Back after mat leave - hating job

(4 Posts)
BraveLilBear Tue 08-Apr-14 17:06:46

So I went back to work (full-time) about a month ago. My DS is 8 and a half months old and in nursery full-time.

I am really not enjoying my job. My mat cover is being extended over and over so is co-existing, my (admittedly diabolical) boss has been elbowed out and a once same-level colleague is ruling the roost in a frustratingly domineering way.

My mat cover is at my old desk and I have been forced to sit at a makeshift desk for the first four weeks with inappropriate IT, and have now moved to a proper desk (a temp member of staff has finished her contract) so at least I have a phone, but the IT is again woefully inadequate. The IT helpdesk know me by name by now owing to the amount of assistance I have required to make basic things functional (in context we have more than 1,500 staff).

I am largely being left to my own devices (which is fine) but I am also being edged out. My knowledge and experience is being ignored and I am becoming increasingly frustrated that the unofficial 'boss' is being sent stuff and called into meetings and being asked to advise on things even on her day off, rather than them asking me.

The mat cover is very nice but sees me as the same level or beneath her (she's done well, but I have a huge amount of more experience than she does), and idolises the 'boss' so that anything I say or do she will not take on board, or will ignore me and go to the 'boss'.

I am filling my time by working on strategy projects that have been on the wishlist for years, but miss the cut and thrust and pace of my former role, much of which revolved around crisis management.

The other issue is that I have realised how insignificant my job is - it really doesn't matter to me as much as it used to - and I miss my DS.

Anyone got any ideas of how to get over this? I am looking for other jobs but I work in a fairly specific role of which there are very few similar opportunities in the vicinity and I would need a vast payrise to buy a new car to work further afield.

<Tl;dr back to work whinge>

Tweet2tweet Tue 08-Apr-14 20:50:02

It is hard going back, my mat cover has been kept on too- reporting to me though which is one huge power struggle. Like you he things we are at the same level and is debating work I delegate to him and going to my boss asking to take over projects?!

Anyway , back to your situation. You have to be careful how you approach things. If indeed others are trying to edge you out then any suggestion of this from you may be blamed on you being very emotional/ insecure since you returned- even though not the case they may use to further their evidence that you are not up to the post. However it may actually be your interpretation of things.

The fact you were not given a desk is not on, but did you raise your concerns about the temporary desk? If not others may have thought you were fine with the arrangement. You say that your knowledge and experience are being ignored but do you have actual evidence of that? Is it more that others are going to your mat cover because that was the norm and they are just carrying on as normal because they are as confused as you?

If I were you I would consider the following approach:

Sit down with your mat cover and confirm a handover with clear end dates and clarification on which meetings you are to attend/tasks you are to be associated with and any you need to work in partnership on.

Following this meet with your boss, ask for a return to work catch up meeting. Be very positive and outline the strategy work you've been doing, how much you enjoy it and how it has enriched your role etc. Then, again positively, outline what you have agreed with your mat cover and clearly define to your boss what you understand you are working on and why you need to attend meetings etc. You may also want to discuss your working environment and that you need a permanent desk, preferably your old one, though don't think they are obliged to give you that one.

I would then summarise this in an email, perhaps suggesting that you do this as you want to outline some objectives to feed into your appraisal etc. this ensures you have taken control of what you want to work on/think you should be working on.

If after the above has taken place you still feel you are bing ignored then you need to document this and discuss with your boss. Clearly detailing what you are not being included in etc.

On your other comments about missing your baby, yes that is a hard one. That is up to you and your personal situation. Can you afford not to work or can you go part time? Have you considered discussing flexible work arrangements? All choices are hard and there are always going to be pros and cons, it's what works for you that matters most though. Don't feel guilty about working, but equally don't feel you have to work if you can manage not working.

Hang in there and plea do try to stay positive and approach things in a neutral way, trying not to assume what others are up to etc. Get the facts and then work from there. Sending you hugs.

BraveLilBear Wed 09-Apr-14 10:47:24

Thanks Tweet - can't believe you're in a similar boat, your cover sounds like a total pain and the set-up definitely rings bells with me.

I now have control back over the desk issue - I had flagged it but then as the temp member of staff was finishing I said I'd just take her desk to save being the one who caused a fuss in a very small team. We are apparently all getting new desks soon, so hopefully that will even some things out at least.

I've had one meeting with the head of department which ended up him ranting about how awful things were. I managed to mention a few things I'd like to focus on, but didn't get to the crux of the issue - ie has the other person been told they're the boss, is that decided etc.

As a subplot to this, I am in the process of applying for regrading, so the strategy stuff etc feeds in very nicely to that so it will be well documented.

It may be we are about to lose one of the team to another job, which would be great for me in many ways as it clears the way to sorting out who is in charge etc and hopefully give me an opportunity to lead.

Essentially, I think there are two (maybe three) things at play here - one, I expected my life to carry on where I left off. It hasn't. This has totally thrown me.

Two - where I work is in chaos. Ridiculous working practices in place stemming from diabolical management at the top of the tree.

Three - I resent this remodelling of identity by stealth - I used to be a xxx, then I was a mother, now I am a working mother. I just want it to be simple (there is nowt I can do about this!)

I will see what happens with this new job possibility and see how things are after the dust settles. I will also keep my eye open for other opportunities - I'm loathe to leave but this is daft.

Really hope you sort out your power struggle tweet - from their perspective they have been doing this job for xx months, who is this 'random' who has just arrived thinking they know it all. But still - a bit of due deference would be nice.

Freshnclean Sat 12-Apr-14 11:05:12

This was exactly my situation when I returned a few years ago. Exactly. In the end I was made redundant. I survived/hung on for 18 months and tried everything from stamping my foot to just getting on with it. Made no difference. They had moved on whilst I was on mat leave and when I returned I was ignored.

In hindsight I would have got HR involved a lot sooner. Can you go and have a chat with HR to let them know the issues. You have my sympathy, it's bloody hard. hmm

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