our SLT but do log everything, if you can bear to. If nothing else it gives you a sense of control, like you have a secret weapon.
There is nothing you can do about this woman, she no longer works there. Compose an email to her reminding her of this fact (you don't have to send it). Be polite but very firm and explain to her that she has no place advising you in any capacity. She did not appoint you to the post. She is not responsible for your ten years of experience, your ability in the classroom nor anything else that has got you to where you are now. You owe her nothing.
Seek support from your union rep, take her/him into a meeting with the relative senior member of staff, explain that you have sought their assistance because this is severely impacting on your wellbeing. They have a duty of care to you, and this petty, pathetic excuse for a woman (god help her students!) needs to be told to leave well alone because her interference is preventing you doing your job effectively.
Above all, do not quit. We think we leave this behaviour behind us in childhood but bullies grow up, get jobs and don't change. Think of the advice you would give to a student with a similar problem.
Good luck to you. Stay strong, use your union, do not give up!
Second what everyone else has said about contacting your Union OP. Also blocking her alone on Twitter wouldnt work by itself as she sounds like she has people reporting back to her. Dereg your Twitter account and set up a new one with the Protection on?
I would call them into a meeting and tell them that I considered contacting ex members of staff and telling them all about what goes on in my department to be gross misconduct. Which it is.
Then I would have a strategy meeting to go through the SWOT of the team, set new team targets and prepare team performance plans as agreed with them, and book individual meetings to set individual performance plans which are more personal and whilst at that meeting, reiterate the issue of contacting ex staff members and find out why they are doing it, and to make sure that I am addressing all the concerns they have about me being in post.
I would tell them that they are not party to all the information about their old boss, and that if anyone continues it will be addressed through the formal route without exception. Even if it means recruiting a new team.
And stop tweeting etc etc until you get this sorted.
In fact going with Peekingspost I'd be inclined to tell them to back off before you go to a Solicitor on the basis of Harassment. Like others have said log/record everything god forbid in the event it turns into an Issue of Constructive Dismissal.
I have found that in teaching, you sometimes get folk who think 'How will this school ever run without me?' when they leave/go on mat leave/retire. Seen it lots of times, ex employee meddling because they can't 'let go'.
I echo the advice re union. When did you begin your post? If it was this academic year, she might still be thinking of 'her classes'. Aim for September as a fresh start, new year with you fully at the helm, all traces of her gone. Sometimes time is all it needs- and surely she's busy enough in her new school to worry about the old one?
It may be the case that the friendship between her and the others dwindles too (hopefully). You sound lkke you're handling this really well, don't leave.
Is she still teaching?
Collect it all together. Take it to your boss and to HR, then to your union rep. She needs to be reprimanded by someone where she is currently working. She is being extremely unprofessional and is most definitely harassing you. Your new staff are being sheep, you can change that if you get her sorted.
DO NOT LEAVE! You seem to have the support of your boss. Have you told him that the first thing the staff did was report his meeting to her? THAT is probably actionable on his behalf too. They are not acting in the best interests of school/children.
Either way, don't let her break you. Stand up and insist she is brought to book for her actions.
Now get off MN and do not discuss this on any social forum again. Get this deleted IMMEDIATELY. Do not give her any ammunition. Keep yourself as Ceasar's Wife - above suspicion.
Union and SMT right away and log/keep copies of everything ...forward to home computer so no emails or notes can "disappear". Everytime you receive an email from anyone involved in this just reply noting receipt and cc/bcc in your SMT. This way there is a paper trail if needed and lets people know how seriously you are taking this. Good luck
Give it time, she'll be history before long. The contact with her and your team will dwindle and they'll get used to you. I appreciate it feels tough now but I think you need to give it at least 6 months. Takes time to 'bed in' in any new role. Definitely block her emails etc. It's very unprofessional of her, she left, she has no say in what goes on anymore.
I had this. The cow was my Team Leader and bullied me horribly. When she got preggers, I not only got her maternity cover but also turned the team around so it was productive and structured for the first time ever. .
However that did cause resentment and some of the team were reporting back to her what a bitch I was. One tried to get a petition together to get me fired. Basically, I introduced personal accountability. I was not popular as a result.
When she returned from maternity, the organisation found funding to keep me in the position so we had to work together as a team. She and the others went through my work and highlighted all the areas that they consider I was failing on, and sent this to senior management, whilst I was on maternity leave.
I got so anxious, I had a total of just 5 months off work and returned because I was scared of what they were doing.
Management however, knew she was a dickhead, and always supported me. They saw what we were achieving. She left shortly after, after being on sick for 9 months, and after she ran up 100 per month bills on her work mobile to her husband.
The awful team members left during a round of redundancies and now I have a lovely, team and it all seems like a bad memory.
Stick it out. It will be worth it.
But I did cry everyday and nearly left several million times
Are you managing your team? Do they follow your directives? Have you sat down with each face to face and set targets?
Area their concerns voiced to you and are they met?
How is your dept doing as a whole? I assume you're in a secondary school?
FunkyBoldRibena gave good suggestions.
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.
Why do you care?
Are you bothered about what your predecessor thinks of you?
Do you need your junior colleagues to like you personally?
Has your manager criticised your professional performance?
Let them gossip/moan/bitch - it doesn't matter or affect your personally. What they choose to do in their own time is their business.
HOWEVER if they bring this to work I would tell them very clearly that you don't want to know what old boss thinks; that you are not interested in conversations they have with friends outside work; and that it is unprofessional to talk in detail about work to friends and then 'report' back' what friends think in work. And STOP talking to her yourself.
Also is a public forum the best place to bring this up?
Okay, i'm worried now - will report the thread. Thanks everybody for your input.
horrible you are better than this. Don't let her push you out. This is your job, your role, her problem.
Let yourself have a tearful day of giving up today but dry your eyes and stand tall tomorrow morning. The very fact that she's behaving so dreadfully proves that she's absolutely not all your team have her cracked up to be. You can do this
And please don't leave OP. I know its hard but can you do babysteps? I.e tell yourself you'll give it another month etc and see if things change. I worked for an Agency when I was at College. The DM of the Unit I was sent to work on hated me and made it her mission to get me out. It was horrid and the excuses she would use to complain to my Boss were ridiculous. Thankfully another unit came up that I was lucky enough to he sent on but if I could go back 10years ago I would have told the younger me to stick it out.
Also remember that the first year of teaching in a new place is hard anyway, new staff, new students , new processes.
It will be better next year.
Re Twitter: would it be wise not to have a twitter account at the moment?
The same with FB?
Best wishes to you.
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.
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.
Stay strong. Yes get thread deleted though. Don't let them win. You've had great advice here.
Don't leave your job op. You've had some great advice. You can see this through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lots of good advice here. I just wanted to say good luck.
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!
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.
Essentially I agree with cargo
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?
I mean, arrange it with your boss before speaking to them yourself.
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.
Me too - very good luck OP.
You don't have to tolerate this vile behaviour.
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