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to be annoyed at my boss about this?

(61 Posts)
Moulesfrites Mon 06-Jun-11 16:36:55

I am currently on maternity leave and my ds is 4 months old. I had originally planned on going back to work in September and when I was pregnant I mentioned this to my head of department (am a teacher) informally when discussing my plans.

However, since having ds, I have reconsidered and decided I wanted to take the whole year. I had discussed this with some of my friends from work informally, but hadn't really made a final decision until this past week when dh and I assessed our finances and decided to go ahead with this decision. So, this morning, I emailed the payroll secretary of work telling her my plans and asking what further action I needed to take (putting it in a letter etc).

A couple of hours later I get an email from my head of department, asking what my plans are to return as her boss (deputy head) is hassling her about the timetable. In the email she actually said "what do I care???" as she has a new job and so is leaving at the end of the summer term anyway. I reply that I have just spoken to the relevant person this morning and repeat to her what my plans are.

She then sends a very stroppily toned email, saying that yes, the secretary had already told her and the deputy head already knew, but it would have been nice to have heard it from me, and this meant that she would have had to change the timetable "AGAIN!!!"

I am shocked tbh about how unprofessional she has been. I have a 4 month old who I am totally consumed by. The fact that she has to change the timetable is of absolutely no consequence to me and I refuse to be made to feel guilty about it. I was actually under no obligation to tell them of when I planned to return yet anyway, I just did it out of courtesy. She is obviously pissed off that I have told the secretary before her, but as far as I am concerned I was just going through the correct channels. She has had a bit of a history of dealing badly with maternity issues, part time workers etc who she manages, and so I thought it would be best to just tell payroll as I suspected she would make it into a personal issue, which she has.

I am trying to compose a gracious but also strongly worded email back, but am not sure how well advised this would be. I wanted to mention something along the lines of hoping there are not too many troublesome childbearing women to manage in her new job, but at the same time, she has overall been a good boss to me and I dont want things to end sourly between us.

So, AIBU? Sorry for length!!

LynetteScavo Mon 06-Jun-11 16:41:49

Sorry, but YAB a little bit U.

It would have been good manners to have informed her of your plans, even though you are not obliged to yet.

And no superior/line manager at work will ever really care that you are consumed by your child. They just want you to do the job well.

LindyHemming Mon 06-Jun-11 16:42:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuietTiger Mon 06-Jun-11 16:43:26

No, you're not being unreasonable. And surely the timetable thing is irrelevant as the supply teacher doing your maternity cover would just take your timetable?

It seems you're best shot of her as a department head TBH!

hophophippidtyhop Mon 06-Jun-11 16:45:14

I think that by law you actually only have to tell them if you are planning on returning before the full maternity year, they are supposed to presume you will be off for a year. So, seeing as you hadn't officially arranged to go back early, she's in the wrong!

Moulesfrites Mon 06-Jun-11 16:47:43

Lynette I know it was bad manners, but to be honest, I really didn't want to tell her given how badly she has handled a similar issue in the past - she basically told a colleague when returning to work from maternity that she couldn't keep her old role as she was going part time. This was not her decision to make, not to mention illegal, and it all ended very messily.

QuietTiger I know, I thought that about the supply, but the timetable thing is because of my a-level classes - they would have to shift things round as my supply would not have the level of skill required.

penguin73 Mon 06-Jun-11 16:57:41

Although mat law may say otherwise it would have been courteous to let her know as soon as possible rather than just letting her hear about your plans through the payroll staff; as a teacher I'm sure you are well aware what a nightmare timetabling is as well as arranging/prolonging your mat cover teacher who may herself already be applying for other jobs. She may have acted poorly but I think you could have handled this much better too, regardless of your legal rights.

MrsLadywoman Mon 06-Jun-11 16:58:13

I don't think YABU. Unfortunately it's an incredibly familiar scenario and many of us who have had children end up having to walk on eggshells regarding colleagues/bosses, finding not much sympathy and a lot of huffing and eye-rolling about our 'indecisiveness' and 'unprofessional attitude'.

I wouldn't bother dignifying it with a response. It sounds to me like she's got a stick up her arse about how overworked she is and is simply taking it out on you. Just send a very short and businesslike reply saying something like, 'Sorry to have caused any inconvenience. In future I will CC you on all correspondence between myself and personnel regarding this issue', ie problem solved so let's move on.

Don't get too bogged down with it and don't let it upset you. It's incredibly common and you're not alone, and you'll always have Mumsnet to vent your spleen!

Moulesfrites Mon 06-Jun-11 17:45:37

ok, thank you for the advice. This is what I really want to say to her but at least I have written it down and got it off my chest:

"How odd that was hassling you if he already knew! Clearly I have offended you by telling my plans before you. I just thought I would go through the official channels and tell the person who deals with maternity leave about my maternity leave. Yes, it may have been bad manners not to tell you first, but to be completely honest, given your history of dealing with similar issues, I thought it would be best to stick to these official channels , as I suspected that you would turn this into something personal. You will be long gone by the time I return, so as you said in your initial email, “what do I care!!!”. I just hope you don’t have too many pesky childbearing women to manage in your new job!

As I said before, I am sorry that you have had to change the timetable “AGAIN!!!” but this is of no consequence to me and I refuse to be made to feel guilty about it. I’m not about to start quoting the official regulations but in fact, I was under no obligation to inform school about my return yet, and just did so out of courtesy.

It is a shame you have taken umbrage at this. It would be sad if things ended sourly between us. I was just thinking yesterday of what things I could write in your leaving card and how I would like to come in to hear your leaving speech.

Congratulations again on your new job. I wish you the very best and really hope you will be happy in your new school."

But I shouldn't actually send it, should I?

Moulesfrites Mon 06-Jun-11 17:46:15

I have cut our some names which is why some of the first para doesn't make sense...

MrsLadywoman Mon 06-Jun-11 17:58:14

I know I've said my piece already and I don't want to sound harsh but really, don't send it. I absolutely sympathise with how you feel, and it's good to have a rant about it, but she'd have a field day showing it to other colleagues.

Mishy1234 Mon 06-Jun-11 17:58:57

Noooo don't send that! I can see why you would want to, but I would really just let it go. It's a small world and you never know when you will meet her professionally again.

She sounds like she has a bit of an attitude, but the world is unfortunately full of people like her (oddly in management positions!).

Take a deep breath, tell her what she needs to know by email and let it go. If you need to email anything else to HR regarding your leave then just cc her in. That way she will know at the same time.

ChitChattingagain Mon 06-Jun-11 18:06:58

DON'T SEND THAT!!!! Phew, now I can stop shouting.

But for heaven's sakes, don't even be tempted to write something as stroppy as that.

What you are legally required to do does not equate to what is morally correct to do.

Legally staff at my office are required to let the boss know they won't be in by 10 am at the latest. But they are also obliged to tell them as soon as they know they won't be in. 10 am is the cut off deadline, not the acceptable notifying time.

If you weren't sure about returning, and you knew there would be a certain amount of rejuggling to be done if you weren't back by September, then you should have let them know as soon as you could.

But she does sound like a stroppy mare, regardless of what you could/should have done.

Moulesfrites Mon 06-Jun-11 19:04:35

I have just got a text from a work friend saying that my boss has asked her to text me and tell me to check my emails!! So she obviously wants a reply!

But I have majorly toned it down and just stuck to something short and businesslike. Thank you for helping me to realise how stroppy it sounded!

heleninahandcart Mon 06-Jun-11 19:06:26

Do not send that it makes you sound silly. A simple reply stating that you told the secretary as this was the formal channel and that you assumed they would inform her in turn.

She was rude but you should have let her know directly as a courtesy. Are you actually already feeling a little guilty about changing your plans? The draft email was a disproportionate response. It would be totally understandable if you are feeling a bit awkward, but you are fully entitled to change your mind about when you go back to work.

The best bit is you will never have to see her again ;)

cricketballs Mon 06-Jun-11 19:20:25

you have already said op that your A level classes could not be taught by your supply and as a HOD has the duty of allocating staff to classes the professional route would have been to let them know of our plans. I imagine that your HOD is p****d off from finding out from a 3rd party rather than yourself when a simple email could have been sent to outline your plans.

Guidelines and legallity aside, YABU as you are well aware timetables take weeks to sort out to the final version and by not keeping your department informed of your plans is stopping others from doing their jobs

nancydrewfoundaclue Mon 06-Jun-11 19:31:15

As everyone else says do not send that. Please. You will sound like a loon.

The difference between what you are legally obliged to do and what as a reasonable person who wants to be considered as professiona,l sane and foster decent future working relationships is huuuuuge.

Jonnyfan Mon 06-Jun-11 19:40:46

No doubt you are consumed by your child, and therefore can't be too bothered about your A-level students. However, your HOD has to see that they are well provided for, and you cannot expect her to put you first. I think it would be proffessional of you to keep her informed.

Shakirasma Mon 06-Jun-11 19:49:12

The timetables are of no consequence to you and you won't feel guilty?

Wow. You should know how much work goes into organizing timetables, but you don't care that you have made a lot more work for somebody because you didn't have the courtesy to let them not in time to prevent them wasting their time?

What a lovely example to set as a teacher. Oh well, as long as you are consumed with your child, who gives a flying f what happens to ours who you committed to educate, hey!

IHeartKingThistle Mon 06-Jun-11 19:57:14

I wouldn't reply to her email at all. She'll be more annoyed by that than by anything you could send now by the sound of it.


ajandjjmum Mon 06-Jun-11 20:03:49

I'd be hacked off to hear from someone else too - particularly if she'd been given no idea that your plans were changing from what you'd originally said. I understand that things do change, but if the boot was on the other foot and you'd spend hours slaving over a timetable, wouldn't you be a little put out too?

The age old problem - communication - solves so many problems. grin
Even if, as someone on maternity leave told me recently, you had just let her know that you were undecided.

Shakirasma Mon 06-Jun-11 20:07:21

People are so quick to bang on about their rights these days, yet they seem oblivious to their responsibilities.

Not all careers are the same, and by all means exercise your rights but there are ways and means of doing so, so as not to ignore your moral and literal responsibilities.

cat64 Mon 06-Jun-11 20:13:23

Message withdrawn

lindy100 Mon 06-Jun-11 21:10:54

I'm on my second pregnancy and always spoke informally to my HoD before/at the same time as informing the school and LEA officially of my intentions.

Tbh, I felt like it was the right and polite thing to do, since although the financial and employment side of things are dealt with higher up, my attendance (possible sickness during pregnancy as well as mat leave) impact much more directly on her. I felt it was the right thing to keep her informed, even if she had no power to do anything about it e.g. decide how long to get a mat cover in for.

So I think you are being a bit U. Sounds like you don't get on.

Moulesfrites Mon 06-Jun-11 22:04:55

Ok, I have apologised for telling the secretary first and for the disruption it has caused to the tt. It has taken my dh and I this long to decide that I was actually going to take the full year, so I really feel as if I have told them asap. The timetable changes all the time at this stage and it is part of her job to resolve this. I do think she was wrong to assume that I would return in sept based on an informal chat before I had even given birth!

I also do not think it is unusual or even morally wrong for a teacher to put the needs of her own child above that of her students, btw.

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