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To think that going to work shouldn't be emotionally crippling

(23 Posts)
Greenpen Thu 28-Aug-08 00:17:38

I have a job i love, doing what i trained 5 years to do. When the job became vacant i successfully got it. After i started i found out that the previous post holder was still heavily involved, and that i was considered second rate. This shattered my confidence but i kept my head down and produced result. Now i find that the previous post holder, doesnt really like the new job she got and is coming back and i have to deal with her attitude towards me, she holds nothing but contempt for me and undermines my expertise, and shes going to come back as my superior. But she left....i dont get it?

On top of this my boss has also made my life hell since i got the job because he favours the previous post holder, on my very first day even before i got given my desk he took a strip out of me regarding my personal life?

I dont know what to do, i spend my day at work close to tears, or locked in the loos sobbing. i come home and i am miserable, i cant leave because i have money problems and I have a family to support, she doesnt and she is 10 years younger than me.

I feel like a victim, i feel like crap all the time and now i am too scared to do anything about it. I am getting it from both sides.

What would you do when work makes you so unhappy but you have no choice.

juneybean Thu 28-Aug-08 00:22:39

I am sorry you feel like that, I too have an emotionally crippling job. I know its frowned upon but I really do wanna give you a hug

Can you look for another job? or are they few and far between ?

Janni Thu 28-Aug-08 00:23:23

You always have a choice. You need to make your escape plan because this situation is not going to improve and you will become increasingly stressed and miserable. This cannot be the only job available to you. Use every opportunity to look elsewhere for work and keep your focus on getting out of this horrible situation.

solidgoldbrass Thu 28-Aug-08 00:25:45

DOes your place of work have a HR department with a policy on workplace bullying? How about a union? Because this doesn't sound at all fair or acceptable.

Greenpen Thu 28-Aug-08 00:33:28

Juneybean - its pants isnt it sad, thanks for your hug...sending one back smile. Jobs are very few and far between where i live, if i cant hack it i will have to look at moving my family away but that is such a major move it scares me, not only that but it will feel like they have both won.

Janni - your right it wont get any better, but i am torn between standing up and fighting for what i earned fair and square or give in, and i have come such a long way to give in. I suffer really bad with low self esteem from time to time and this has truly allowed it to raise its head again, which is a shame because i was doing really well there.

I have just had a glass of wine, in a week day, thats not good...but it was nice wink

Greenpen Thu 28-Aug-08 00:39:20

Solidgoldbrass - there is a HR dept, but the person who is coming back used to work for them. No union.

I am just waiting for them to sack me, then i will have see what to do next.

solidgoldbrass Thu 28-Aug-08 01:13:10

Hopefully someone who knows more about employment law than I do will be along in a minute, but there are laws to prevent someone being driven out of a job by bullying, which sounds like what is going on here.

Raine3 Thu 28-Aug-08 01:23:47

Let them bully you as much as they like ... write down everything dates times comments, go and see the Doc and get signed off for stress or at least let him/her know you are stressed and why ... then when they sack you sue their arses.

And no I have never done this but god do I hate bullies in the workplace.

cmotdibbler Thu 28-Aug-08 06:34:00

Even if there isn't a union there, you can join one and get support and advice from them. They'll help you put together a complaint about the bullying.

The previous post holder is only doing this cos she isn't happy with her move, so wants you to go so she can have her old job back - so don't let her win

theressomethingaboutmarie Thu 28-Aug-08 08:28:40

It sounds like you might have a case for constructive dismissal to me. You are the post holder for that role and as such, you should have been given all of the responsibilities for that role. Do you have a job description? Are you enabled to do all of the tasks on your job description?

When the old post holder returns, will she be taking some of your responsibilities away from you (effectively demoting you)? If so, I would consider speaking with your HR department and then perhaps contacting ACAS to see if they can help.

Your boss tearing a strip off your for your personal life; can you elaborate on that? It sounds like bullying which is completely unacceptable.

I'm sorry to say that it sounds like they are trying to get you to resign. Keep very good records of all verbal and email discussions that you have with them (print off the emails and keep a diary for the verbal stuff). If, when this new person comes back, life really is even worse there, you have to take this further. Don't let them walk all over you. sad

abbieslife Thu 28-Aug-08 08:29:29

Please don't stick with something that makes you so unhappy just because you don't want to give in. Find another job if you can. When you are out of this horrible situation, you will find the strength to climb the ladder again, and find a job that you enjoy!
But for now, you need to find a job that provides money but does not stress you out on a daily basis, even if it doesn't give you the same job satisfaction.
I agree with others, these people are bullies, and you shouldn't put up with them. However, if you are not emotionally strong enough to deal with them at the moment, just get away from them.

theressomethingaboutmarie Thu 28-Aug-08 08:30:25

Also, with your boss tearing a strip out of your for your personal life, it may be that he is being discriminatory. If he refers to your marital status (or lack thereof) etc and uses this to cosh you over the head, it is sexual discrimination.

mumblechum Thu 28-Aug-08 08:36:17

Another vote here for making your exit plan. I certainly wouldn't start taking time off for stress, etc, that would be a nail in your career coffin.

I used to work for a senior partner with bipolar disorder. He'd be nice as pie one day and screaming & swearing at me the next. I was lucky enough to leave without a job to go to (dh supported me for a couple of months) and it was incredibly liberating to hand my notice in.

Get your cv off to some agencies pronto would be my advice.

amidaiwish Thu 28-Aug-08 08:56:17

I would do both things suggested here

a) get your CV together and start making an exit plan

but at the same time:
b) take some control. get a diary, take notes of comments, telephone conversations, print off e-mails (try and get them to make any points in writing if you can!) keep dates etc. You are formulating your defence incase they do sack you/demote you/put you in an untenable position. Stay strong and don't let the b@st@rds get you down. Remember you deserve that job, you can do that job, you are better than them

keep coming here for support and advice.

Greenpen Thu 28-Aug-08 11:07:09

The story behind the first day is just so silly.

The other person had been doing the job but there wasnt really a job. She had initially been given one year after uni as a bit of a taster. But she hung on for probably three years. Her farther was at the time a very influential member of the company, which gave her preferential treatment.

In the mean time i was working full time in another job, studying full time and also being a wife and a mother. All this to better my life as i had started with nothing and slowly made efforts to claw my way up the social ladder.

Anyway eventually the company realised that they really needed to advertise the post (because she didnt really have a right to be there for that long - my opinion). We both applied. I didnt get it and i was really rather upset. She had the upper hand because she had been doing the job for so long, and she was confident. People around me said that she had got the job only because of her farther. The whole situation really upset me, it reeked of favoritism and inequality. Without mentioning names i talked about how it made me feel on facebook, this was for the benefit of my friends and family.

12 months later she got another job (yet i didnt find out until months after starting that she was still to work in the section she left). I went for the job, aced the tests shone in the interview and got it fair and square.

On my first day my boss told me that my opinion reflected badly on him, that he wasnt sure how my opinion had been missed, and implied that i should never have got the job. So from the first moment he made me feel like crap, scared the living daylights out of me and instantly made me feel threatened. I stopped talking to people, i stopped going out because i though that was normal.

Actually writing it down feels bad, i feel like i am going to get into trouble again. They must have trawled facebook to find me, it was like they were looking for something to hold against me. I would like to point out that i only spoke about my feelings regarding rejection, i did not personally attack the other person.

squiffy Thu 28-Aug-08 11:44:50

This is all a bit messy.

They didn't trawl facebook just to find dirt. People do it all the time now as part of recruitment process - it adds a whole new angle to your knowledge of a person. People should be SOOOOO careful about these sites: it is a gift from heaven to mgmt.

Whatever it was you put there did genuinely upset somebody, regardless of your intent. It would have been better if on the day oyu joined this had all bveen brought out into the open wiht HR and so cleared the air, but of course you were upset, so I can see why it didn't happen.

so. He has grounds for being upset. You have grounds for being upset. Adn there's a girl floating around who may/may not be good at her job but is the bosses daughter, so you perceive that she is getting preferential treatment. Now that might be the case but whether it is or not doesn't matter, because it isn't a situation that you can change.

I think you have two choices here:

(1) Go to HR and explain that the department as a whole is not gelling well and you think it is affecting your work; can they advise? I personally think managment should get involved here because the department has got lost in terms of everyones' perceptions of what is and isn't fair. It won't get ant better by itself
(2) You could find another job.

going down the first route might resolve this and help everyone work better together, and if it doesn't get resolved you need to get out of there because the air is toxic as far as your own personal position is concerned. If you go down the first route then HR might suggest you leavign the department anyway as being a good course of action, in which case they may try to find you somethign else or you may be able to negotiate a compromise agreement (and negotiate time off to look for other work, which is always better than leaving without another job)

In terms of whether the organisation has acted unreasonably towards you, then I can see why you are upset but personally I do nto see you as having a particularly strong case for claiming constructive dismissal or suchlike, and if you have been there for less than a year your rights are limited. More importantly than this, you are obv. quite upset by all of this and moving on rather than embroiling yourself in legal action will be the fastest way of getting yourself to a better place, mentally. I don't think you'd enjoy the fight.

The third option of standing and fighting your ground and telling them they can't do this, they can't undermine you, etc, etc, won't (I think) help you here. The 'value' of them (your boss and this daughter) is probably more than your value to the company. Which is not to say that this is right or that it is your fault. But it won't change. You need to either get HR to step in and clear the air so you can all 'start gain' or you need to move on.

IMO, all of this. Not sure if HR peple will say the same....

Greenpen Thu 28-Aug-08 12:25:42

OK so i accept that i was wrong, but i never meant to offed. I apologised and promptly stopped using facebook, closed my account. [fingers wrapped for being nieve and having feelings]

In an ideal world i would have been able to take that and move on, but what i am struggling with is the fact that she left. Thought the grass was greener on the other side, realised it wasnt and kept her toe in the camp so to speak. Now she is coming back. My boss has made it clear that he doesnt like me, and she cant do any wrong. So ultimately i cant win can i, even if i work really hard, put 150% into everything i do.

My only option is to leave, and let them win, i could always go back to cleaning loos?! As you say, she is worth more to them than me. I was after all just a teenage mum who lived on an estate and really shouldnt even try and better myself and be frustrated when i feel that i have been treated badly. Its not what you know its who you know sad.

Life sucks sometimes doesnt it.

fizzbuzz Thu 28-Aug-08 13:11:21

Gosh Squiffy, what a perceptive post! Are you a life coach or somethiggrin

I think Option 1 is a really good idea, and great for restoring good relations. Obviously I don't know ins and outs, but, if it is unbearable, I think that could be your best solution...

Office politics is crap, I think do option 1 and look for anothe job at the same time. I have been in awful situatins like this, and it really is crap when it is day in, day out

lingle Thu 28-Aug-08 13:34:59

May I recommend a book called "Bully in Sight" by Tim Fields.

It will give you the vocabulary to articulate your situation to yourself and also, if you wish, to personnel and your boss.

I spent many 3 a.m. sessions reading it in preparation for the dreaded next day at work.

I should say that Mr Fields feels that just leaving is often the strongest thing you can do....
Start thinking ahead now. You need to be able to explain in future job interviews why you left. You're a mother so you have the perfect excuse (more time with children).

minouminou Thu 28-Aug-08 13:44:14

you must, must MUST make notes of all comments, and let them see you do this if poss
really feel for you
i was bullied out of a job i loved ten years ago, and pretty much left the industry
i've always been v confident and gobby, but it started very insidiously until i was in a similar state to you every day
that's why i'm saying, as others have, make the notes and KEEP THEM SAFE
i wish i had
good luck with it all

Greenpen Thu 28-Aug-08 13:52:24

I have just written a fresh CV and I will send it out today.

I cant go on like this, i am sitting at my desk thinking "whats the point" and wondering when i will get the next outburst.

I wonder how many other people out there have been driven out of a job they worked so hard to get because of a bully and family connections?

fizzbuzz Thu 28-Aug-08 13:57:46

Yuk, nepotism stinks.

Vowed years ago never to work in family firms because of this

squilly Thu 28-Aug-08 19:22:52

This is the second perceptive post I've seen from squiffy today. She's obviously quite smart and not related to me at all, despite the similar name

I was bullied out of a job once and I took the action people above said...I wrote down dates and times of discussions etc. It took months for them to finally make me redundant, during which time I had my job role removed without being replaced. I was told I was redundant during a formal complaint process by the HR manager who was supposed to be holding an independant role.

I took them to an industrial tribunal, on the advice of an independent HR guy at the same company, and it was a nightmare beginning to end. It did, however, end up with me getting a few grand in my pocket and lots of time off when my recurrent miscarriage treatment came to a head.

I feel so sorry for you being in this position and would recommend that you sign up to a bullying site or keep posting on here. I got so much support from a bullying site that it gave me the strength to complain in the first place.

It didn't achieve much, but at least at the end of it all I came out feeling like I did as much as I could during the process. I refused to behave like a victim and refused to make things easy for them.

Good luck and take care of yourself. Don't accept that you're inferior to this woman...this is just one person's view and probably not a very balanced one at that.

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