Increasingly frustrated - don't know how best to proceed.

(9 Posts)
LifeHope11 Wed 23-Jan-13 12:26:23

I am seeking a career in HR, am CIPD qualified and working towards full MA in HR Management. I have lots of experience in some areas (eg recruitment, Induction, also Payroll), though not so much in others (eg Employee Relations). All I can find is HR Admin jobs, left my last role 6 months ago because of this.

I was advised by one HR recruitment agency, not to bother applying for HR Advisor roles (which is what I want to do) because typically they want highly experienced people - instead go for HR Assistant/HR Coordinator which would give me the opportunity to progress. Accordingly I took on my current role last summer, was straight about my ambitions on applying and was advised by the hiring manager that although ostensibly an Admin role, in practice I would be dealing with all aspects of HR & that it was an excellent opportunity to progress to HR Advisor. So accepted the job on this basis.

A couple of weeks into my employment, my manager (the hiring manager) left abruptly followed by several members of senior management. The period after this was chaotic and very hard work but very rewarding - I was in at the deep end and dealing with everything including complex employee relations cases.....not without advice & support when needed but day to day I was on my own. At the end of my probation I reiterated my ambitions at the review meeting to the dept director, who has also since left.

Our new HR manager joined at the end of last year so all change again. Now I have been asked to copy her into everything, all the managers/employees who previously came to me for advice have to be referred to her & I mustn't get involved, she has given me some Admin things to do - basic stuff like arranging meetings and booking rooms, screening her calls, chasing up for paperwork etc. She seems to have very firm plans about what she wants for the dept - but I am not privy to most of them. Lots of meetings with senior management at which I am not present. Several employee cases which I have informed her of and she has taken over, & I do not know the outcomes

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate that of course I have to do the Admin, just don't want this to be all my job will entail from now. If it is, I will go mad. I appreciate also that she may be needing help with these things while she finds her feet & gets familiar with the department, and my role definition will come later - so have been patient.

Now I come to my question. My review meeting is coming up shortly & I need to address this. How forceful should I be in insisting my role should be as previously advised? I have no definite proof that the role was presented to me as it was, as all the people involved have left - but if it is going to be an Admin role only, I will feel it was misrepresented to me. Shall I be straight that I will not be staying if this is the case? Or would I just be talking myself out of a job?

Please could you give me your advice re how best to approach this.

Crinkle77 Wed 23-Jan-13 12:44:32

Did you ever get given a written job description?

LifeHope11 Wed 23-Jan-13 12:53:58

Yes I did but it does not relate closely to what I actually do & have done. It does include the clause that I should 'support employee relations processes as required'. There are several tasks that I am asked to do which the JD does not cover, apart from the catch all 'any other duties, as requested by management, commensurate with the grade of the post'. There are also several tasks on there which I do not do.

MrsWobble Wed 23-Jan-13 13:04:06

I think you should approach it using the first sentence of your OP. If your new manager only joined recently, it would not be fair to take out your frustrations on her since a lot of them seem to predate her involvement anyway. If you go to the meeting with a positive attitude, ambitious and wanting to help her and the dept succeed then if she's got any management skills she should want to help you.

you may feel that you have to bite your tongue on occasions I suspect - it is frustrating to feel that you are not privy to all information, particularly if you previously were, but your long term interests are best served by developing a good working relationship with your manager. You have not said anythign to suggest that she is not good at her job so you might find that she is a good mentor.

So don't be forceful, but don't be "wet" (I can't think of a better word) either. Go into the meeting with a positive and constructive attitude and you may well find that's how it turns out. Good luck!

LifeHope11 Wed 23-Jan-13 13:24:33

Thanks MrsWobble, that is really helpful. Yes the indicators are that she is good at her job and I should be able to learn a lot from her. But I need that opportunity to do that, what has been frustrating is not being able to contribute as much as I am capable. I think I have consistently shown a positive attitude & will demonstrate that at the meeting and approach it in the way you suggest....then see what comes out of it.

On a more general note: has anyone else faced this problem of being unable to progress to a job level commensurate with their qualifications/abilities/ambitions? Is it a common problem to feel stuck like this, & how did you get past it?

SageMist Wed 23-Jan-13 20:12:58

Well you could consider writing up your CV to reflect what you have actually been doing over the last few months (rather than your job title), and float that around and see if anyone bites.

I've been caught like this in the past myself and I did stick with the underwhelming role. Its difficult to say if this was the right or wrong thing to do though.

LifeHope11 Fri 25-Jan-13 08:00:01

Thanks Sage, I have taken your advice and am doing just that. I applied for a job yesterday, don't have anything to lose by applying.

My DH is worried that as I have had several job changes, employers won't take me seriously. What is your view on this? I was made redundant a couple of years ago after 12 years with the same company and since then this current job is my 3rd one. But I have invested so much in my studies - time, hard word and my own money -have worked flat out in this current job & it is not being reciprocated at present. I just want to have a satisfying career and don't think that is too much to ask.

deXavia Fri 25-Jan-13 08:20:44

Its seems one of the challenges is you got a chance to take on a lot of responsibility not because that is what your job is, but because management had left. Don't get me wrong - for you this was a brilliant opportunity but I'm guessing the new manager has come in and wants to bring "stability".
You may not want to show her a CV style document but I would go to the meeting with the description of what you had been doing - and end results. And push the conversation towards how and when you can pick up some of that responsibility again. I would be watching her reply, body language and tone at this point - you'll get a view on whether she is open to this but wanted to get in control first, or if she really does just see you/the role at the more junior level. IMO that will tell you what you need to know about hanging in there or moving on.
Lots of people get stuck and don't move as quickly as they'd like - it depends how you handle it. I had one guy work for me who nagged at every discussion to be promoted but continually failed to achieve the basics - he was never promoted and frankly drove me nuts. Currently I've got one lady who is a bit like you sound - ambitious, qualified and always there to help out - if anyone leaves she is the obvious candidate for promotion, and I'm also keeping an eyey out for other opportunities in our organsiation just in case that takes a bit of time. Remember your boss may not be able to promote if there is no vacancy or she may be shaping the team which will lead to one in the near future. The review is the time to sound these things out.

LifeHope11 Fri 01-Feb-13 07:17:18

Thanks deXavia, that is really helpful and I will try to take that approach when the review meeting happens.

I am worried though that it is not going to be possible to have a good working relationship with the new manager. As mentioned, there has not been any discussion as yet of my role and what it is going to entail; but she has been 'picky' and criticised the way I have approached certain tasks. I have tried to be positive and take this on the chin (though it has been hard to cope with given the lack of wider communication) and assume that she is just being open and forthright about how she wants things done, fair enough. Most of this has been done in front of the other team member which I have resented - and she has not communicated with the team member similarly (btw this individual has different tasks, mine is a standalone role).

The other day she literally stormed into the office and accused me of not calling back a person who had called her, whom she had asked me to call back two days previous (I had but they were not in) and of making her look unprofessional as a result. Again, all said in front of the other team member - it is not being reprimanded so much that I object to (not claiming that I couldn't have handled the situation better) but being reprimanded in front of team member is just humiliating.

There is other stuff too less tangible...having conversations/chats with 'us' but really with other team member over my head, eye contact with team member only etc.

No date as yet set for the review....while I have been collecting and collating the reviews for all other employees. I have been understanding and patient for long enough and it is getting me nowhere. I need to address this but how?

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