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to think that work is being unreasonable...?

(22 Posts)
drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 11:25:48

I've never posted here before but have lurked many occasions. I hope people can give me their thoughts on this matter.

Work has just decided that I would be perfect to take over someone's job whilst they are on sabbathical for 3 months. This is ON TOP of taking over another somebody's job whilst they are on maternity leave for a year. And ON TOP of doing my own job (which at the v least will involve teaching on 4.5 modules, without considering any other ancillaries like PhD supervision, my own research projects etcetc). Without extra pay, without making provisions for taking away some of the other jobs that I may do, without any promise or hope of a promotion.

They have crafted the sabbathical job in such a way that it looks easy peasy (it's not, it's dealing with 600 students' queries, granted not all 600 will have queries, but that's the student population), and have promised 'support'. The way they are selling this to me, it's almost like someone saying 'being a mum? it's easy-peasy!! all you need to do is feed them'...

what would you do?

vegetariandumpling Thu 09-Jun-11 11:30:47

Well that doesn't sound right to me but I don't really have much experience with this type of thing. I would try to find out more about the job, ideally get them to put something in writing. Is there are union you can contact?

ReindeerBollocks Thu 09-Jun-11 11:33:31

Just say no. Unless they want to pay you extra for the privilege. It's not in your contract to do this job so they can't make you.

bran Thu 09-Jun-11 11:37:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 11:44:28

thanks for all your replies. smile makes me feel better that I wasn't being unreasonable, especially once the email came with the 'I will support you... it's ONLY going to involve x y z doing and only when it's complicated will we come and bug you... nonsense'.

now, to get my 'guts' up and say 'no'.

someone suggested that I could do it but have it in writing that they'll promote me/give me a pay rise.... ? would that be a 'suitable compromise' you think??!

nijinsky Thu 09-Jun-11 11:44:48

University strapped for cash is it? Refuse to do it, request a grievance hearing. You cannot possibly do the jobs of 3 people. Tell them to get ad hoc staff in to cover. Plus I guess they will be pressurising you to keep up the research side. Theres no point in doing it if you aren't getting paid for all this work!

If you want to play hard ball, you could request a job evaluation on the basis that a man doing the same or equivalent work would be paid more. Or alternatively get a doctor's note to say you are suffering from stress related depression due to the stress caused by these proposals and the existing extra work. It then becomes reasonaby forseeable that you will suffer a stress related illness if the workload is not adjusted.

loiner45 Thu 09-Jun-11 11:48:25

are you an RF or a lecturer? your terms and conditions of employment will be slightly different - but sounds like you are teaching faculty? I know the T&Cs for the uni where I last worked (pre redundancy!) were so broad that they could (and did) ask you to do far more than humanly possible. It's not fair on you and it's not fair on the students.
If you are not in UCCU then I would advise you to join it and get your rep to make sure you have good legal advice on this. You might also want to talk to occupational health re stress management!
good luck - academia is not a fun place to be right now, particularly if you are lower down the food chain.

LindyHemming Thu 09-Jun-11 11:52:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 11:54:25

I'm a lecturer. frankly, they've never had maternity cover for when I went off to have my DCs. So, when I was gone, the stuff that could be distributed got distributed; other things that only I could teach got benched for the year.

the T&Cs are very broad - maybe it was just me, but I didn't even know how much leave I could take until the first maternity leave when HR stepped in to be all officious about my time off (I then realised that for the previous 5 years, I'd not taken all my leave ever!). I'm rubbish at playing hardball though... sad

loiner45 Thu 09-Jun-11 11:54:39

Raindeerbollock - If her contract is anything like the one at my last uni then I'm afraid it will be in her contract to do anything she is directed to by her line manager. My terms and conditions said
A member of the teaching faculty is required:
(a) to give such lectures and tutorial instruction (including participation in the University's personal tutor scheme), and to conduct such seminars, discussions, supervision of graduate students, and practical classes as the Dean may from time to time determine after consultation with the Chairperson of his or her Subject or Contextual Group acting as the representative of that Group; and
(b) to fulfil the customary duties incidental to these tasks as determined by the appropriate academic bodies and to undertake research or in other ways to contribute to the professional development of his or her subject; and
(c) throughout the academic year to assist in the general work and activities of his or her School or Area and of the University.

in return?

In the case of members of the teaching faculty, within the limitations of its available resources, the University will:
(a) provide adequate facilities, secretarial assistance and materials for all teaching activities (including lectures, classes, tutorials, seminars, discussions, supervision of graduate students, and practical classes), research activities and administrative duties;
(b) seek to provide for the exclusive use of a full-time member and of such part-time members as require full-time facilities, a room in which he or she may work, teach, and keep his or her books, papers, etc.

note the "within the limitations of available resources" bit!

LindyHemming Thu 09-Jun-11 11:58:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 12:02:43

since I've posted here, I've had a request to "do a supervision for us please?

This is a light touch and no major input required" (actual words used).

HE would collapse if we all worked to the 40 hours/week regime and took the 1 hour lunch.

LindyHemming Thu 09-Jun-11 12:04:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PigletJohn Thu 09-Jun-11 12:06:51

You could try putting them on the spot and asking how many hours per week they wish you to devote to each job, and, in the case of contention, which of them takes priority.

If they try to wriggle away by saying it's your responsibility to decide, and to do them all, say you don't feel able to do that. Back it up in writing, specifying that you are not willing to take on work without the decision having been made and agreed.

Do you have a proper manager who has, and accepts, responsibility for your workload and priorities?

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 12:09:16

So Euphemia, you work in HE admin - can you explain to me then, why do some (not all!!) admin people think that all we do is 'f-all' and swan around, stroll in at 11am, go off at 3pm, have long lunches'?? I overheard someone say that to a STUDENT once (student was enquiring about where some lecturer was) and the reply came 'oh, I don't know... maybe he's not in today. Lecturers don't have to come in everyday you know...I wish I had that job'... I had to physically stop myself from hurting that woman.

In the same light, I see some of my admin staff having many many cups of tea and chatting all the time!! lol...

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 12:11:36

my line manager has decided to f-off and go to another professorial job which essentially leaves me in the doo-doo.

we have a workload allocation model which doesn't work because it doesn't take into account all the ancillary work that we do, of course. it's like some of my colleagues have to travel to the other campus (1 hr by car each way) and yet get told that they are underloaded because travel time isn't accounted for.

LindyHemming Thu 09-Jun-11 12:36:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

patindahat Thu 09-Jun-11 12:44:23

having been at the bedside of two dying people very recently neither of them said they wished they had spent more time at work. just a thought.

LindyHemming Thu 09-Jun-11 12:49:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:55

Euphemia - your DH sounds abit like me, before the kids. Dare I say this in public... when we started thinking about having kids, I actually said to my DH, 'let's wait till the RAE is over' (OMG!!!...did I really say that?). Of course, I very quickly came to my senses... and then took another year before DS was conceived. and now we have 2. and I've just come back from maternity leave (I only took 6 months off...ridiculous in retrospect).

My mum died at 50 (of cancer, but she did die too early). That gives me another 12 years. .....

LindyHemming Thu 09-Jun-11 14:35:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

drcrab Thu 09-Jun-11 15:04:10

our university apparently has lots of money... probably because we're so stingy with promotions and leave cover.

I'm waiting to hear about another post too... please cross everything for us too! smile

lol - I am not anything relating to crustaceans (although they are very yummy to eat!)... the crustacean bit has to do with my birth sign.

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