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Feeling a bit down

(11 Posts)
AldrinJustice Wed 15-Jun-16 12:41:26

I guess this could be an AIBU but I'm more just lost and confused and just need a bit of advice/reassurance if it has happened to anyone.

I'll be back at work in 2 months but part time, my maternity cover it seems will be staying. Now while on mat leave, our department has had a reshuffle with a lot of new seniors being recruited and a few promotions, which to me looked like a great opportunity to further myself in the company (but I couldn't because I was on mat leave) our department is quite large, so already I feel like I've missed out on a lot of what has happened in the company, and giving a good first impression and getting to know these new seniors and higher ups when they joined. I planned that when I return I want to try to progress on to the next role and if I could have put my best foot forward when these seniors joined the company then I may have got a head start. From my point of view it looks like my mat cover is a bit more experienced than I am and obviously the new seniors have become more acquainted with him and he's getting priority on certain jobs. It just feels like I got pregnant at the complete wrong time and maybe I shouldn't have taken a whole year off, but looking at my DD I just couldn't have left her so soon.

Sorry if it isn't making any sense but I feel like I might be slowly being pushed out or opportunities may be taken away and given to the other guy, I know there are laws In place to give someone the same job or similar role after mat leave, I just had my hopes on progressing especially since I've been there over 3 years. Part of me I'm just feeling so guilty that I'm even thinking I shouldn't have had a baby when I did because I couldn't imagine life without DD now. But I just feel like I'm in the shadows of this new guy and it's making me slightly annoyed at the way things have panned out over this last year. I just feel useless tbh

FranTan Wed 15-Jun-16 13:05:39

Are you in a union?
We're opportunities emailed to you during mat leave, enabling you to apply, should you wish?

I had a different set if circumstances but found the union very helpful. They alerted me to and supported me through a potential sex discrimination situation, which I didn't even realise was an issue.

FranTan Wed 15-Jun-16 13:06:42

*were not we're

ComeOnKenneth Wed 15-Jun-16 13:10:30

I'm sorry you feel down. flowers Firstly, you're not useless. It's very common to feel worried and lack confidence about going back after mat leave, I know I did.

I had 14 months off with my DD and similar happened at my office - reshuffles, promotion opportunities I could have got if I'd not been off, changes in senior management. It sucks, and made me feel like I was being overlooked and just not as good at my job as those who were promoted in my absence. It took a while for my confidence to come back, but it has and I'm doing another job now (same level) but with more recognition and visibility, and more opportunities to impress.

It's a shame you missed out on the opportunities while you were off, but now you're back can you start to make progress? How is your relationship with your manager? Do you have any mentor/relationships with more senior people? If so, I'd advise being open with them about wanting to progress, and see what they say. If they have any feedback or advice about needing additional experience or training, consider it. IME, the whole perception about women's "priorities changing" once they have a child can be really damaging: it can result in people not expecting you to want to progress and assuming you no longer have the same ambition (thanks, patriarchy!).

If your manager is supportive, can you talk to them openly about how you're feeling and ask for their support too, to increase your confidence? I've managed several people returning from mat leave and it does take a while to "feel it", like you know what you're doing and are on top of your game again. After all, you have another whole game you've had to master last year, so learning to feel ace at both is going to take a little while smile But it will happen. Give yourself a break, you've done the right thing for you and your DD and the work will come back to a better place.

Popskipiekin Wed 15-Jun-16 13:14:31

Have you had any keeping in touch days? Could you request some in the next couple of months, become reacquainted with your role and briefed on the new set-up so you feel more comfortable going back in - get hold of any monthly reports issued etc. Maybe you could email or phone your (new?) boss and outline your enthusiasm at going back to work, your plans for your own career arc, how keen you are to take the opportunity of the new structure. Perhaps there's even a small project you could take on in the evenings in the next couple of months (I think the time you do on this would be paid hourly at your usual rate according to KIT day policy, but obviously your company have to be on board with this).
I do understand part of what you're going through - we had a new team come in whilst I was on mat leave and new systems as well so I felt quite lost when I came back, although fortunately my cover didn't stay on as yours is, and it only took me a week to get back in the swing of things.
Don't feel guilty, don't feel guilty about feeling guilty grin There is often never a right time to have a baby, you couldn't have foreseen what was going to happen at your work. You have given your DD a lovely start in life by all the time she has had with you. Good luck with re-entry to work!

AldrinJustice Wed 15-Jun-16 15:15:00

No not part of a union...does each sector have one? I always thought they were slowly diminishing. And no opportunities emailed over. Are they meant to?

ComeOnKenneth that is exactly how I'm feeling, like I've been given a back seat. I think nerves are getting the better of me and my confidence has been shot, like I'm out of my depth. Relationship with my manager is good, yes I'll try a plan of action when I get back. Pre-maternity they have been very nice but it sounds like what you're describing about priorities changing - it could be either I think they have just assumed I wouldn't want to progress or maybe they're just taking it slow with my return to work and not piling it on for me. I think I'll have to wait until I'm back to have the talk with my manager because he's kind of a "we'll deal with it when we cross that hurdle" kind of person

Popskip I've used up my KIT days but they were sort of spaced out throughout my mat leave so I don't think they can issue anymore, and I was just doing odd jobs around the office, not working on something continuous. That would have been a really good suggestion to go with though. I've always said I'm looking forward to coming back and I can't wait to start doing something again. It's just a horrible feeling, never really thought the beginning of a work-life balance after a baby would be so testing

MarcelineTheVampire Wed 15-Jun-16 16:20:37

Legally you should have been offered the opportunity to apply for these roles whilst you were off on maternity. I'd have a chat to your manager but it is discrimination to have not at least been offered to apply, put in a grievance.

Popskipiekin Wed 15-Jun-16 16:44:30

I'm not in HR or anything but a bit of googling suggests you can work more than 10 KIT days - if your employer agrees - but you will lose a week's SMP for each week where you've worked an extra KIT day (employer must still pay you whatever rate they pay for KIT days). I don't know how this works if you've used up all your SMP (you only get it for 39 weeks, so with 2 months to go before you go back to work, I presume you're now not getting any?) worth discussing with your manager if you feel another couple of KIT days could be beneficial to you both.

FranTan Wed 15-Jun-16 20:15:12

I was public sector and a member of the largest union. Overall they may be diminishing but mine was very helpful and very active within the organisation.

You should have been made aware of these opportunities.

When my employer realised they were potentially facing a sex discrimination charge, it was amazing how quickly they found a position for me. May be worth looking into.....

ComeOnKenneth Wed 15-Jun-16 20:34:10

I think what I would advise anyone returning and feeling similar to you is: make it very clear that you have ambition and you want to be promoted. I'm not the worlds most assertive person and I have only recently started being totally explicit about this at work, but it has made a real difference to how I'm perceived. The pigeon-holing will (hopefully) stop but you'll need to push it! Be brave - you're as capable as you feel you are, and as the next person. If you push yourself forward a bit more - faking it til you make it, if necessary - people will naturally assume you can do it.

Also, what other posters have said re: sending you the opportunities while you are off is relevant. If you didn't get notice of them, ask them why, and raise a grievance if you want to.

Good luck with the chat with your boss! flowers

ComeOnKenneth Wed 15-Jun-16 20:38:51

One more thing: have faith your work confidence can come back. I very nearly didn't go back as I simply couldn't picture wanting or being able to do my job well, but I'm so glad I did. The fact that it did come back gave me huge confidence, and I brought a whole load more skills and experience back with me (better at organisation, better people skills, better emotional management, more patience). You will probably surprise yourself.

Hold the line - you CAN do this smile

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