Having to leave my job because of the people :,((71 Posts)
I recently landed my dream job but am now feel so low I'm thinking of handing in my notice (which will also spell the end of my ten year teaching career from which I have love every second).
The person who I have replaced is making my life hell. She has left but is in constant contact with my boss and the team of four people who I now manage (who love her). In the four months I've been there she has reported me to my boss on numerous occasions (based on hearsay from the people I manage who ring her everyday i.e. I'm not helping them with their workload), she has also stalked my twitter and told my boss I posted an 'inappropriate' photo of students on a geography field trip (just digging in a field) I tweeted saying how much I was loved my new job. She also contacted the administrator of the department (by phone) who I really get on with to tell them i'm not up to the job and I wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for her (she was on the panel).
I spoke to my boss and she said to have a meeting with the people I manage and tell them to stop contacting her, that it was unprofessional behaviour and that I was their manager now and we have to move forward as a team. i did this but then got an email only the next day (Friday) from the person I replaced saying they had rang her and told her and who did I think I was to bring this up in a meeting and again, do I realise I wouldn't be there if it wasn't for her.
I am usually such a strong person but feel so beaten down and exhausted by this I just want to leave. I can't see it getting any better as I cannot stop the people in my team from contacting her constantly. I've spoke to my boss, spoke to them, nothing has worked and I can't see a way out. I gained a lot of praise for my teaching in my last job and I love it so much but since starting this job my confidence has literally ebbed away.
I wouldn't say "Stop talking to X", I'd say things like "I'm afraid you now report to me and I will not tolerate your unprofessional behaviour" and "I am your manager now" and "This isn't the playground, so how about you start behaving appropriately?" <headtilt> and "X no longer works here, here is what's going to happen ..." <smile>
Lots of smiling, totally blank any mention of X, and don't be scared to lay down the law. You're in charge here and it's actually the staff who are the problem. X is behaving dreadfully but she is outwith your control. Start taking charge and treating her with contempt and disinterest. She should be embarrassed by her inappropriate and childish behaviour, keep that in mind always.
Op, print all the evidence you have of the campaign of harrassment and note any incidents you know of where she has contacted staff to undermine and criticise you. Including emails you have where your staff are involved. Take it to the Head. It is up to the management team to deal with this. If they don't go to the union.
How is she on the panel for her own job?
How are you seeing emails from your staff to their old manager?
As someone who has experienced similar bullying in the workplace my advice is to stay strong: don't leave. It is so difficult to rise above this sort of childish, cruel behaviour from grown women but you must. I have found little in the way of support from our SLT but do log everything, if you can bear to. If nothing else it gives you a sense of control, like you have a secret weapon.
There is nothing you can do about this woman, she no longer works there. Compose an email to her reminding her of this fact (you don't have to send it). Be polite but very firm and explain to her that she has no place advising you in any capacity. She did not appoint you to the post. She is not responsible for your ten years of experience, your ability in the classroom nor anything else that has got you to where you are now. You owe her nothing.
Seek support from your union rep, take her/him into a meeting with the relative senior member of staff, explain that you have sought their assistance because this is severely impacting on your wellbeing. They have a duty of care to you, and this petty, pathetic excuse for a woman (god help her students!) needs to be told to leave well alone because her interference is preventing you doing your job effectively.
Above all, do not quit. We think we leave this behaviour behind us in childhood but bullies grow up, get jobs and don't change. Think of the advice you would give to a student with a similar problem.
Good luck to you. Stay strong, use your union, do not give up!
Second what everyone else has said about contacting your Union OP. Also blocking her alone on Twitter wouldnt work by itself as she sounds like she has people reporting back to her. Dereg your Twitter account and set up a new one with the Protection on?
I would call them into a meeting and tell them that I considered contacting ex members of staff and telling them all about what goes on in my department to be gross misconduct. Which it is.
Then I would have a strategy meeting to go through the SWOT of the team, set new team targets and prepare team performance plans as agreed with them, and book individual meetings to set individual performance plans which are more personal and whilst at that meeting, reiterate the issue of contacting ex staff members and find out why they are doing it, and to make sure that I am addressing all the concerns they have about me being in post.
I would tell them that they are not party to all the information about their old boss, and that if anyone continues it will be addressed through the formal route without exception. Even if it means recruiting a new team.
And stop tweeting etc etc until you get this sorted.
In fact going with Peekingspost I'd be inclined to tell them to back off before you go to a Solicitor on the basis of Harassment. Like others have said log/record everything god forbid in the event it turns into an Issue of Constructive Dismissal.
I have found that in teaching, you sometimes get folk who think 'How will this school ever run without me?' when they leave/go on mat leave/retire. Seen it lots of times, ex employee meddling because they can't 'let go'.
I echo the advice re union. When did you begin your post? If it was this academic year, she might still be thinking of 'her classes'. Aim for September as a fresh start, new year with you fully at the helm, all traces of her gone. Sometimes time is all it needs- and surely she's busy enough in her new school to worry about the old one?
It may be the case that the friendship between her and the others dwindles too (hopefully). You sound lkke you're handling this really well, don't leave.
Is she still teaching?
Collect it all together. Take it to your boss and to HR, then to your union rep. She needs to be reprimanded by someone where she is currently working. She is being extremely unprofessional and is most definitely harassing you. Your new staff are being sheep, you can change that if you get her sorted.
DO NOT LEAVE! You seem to have the support of your boss. Have you told him that the first thing the staff did was report his meeting to her? THAT is probably actionable on his behalf too. They are not acting in the best interests of school/children.
Either way, don't let her break you. Stand up and insist she is brought to book for her actions.
Now get off MN and do not discuss this on any social forum again. Get this deleted IMMEDIATELY. Do not give her any ammunition. Keep yourself as Ceasar's Wife - above suspicion.
Union and SMT right away and log/keep copies of everything ...forward to home computer so no emails or notes can "disappear". Everytime you receive an email from anyone involved in this just reply noting receipt and cc/bcc in your SMT. This way there is a paper trail if needed and lets people know how seriously you are taking this. Good luck
Give it time, she'll be history before long. The contact with her and your team will dwindle and they'll get used to you. I appreciate it feels tough now but I think you need to give it at least 6 months. Takes time to 'bed in' in any new role. Definitely block her emails etc. It's very unprofessional of her, she left, she has no say in what goes on anymore.
I had this. The cow was my Team Leader and bullied me horribly. When she got preggers, I not only got her maternity cover but also turned the team around so it was productive and structured for the first time ever. .
However that did cause resentment and some of the team were reporting back to her what a bitch I was. One tried to get a petition together to get me fired. Basically, I introduced personal accountability. I was not popular as a result.
When she returned from maternity, the organisation found funding to keep me in the position so we had to work together as a team. She and the others went through my work and highlighted all the areas that they consider I was failing on, and sent this to senior management, whilst I was on maternity leave.
I got so anxious, I had a total of just 5 months off work and returned because I was scared of what they were doing.
Management however, knew she was a dickhead, and always supported me. They saw what we were achieving. She left shortly after, after being on sick for 9 months, and after she ran up 100 per month bills on her work mobile to her husband.
The awful team members left during a round of redundancies and now I have a lovely, team and it all seems like a bad memory.
Stick it out. It will be worth it.
But I did cry everyday and nearly left several million times
Are you managing your team? Do they follow your directives? Have you sat down with each face to face and set targets?
Area their concerns voiced to you and are they met?
How is your dept doing as a whole? I assume you're in a secondary school?
FunkyBoldRibena gave good suggestions.
Thanks for all this great advice. I'm really trying and sorry to sound like a wet blanket but I just feel like i've lost my 'fight' and am finding it difficult to think positively. The easiest option seems to be to get the hell out of there and leave them to it.
Why do you care?
Are you bothered about what your predecessor thinks of you?
Do you need your junior colleagues to like you personally?
Has your manager criticised your professional performance?
Let them gossip/moan/bitch - it doesn't matter or affect your personally. What they choose to do in their own time is their business.
HOWEVER if they bring this to work I would tell them very clearly that you don't want to know what old boss thinks; that you are not interested in conversations they have with friends outside work; and that it is unprofessional to talk in detail about work to friends and then 'report' back' what friends think in work. And STOP talking to her yourself.
Also is a public forum the best place to bring this up?
Okay, i'm worried now - will report the thread. Thanks everybody for your input.
horrible you are better than this. Don't let her push you out. This is your job, your role, her problem.
Let yourself have a tearful day of giving up today but dry your eyes and stand tall tomorrow morning. The very fact that she's behaving so dreadfully proves that she's absolutely not all your team have her cracked up to be. You can do this
And please don't leave OP. I know its hard but can you do babysteps? I.e tell yourself you'll give it another month etc and see if things change. I worked for an Agency when I was at College. The DM of the Unit I was sent to work on hated me and made it her mission to get me out. It was horrid and the excuses she would use to complain to my Boss were ridiculous. Thankfully another unit came up that I was lucky enough to he sent on but if I could go back 10years ago I would have told the younger me to stick it out.
Also remember that the first year of teaching in a new place is hard anyway, new staff, new students , new processes.
It will be better next year.
Re Twitter: would it be wise not to have a twitter account at the moment?
The same with FB?
Best wishes to you.
Urgh, you have my sympathies - it sounds awful.
I agree you can't pick their friends and say who they can and cannot contact, but it's very disappointing a group of professional educated people can't seperate work and personal life when they need to adjust to new circumstances.
Your boss sounds at the very least approachable and I think I would sit down with them and go through the schools own line manager procedures. I would refuse to recognise professional complaints that weren't raised correctly. So if one of your team has an issue with support they need to approach you in the first instance. Anything raised by informal means needs to be directed to the proper management procedures, otherwise it's nothing more than a conversation between friends which has no business being bought into work. Stalky woman also needs to be told this by your manager when she contacts him with matters that don't concern her beyond listening to a friend off load about work.
That woman did you no 'favours' btw. You were the best candidate, she wasn't benevolently letting you have a job ffs - cheeky delusional bitch.
I don't think you should throw in the towel just yet, but I do think you need to enforce a professional environment and there will be a shed load of policies and procedures that will back you up. The only things you need to use your thick skin for is to not be swayed into deviating from acting professionally and to accept that when they're in that particular friendship group they aren't going to be singing your praises.
It won't be any worse than now with the difference that your energy won't be going on trying to battle outside relationships in a professional context. Your focus should be on dragging the situation back into the workplace procedures.
Do contact your union for support as well.
Brilliant advice above. Only additional thing I'd do is acknowledge to your reports that they are friends with Nightmare Predecessor and that's absolutely their prerogative, but that it's not OK to discuss work with her any more. You can't control who they see in their spare time and if they decide that's what you're saying they'll just have something more to talk about. So 'I know you are good friends with Old Cow but I am sure you will understand that it is no longer appropriate to discuss school business with her' (or a much stronger version of that).
Hang in there. It's your dream job. A few months of crap will be well worth it for years and years of dreamy happiness in the future.
Stay strong. Yes get thread deleted though. Don't let them win. You've had great advice here.
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