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My employer wants me to work away for a few days

(239 Posts)
Missfloweryname Mon 07-Oct-13 09:12:35

Hi, I am going back to work part time after having my DS. Once a year there is an event which involves working away for a few days. It's not mandatory but it's expected. Two of the 3 day event are my working days so I am expected to go. I would be a 2-3 hour drive away and I don't feel comfortable driving on the motorway so I would probably have to use public transport if I went. But basically I don't want to go!! Working 9-5 3 days a week is one thing but to be hours away from home and stay away over night is too much I think! My priorities are different now and I would hate to be that far away from my DS who would only be 11 months old at the time!! Going back to work is bad enough but we need the money. Am I being un reasonable not wanting to go? Or is it unreasonable them expecting me to go now I'm a mum? I would be grateful for your thoughts on this :-)

pixiepotter Mon 07-Oct-13 17:52:23

Have you actually discussed it with your manager?

Lililly Mon 07-Oct-13 17:51:56

YANBU at all, it sounds like you are both very attached to each other. I have had to go to events requiring one or two nights stay, and have payed extra for OH to come and stay with me. Perhaps you can do this?

Turniptwirl Mon 07-Oct-13 16:59:27


Things like this contributes to the negative attitude towards part time workers, especially women with children. We all know children are more important than work, and should be to dads as well. But work is important and if you're not going to commit to a reasonable level (three days, once a year is perfectly reasonable), then it can lead to a lot of resentment

flipchart Mon 07-Oct-13 16:43:38

I think the posters who have a downer on the employer saying they shouldn't be asking employees to go away seem to forget some of the nights away COULD actually be in the employees interest.

I have been away to gain qualifications in outdoor stuff, which resulted in promotion, in other jobs I have been away to attend conferences on change in legislation which was very relevant to what I was doing.

Faithless12 Mon 07-Oct-13 16:05:49

Yep DH wanted a child a DD to be exact but hey ho. The only way I enabled his behaviour was he said he needed his sleep which I agreed with during the week during the weekend I expected his help at night. The only thing he would do is bath him but then make a big deal about he baths DS. My first day at work was a shock to him as he stayed at home with DS. I asked for so much help in the first year I hate even thinking about it.

Ragwort Mon 07-Oct-13 15:41:52

Faithless - are you still with your DH, did he want to become a Dad? He sounds like a throwback to the 1950s. But did your behaviour in any way enable him to act like that? Did you never just go out and leave your baby with his own father?
From the minute (literally grin) that we got home from hospital (EMCS/serious health issues with our baby so fairly traumatic) I made sure that I was never, ever going to be the 'most important' carer to my child - my husband wanted a baby and therefore he knew he had to get involved in everything (except breast feeding wink).

Minnieisthedevilmouse Mon 07-Oct-13 15:40:15

So good it appears iPhone posted it twice..... :0/

Minnieisthedevilmouse Mon 07-Oct-13 15:39:48

I'm ignoring all the film flam. The basics are the trip is once a year.

That's it.

Once a year.

So once done it's not expected for another 300+ days?! Plenty of time to look for a new job then. Stop moaning. Get used to compromise, and in terms of that you appear to have it fairly good don't you.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Mon 07-Oct-13 15:38:41

I'm ignoring all the film flam. The basics are the trip is once a year.

That's it.

Once a year.

So once done it's not expected for another 300+ days?! Plenty of time to look for a new job then. Stop moaning. Get used to compromise, and in terms of that you appear to have it fairly good don't you.

VivClicquot Mon 07-Oct-13 15:32:26

I have a breastfed, bottle-refusing co-sleeping 11 month old and I still managed to go away with work for one night last week. She ate regular food and drank water. I expressed. She co-slept with my husband and 2yo. And gave me enormous amounts of cuddles when I came home. It was all fine. I just don't get all this drama.

SilverApples Mon 07-Oct-13 15:16:03

Oh, about the driving thing.
If you have a child in trouble several hundred miles away, the fastest way to get to them is usually by motorway.
I've done this several times, sometimes in the middle of the night. No way would my child be put in more distress by my inability to cope with a challenging drive.
If it really matters to you, if it is hugely important, then you can do it.

flipchart Mon 07-Oct-13 15:12:34

No one has an obligation to work uncontracted antisocial hours. It is great if you can or want to but you don't have to.

*Just because your employer pays your wage doesn't mean they own your life. If a person doesn't want to go away on a work trip they shouldn't be made to feel guilty.

Of course she has to go on a work trip if she is expected to. She isn't obliged in this case to stop over. She doesn't want to. So she has the optin of coming home.
The choice is hers. What's the drama?

it is this sentence Or is it unreasonable them expecting me to go now I'm a mum? that is bonkers.

KellyElly Mon 07-Oct-13 15:09:52

You cannot blame this on her employer, they have expected her to go just as they have expected everyone else to go. I'm not blaming it on her employer confused. I'm simply pointing out that while women work and take on the majority of child care responsibilities, in the OP's case to the point she feels she doesn't want to leave her child for a few days with her partner, they will have more issues in the workplace than the majority of men for whom having a child does not affect their career.

KatoPotato Mon 07-Oct-13 15:09:30

Every hairy car journey I do, I chalk up as EXP points!

Drove to Edinburgh for work, got lost in road works, phoned venue brink of tears... EXP points! I did it! It was awful but I did it!

Only way to learn is to gain experience!

handcream Mon 07-Oct-13 14:59:29

Sat Nav's are really really great. They give you the utmost confidence and also having a car charger for your phone will cost you about £4....

Mojavewonderer Mon 07-Oct-13 14:50:09

Op you'll be fine honestly. I had only been driving 5 months when I had to collect my husband from a course 4 hours away and I got hopelessly lost, my phone ran out of charge and I couldn't remember my husbands mobile number. It was bloody awful but I managed to get there (2 hours late and with the very kind help from a couple at a service station who actually drew me a very detailed map) and I have to say that I was really proud of myself for not losing it a turning home. It cured my fright of motorways and I bought an in car charger for my phone and a satnav!

Of course you will miss your child but by then I can guarantee you will be pleased of a little break and it will be lovely when you are all reunited again.
My husband goes away and he always says its so wonderful when he comes home because he gets treated like a king because we have missed him all so much!

bonkersLFDT20 Mon 07-Oct-13 14:47:18

If you don't want it that way, don't expect employers to bend the law for you. It's not the law that she has to travel. OP says "It's not mandatory but it's expected".

And therein lies the problem. If it was mandatory or the law then it would be black and white. No one would have this dilemma of wondering whether their reason for not going is good enough (BF baby, hen night, can't be arsed), you'd go or know that it would look bad, or you could face disciplinary action.

This grey situation causes just this problem and it's one I have faced.
I was never put under pressure to travel when my children were tiny, yet when your boss then turns round and say "the fact is, you weren't there, you don't have a presence at the moment, it will be noticed"...well, I feel that actually my career has been effected by me having children. He also got this false impression that I didn't like to travel, purely based on only starting to be my boss when I had a 9 month old.

It's a load of bollocks.

jeansthatfit Mon 07-Oct-13 14:46:34

Good point flowery. If we want employers who will be flexible with us, and make allowances for the various upsets and emergencies that family life throws at us, why shouldn't we be a bit flexible in return?

I'd be wary about doing a 'work to rule' for an employer I liked, or in a job I valued. children or not.

kiriwawa Mon 07-Oct-13 14:45:50

grin NotYo

froken - I'd imagine the OP's contract contains a clause which something along the lines of 'Your normal office hours will be 9am until 5pm with one hour for lunch, meaning your standard hours are 35 hours a week (or 21 hours in the OP's situation). You may however be required to extend these hours on occasion.'

I've never had a contract which doesn't include something along those lines because it's inevitable that people are going to have to work above and beyond on occasion.

Scrounger Mon 07-Oct-13 14:44:53

If it is part of your contract of employment you may need to work some hours that you don't want to. OP may have a clause that includes that or it may be implied because she has done it for the past x number of years. I agree an employer does not own your life, but flexibility needs to work both ways.

Agree with justforjeans that one short overnight trip a year with PT working, if it is somewhere that you like to work at anyway, is a really good deal. I think it is usually easier to get good PT working and flexibility in a job that they already know you on and where you have built up some goodwill previously.

About the mil analogy, the issue here is that the father will be looking after his child. OP may not want to do it, but the employer is not being unreasonable in asking for it.

handcream Mon 07-Oct-13 14:43:42

Surely 2 days per year away from home isnt an employer owning someone's life!

jeansthatfit Mon 07-Oct-13 14:43:21

I think anyone confusing the demands that family members make with the relationship between employer and employee must find working life very hard (or family life - I guess it could cut both ways).

Fathers do need to be more active in asking for flexibility at work/paternity leave. They tend to be much less likely to ask, and their requests are more likely to be refused. They are more likely to be seen as 'opting out' of career progression (whereas a lot of employers tend to assume that of working mothers anyway....). Employers need to be better at being more balanced in terms of gender when they think about employees and caring responsibilities.

However, the OP is still in a good position as a working parent - much better than a lot of working mothers - and is being unrealistic in not wanting to do one away trip in 12 months.

(I commute 7 hour plus journeys when I have to work away, btw, rather than stay overnight. But I still breastfeed and co-sleep, so it makes sense for me. It is tiring, but I set that against doing a rewarding and lucrative job, with enough day to day flexibility that I can spend more time with my children than a lot of working parents)

Chippednailvarnish Mon 07-Oct-13 14:42:36

Going away once a year for a few days is hardly an employer "owning your life".

handcream Mon 07-Oct-13 14:41:31

I think the OP needs to be careful here. She has a part time job. She is only required to go away for a few days A YEAR.

All of you who are saying 'leave, demand this and that'. You arent the same people who are complaining there are no part time roles and if there are they wont let you take emergency leave, first choice for hols just because you have kids are you...

flowery Mon 07-Oct-13 14:41:09

I don't think wanting an employee to participate in a trip of 2 nights once a year could constitute an employer thinking they own someone's life. Anyway, the OP has already said it's not compulsory, but has identified that it would be sensible to go if possible.

If employees want flexibility from an employer wrt going part time, dealing with child sickness etc, it is sensible to show a bit of willing back where possible, rather than working to rule and only doing what is specifically stated in a contract.

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