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Maternity leave ending, what to do about this job situation?

(23 Posts)
Hitmewithit Wed 19-Apr-17 13:12:18

Not sure if this is the right forum, apologies if not.

Went on maternity leave 7 months ago, I am due back in July sad. With this very fast approaching I am kind of dreading returning and am struggling to find other jobs at the moment. But don't see why it should go to this. The reason I am dreading this is:

Before I left for maternity leave I was signed off work, I had a mixture of sciatica, low iron count which made me feel bloody shite, these were a combination of the reasons but the note cited 'pregnancy problems' so these were the reasons I explained to my boss. I broke up 3 weeks earlier than planned (11 working days earlier) due to work pattern and holiday.

Boss was not at all supportive of me breaking up early, seemed very disappointed, put out and made me feel like I was leaving everyone in the crap, although I was simply for once in my life putting something else before work (my health and baby's health) was also heavily pregnant at the time of breaking up. The conversation got heated and some opinions were exchanged, largely on her part.

From the day I left, not 1 person messaged me to ask how I was or to make conversation. These people I considered friends as we did meet outside work occasionally and have a good working relationship with and we had plans to have a night out and meet up after baby arrived.

4 weeks passed and nobody had reached out; how you doing Kris (name changed) Or, hope you're okay, any news on the baby? You know the usual chit chat. Yet they all messaged each other (along with my boss) in this WhatsApp group several times a week about their own kids, work, funny things that happened at work etc, work nights out etc. Knowing I am in the group no one actually spoke to me directly but they all carried on chatting to each other as normal like I wasn't actually in the group at all. I decided to make the first move and ask how everyone was and respond to pictures of their kids and tried to make general chit chat about their lives etc, this was about 4 weeks after I left. The first time I did this only 1 person responded. Each time I spoke in the group only 1 person has responded, weather it be one person or another but I only get responses from 1 of them. My boss hasn't said a peep to me in this group chat and it's almost like I cut the conversation dead as soon as i respond to some of her messages in there, like 'happy new year, what you girls had planned etc' when I've responded to something like that she hasn't even replied, nor has anyone else. so I soon stopped messaging in there all together. I would read their weekly messages but just ignore, what was the point in me talking? I was made to feel like a royal twat. If anyone else spoke in the group chat my boss would be as chatty as ever, but when I did she never responded. It just seemed like Nobody tried to make even a little bit of an effort.

Brief history about who I work with: My work colleagues have been extremely bitchy about one another in the past, there's been tears, silent treatment etc my boss is one of the biggest culprits of this kind of behaviour, she is on another level for a person in her position, she often tells each of us what the other has said about someone and she can be extremely unprofessional and bitchy. She often commented on my quality of not getting involved in the 'office politics' I.e I'm not a two faced cow who runs every one down. I tend to keep out of it and am very careful about what I do say.

There were various WhatsApp chat groups that my colleagues created, some don't include certain people and I couldn't keep up with which one we were posting in before I left, but as soon as I left everyone chats in the one my boss is in, whereas no one used to before. I seriously can't keep up with it. There is probably a group without me in it too!

So baby was born, I sent message in to announce birth, got 'congrats' messages and then I arranged a date to visit the office. Took dd into office 4 weeks later, extremely awkward, boss was all fake and up my arse for the first 2 minutes despite acting like I don't exist at all in the previous weeks, then sat there and didn't make an effort for the rest of the time I was there.

7 months now passed, not one person has contacted me or asked me directly how I'm doing etc. I feel if I hadn't made the effort previously then there would have been no communication at all, despite conversations being killed when I talk anyway. It went from previously commenting on Facebook posts etc to just ignoring everything I put on there. I still made the effort on Facebook with them, liked pictures and stuff and commented on the odd thing but never got anything back from it. So basically there has been zilch in the way of communication. Because of how things went after I left I was reluctant to ask for keeping in touch days, I was too worried to go in for these.

If I knew someone was on maternity leave I would from time to time either message them outside of the work chat, or at least acknowledge them if they're in it and ask how them and baby are doing. No one has done this with me and I just have a very bad feeling about going back.

I've read about this sort of thing happening before but never once thought it'd happen to me as I was (I thought) quite liked. What I suspect is that my boss was so fucked off with me leaving earlier that she talked about this to everyone else, got everyone bitching about me and it's all gone from there. It's funny how one person can influence a group and how people trip over one another to lick the bosses arse.

Anyone else had similar experiences? What did you do, did you find another job? I've only got a small amount of time off with my beautiful baby girl and I don't want it ruined but it's quite a big thing hanging over my head. At the moment it's taking up a lot of my head space. Any advice would be appreciated.

FanaticalFox Wed 19-Apr-17 13:22:12

You're reading way too much into it OP because of your fears of having issues with your boss before you left etc. When people leave, go on mat leave, go off sick etc people they work with get wrapped up in work and their own lives and will occassionally check in but honestly probably forget a bit about you, but don't be offended they are work colleagues not true friends. Go back to work, you'll soon be integrated again but then still maybe take a new job when it comes up.

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 19-Apr-17 13:27:25

What Fox says ^^

OlennasWimple Wed 19-Apr-17 13:30:58

What the others say.

In your shoes, I would contact my manager and ask for a short meeting to discuss your return to work. See how that goes, but (and I mean this is the nicest way) go to it with an open mind and think about how you are going to make the return work.

Of course you can look for a new job alongside this, but unless you are prepared to resign and be without a job, you should be preparing yourself to return to work in July

MatildaTheCat Wed 19-Apr-17 13:34:20

Do a couple of KIT days and stop dreading the whole thing so much. Is there anyone you have been especially friendly with that you can chat to before going be
Ack. Just general chat not asking who is saying what.

I totally agree that when people are away from work they just aren't on the radar of those still there. It's work, nothing personal.

Sallycinnamum Wed 19-Apr-17 13:35:56

I totally disagree. I've seen this happen to a colleague and I suspect this is deliberate judging by what you've said about the toxic environment you currently work in.

However, you won't know for sure until you return to work. It sounds like the worry has really affected your maternity leave and if that's the case then I really feel for you.

That said, this is a lesson learnt. I don't have any current work colleagues on any social media or WhatsApp. You need to keep your work and home life separate.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Wed 19-Apr-17 13:36:41

You going on maternity leave is a pain in the arse. You going earlier is a bigger pain in the arse. It's sad that they're not thrilled for you because your baby is the centre of their universe, but lots of people are self centred and out of sight, out of mind. If you swap jobs, they likely won't care much about you either. I really don't think there's any need to be fretting about this.

ChaiTeaTaiChi Wed 19-Apr-17 13:36:52

I've read about this sort of thing happening before but never once thought it'd happen to me as I was (I thought) quite liked. What I suspect is that my boss was so fucked off with me leaving earlier that she talked about this to everyone else, got everyone bitching about me and it's all gone from there. It's funny how one person can influence a group and how people trip over one another to lick the bosses arse

This makes you sound extremely paranoid and obsessed. You've just invented a scenario and decided it's actually happening. You clearly loathe everyone you worked with and are not friends with them, so why on earth would they be contacting you on ML?

You need to chill out. And probably not go back to that job.

scottishdiem Wed 19-Apr-17 13:41:27

You need some kind of return to work appt and see how it goes. Unless you were friends a lot outside of work it isnt surprising that you are out of sight and therefore out of mind when it comes to work. Not the best but not really surprising.

And, with the best will in the world, is your boss likely to hold this level of grudge (i.e. constantly poisoning everyone against you as you think) for the best part of a year?

Clear your head, go back and if things do not return to how they were before your maternity leave, then just look to leave. I think you have looked far too much into this but if it is as bad as you think it is do not worry, do not let it affect your time with your new baby. Just go back, get back into the swing of working and then look for a new job.

CotswoldStrife Wed 19-Apr-17 13:41:41

That is a LOT of points scoring against your boss and colleagues, OP - do you always keep tabs on people so much?!

It's just work. They don't have to be your BFF - I think you are reading WAY too much into all this and putting your own ideas about your boss on to the rest of the staff which is very unfair on them. I doubt that whatever anyone on here says that you will go back with an open mind.

It is very common for women to have a wobble about returning to work after maternity leave and look for excuses not to return but don't go back assuming your colleagues hate you!

Babyroobs Wed 19-Apr-17 13:47:26

Virtually everyone in my workplace has gone off onto mat leave early taking sick leave ( maybe because of the strenuous nature of the work we do). No-one really bats an eyelid about it. But to be honest when collegues go off on mat leave I tend to forget about them ( out of sight, out of mind type thing) unless I am particularly friendly with them and met up outside of work.
Your workplace sounds bitchy and cliquey. Mine is the same. Lots of little groups meeting up together, excluding others, making fun of others and bitching about each other !!
If I was you, I would go back, you will probably find that once you are back it will all be forgotten, not that you did anything wrong of course, but if they are still holding a grudge about you leaving early then they won't hang onto that forever.
I would just go back, do your job, not get involved with them on a personal level. If anything kicks off and you feel you are being bullied then report to your line manager or higher up if needed.
There is no point putting yourself into financial hardship by giving up your job if you need the money.
By all means look for another job, but that might be stressful with a new baby. there is no harm in looking though.

skyzumarubble Wed 19-Apr-17 13:52:43

I'm with Fox - it's work. Work colleagues are very rarely friends. Go and do you job and come home. Look for another job if you feel you need to.

gillybeanz Wed 19-Apr-17 13:59:55

No way would I go back to that place.
Your work colleagues aren't even nice let alone your friends.
They are people who used to go out together because they worked together.
If you need to work, just go and do your job and come home. Look for a different job that won't be too demanding or be a sahm, it's great grin

lilyborderterrier Wed 19-Apr-17 14:03:17

Bless you love I would not be going back to that job or work place. Definitely look for another job if you can. Xx hugs x

Itmustbemyage Wed 19-Apr-17 14:10:01

TBH these people sound like work colleagues not friends if you have no way of contacting them individually rather than through the group.
Never phoned or texted each other, never met up one to one or been to each others houses?
If you didn't work with these people would you be actual "friends" e.g if either you or they found new jobs would you keep in touch?
From the way you describe them the answer sounds like it would be no.
So you are work colleagues at best and you are currently not working so "out of sight out of mind". I'm sure that once you are back at work normal workplace relationships will resume.
Stop worrying and enjoy your remaining maternity leave.

Hitmewithit Wed 19-Apr-17 14:12:03

I would love to be a sahm lol. Or at least be one of these people who start up a business from scratch, but what hmm

MatildaTheCat Wed 19-Apr-17 14:12:23

Hang on, it's not just a case of not going back, is it? OP would have to pay back substantial amounts of maternity pay potentially.

OP, get in contact as I suggested above and get this whole thing back in proportion. It's usual for new mum's to dread going back but you've let this get too big.

Go and have a chat, do a KIT day, whatever. Meet a work friend for lunch and keep away from group chats.

PoohBearsHole Wed 19-Apr-17 14:31:45

I'm close to my colleague who went off and had a baby earlier this year. Two + months have gone by and I haven't been in touch since the first few days. I will ensure I am in when she brings in baby, if she brings in baby but otherwise my life is whizzing by. When you have children and a job days go by much quicker than those lonelier ml days (imo - sure I'm the only one but you never know).

Go back in to discuss returning to work, it is probably that you aren't there at the moment and therefore out of sight out of mind.

Also, yup its a proper pain in the arse when someone goes on ml. You have to train someone else to do their job if you get cover in or the burden falls on colleagues. Its life but my job would be much easier if my colleague hadn't gone off on ml smile Doesn't mean I hate her or her cover!

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 19-Apr-17 14:46:36

I think you need to reframe your thinking

these cxxts are NOT your friends. period
they are your professional work colleagues, who you work with
they are clearly very immature and unprofessional, and you'd be better off to distance yourself from them and focus on real friends

you need a job to work, and earn money. So focus on getting back in the saddle, and then think about looking for something in a more growth and development oriented setting.

with regards to social media
(1) unfollow them, or unfriend them on Facebook
(2) send a message saying you are changing phone so for now you are leaving the WhatsApp group, then never re join

don't let this bunch of bitches ruin your maternity leave, and don't let them upset you

think about getting a better job in a more professional setting with people that actually behave like adults!

Tiggerific1984 Wed 19-Apr-17 14:51:32

No-one from my work has asked how I am or how my baby is. But then my work is very male orientated. My boss keeps saying to my partner he's going to phone me. I'm still waiting.

I won't be going back though. My boss doesn't know that yet. I'm actually surprised he's not contacted me about kit days but I can't do them anyways.

Daisies123 Wed 19-Apr-17 15:02:56

I didn't really stay in touch with colleagues whilst on maternity leave - none of them are actual 'friends' so I just left them to get on with their jobs. I went in twice in a year with baby and did one KIT day. The first was to show off baby, the second and KIT day was to get updated on what was going on in my absence so I could get stuck straight back in when I returned. Don't be so invested in work relationships, as they really don't matter once you have a family and a different group of friends.

Maybe sit down and do a pros and cons list of returning to work? E.g. Would you have to pay back maternity pay if you don't return? Could you afford to be a SAHM? Do you want to resume your career at some point? Could you return to work but part-time (what childcare were you planning?). That might help you decide whether you want to be a SAHM or whether work would be better (any work, not this particular job).
Also, are friends you've made on maternity leave returning to work? It might suddenly get a bit lonely if they all suddenly disappear for the majority of the week. Would that affect your decision?

Bluebell28 Wed 19-Apr-17 15:30:23

My lovely male colleagues asked after me and my baby on my first maternity leave. I was surprised that only one of my female colleagues was nice to me during ML, and the rest were just cliquey bees in that job. They are not your friends just work colleagues and they sound very cliquey. I went back after maternity leave and just put a distance between myself and the bitchy, cliquey ones. I transferred to another department with far nicer people the following year. The clique broke up as they all bitched about each other grin and I watched from a distance grin

DesignedForLife Wed 19-Apr-17 15:31:55

Go back to work, see how it goes. If it's not going well start looking elsewhere. Much easier to get a new job whilst you already have a job.

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