Very conflicted and desperately need advice

(15 Posts)
Conflictedboobs Thu 28-Oct-21 10:35:57

I’m currently on maternity leave, DS is 7 months.

I’m the manager of a small team in a niche field. We are an agency so I have clients. My direct team was made up of 2 managers and 2 juniors who had been with me 3 years+ and were fab. I left the team in a really good place. Work also hired a consultant/ contractor to replace me when I left.

Work called a couple of months ago to tell me my entire team have quit. Not a single one was left. Then, they hired a new team, waited 3 months for them all to start but now I’ve had another phone call from work to tell me they’ve all quit too.

I called every member of my old team and they were really honest with me and said they weren’t getting the support they needed and were burnt out. They were getting offers through LinkedIn every other day so it was easy decisions all around to move on. I passed this info on to my MD.

My line manager (MD) called me last week and she looked in a really bad way. Another 2 senior managers at my level have also quit leaving 2 other teams leaderless, and hiring at the moment is absolutely horrendous. People with no experience are demanding £25k+ when 3 months ago the going rate was £18k starting salaries and other agencies are paying it because they’re so desperate for staff. Hiring anyone with experience is even worse.

I’m due back to work in April, but by then we could easily have lost every client and I wouldn’t have a job to go back to.

I’m considering using my 7 remaining kit days to interview and hire a new team, then return to work when they all start (most will be 3 months notice) so I can stabilise and nurture the new team and hopefully make them stick.

However, I’m in the very privileged position to be financially stable enough not to need to return until April (13 months off in total) which was my original plan. I love my time with DS, he’s an absolute joy and my heart is here at home with him. When I go back, my DH will be a SAHP so I have no worries about child care either.

My head however is thinking if I go back to work now, it puts me in a great position for my further development and will accelerate my career if I’m part of the rebuilding conversation and also means I avoid a shit show in April and also means I’ll still have a job (I LOVE my job). I care a lot about my team and my product, but obviously care about DS more.

I’m a first time parent and I’m looking for a WWYD really from anyone with experience of going back to work earlier than you expected. Did you regret it? Will I?

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User527294627 Thu 28-Oct-21 10:42:02

I had a slightly similar situation OP. While I was on mat leave my boss got very ill and was off long term, and my mat leave cover quit because she was totally burnt out from working without that support.

A senior manager basically begged me to come back early. I was so conflicted about it because I really wanted to stay at home with my baby, but I was also worried about what I was coming back to.

In the end I split it down the middle and went back a month earlier than planned. I don’t regret it. I really miss my baby when I am at work but I know that would have happened regardless, and my work were so grateful that I returned. I have been given a promotion and payrise - I don’t know if that is a direct consequence but I do think it helped a lot.

It makes a difference for me that I mainly work from home so I still get to see my baby on breaks (my husband is on SPL so looks after him) and have no commute. Is that an option for you?

shakeitoffshakeacocktail Thu 28-Oct-21 10:42:05

Do you have to go back full time on site? Can you do a part time return with some wfh? How long would it take to advertise, hire and wait for start dates?
You sound mentally prepared by thinking about it all. Some people can't even THINK about work when on maternity. Some of us need other things other than babies in our lives. As long as you have support go with your gut

shakeitoffshakeacocktail Thu 28-Oct-21 10:44:57

*other things as well as babies. I love my baby but home ALL the time isn't for me. Don't feel guilty if that's you too

Conflictedboobs Thu 28-Oct-21 10:46:17

User527294627

I had a slightly similar situation OP. While I was on mat leave my boss got very ill and was off long term, and my mat leave cover quit because she was totally burnt out from working without that support.

A senior manager basically begged me to come back early. I was so conflicted about it because I really wanted to stay at home with my baby, but I was also worried about what I was coming back to.

In the end I split it down the middle and went back a month earlier than planned. I don’t regret it. I really miss my baby when I am at work but I know that would have happened regardless, and my work were so grateful that I returned. I have been given a promotion and payrise - I don’t know if that is a direct consequence but I do think it helped a lot.

It makes a difference for me that I mainly work from home so I still get to see my baby on breaks (my husband is on SPL so looks after him) and have no commute. Is that an option for you?

That’s REALLY similar. Thank you so much for sharing.

I can work from home 3 days a week and I’d be going back 4 days so I’d still see DS, you’re right.

OP’s posts: |
Conflictedboobs Thu 28-Oct-21 10:50:46

shakeitoffshakeacocktail

Do you have to go back full time on site? Can you do a part time return with some wfh? How long would it take to advertise, hire and wait for start dates?
You sound mentally prepared by thinking about it all. Some people can't even THINK about work when on maternity. Some of us need other things other than babies in our lives. As long as you have support go with your gut

No I’m going back 4 days and I can work from home for 3 of them.

I’ve never stopped thinking about work really. I was in labour on my last day (DS was 3 weeks early) and pitched to a new client through early contractions so I never actually got any time to adjust to not working if that makes sense. Work have always been on my mind.

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Conflictedboobs Thu 28-Oct-21 10:53:56

Sorry the other part of your question; to hire anyone experienced would be 3 months because so many people are on 3 months notice. I’m working on the basis that I’d need to go back to work in December. I’d then need to train them so realistically it’s 6 months until they’d be fully operational. The first 3 months will be very very intense.

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QuentinBunbury Thu 28-Oct-21 10:57:03

I went back to work at 6 months with all my children, it was fine.
You could try to negotiate a period of fewer days when you go back? Do shared parental leave with your OH so LO is still st home with a parent?

However it sounds like the business may not be viable if the staff/leadership are leaving at that rate sad so it might be less stressful to wait and see what the scenario is when you are due back

Conflictedboobs Thu 28-Oct-21 11:03:46

QuentinBunbury

I went back to work at 6 months with all my children, it was fine.
You could try to negotiate a period of fewer days when you go back? Do shared parental leave with your OH so LO is still st home with a parent?

However it sounds like the business may not be viable if the staff/leadership are leaving at that rate sad so it might be less stressful to wait and see what the scenario is when you are due back

I’m the ‘breadwinner’ (god I hate that word!), so I’ll be going back 4 days and DH will be a SAHP. He’ll work his bar job at weekends (6 hour shifts so not a lot) for spending money but won’t really need to. On my 5th day I’ll have DS and he’ll get a day to himself. I’ve found on mat leave that’s really important!

In terms of the business that was my feeling too. However, it’s a 200 year old small but crucial bit of a much much bigger international business so it will stick around, it’s just my department that might go if it isn’t viable.

Even then, they still need the field I’m in so my job would probably stay, I’d just get absorbed into another team an not have a team anymore if that makes sense.

OP’s posts: |
Conflictedboobs Thu 28-Oct-21 17:05:30

So DH and I went out for lunch to talk it over, I’m going back ASAP smile

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SummerHouse Thu 28-Oct-21 17:15:07

You have the dream ticket op. Best of luck. Go fly high. flowers

QuentinBunbury Sat 30-Oct-21 09:48:04

Good luck flowers

Conflictedboobs Sat 20-Nov-21 12:38:18

Hi all, I just wanted to update. I start back next week, but in the meantime my manager has awarded me a whacking great pay rise so that now, my wage on 4 days is £5k higher than my 5 day wage was pre-maternity, so I’m now essentially better off on only 4 days.

Her reason for this was ‘exemplary commitment to the business’ and her realisation in my absence that I’m a crucial member of the team.

It seems that going back early was absolutely the right decision so thank you all for putting me right. I’d not have gone back without the advice here!

OP’s posts: |
LividLaVidaLoca Sat 20-Nov-21 12:42:06

That’s good news. Remember, you essentially have the upper hand here and can make it work for you.

TakeYourFinalPosition Sat 20-Nov-21 12:44:32

Aw that’s lovely to read, OP! Congratulations.

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